Buy-to-let can be a profitable enterprise, but it is much better suited to the investor that is willing to stick with it for the long haul rather than those looking to quickly jump between investment opportunities. If you’ve never been a landlord before, it will also take some time to familiarize yourself with your legal responsibilities and get a sense of the total cost outlay you can expect when taking on tenants.
When done the right way, however, buy-to-let can be a win-win situation for both the lessor and lessees. It’s important to do it the right way to make it work out to everyone’s benefit, however. The following tips will assist you in doing it the right way, ensuring both a healthy profit and happy tenants.
Lay Out Your Overall End-To-End Strategy Before Anything Else
Those who are contemplating a move into property ownership are often only thinking of how much money they’ll have to invest in return for their desired monthly payment. There are a number of other things to consider, however.
Obviously, you’ll need to do extensive research on locations to determine what is going to offer your desired yield. But you’ll also need to think about the types of properties you’ll be targeting. Would you like to focus on doing steady business renting to students in a university area? Would you just like to manage one house in a quiet residential area? Or would you perhaps even like to branch into commercial rentals such as office or storage space? You’ll want to first look over the full range of possibilities before committing to an investment strategy.
You then need to determine the purpose of the rental property. The simplest avenue is to collect monthly rent payments as a revenue stream. But another viable avenue is that of capital appreciation. With this strategy you are attempting to identify undervalued properties that are very likely to appreciate in value. The purpose of renting them out is more to generate revenue to cover the expense of paying for and maintaining the property rather than making a profit. The endgame of the capital appreciation strategy is selling the property when the value has increased significantly. Regardless of which strategy you employ, a reputable conveyancing comparison company CompareAndConvey can help save a great deal of time in getting the best possible quotes.
Finally, you need an exit plan for both bad and good circumstances. Good circumstances are those you control, setting the time you sell the property to whatever is most advantageous to you. But property values can fluctuate unexpectedly, and you should have a contingency plan in place before jumping in if the market doesn’t break quite the way you expected it to.
Understand The Laws And Licensing Requirements
So you’ve determined the right property and location for you, you’ve tallied all the initial and ongoing costs, and you are confident that your desired property can turn you a profit. Now it’s time to make sure that you won’t be tripped up by any of the many legal requirements of a landlord.
The primary regulations that affect all landlords are those regarding fire safety, gas and electricity. In terms of fire safety, all furniture provided in the unit must be labeled as compliant with safety regulations unless it was made before 1950. Specific gas and electricity safety requirements are numerous and beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say that flouting them or being negligent can lead to anything from very heavy fines to imprisonment and a criminal record!
HMOs, or residences occupied by two or more households, have their own special licensing requirements. They must be licensed if they are more than two stories in height, or if the total occupancy of the whole residence consists of at least five people constituting at least two separate households. Local councils provide these licenses, and there are criminal penalties for landlords who operate such a dwelling without a license.
Decide If You Need A Letting Agent
Letting agents < perform a wide range of functions. At the most basic level, they will take tenant applications and screen them for you as well as handling deposits. But an agent can do everything up to entirely managing the property in your stead. Of course, the greater the responsibilities of the letting agent, the more you can expect to pay for their services.
Something else to be aware of in this area is emergency maintenance calls. Unless you are prepared to field these personally 24 hours a day, you will need either an agent on hand or a contract with a maintenance company who will take the calls for you.
Ready To Rent?
Getting into property investment for the first time can be daunting, but it can also provide a much more rewarding alternative to more standard avenues of investment. If you’ve done all the math and decided that it’s the right path for you, consider a conveyancing company to help take a great deal of the headache out of the process.
Toby Williams is recently retired, but he’s not putting his feet up – He’s investing in property and doing the renovation work himself getting the places fixed up ready for renting. When not painting and decorating he gets a thrill from seeing his articles published online.