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Buying a Second Property to Rent Out: How it Works

Buying a second property to rent out is a dream for many. Before you embark on purchasing another property and possibly taking on two mortgages, it’s good to weigh up the pros and cons and fully understand what you are getting into as a buy-to-let landlord.

For the right individual, two homes may be a great plan. Having a second property to rent out can be a great source of extra income. But being a landlord comes with plenty of costs and responsibilities you need to be aware of.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to know about ​​buying a second property and becoming a buy-to-let landlord.

Why Purchase a Second Property?

Buy-to-let is one of the UK’s most common investment strategies. Receiving rental income in the short-term as well as achieving capital growth over the long-term as property prices increase is a dream for many.

Whether you have a mortgaged home but have saved up some money and are considering a buy-to-let property, or want to buy a second home outright and get a return on the property down the line, it’s certainly worth considering buy-to-let.

Buy-to-let is a great opportunity to gain rental income that keeps the second home mortgage paid. It can even provide some surplus income depending on the rent you can charge.

Why do People Purchase a Second Home to Rent Out?

While some people are buying a second property to have a weekend retreat in their favourite holiday destination or a place in the city for work, many people purchase a second property to put their savings to better use by renting it out while it grows in value.

For the right person, two homes might be a great plan. Some homeowners like the idea of buying a second property to fix up and sell for profit, others plan to rent it out. It is important to know what you want to get out of owning a second home. If your focus is on buy-to-let, it’s important to find the right one – an investment property you plan on renting out will look very different from a holiday home or even a home you would purchase to live in. Read more about finding the right property in the UK- here.

Can you Get a Second Property Morgage?

If you are wondering how buying a second property works, one of the first things to consider is the mortgage. If you are still paying the mortgage on your first or main home, it’s still possible to take out a mortgage for a second home. To get a mortgage on second home, lenders usually look for a few things:

  • Healthy Income

You will need to show to the lender that you can afford the mortgage repayments on both your homes, so your main home and the second mortgage. 

  • Credit Score
  • Lenders usually want to know that they are lending money to a reliable borrower before they approve any mortgage. Having a good credit score can help you to get a second mortgage. 

 

  • Income Details
  • When buying a second property, you’ll usually have to provide mortgage lenders with details of projected rental income and show how you came to this number. 

Can you Afford Two Mortgages?

If you have finished paying off your first home, taking out another mortgage may be more affordable. However, it’s important to understand that homeownership is expensive and a lot of homeowners vastly underestimate the costs of homeownership. 

In addition to the mortgage, there are maintenance costs, furnishing the second home and some of the tax benefits that apply to a first home may not be available to a second home.

How Much Deposit do you Need for a Second Property?

deposit for a second propertyTypically, for a second property mortgage you will need to put down a deposit of at least 25% of the value of the property. However, there are exceptions. For example, if you are looking to upsize to a bigger house and want to keep your existing property, you may have enough equity in the house to cover the 25% needed to make it a buy-to-let property.

This often means you may be able to purchase your second home for a 10% deposit if you are buying a second property to live in, because it is to become the main residence (the stamp duty will still apply). By converting your first residence into a buy-to-let property you can often buy the second residence with minimal deposit.

If you have an existing mortgage, you will have to meet strict affordability requirements to take out a loan on your second home. You should speak to a mortgage broker who will be able to advise you.

“Self Funding” a Second Property to Buy

If the rent in your second property is high enough to cover the rented property mortgage, it is known as “self-funding”. The usual deposit and income requirements apply, but if the rent is 125% or more of the mortgage repayments, it shouldn’t affect your affordability checks for the new place. 

Paying two mortgages can add financial pressure, so be sure to have a back-up plan if the rent stops coming in (due to a vacant property or bad tenants).

What are the Advantages of Owning a Second Home? 

advantages of owning a second home

  • Income Potential

The short-term rental income on a second home may allow you to subsidise your home’s monthly mortgage repayments or pay for maintenance such as upgrades and repairs. 

  • Long Term Profits

The value of property across Great Britain has risen 53% over the last decade – from an average price of £222,989 to £341,019 today. When buying a second property you stand to gain from the capital gains that come from property price increase. Typically, property is thought to be a “safe” investment due to homes appreciating in value in the long run.

  • A Way to Diversify Your Investments.

Investing in property is a good way to spread your investments to minimise exposure. The housing market tends to show an increase in value overtime, but be sure to research the local economy and market where you plan to make your purchase.

​​What are the Pitfalls of Owning a Second Home?

When buying a second property, there are plenty of advantages, but there are some aspects to be aware of too. Owning a second home comes with costs and you’ll need to account for recurring and one-off expenses on your property. Be sure to take into account the following:

  • Renovations, upgrades and decorations 
  • The cost of home devices and appliances
  • Maintenance costs for the property and land such as garden
  • Bills including water, electricity and gas 
  • Levies such as council tax, property tax

 

  • Understand the stamp duty surcharge

When purchasing a second home, you will incur the additional rate of stamp duty tax. Stamp duty tax on a second property would see an extra 3% on your stamp duty. This would mean that on a second home purchased for £500,000, you would pay an extra £15,000.

However, if you sell your second property within three years you can claim back the 3% stamp duty surcharge. Just remember that you may incur capital gains tax on the sale of the property depending on how long it’s rented out for and if you sell it for more than the purchase price. 

