How to choose your first buy to let
Ever since the housing market started to bounce back, buy to let mortgages have risen in popularity. It's easy to see why: interest rates remain at their historic low and properties are in higher demand than ever.
If you choose the right property, a buy to let house can turn into a nice little earner, but when there's so much choice, how do you pick the right place? This short guide will give you an idea of what to look for.
Location, location, location
It may seem obvious, but location is one of the most important factors when people are looking for a home to rent. This doesn't just mean looking at what's nearby though, you also need to consider what type of renter you're targeting. For example if you want to target young professionals, you need to purchase a home in a commuter belt with decent public transport. Families, on the other hand, require somewhere quieter, with plenty of outdoor space and good schools nearby.
What renters want
It's all well and good saying you plan to buy a one-bedroom property, but there's little point doing that if the area you've chosen is full of families needing large, spacious homes. Do your research and see what's in demand before even considering putting a deposit down; otherwise you could be stuck with an unrentable home.
Whether you're targeting commuters or not, everyone requires decent transport links. For most, being near a motorway is important, and a train station is always a plus too, but remember to check what routes pass through it. People working in London, for example, will need a direct, fast route to the capital and won't want to settle for stopping services or changes. Remember that the average Brit now spends 40 minutes a day getting to and from work, so too long a commute will put people off.
Young professionals won't really care what schools are nearby, but to parents it's one of the most important factors when renting a home. It's worth doing your research on each school though, as parents will be keen to know how popular they are, what their latest Ofsted results were and what its GCSE/A level pass rates are like. Properties in the catchment area for really good schools are highly sought after, therefore rents tend to be higher, so it's worth the investment.
The property itself
There's a property out there to suit each type of tenant, so make sure you pick wisely. A student isn't going to want to rent a large, Victorian home, for example. Size isn't just a factor though, a recent survey by Rootmetrics revealed that nearly half of 18 - 35 year olds consider a decent mobile phone signal to be the most important factor when buying a home. So don't forget that, in this digital age, young Brits require a lot more than off-road parking and a good-sized garden. A decent broadband connection is also a must these days too.
Purchasing your first buy to let can be a daunting experience, as there really is so much to consider. However, becoming a landlord is still a great way to make money, whether you're thinking of doing it full time or on the side. As long as you do your research, you're sure to find a great rental property.
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