Finding Investment Property
How to go about finding investment property?
There are a number of ways landlords can go about finding investment property to sink their hard earned cash into. Success in all cases relies on careful searching and on being patient and diligent and sticking by my 3 pillars of buy-to-let. Before committing to direct property investment which is a long-term commitment you should consider alternative property investments which might be more suitable to your personal investment style and goals. Landlords should also understand the investment risks!
Getting estate agents to help you find property
Having identified the area, tenant type and types of property you are looking for, see if you can spot the estate agents that specialise in those areas and properties. Register with them. Talk to the sales staff, get yourself known and explain your situation and what type of investment property are looking for. Then it’s a case of landlords just being patient and waiting for suitable properties to come in. Hopefully a landlord will have established some rapport with the staff and they should let them know automatically. Don’t rely on this though and I would advise avoiding to pay to join property investment clubs. If you are looking for a specialist property investment such as buying a House In Multiple Occupation (HMO) then you might have to contact a commercial property agent or even look to purchase the investment property through property auctions.
Be proactive in your investment property search
Continue to scour the property press. In addition, regular visits to the area of search to monitor what’s on the market should ensure that a landlord doesn’t miss out on any opportunities. If a landlord wants to be really proactive you can leaflet some of the houses asking them if they are interested in selling. A friend of mine has done it successfully. It could be that if a landlords search for investment property is lengthy or if there are after a number of properties the viewing list is extensive. It may well be that in these circumstances that a Viewing Record would be useful. Some landlord investors look to invest in Below Market Value properties which can be controversial.
Use the Internet to search for property
As well as finding investment property in the ‘time honoured’ fashion of using a local estate agent. The housing market in recent years has become dominated by a number of Internet property portals. The dominant one is Rightmove with about 80% of all property search pages viewed through it. Other popular sites are www.findaproperty.co.uk , www.primelocation.com , www.propertyfinder.co.uk , zoopla.co.uk
Therefore, if landlords start their search looking at these sites, they should give landlords a selection of properties to look at that meet their criteria. If landlords want to find out more about the area because it is away from where they live; check out the website www.findahood.com
These websites tend to predominantly feature what is called second hand property or ones that have already have had at least one owner. To locate new properties, landlords should have a look at sites such as: www.whathouse.com, www.smartnewhomes.com and www.new-homes.co.uk .
Buying investment property at auction
The other alternative is buying a property at auction. Buying a property in this way is a little more complex than through an estate agent. I did it with my first property that I bought to refurbish. It’s a little bit nerve wracking, especially as in my case when at the end of bidding somebody turns round and says “you’ve paid a lot for that, what are you going to do with it?” Not the words of comfort I wanted to hear! Auctions tend to attract a high proportion of properties that need work doing to them. As a valuer from Savills once said to me ‘the wreckers’. If you are serious about the refurbishment route you should not discount this option. Having done your homework, it’s not as daunting as it might first appear.
What sort of investment property should I buy?
Landlord should consider taking a lover when looking at finding investment property. A landlord needs to consider not only what types of tenants they are looking to rent to when selecting a property investment but also the relative merits of the types of residential property. I have eulogized in the past about the undiscovered attraction of the humble maisonette. For landlords that have a development bias then a bungalow offers opportunities. This is because if you can gain the necessary planning consents then a bungalow has more land and scope to build up as well as often create a future grand design. Also, generally a house or bungalow is brought as a freehold property which means that you avoid the additional cost of ground rent. Traditionally landlords have looked to buy apartments or flats sometimes as off plan investments.This is because they are generally cheaper and generate higher gross rental yields. They also have the advantage of not having gardens or common areas such as externals such as roofs being maintained by the management company meaning the direct repairing responsibilities of a landlords are less. However, do watch out for the management company overcharging and also be aware that their are additional costs such as ground rents.
Finding investment property for me is one of the best bits. Remember it’s all down to you and anything is possible!
If you are looking for more tips on finding buy-to-let (BTL) property have a look at my recent magazine article.