4. Think about your target tenant
Instead of imagining whether you would like to live in your investment property, put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant. Who are they and what do they want? If they are students, it needs to be easy to clean and comfortable but not luxurious. If they are young professionals it should be modern and stylish but not overbearing.
If it is a family they will have plenty of their own belongings and need a blank canvas. Remember that allowing tenants to make their mark on a property, such as painting, or adding pictures or taking out unwanted furniture makes it feel more like home – these tenants will stay for longer, which is great news for a landlord. It is also possible to take out an insurance policy against your tenant failing to pay the rent, usually known as rent guarantee insurance. We can help you arrange this type of insurance.
5. Haggle over price
As a buy-to-let investor you have the same advantage as a first-time buyer when it comes to negotiating a discount. If you are not reliant on selling a property to buy another, then you are not part of a chain and represent less of a risk of a sale falling through. This can be a sizeable asset when negotiating a discount, especially in a tough market such as the one we have now. Make low offers and do not get talked into overpaying.
6. Consider how hands-on you want to be
Buying a property is only the first step. Will you rent it out yourself or get an agent to do so. Agents will charge you a management fee but will deal with any problems and have a good network of plumbers, electricians, and other workers if things go wrong.
You can make more money by renting the property out yourself but be prepared to give up weekends and evenings on viewings, advertising, and repairs. If you choose an agent you do not have to go for a High Street presence, many independent agents offer an excellent and personal service.
Select a shortlist of lettings agents big and small and ask them what they can offer you.