Selective Licensing

Selective licensing buy to let property investment

There is no doubt that landlords have had to put up with a good few changes in the buy to let market over the last few years. There are plenty of anecdotes on the internet citing the problems this is causing.

Landlords may complain about not making good returns but the truth is that BTL is still a profitable and highly efficient way to invest in property. It delivers profits from rising house prices as well as from rental income despite increases in stamp duty and new fee regulations coming into effect.

One increasing issue that you’ll find discussed in buy to let forums is the number of councils that are now introducing selective licensing, with 1 out of 4 boroughs currently running schemes.

Here’s our take on selective licensing and what it means for your buy to let property investments. It doesn’t have to mean you are left out of pocket, especially if you choose your investment areas wisely.

What is Selective Licensing?

Essentially, it means you need to apply to the local council for a licence to be a landlord. To do this, you need to prove that you are a suitable person and show that the property you have to rent is actually fit to be lived in.

Identifying the areas that have introduced selective licensing can be a little confusing and it’s easy to get caught out if you don’t have the right information or advice. Even within different councils or boroughs, it’s not utilised universally. The reasons for bringing in selective licensing in a particular areas can depend on a couple of factors including that there is a low demand for housing or because there have been instances of anti-social behaviour which councils feel landlords contribute to.

Selective licensing doesn’t apply to all landlords either. If you own a house, you are a private landlord and are in a designated area you will need to apply. If you are a housing association, own a holiday let, are a university with its own accommodation or have business premises that are occupied by members of your family, you don’t need to apply.

You may, of course, find that your property is suddenly in an area that the local council has designated with selective licensing, even after operating as a reputable business for a number of years. In this case, you will still need to apply for a license.

The upshot is that the rules can vary for different areas so it’s worth checking whether you fall under the conditions that mean you need to get a license.

The Benefits of Selective Licensing

While it all seems a little confusing, the idea of selective licensing is to help improve standards. It’s not there to punish landlords, although it can appear to be just that. If you already run a HMO where licensing is required, you won’t be particularly phased by this change.

Councils cannot introduce selective licensing for just any reason. The primary one is that the area is suffering from persistent anti-social activity and the local landlords are failing to take action to control it. The benefit here is that it is designed to improve the level of rental properties in the local area which can also benefit landlords.

Selective Licensing Aspen Woolf

For councils, it can be about ensuring that landlords provide adequate facilities for their tenants. There are plenty of horror stories in the media where disreputable landlords have not only left their properties in states of disrepair but put the health of residents at risk as well. If you’re a reputable landlord too, ensuring these bad eggs are weeded out of the system can be beneficial for both you and potential tenants. Applying for a license means that you need to have things like your gas safety certificate, smoke alarms and electrical equipment and wiring that is in good order.

If you are in an area where selective licensing is present, your application lasts for 5 years before you need to think about renewing it.

The Disadvantages of Selective Licensing

Most landlords will tell you that the big disadvantage of selective licensing is the cost. This can vary from region to region as can the areas that are using the licensing. In regions like London, you may be paying well over £1,000 per property while in Liverpool you could be looking at £400. If you are in a selective licensing area and fail to apply and register your property with the local council, you could also be liable to a fine of up to £30,000.

Head onto social media and you’ll find a lot of landlords who are unhappy that their profit margins are being further squeezed by the cost of applying for selective licensing. Councils have been accused of employing money making schemes and that they are making landlords directly responsible for areas where anti-social behaviour exists.  

How to Avoid Selective Licensing

While these are all valid arguments, it’s unlikely that selective licensing is going to disappear anytime soon and may well increase. Because of its nature, however, it doesn’t have to be the drain on resources that some landlords have found. Choose the right locations and make your investments wisely and it’s likely you won’t have to worry about selective licensing at all, at least not for the immediate future.

It pays to work with a property agent that knows what they are talking about when it comes to selective licensing. At Aspen Woolf, we handle a wide range of properties from London and Manchester to Luton and Leeds and understand the licensing requirements in each city.

