Skip to main content

Buy to Let tips

There are several reasons for looking at property to purchase for the purpose of letting.   

Property prices are still falling and providers of mortgage products for buy to let are offering competitive rates.   Added to this we are experiencing a rise in rents due to a shortage of good rental property.  The shortage of mortgages with a high LTV (loan to value) has led to an increase in interest in rented property.  In line with our friends on the Continent the focus is now beginning to move away from home ownership towards rental.

So what do you need to look out for if you are looking to enter this market?  To begin with the property is likely to be in the lower price bracket and will therefore need to be chosen carefully.  

Start with speaking to the selling agent and find out what rental income it is likely to generate, whether there are comparable properties that can considered and more importantly whether there is a high demand for rentals in that area.   Check that the selling agent has experience in the rental market.  This is an important exercise because your mortgage company will be looking at the rental value when it comes to valuing the property for security purposes. 

Make sure you always invest in a full survey.   This is likely to cost around £400 and will be worth every penny.  You need to make sure there are no hidden surprises such as the need for a new roof or other  major works that could upset your financial calculations and turn a profitable investment into a drain on your resources.  Don't do what a large number of purchasers do and rely on the mortgage valuation.   This is dangerous because the lender's surveyor is only only interested in making sure the property offers adequate security for the loan. 

A survey may also help you secure a reduction in the selling price.   I act for a number of investors in property and in my experience you can normally with a full survey look to save around £2000 on the agreed price.

Many of the investment properties on the market are flats or leasehold properties.  Approach these properties with extra care.  They are often cheap because the unexpired term of the lease has fallen under 80 years.   The reason for this is that once a lease falls below this threshold the cost of extending the term can prove prohibitive.  

Leasehold property can also come with hidden cost which again if not checked can turn a potential investment into a loss.   Most properties require the owner to pay a service charge and ground rent.   Typically this will be around £1200 per annum and needs to be factored in when looking at the expected return.

You should always ensure extra funds are set aside to cover any major work that might have to be undertaken to the property.   Redecoration to the common areas of the building and replacement of lifts can often cause the service charge to increase significantly.  A new lift can cost around £100,000!

There may be a reserve fund set aside for major works of this type.   If there is not I personally would not purchase unless I knew what work was likely to take place within the next 10 years. 

Being a landlord is not just about collecting the rent.  There are a raft of legal obligations to meet relating to  deposit holding gas electricity just to mention a few.  Make sure the surveyor is told you intend to let so that he can check out the gas and electricity installations.  I recently  had  a client complain because on completing the purchase of a buy to let property she found the gas fire in the lounge was not working.  I politely reminder her that she was advised to arrange a full survey before committing to the transaction.   Cutting corners to save money can often prove to be  a costly mistake. 

The last and most important piece of advise is to always choose the right solicitor to act for you.  Choose someone like me who has experience in this field and who knows what to look for particularly when it comes to purchasing a leasehold property.  This is a specialist area and requires expertise.

MJP Conveyancing are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at


Popular posts from this blog

Party Wall Act Costs - Protecting the building owner from the Highwayman

One of the most worrying aspects of entering the Party Wall Act 1996 (Act) arena is the uncertainty surroundingfees, or as they are referred to within the Act -‘costs’.
If you are fortunate enough ( or some might say lucky enough) to have at your side a competent party wall surveyor, and one with a moral compass, the chances are you will derive a certain degree of protection.However, there is still no guarantee you will not need to set aside a considerable sum of money to cover the cost of becoming trapped within the Act.This applies equally to both building owner and adjoining owner, and one must not forget that if an adjoining owner’s surveyor does not recover all of his costs from the building owner, there is every possibility the adjoining owner may be left to meet the remaining liability.
The problem of high, unreasonable and unpredictable costs is caused, in part, by a piece of malfunctioning legislation, and patly as a result of certain unconscionable conduct on the p…

Building Regulations and moving home

Do I have supply evidence of Building Regulation Approval in respect of works carried out to my property when I look to sell my property?
If you have the approval then of course supply it – it will help to ensure your sale moves quickly.
If you have carried out works and approval was required and sought and you no longer have a certificate then call the issuing council and ask for a duplicate.
If you have carried out work, and the work required building regulation approval, but this was not sought then you need to consider with your solicitor when the work was carried out and what to do in response to your buyer’s request for sight of the approval.
The following may help.
Check that work carried out actually required building regulation approval as not all work attracts the requirement.
If the building work was carried out before November 1985 it would not require building regulation approval. There is no need therefore to supply it or offer indemnity insurance.
If work was carried out af…

Do not purchase a New Build Property without first reading this....

Buying a property which has yet to be built, or which is newly constructed should be approached with care and here are some tips which will help:
Remember those friendly and helpful people within the sales offices are sales people and are no different from those people who you would find in car and double-glazing showrooms.  They are paid on results and work under the pressure of targets.   Once they have you signed up they will be your best friend and be in regular, sometimes daily, contact until they have collected all of you money.   There are many instances when this shadowing could be conceived as harassment.At the outset you will be asked about whether you have a mortgage and a solicitor to undertake the legal work.   You will be steered towards making use of the developers preferred brokers and solicitors.  These are ‘partners’ who have been chosen to work with the developer as the developer expects those partners to report to them regularly and to do all they can to ensure the …