Let’s face facts, not as easy to make buy to let property investment work anymore.
Go back a few years and an investor could buy pretty much any property in any street in any part of the UK and make property much an instant profit by renting it out.
Today, things have changed. The property market, mortgage market, and rules and regulations, have made property a slightly different kettle of fish.
But, let’s look on the bright side for a while, and consider some strategies that can make property investment work in today’s tougher property investment climate.
* Invest in low priced property. Low priced property usually offers a much better letting return, simply because even though the purchase price is lower the likely rent isn’t often that much lower than for a more expensive. For example, the rent on a £150,000 house won’t be half that on a £300,000 house in most cases. Do your sums on yields and you’ll find this is almost always true.
* Invest in places where demand is high, but supply is low. Not only will you be able to ask strong rents in these places but your property will experience minimum voids or even no voids at all – which can make a big difference to the return over a year. To identify these areas, ask local agents about demand levels and rent trends.
Tip. Contrary to what many investors think rural areas can be better than cities in this regard, as there’s often very little property for tenants to choose from.
* Invest in student property. Student property has always made a better return than conventional buy to let …. and still does. You just need to make sure that there’s still a good student demand in the area you plan on buying as the locations and types of property students want has changed in many cities in recent years. Ask a letting agent for their advice here.
* Invest in property that can be let to sharers. Shared property offers some of the highest rental returns it is possible to get. Even just a property with two or three good sized bedrooms that can be let out to sharers will return much more than a single family let. But do check demand, and whether a HMO licence will be needed.
* Invest in property suitable for short term lets. Property that can be let out by the day or the week, perhaps on a hotel style basis, can return as much in a week as a conventional let can in a month. Property which is suitable for holiday accommodation can be a good option too …. property in a really good location could earn a full year’s rental income just from the summer and bank holidays.
* Invest in property of non standard construction. For example, 20th century system built properties or high rise blocks. Usually, the purchase price will be much lower than property of conventional construction but the rent will be no lower. You just need to make sure you can finance the purchase some other way as a conventional mortgage may not be available.
* Invest in property that needs improvement. This way, you can make an immediate return on the value you add to the property together with a longer term return from the rental. Sourcing is the key here, as these kinds of properties can be difficult to find (and lots of investors want them!).
* Invest in property that can be developed. Examples: Houses that can be turned into flats, commercial to residential conversions, or properties that have room for a building plot or plots. Again, these offer additional profit centre as well as the rental. Bear in mind that development is a more complex project than a simple buy to let, so it’s important to plan (and plan your budget) carefully.
* Invest at a discount. Buying at below market value means you can make an investment work as the yield will be higher and you also make an instant capital gain. Auctions can still be a good way of buying at below market value. Buying new build property off plan can also be an option here.
At the end of the day there’s nothing really new about any of these strategies. They’re strategies that property investors used long before buy to let became that easy – and they still work just as well (if not better) in today’s tougher property investment climate.