The truth is that property investment, especially in the buy to let market, is still highly profitable. First of all, levels of rentals and tenancies are at an all-time high and people are always looking for great accommodation in decent areas. If you make good choices on which property you invest in and attract the right tenants, combined with the rising value of your home, there is still plenty of profit to be made.

If you’d like to find out how Aspen Woolf can help with your future BTL property purchase, contact our expert team today.

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors

Property downsizing over 65s moving to smaller home

The housing market, over the last decade has been through a huge number of changes. From the financial crisis that put property prices at rock bottom to prices clawing their way back up to where they are now. Along with this, there is a shortage of properties and the demand cannot be met and that has caused investors to shift their focus onto buy-to-let properties.

In amongst all of this, there are those who are looking to downsize. Gone are the days when homeowners would own the same property for their whole life because the over 65s are now taking a financially-driven approach to housing and where they choose to spend the later stages of their life. Simply put, the over 65s are now actively planning for the future and their finances and so, more and more are looking to downsize.

Why are the over 65s downsizing?

As people get older, they become less mobile and less able to maintain a large property while there could be access problems in the future and so, downsizing means that they look to sell their current property and move into a smaller property. The whole idea makes perfect sense. Homeowners over the age of 65, sell their property, they move into a smaller property that is suitable for them as they grow old while releasing equity at the same time.

However, it is not as simple as this because there are now more over-65s looking to downsize than ever before. At one end of the market, you have first-time buyers who cannot get onto the property ladder because of prices and a lack of supply while at the other end of the market you have those looking to downsize yet facing a similar problem – a lack of options.

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors Aspen Woolf

What does this mean for those who are downsizing?

A lack of options and sought after accommodation has meant that the market is saturated, effectively meaning that the supply does not meet the demand of those who want to purchase a property that they can call their home throughout the latter years of their life. As the market has adjusted to this increase in demand, it has meant that property that would be considered desirable to those over 65 has increased in value. Therefore, for those who are releasing equity from their current property, they are reluctant to invest it back into property that has been priced in a way that takes advantage of the demand and lack of supply. So, for those who are looking to downsize, it has meant that they need to consider looking at alternative options which includes rental property and this is where buy to let investment opportunities become a possibility for investors.

When people over the age of 65 make the decision to downsize, they perhaps might feel as though time is not on their side when it comes to waiting for the right property to come along. As time passes by, it could result in them becoming unable to move home with them effectively missing their chance and so, ideally they want to move as soon as possible. In this case, they then find that they have no other option other than to consider rental properties as a serious option.

Opportunities for Investors

There are many properties out there that are suitable for those who are downsizing but make great opportunities for investors who are looking to take advantage of the lack of supply in property on the open market. These buy to let investment opportunities come in the form of purpose-built or converted residential properties, that make it possible for investors to offer rental properties to those looking to downsize. As a result, investors offer a feasible solution while also being able to take advantage of excellent returns at the same time.

Due to the high occupancy rates, it has meant that rental yields of as much as 10% can be achieved in some areas. Investors should focus on those specific areas where there are increased numbers of people who are aged 65 and over. There should also be a focus on areas such as the South as well as many of the popular areas in the North such as Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds and Manchester.

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors Aspen Woolf

Investors have to consider that many of those who are looking to downsize still want to remain close to those areas that they are familiar with, while family will also play a role in the decision that they make. Despite this, this is a growing rental market that is enabling investors to capitalise on an area of the market that specifically appeals to those who are over 65.

Properties that are specifically designed with special features such as lifts, parking, wider doorways and are also located near to main roads and public transport should be a serious consideration for investors. Along with this, the over 65s are even considering facilities such as an on-site chef, spa facilities and social events held on-site because this is something that can provide them with all that they require as they grow older.

