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Increase your returns
It’s not rocket science to assert that the starting point for buying a good investment is buying something that is below its’ true value.

Buying a property at 5..10…15% below value is a great start to your investment. Securing a £100k property for £90k will for example increase your returns by over 5.5% pa during a 25 year investment. This is because the equity you put in and your loan costs are less in relation to its’ capital value.

Below Market Value (BMV)

Some buy-to-let chatrooms are full of references and of individuals promising to sell BMV. My advice is steer clear of these, particularly if you are a newbie landlord or don’t know the area. People selling on these sites are not doing it out of charity and the likelihood is that they will know the market and their properties value better than you will. This puts you immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a good deal.

The best way to buy BMV

The best way to buy a BMV is to purchase a property at auction. Recently I’ve been trying to sell the most problematic property in my portfolio. It has suffered from the glut of new apartments. Two years ago it would have let in a couple of weeks. Now, despite several rent reductions I have only just got a tenant. Previous to that I had it for sale but had little or no interest.

Therefore, in considering its’ future within my portfolio I’d thought I’d look at all options including trying to dispose of it at auction. Following some very astute and helpful advice I received from a representative from Savills.

I was told that the price I was likely to get given the glut on the market would not really reflect its’ true investment value. Fortunately, I don’t need the cash and have decided to retain the property as a ‘cash cow’
My recent experience of the auction option reminded me (I first purchase on at auction in 1994) why they are a place where investors can find a genuine bargain and this is why:

1. They frequently a place where ‘desperate’ sellers are driven to because of their need to sell quickly. This often means that they are prepared to accept a price far less than they could have achieved if they were prepared to be more patient and sell through an estate agent

2. Auctions are full of ‘tired’ properties where the owners can’t be bothered or can’t afford to give them the ‘make over’ that would secure them the maximum price. Thus this represents a real opportunity to an investor developer willing to do some work.

3. Auctions have always attracted problem properties. These are properties that have issues with ownership, structure, access, etc. Something which has prevented a sale in the traditional owner occupier market. However, as long as you do your research into these problems they are frequently resolvable or are not such a problem to an investor who views the property as an income stream and business not as a home.

4. They are increasingly full of failed buy-to-let investments. For those who have resisted the temptation to fill their portfolio with ‘overpriced’ designer apartments. The auction room is where you can often acquire these same properties 12-24 months down the line as repossessions from the mortgagee at a genuine 20-30% off the original selling price (a price that supposedly included a market discount!).

How to locate auction properties
A good starting point to find out about your nearest auctions is your local paper. This will frequently contain adverts or listings of upcoming events. Property industry publications such as Estates Gazette also have the details. However, for those who don’t want to subscribe or chance their local paper there are several websites Auction Property for Sale which have full national listings

Auction Property For Sale is useful in that it allows you to view the full catalogue on line. However, for those that are really serious about auction investing the Rolls Royce of websites is undoubtedly EIG’s.

I’ve been subscribing for a little over six months and the information available is literally short of mind blowing. It gives previous auction results, location maps, historical price data and what is particularly useful is the alert system which notifies you if properties that match your criteria are unsold and still available. This means that you can approach the auctioneer directly and make an offer to a vendor who is keen to sell. All this is not cheap with a subscription being several hundred of pounds for the year, but worth it if you are serious about identifying bargains at auction.


Purchasing a property at auction is not a difficult as you may think. Have a look at the Landlords Bible for details of how to go about it.

The one aspect of purchasing a property at auction that makes it a challenge is that access to immediate finance essential. This is because a 10% deposit is required on the day of purchase. The remainder is required within 28 days of the ‘gavel’ going down.

This means that a traditional buy-to-let mortgage is not suitable as completion times will frequently stretch beyond these tight deadlines. Therefore, unless you have direct access to cash funds (a situation always preferable to having to rely on financiers who will charge you interest and fees for their trouble). You need bridging finance.

This is a short term loan facility where interest is well above normal mortgage rates and is also charged on a daily basis. It is important to realise that bridging finance is not regulated by the Financial Services Authority and therefore the usual consumer protection rules do not apply. Therefore you will need to be very careful in selecting the right Bridging Finance Company to ensure that you have a competitive rate and reliable provider.

I have located that have experience in providing funds for landlords to purchase at auction. To find out more simply tap in bridging finance in google.

Big opportunities

Once acquired using bridging finance the name of the game is speed. It’s all about either refurbishing the property ready for rent and re-financing to enable the replacement of the bridging loan with a cheaper and more sustainable mortgages

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