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Advanced Investment Strategies

Advanced residential investment strategies

Buy-to-let investment is pretty straightforward but more experienced landlords and property investors may be interested in some more complex investment strategies to enable them to maximise their overall investment gains and also minimise the risk of investment underperformance from their buy-to-let investments.

Any professional investor knows that a big part of a successful investment strategies is to balance the competing aspects of risk and reward. One of the big risks to any residential buy-to-let investor is that in essence their investment is very ‘lumpy’. That is to say it is a large investment in a single asset class, in a single location. This is great when times are good, but if times are bad for residential investment in that area then there is no way of avoiding poor returns relative to other investments.  I’m always keeping my property investment strategies under review and I would advise all landlords to be constantly evaluating their own to see if they can improve on them.  I recently came up with a plan to make £25k tax free a year.

Is there a way around avoiding poor investment returns for landlords?

The secret of good investment practice are strategies that aims to spread an investor’s risks. This means holding a range of investments in different sectors. The theory being that when one investment is doing poorly others will be showing good returns and therefore overall the investors ‘pot’ will keep on growing.

For a buy-to-let property investor diversifying their investment portfolio may seem to be problematic if not impossible. A landlord and property investor does not always want to buy another residential investment property in another part of the country in order to diversify the geographical spread of their residential investment portfolio and thereby reduce their risks to a fall in residential property prices in one part of the country because of the practical difficulties of having to remotely manage a buy-to-let investment property. Also by buying another residential investment property a landlord is buying an investment in the same asset class. This is not really diversifying an investor’s portfolio and therefore reducing the risk to the landlord of their investment performing badly.

What a landlord and property investor really needs to do is to use their residential property asset as an investment vehicle to finance a portfolio of diversified investments thereby providing a landlord with their own diversified investment pot.


Hawkeye’s 2 bed terrace house in York

Hawkeye has a buy-to-let investment property in York worth £200,000.

The annual rental income is £12,000 which gives the residential investment property a gross rental yield of 6%. Therefore, as it stands Hawkeye is 100% invested in UK residential property and specifically in this case in the York housing market.

To finance this residential investment property Hawkeye has taken out a £100,000 repayment buy-to-let mortgage over 25years on which he is paying 6%. This costs £644.30 per month in repayments on his buy-to-let investment mortgage. Repayment of the mortgage leaves Hawkeye with a net income after paying his mortgage of £355.70 (in reality this will be eaten into by other expenses).

Hawkeye therefore has equity of £100,000 in this residential investment property. Now say house prices fall over the next five years by 10%. This means the value of Hawkeye’s property drops to £180,000 thereby reducing his equity to £80,000.

How can landlords reduce their investment risk?

Hawkeye is keen to reduce his risk of sustaining a fall in the value of his investments. This is best achieved by following a strategy of diversification. This is how it is done?

He increases his borrowing to £150,000 through a further advance of £50,000 on an interest only basis. Again the interest rate payable is 6%. This makes a total payment of £644.30 pm plus the interest only payments on the further advance of £250 pm. In total this amounts to £894.30 pm which is still covered by the £1000 rent. It is worth mentioning that rents are likely to rise over time whilst the repayment part of the mortgage will start to fall.

Landlords diversifying their investment pot

Here is the clever part. The £50,000 of the additional loan should then be invested in high yielding shares and funds. In the current climate it is possible to find funds & shares that pay dividends with a 6% yield.

By doing this Hawkeye has immediately diversified his investment from 100% in UK residential to 80% residential: 20% shares & funds and according to Portfolio Theory immediately reduces his risk of sustaining an overall loss.

For example the share portfolio that Hawkeye has invested in does reasonably well and rises by £20,000 or 40% over the 5 years. The result being that this cancels out the loss of equity sustained by his residential property.

The ‘win win’ scenario is obviously that both the values of his shares investments and his residential investment property continues to rise.

What are the risks to a property investor?

The risks to Hawkeye of this investment strategy is that his share portfolio does badly; however careful stock selection and in sectors away from the UK should mean that if the UK economy goes into a slump other markets will be doing well.

The other risk of this strategy for Hawkeye is that mortgage rates rise meaning his increased borrowing costs exceed his rent. Hawkeye can hedge against this by fixing the interest rate payable on all or part of his buy-to-let mortgage for the period.

This strategy is not for the faint hearted landlord. However, for landlords who are comfortable with managing their own financial affairs and want a way to reduce their exposure to the UK residential investment market it offers a solution to a real investment conundrum of how to reduce the risks of a landlord sustaining a loss as a result of a falling or stagnating residential investment market.

Final words on advanced residential investment strategies

What a landlord needs to do is go beyond thinking just of their individual residential investment property as an investment, but to see it as almost an investment vehicle with which to create a diversified selection of investments with which to achieve a landlord’s individual financial goals. By using the undoubted income generating qualities of residential property and it’s excellent long-term capital appreciation prospects landlords can then create their own diversified specialist investment vehicle.

It just remains for me to say that it is a strategy I have employed successfully for much of my property investing career. Happy investing!

Lease options – not for the inexperienced

Lease options are not for the inexperienced investor. In essence an option is a right to buy something or something in the future at a set price. In this case it relates to residential property. The attraction of options are that it allows you to purchase an asset on a margin at less of an outlay than the value of the underlying asset. So how do lease options work? We have prepared a full guide to lease options for the uninitiated. A word of warning is that The Financial Conduct Authority and the Council of Mortgage Lender both warn against lease options.

Guidance for new landlords & property investors

For less experienced property investors Property Hawk has prepared a series of Absolute Beginners guides to help new landlords with their first steps:

3 Pillars of Buy-To-Let

Should I furnish my property?

What are the terms of a tenancy agreement?

How to market a rental property to tenants?

How to I prepare a property inventory?

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