When investors find the correct buy-to-let investment that appeals to those who are downsizing, it means that they can expect to see returns that are significantly higher than other areas of the buy-to-let market. These buy to let investment opportunities offer excellent rental yields but also the chance of an increase in equity as the property increases in value. With rental yields of anything between 6-10% as well as yields that are assured for anything up to 3-5 years, it seems as though investors have a clear opportunity to invest in a thriving and growing market that is almost guaranteed to offer them a return, regardless of whether that is in the form of rental yields or equity.

As the number of people choosing to downsize increases, it means that more opportunities will present themselves to investors. This will enable them to take advantage of the residential properties that are currently available that not only cater to the needs of the over 65s but also offer an exceptional return on investment.

 

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment?

Manchester city buildings skyline

Manchester is a key economic area and one of the most high-profile cities in Europe. The city is home to the UK’s second-largest city and regional economy and is also a key area of the Northern Powerhouse. The city has benefitted from the devolution of power and is able to choose some of its own budgets and spending. This has made it free to develop policies designed to attract investment from overseas.

Constant large-scale investment

The city is also known for its thriving media scene, musical history and footballing heritage. Investment continues to transform the city for the better, with new facilities springing up all the time and its skyline constantly evolving. The European Structural Funds programme delivered approximately £366 million to the city, enabling it to create jobs, invest in businesses and fund education. The city is also regarded as one of Europe’s most impressive tech hubs and is noted for its exceptional transport links, leisure facilities and affordable properties, with growing numbers of people relocating from south-east England and overseas to take advantage of its many benefits.

Key growth generators

One of the main generators of recent growth is the Greater Manchester City Deal. This fund is largely centred upon what’s known as an ‘earn back’ scheme. This has enabled the region to recoup extra tax revenue from gross value added (GVA) increases from infrastructure development. The deal has created an apprenticeship and skills hub, raised the number of opportunities offered by the Business Growth Hub and enabled the city to attract further inward investment. It has also established a housing fund enabling further property developments and made billions available for investment. The impact of the scheme is predicted to deliver £1 billion each year to the city by 2025. Money from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has helped create almost 6,000 jobs, despite the original target being just 3,700. The Manchester Enterprise Zone, The Corridor, One St. Peter’s Square and Manchester Central also provide further clear evidence of the region’s continued extraordinary growth.

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment? Aspen Woolf

Career and leisure opportunities

The City of Manchester is generally regarded as the heart of the North West. It offers outstanding career opportunities in areas like law and finance, public service and the media. It is also home to 100,000 students and frequently plays host to some of the biggest and most prestigious names in entertainment. Amazon is currently setting up a base in the city, whilst a new GCHQ office is also set to open soon.

Other key attractions

The city’s colleges and universities have produced 25 Nobel Prize winners, with the Manchester Arena being the largest indoor concert venue in Europe. The city is also home to a huge range of cinemas, art galleries, boutiques and independent shops and is within a short drive of some of the UK’s most picturesque scenery, including the Peak District, Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. Manchester Airport was named the UK’s best at the 2015 Globe Travel Awards, with the city producing 3.5% of the nation’s GVA. Its ever-evolving economy has enabled the city to weather the storm even during some of the most troubled economic times.

Greater rental yields

Rents are also on the rise due to the growing demand for accommodation across the city. In fact, rental costs had soared by 30% over a four-year period, according to research carried out by the Manchester Evening News. The Manchester City Council area was the joint-most expensive area to rent a Greater Manchester home in between Oct 2017-Sept 2018, with figures standing at £775 per month on average, with Trafford sharing first place.

Residential and commercial property expansion

More and more property investors priced out of areas like London are now looking to Manchester to help them achieve their targets. New facilities including bars, restaurants, shops and leisure venues are constantly appearing on the streets of Manchester, which is also eclipsing many of its big-name rivals when it comes to house price growth. Research undertaken by Hometrack found that prices had grown by 6.6% on average year-on-year. The average price for a Manchester property stood at £168,900.

