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Should landlords take a lover?

Most of us will admit that from time to time we have had our head turned by a shapely figure, a ‘well turned ankle’, a plunging neck line. Ladies I am informed occasionally notice a tight bottom, a chiselled jaw, or is it the eyes?

The reality is all of us if we are honest are a little bit susceptible to good looks. However, those landlords who are a little bit wiser know that when choosing a good long term partner looks are only part of the equation. Other factors such as reliability, practicality and can you afford to keep them; are a more important part of the equation.

What’s this got to do with buy to let?

My point is that landlords when they are looking at finding investment property they should not be looking for a “lover”; they should be looking for a sensible long-term partner in which to invest their time, energy & money in. This view has been bought into sharp focus following the tales in recent months of landlords who have got into trouble by buying sexy ‘luxury apartment’ which they can no longer afford, don’t make as much rent as they imagined and within 2-3 years are no longer the bright new property investment things that they were.

Landlords will pay for good looks

What many newbie landlord investors don’t realise that by buying a new property, they are effectively paying 10-15% over the value for a similar 2nd hand property. This money goes straight into the ‘pockets’ of the developer or housebuilder. This 15% loss is effectively hidden because rising house prices generally recoup this during the period that most owners or landlords hold the buy-to-let investment property for.

In addition where housing is involved there is a general uplift in values once a development is complete and established reflecting that the owners are no longer living on a building site

What should a landlord be looking for in selecting a buy-to-let investment?

There are a number of pointers landlords should consider before buying.

1. Firstly a landlord should always remember the 3 Pillars of Buy-to-let investment.

2. Landlords then need to be clear whether they want to invest in a “trophy asset” or a “cash cow”. Property Hawk would suggest that with house prices relatively high at the moment a “cash cow” is the best and safest option.

3. It is becoming increasingly clear that there may be a glut of new build apartments being built and therefore landlords should consider buying a house.

4. If a landlord wants to buy an apartment then they should consider the apartments ugly sister the poor old maisonette.

5. A landlord really makes money when they buy not when they sell. A landlord should always look to secure a bargain and auctions are just the place for a Below Market Value property (BMV). Remember one landlords pain can be another landlords gain.

6. Finally, could quality of life be the key to an areas long-term performance. Have a look at HBOS latest report looking at the best places in the UK to buy a property under £150,000.

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