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Is it Time to Consider Buying to Let?

Friday, 9th November 2012

Categories: Sales Lettings

Author: Peter Barry

With first time buyers finding it harder to get their foot on the property ladder there has rarely been such a high demand for rental properties. Your savings will be earning very little interest for you so now may be a good time to consider buying a rental investment.  

When searching for a property the key factors that appeal to buyers will also attract tenants i.e. distance to stations and transport links and parking facilities.

As a Landlord you will be responsible for the service charges and general maintenance of the property. Therefore a Freehold property in good condition close to a station and within a good school catchment will be ideal. If your budget does not stretch this far, a property with low service charges and a long lease will also appeal.

Some outdoor space; be it a private patio or balcony is also very sought after. You will usually pay a premium for this when purchasing but can ask for a higher rental in return.  

If you can afford a property with two double bedrooms and two bathrooms you will widen your rental appeal to families or professional sharers.

There is also a good demand for one bedroom flats although tenants that are attracted to this type of property do not tend to stay as long so a higher turnover of tenants, and the possibility of more voids, should be expected.

A good school catchment has never been more important to families so you may want to cash in on this. Many families consider moving or renting to get closer to their preferred school. Ask your estate agent which schools are currently the most in demand and what family homes they have available in those areas.

The purchase of a rental property should always be viewed as a long term investment so it is important to consider all potential costs. If the property is leasehold at some point you may need to extend the lease. To minimise your costs look for properties with a long lease or, even better, a share of Freehold.

As a general rule, the better condition your property is in the better quality of tenant you will attract. While you do not want to over spend, a neutral modern finish will widen the appeal. You may also want to consider wooden flooring rather than cream carpets which will not be anywhere near as practical and will sustain more wear and tear.