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment? Aspen Woolf

Growth outside the city

Growth is also being seen in other areas of Greater Manchester miles away from the city. Bury was showing the second quickest level of growth at 20%, with Salford rents increasing by 18%. Bolton has a rise of 17%, whilst Stockport experienced a 13% rise. Investors drawn to the area don’t have to miss out if they are unable to take advantage of opportunities in the Manchester City Council area. Greater Manchester is home to some 2.5 million residents, with a large number of these seeing substantial house price growth. Many of these areas offer quick and easy access to the city centre, making them ideal for commuters in rented properties. Each of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs have their own decision-making powers and is part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority led by mayor Andy Burnham.

More buy-to-let options

Investors seeking buy-to-let property opportunities in the M1 postal area can expect to enjoy yields of around 5%. Suburbs just a few miles outside of the city centre like Levenshulme are home to a large number of affordable buy-to-let properties offering yields of around 5-6%. Yields of approximately 4% are on offer when you buy in the more sought-after, leafy locations of Chorlton and Didsbury. Castlefield and New Islington are a short walk away from the city centre and play host to state-of-the-art luxury accommodation. Student-friendly areas including Fallowfield and Rusholme offer quick links to the big Oxford Road universities. Conventional M14 homes can deliver yields of more than 7%, but you could see a return of at least 12% by investing in a house of multiple occupancy (HMO). Ensure you do your research, and your buy-to-let portfolio could bring you fantastic rewards; check out our tips for investing in the buy to let market whether you’re an old hand or just starting out.

If you are looking for new areas to invest in property and are seeking exciting locations that are well and truly on the rise, Manchester and its surrounding towns and cities may well deliver the generous yields that you desire. For our top picks for investment in Manchester, visit this page.

Property Investment Strategies

buy to let buy to sell property investment strategies

Effectively, there are two simple forms of property investment strategy and these are to purchase a property with the sole aim of selling it on to make a profit, or to purchase a property to rent it out and make an income that way.

However, as simple as that sounds, there is more to it because there are a number of sub-strategies that can be used depending on the investor and their goals. So, what strategies are available?

Buy-to-Let

When purchasing a property to rent, there are two ways to make money and they are to charge rent that covers more than the cost of expenses, or to allow the property to increase in value over time, covering costs and expenses.

Single Lets

This is what many would consider to be your standard buy-to-let as it involves renting out a property to an individual or a family. It is an easy option, and one that requires you to calculate the costs in relation to the rent, ensuring that the rent is in excess of the costs.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

This involves the rooms within a property being rented out individually. This can often generate a large income than if the property was rented out as a single property. It is worth remembering that there are higher costs associated with an HMO such as wear and tear as well as the management aspect, which is also more labour intensive with HMOs.

Student Lets

Student lets are a form of HMO although the student market is very different from that of other markets. It is a more predictable market as students are only there for a certain time of year and the contract will be taken out jointly. If a student leaves, the costs get spread out among the rest of the residents in the home. Knight Frank also predict that 2019 will be a big year for the Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector.

Housing Benefit Tenants

This involves renting a property out to those who have their rent paid for by a local authority. What this means for investors is that they know what to charge and it can sometimes be more than the private rental market. There is the potential for difficult tenants and as the rent is passed to the tenant, it can often not be paid to the landlord.

Property Investment Strategies Aspen Woolf

Holiday Property Lets

This involves renting out a property on a short term basis to people on holiday.  This is a strategy that can return significant yields and profits, especially if you have a property in a sought after, prime location such as a cottage by the sea. This takes an active management approach and there are things such as cleaning the property and maintenance that have to be taken care of.

To learn more, why not have a look at our Buy-To-Let Tips? Or, get in touch with our property investment specialists at Aspen Woolf to discuss adding to or creating your portfolio!

Buy-to-sell

Also known as flipping, this is the purchase of a property where there is no income but instead the property is sold on at a higher price than it was purchased for. This can be a strategy that can yield good returns in a short space of time and they can often be higher than the returns seen with a buy-to-let property. However, one thing to consider is that the property will not generate an income while you own it. Therefore, you are only making money once you sell the property on. The key here is to purchase the property at the right price, and try to ensure that all work remains in budget and doesn’t eat into your margins.

