Published by: William Taper
If you are thinking about buy-to-let investment in 2015 there are many things you will need to consider. I will highlight some that will help make sure your investment is more profitable long term and reduce the risk of voids. Please feel free to contact me, William Taper, if you would like more information or even for just a chat about the market
Some areas attract tenants more readily than others
Research your area and know your area the demographics. Many streets are not as great as they may first appear. Get some local knowledge, an agent you can trust can help you when you are looking at investing. Zoopla, Rightmove are proving good research tools for many, however, local knowledge from agents is very hard to beat.
Type of property
What type of property are you intending to buy? 1/2 beds flats for professionals, or 4 bed houses for sharers? 1 beds are always in high demand and in many respects they are easier to let and easier to maintain. More likely to find in 2 + beds that the the occupancy can mushroom into many people living there. This really is one reason why regular inspections are vital. Above a commercial property? If it is close to a tube and in a great location, would you look at it? If not why not? Good yields. We are expects in this and can advise you.
Proximity to transport
5-10 minutes from a tube. Some applicants are very particular on this. One applicant we had said 4 mins walk was too far away from the tube. Some applicants (particularly non-native Londoners) in West London she away from the use of the mainline train such as Barnes and Chiswick, as it is not a tube. Being close to a tube station seems to be a safety blanket for many tenants. The Overground is becoming more popular with tenants. We have seen a massive jump in Kensal Rise and Honor Oak lettings. Sell the lifestyle and the commute. Universities, transport links and so on can make a big difference.
Timing onto market is vital. If you are going for the student market make sure the property is ready to market in and around June. We have many Imperial Students looking in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Fulham etc for large houses to rent. Houses get snapped up in July through to September. If you are looking to rent to a family, proximity to schools is also important. Be aware of what your target is and what they want.
Timing to market (break clauses)
As above, be aware when the busier times are and when you will have a lot of applicants looking particulary if you are targeting the student market. People move all year round, but there are busier and quieter times so when looking at putting in break clauses try to avoid the property becoming vacant from Nov to January. If your property is managed they can advise you on this.
How is the building and communal areas going to affect your cost and desirability of your buy-to-let investment
Be aware of the cost of your service charges and the reserve fund contributions. Many landlords fail to take into account the service charge when looking at yields. If you are buying in a block, be careful to understand the service charge accounts and how much there is in the reserve fund. For example is there is a lot of plant (lifts, communal boilers, air con units etc) that costs a lot to maintain, is an old building that has not been maintained properly and will need a lot of money spent on it in years to come. Will the communal areas attract or deter tenants? It is a good idea also to check the place out at night. Are their gangs with dogs, people smoking in the communal hallways? Is their lots of rubbish in alleyways etc. All of this will affect the desirability and ultimately the yield of your flat.
If you would like to discuss buy-to-lets or any other residential issue please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sales and Lettings