  • Taxes

Rental income is taxed as income. While some allowable reductions are available, if you’re a higher rate taxpayer it will be taxed at 40%. 

  • Upfront Costs

For any property you purchase, it’s likely that there will be upfront costs to get the property ready for rent. Such as gas safety, electrical safety, fire safety. There will also be the ongoing maintenance costs.

  • Work Required

Being a landlord requires work and a second buy-to-let property won’t become a passive investment. A lot of effort comes with renting out a home, and if you get an agency to cover the work you’ll still be required to pay a fee.

  • Void Periods

With your buy-to-let property there may still be occasions when you cannot fill the property. You’ll need to account for void periods that may mean you are not making a rental income. 

Rental demand too can ebb and flow. Even if you reduce rent to attract tenants that may mean you have to top up mortgage payments with income from somewhere else. 

  • Your Equity is Tied in up Property

Property is not a liquid asset. When purchasing a second home you get a material asset you can sell for cash but be wary that if there is a dip in the market and you need to sell, you may incur a loss, or, as a worst-case scenario end up owing the lender more than you paid for it.

  • Interest Rates

We’re currently in a low-interest environment which means borrowing remains cheap. However, this isn’t always the case, and in the 90s interest rates climbed, which put pressure on those with variable-rate mortgages over fixed ones. 

It’s important to crunch the numbers and explore different scenarios before getting involved in buy-to-let. Having an idea of the best and worst-case scenarios for your mortgages will help you plan for covering any shortfall should interest rates change. 

Should I Rent Out My Second Home?

should i rent out my second home

Renting out a second home can be a good strategy for homeowners and provide a steady stream of income. However, be aware that it may not work out the way you hope and owning a second home can come with roadblocks. 

The pandemic was a good example of when things may not go according to plan. Some landlords experienced months without income from the property while still having to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance and other fees. Those without savings or reserves can find themselves in financial difficulty. 

What Tax do you Pay if you own Two Properties?

Once you own two houses, you have two years to decide which is your principal private residence property. A principal private residence is exempt from Capital Gains Tax implications. So this is a significant decision, and most people choose the property which is expected to rise most in value.

Second property tax will apply to landlords as they have to pay annual landlord income tax at a rate determined by their income tax bracket. Be sure to consider the impact of rental income on your tax status, as you may find yourself unexpectedly pushed into a higher tax band. 

Capital Gains tax on a Second Property

When it comes to selling your second property, you won’t be charged capital gains on the full sale value. But you will be charged on the additional gain over what you paid for it. Capital gains tax is not charged on the main residence but applies to properties that are deemed an investment. 

Basic rate taxpayers will be 18% while additional rate taxpayers pay 27% on gains made from selling an investment property. If you’re wondering how to avoid capital gains tax on second homes in the UK, capital gains tax does not apply if your gains fall under the annual allowance of £12,000.

Tips for First-Time Landlords of Second Homes

tips for landlords of second homes

  • Analyse the returns

Before deciding to let any second home as a rental property you’ll need to analyse a few things. Starting with the returns alongside the expenses of being a landlord. Be sure to assess the property’s rental yield. Rental yield is the annual return on the investment from your property, something between 5-8% net is a reasonable figure.

  • Consider Letting Expenses

While a strong rental yield and capital growth can be enticing, be sure to take into consideration all the expenses that come with letting. These include:

  • Mortgage interest payments
  • Tenancy void periods
  • Compliance and inspections
  • Insurance payments
  • Agency fees

 

  • Get the Property up to Standard

Landlords have a number of responsibilities when it comes to letting a home, these include things like:

  • Gas Safety Certificate: you’ll need to get this certificate which shows the safety record for all gas appliances and shows they are up to standard within the property.
  • Fire Safety: All furniture and appliances need to meet minimum safety requirements. You’ll need to install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Energy Performance Certificate: This is a certificate that provides information on the property’s energy use and the typical utility costs. 
  • Licencing: If your property is a HMO, you’ll need to apply for a licence from the local council. Some councils will require a licence no matter the type of rental property.

 

  • Deposit Scheme and Right to Rent

Tenancy deposits need to be registered with a government-approved scheme. Landlords are also legally required to comply with Right to Rent. The mandated checks all landlords must conduct for tenants regarding their right to live in the UK. Landlords must also give their tenants a copy of the UK Government’s How to Rent Guide before they move into the property.

  • Tenancy Document
    Landlords need to take care of all the administration involved in the tenancy. This means having a contract in place. Also making sure tenants receive copies of all relevant documents as required by law. Including the tenancy agreement and compliance documents.
  • Rent
    Once you have gotten all the necessary checks and documentation out of the way, ensure you get the first month’s rent and deposit before granting access to your property.

 

If you’re looking to buy a second home to rent out, the ability to earn money through rent to pay off the mortgage has huge appeal, as does the possibility that your property will grow in value. While owning a second home to rent out can be a great investment, there are pitfalls to look out for. As a buy-to-let landlord, make sure you take into account the expenses you’ll incur. As well as tax and your responsibilities as a landlord. A second home can certainly be a beneficial endeavour if you thoroughly take time to understand all the nuances. To find out more about buying a second home, get in touch with our expert property team today.