Commercial Property

This is a lot different to residential property as it is a market that behaves independently and is very much reliant on the economy and the success of tenants. While residential property relies on and thrives on demand from people needing somewhere to live, commercial property is different.

A commercial property will only be suitable for certain businesses and that means that once a property becomes vacant, it can remain vacant for some time. Despite this, once you have a tenant, the leases can be put in place for years and they will also be liable for repairing and insuring the property. So, if you have a reliable tenant, then it can mean that you can take a hands-off approach for some time.

Property Investment Strategies Aspen Woolf

Rent-to-Rent

This essentially involves renting a property from a landlord before renting it out to a tenant. It is a form of sub-letting but the aim is to charge a higher rent to the sub-tenant than you are paying your landlord. This is often something that is seen with an HMO strategy. So, you could rent an entire property from a landlord and then rent out each room in the same way as you would in an HMO. This will enable you to generate rent per room which will more than likely bring you in more income than what you are paying to rent the entire property.

You can find landlords who are open to renting properties at a discount, particularly if you can offer some form of guarantee that they will receive an income and no hassle. So, you could then choose to pay the landlord a lower rent as agreed. It is then possible to re-rent the property at the going rate of the market.

Lease Options

In a similar way to rent-to-rent, lease option provides the investor with the chance to purchase the property at a price for a fixed amount of time.

So, an investor would agree to take an option where they can buy the property at a fixed price at any time during the next three years. However, they can then take over the owner’s commitments as well as expenses and rent the property out. So, investors can then earn a rental income on the property while having the option to purchase it at some point in the future for a slightly higher price.

This is one strategy that has been seen in the past where properties were in negative equity and the owners could not sell their property at a value that would cover the remaining mortgage. So, by agreeing a future price, it enables them to forget about the property in the short term. However, this is an option that is very much market dependent.

Rental Properties Still In High Demand

piggy bank houses

The housing and property market has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, as any investor will tell you. First-time buyers in many areas of the country are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.

For those with money to invest, the buy to let market is still doing well. This is in spite of tax increases, the removal of tax benefits, and changes to what landlords and letting agents can charge. Not only does buy to let provide a stable, long-term investment with a strong return when you come to sell the property but you also benefit from increased revenue from regular rent payments.

Why It’s So Difficult to Buy

Chronic underinvestment in the housing market over decades has led to a supply shortage, there’s no doubt about that. On 13th March, Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined a revamp of the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, putting aside £3 billion to support buying 30,000 properties for housing associations across England.

While some in the housing sector welcomed the initiative, many have pointed out that it still falls woefully short of what is required. According to the latest government figures, affordable housing to buy or rent may be growing but it still forms a small part of the actual market and is doing little to relieve the pressure.

The high cost of mortgages and getting together the initial deposit for a home is putting off a lot of potential first-time buyers who now see renting as a better or the only option on the table. Of course, there is the option for shared ownership, something that has been increasing in popularity over the last few years. But, in many parts of the country, that still leaves purchasers trying to find enormous deposits and having to manage untenable mortgages.

According to The Guardian recently:

“Currently a shared ownership two-bed flat in London is on sale for £985,000 at full market value, with the buyer taking a 25% share and expected to find £2,469 a month in mortgage and rent repayments.”

Rental Properties Still In High Demand Aspen Woolf

It’s no wonder, therefore, that so many people have given up the ghost and decided to rent. In the UK, we tend to take the notion of owning our home a lot more seriously than in Europe where renting is seen as a good option and where many people treat it as the norm. The problem is that the availability of affordable rental accommodation is also a huge issue.

The Price to Earnings Ratio is Widening

One of the main indicators of affordability is the price to earnings ratio. A recent review by Lloyd’s Bank found that this is increasing relentlessly and now presents a significant barrier in being able to afford a first home in many parts of the UK. The average home in a city now costs seven times more than the average yearly earnings.

