Finding your perfect buy to let property

At LegalforLandlords, we’re just as happy to work with new landlords who have a single property to rent as we are with experienced landlords with big portfolios. If you’re just dipping your toe in the waters of buy to let, though, you may be wondering where to start. Choosing your own home is one thing, as you’re likely to have some clear ideas of what you do and don’t want, but what should you look for when finding the perfect buy to let property? The choices can suddenly become overwhelming if the only restriction you have is a budget.

Assuming you’ve already done your research into rental incomes and buy to let mortgages and have a budget in mind, here are some of the other things you need to think about if you’re starting out as a landlord and trying to find the perfect property to kick off with.

Target your tenants

It’s easy to fall into the trap of imagining yourself living in the rental property, but you need to take your own tastes out of the equation and put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant. Maybe you hate mowing the lawn and prefer decking or a patio in your own garden – but for someone with young children, a bit of grass for them to run around on is a big bonus!

So, you need to ask yourself who you want to rent to, and what do they want? Students need somewhere clean and comfortable, but not overly luxurious or fussy, or with wildly different sized bedrooms. Young professionals will want somewhere modern, stylish and easy to keep clean and tidy, probably with parking for a couple of cars. And families will be looking for space, and a blank canvas to personalise their children’s rooms with their own belongings.

You may feel horrified at the thought of your tenants putting up their own pictures or decorating the property themselves, but allowing some flexibility will make them feel more like home, help build a good relationship between you and may also mean that they will stay longer – which is great news for you as a landlord!

Choose the right area Finding the right area for your rental investment is not just about finding the cheapest or most expensive place to live. Think about what attracts people to live somewhere, and think once again about what your target tenants will want. Is it in the catchment of a good school? Is it handy for commuting? Does it have good amenities for students such as public transport links and pubs and takeaways nearby?

If you’re planning to manage the property yourself, then buying somewhere local to where you live will make it much easier to visit the property for inspections and to arrange maintenance, but if you already own a property in the area, you may want to think about looking for a different kind of property further afield so that you’re not doubly exposed to any risks of price falls in that area. Also, if you live in an area that’s mostly populated by families but you want to tap into the student rental market, you’ll need to cast your net wider and look at a town or city with a good size university. Consider doing a property up

A way of boosting the value of your investment is to look at properties that need a bit of TLC to get them up to scratch. Somewhere that’s a bit tired or in need of renovation can be negotiated hard on, as there are fewer people looking to buy them, and the seller may be getting desperate to be rid of them, especially if they’ve been on the market for a while.

If you buy somewhere that needs renovating, you’ll need to factor a decent margin of cost in to cover the work and the time that it will take to get it ready for rental, but if you go for somewhere that’s just a bit tired but otherwise immediately habitable, you can spruce it up quite cheaply with a lick of paint, some new carpets and a really thorough clean. Remember, a lot of tenants want a blank canvas, so don’t go overboard with accessories or bright colours. That purple carpet might look fantastic with your own sofa and cushions, but when preparing a property for tenants, it’s much better to go for something neutral!

There’s certainly lots to think about when starting out as a landlord, but we can help take the strain with any legal concerns! Give us a call on 0333 577 9050 and one of our friendly team will be happy to help.