Sarah Beeny

There have been numerous articles written recently pronouncing the death of the buy to let market – but things seem to be changing and we’re seeing a sharp upturn it seems. This is likely down to increased demand for rentals with the shortage of affordable homes for first time buyers, and the lack of available finance, despite recent government efforts.

But beware – ideally, the rental income that your investment properties produce each month should be more than enough to cover the cost of financing, the cost of managing and maintaining them, and a little bit extra for you. In the real world, that often isn’t going to happen. The rental market will eventually be created because of the affordability barrier – but there will be a lag.

If buying to let seems a good investment for you, bear the following things in mind before you start looking for the perfect property. As always, careful planning is the key.

Here are my top ten tips for buying to let

1) Carry out thorough research. Check local rental conditions, analyse rental demand and determine the types of renting in your area. Look for obvious clues such as a large company relocation, the opening of trendy bars and shops, or the existence of good schools nearby and choose a property with features that will appeal to your market.

2) An appealing property rental is one that is close to transport links and/or has off street parking.

3) If you plan to rent your property to professionals, all of the bedrooms should ideally be doubles.

4) Think low maintenance. You want a property that will run itself as smoothly as possible

5) If you are managing the property yourself, be prepared to do some hard work. A buy to let property is far from being a hassle free income.

6) Choose a property close to home, which will enable you to pop over and sort out any problems easily. If you are not able to do this it can cost you more than a weeks rent to get someone in.

7) Bear in mind that family rental homes require plenty of space and storage

8) If you are the sole freeholder of the property, you will need to ensure that the common parts and the exterior of the property are well maintained. You may wish to spend a couple of hours a week vacuuming and polishing or employ a professional cleaning company to keep these areas up to scratch. If your buy to let is leasehold, however, the responsibility for the maintenance of the exterior and interior communal areas will rest with the freeholder unless your lease specifically states otherwise.

9) Steer clear of large gardens, especially in a town property, unless you intend adding the cost of a gardener to the weekly rental and you are aiming to market your property as a family home. As any keen gardener knows it doesnt take long for a little neglect to show.

10) Consider whether you want to let furnished or unfurnished. Sometimes there is little difference between the rents commanded by unfurnished compared with part or fully furnished properties to let. It all depends on your market and the demand in your area. Before you go looking for furniture, do your research and find the best option for you.

About Tepilo – Sell online for Free!

Completely free to use, Sarah Beeny’s simply walks you through the process of buying, selling or letting a home, giving you practical advice on how to make the most of your property through design, negotiation and marketing.

The site, which is set out in a easy to use format, helps you present your home in a glossy magazine format, and gives you the opportunity to describe your home how you want to, allowing you to focus on the key unique selling points of your home.