Lloyd’s produced a list of the least and most affordable cities in which to buy a home. Oxford, for example, is the least affordable with the average home costing 11.5 times your annual salary. That compares to 10.5 times the annual wage for London and Cambridge. Even if you move further out to the South, in places like Southampton you are looking at 8.9 times the average earnings.

There is a significant north-south divide. Stirling, Londonderry and Bradford are the most affordable buys with prices between 4 and 4.5 times the average annual salary.

Wage Inflation Isn’t Keeping Up

It’s simplistic to say that stagnating wage inflation is playing a significant role in the number of people able to buy their own home. The truth is that house prices have been outgrowing salaries for at least the last couple of decades. After the 2007 financial crash, property prices recovered better than our annual salaries.

How Brexit is going to affect all this, of course, is anyone’s guess, particularly in light of recent events and the political turmoil it has caused. The truth is that, while wages fail to keep up, the issue of affordability is going to become an increasingly important factor in getting new blood onto the housing market.

The Rise and Rise of the Rental Market?

For those who find that affordability is out of their range, the only other option is to rent. According to a recent report by the Resolution Foundation, a third of millennials could well spend their entire lives renting rather than owning their home.

Rental Properties Still In High Demand Aspen Woolf

The creation of ‘generation rent’ may mean that we need to change our approach to owning that home. The report noted that there are some 1.8 million families with children who now rent rather than have a mortgage. Rents are on the increase which may make the housing crisis even worse in the future and many tenants have nothing left at the end of the month and are unable to even save for a deposit.

A shortage of rental properties coming onto the market are also having an impact and that could raise affordability because of supply and demand issues. Indeed, this is already happening in many parts of the UK, particularly in city regions.

The Need for More Buy to Let Investments

When the Government decided to bring in higher taxes for second homes and change the rules on what tenants could be charged for, many buy to let landlords complained that it was going to damage the rental industry. The truth has turned out to be a little different.

The rental market is widening and demand is increasing. Those investors who want to consider buy to let options are still likely to be in a pretty good place if they purchase a rental property. Several factors are contributing to this.

  • Enough affordable housing is not being built – certainly not the 300,000 new homes that were promised by the Government each year.
  • First-time buyers are finding it difficult to get a foothold on the housing market in many parts of the country, despite incentives such as Help to Buy.
  • Those who own their home already are increasingly reluctant to move up and create space in the market because of the high costs involved.

More and more people are seeing the possibilities of residential property as a long-term, profitable investment. There is a shortage of rental properties at the moment that could see an increase of around 15% in rent levels over the next five years if demand continues to outstrip supply. There’s no doubt that buy to let landlords still have a pivotal role to play in the affordable housing market for some time to come.

If you’re considering adding buy-to-let properties to your portfolio, or as a first time investment, brush up on your knowledge by reading our Ultimate Guide To Buy To Let. For expert advice and first-class investment opportunities, get in touch with the team at Aspen Woolf today, our property investment specialists are always pleased to help.

How Secure Is Buy-To-Let Property Investment?

Is Buy-To-Let A Secure Property Investment Option Aspen Woolf

Investing in buy-to-let properties has traditionally been seen as a simple way of making money. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, some people who make unwise buy-to-let investments find that they lose money in the long run. This is because there are a number of factors which can influence just how much profit can be made from any given property.

With this in mind, is a buy-to-let investment a secure one?

The Importance Of Research

Obviously, the stock market is a clear comparison – everyone knows that share prices can go up or down – however when it comes to property, some potential investors are under the impression that their investment cannot fail. This is not the case.

Just like stocks and shares, property prices can fluctuate. Some people who invest in property discover that the value of the home increases dramatically over the years thanks to improvements in the local area. Others, on the other hand, find that the area in which they purchased the property takes a downhill turn and becomes less desirable for tenants and buyers alike. This means that research is key to determining which property is the right one in which to make an investment. Aspen Woolf have over 15 years of experience in identifying excellent opportunities within the property investment sector, so instead of going it alone, talk to our advisors to ensure you’re getting excellent advice in the current property market.

The Potential Profit

It comes as no surprise that buy-to-let investments are frequently seen as being extremely secure. After all, property investments can be extremely profitable since they offer two distinct forms of revenue stream. Firstly, investors receive ongoing revenue every month from the property’s rental income. Secondly, when the investor decides to sell their property they receive more profit from the sale.

Today, there is an unprecedented demand for rental properties across most regions. There are ongoing shortfalls in local housing, and this is now paired with the inability for many young people and families to afford a property of their own. Both of these factors mean that if you carry out your research well, it’s possible to invest in a desirable property which will be popular with tenants and command a good rental yield. With infrastructure developments across the UK, such as the HS2, the road to London is becoming faster and more accessible, meaning that properties along the route will be highly prized. Aspen Woolf stay abreast of these changes to ensure we curate the most desirable properties.

For many investors, buy-to-let properties are often viewed as a longer-term investment instead of considering the rental yield. They purchase properties with a view to selling them at the perfect time so they can reap large gains on their capital value. However, if the income earned from rent is put aside, none of the property sale profits will need to be used as a deposit when making your next property investment.

How Secure Is Buy-To-Let Property Investment? Aspen Woolf
Image Credit: Pexels

The Potential Pitfalls Of Buy-To Let Investment

Although there are clearly many benefits to investing in a buy-to-let property, there are a number of potential pitfalls which should be borne in mind before taking the plunge. Potential investors must  acknowledge that no investment can be guaranteed when it comes to offering the expected returns. Although many buy-to-let properties turn out to be very lucrative investments, making more profit than previously imagined, others can end up costing the investor a lot more money than they intended to spend.

There can be a number of factors which can impact on the profitability of any buy-to-let property. While some can be foreseen, others may emerge out of the blue. For example, the recent uncertainty about the implications of Brexit has led to a number of unpredictable property market changes which could have a serious impact on any buy-to-let investment.

Also, for some considerable time, the interest rate has been at a very low level. Investors have been able to reap the benefits of this thanks to cheap mortgages. Unfortunately, however, there has now been a rise in the interest rate, and there is now a distinct possibility that more interest rate rises could follow. This means that landlords must ensure that they are in a secure financial position in order to rise those increases out. Interest rate rises mean that mortgage payments will increase at some point, whether that be immediately or once a fixed rate deal ends, so it’s essential to ensure the rental income of the investment property will cover those payment increases in order to avoid damaging losses.

Changes In The Property Market

When the property market goes through changes, this will impact on the success of any buy-to-let investment. House prices have seen growth, however in some parts of the country this growth has now slowed down. This means any potential property investor must always be vigilant on what this could mean for their property’s value. It’s always important to have a viable exit strategy which should centre around when the best possible price can be obtained for the property. This means that landlords need to decide whether or not they are financially able to wait and hold onto their property until the prices have increased should its value have fallen.

The Danger Of Empty Properties

One problem which a lot of landlords experience is their property lying empty for extended periods. This often comes as an unexpected shock since the rental market is so buoyant in many parts of the country. However, there are a number of reasons why a property can be empty. Sometimes, tenants will end their contract early. Sometimes, work has to be carried out before the property can go back onto the rental market. Other times, there is just a drop locally in demand.

When there is no income from rent for any period of time, landlords have to be certain they can still make their monthly mortgage repayments. If a tenant falls into arrears with their rent, this could also pose a potential problem, with landlords having to cover the mortgage themselves. With this in mind, rental property may not be such a lucrative choice as many investors think.

Overall, a buy-to-let property can be a very profitable investment. However, doing adequate research and keeping a close eye on the property and financial markets is essential for success. A successful landlord will also have a clear contingency plan just in case of an unexpected change.