The Buy to Let market is an enigma in the world of mortgages. Constantly fluctuating, growing, and changing. At times it has lost a bit of lustre, but it always seems to pick itself up and shine brightly again.
If done correctly, Buy to Let can be a long and fruitful endeavour, leading to a comfortable and constant income with the potential for high reward. Take it from Liverpoolmoneyman’s own Buy to Let Mortgage Expert, Nathan Moore, who had this to say about the benefits of this kind of investment:
“Many landlords, who have managed to find the right property(ies) and tenant(s), have found this style of investment an enjoyable and rewarding venture. Either as a main/secondary income or for retirement.”
Nathan Moore – Buy to Let Mortgage Advisor
Liverpool is no stranger to the world of Buy to Let, with its L1 postcode being a prime location for investors and budding landlords. Liverpool as a whole is a worthy city for investment, being a prominent spot for business opportunities however part of its charm comes from it’s incredible private housing sector.
Statistically, Liverpool has one of the lowest average house prices in the United Kingdom, with an average price paid of £173,533 according to Zoopla. A lot of investors favour Buy to Let due to the low interest rates over recent years and affordable mortgage options. Coupled with the low house prices and potential for property value increase, it’s no wonder why people take this route!
Interest rates and property values are always changing and there is a chance your investment could go down and interest rates can go up. Nothing is guaranteed in the world of Buy to Let and investments always come with risks, but with enough knowledge and preparation you may be a step ahead of other budding investors.
Here we are going to look at what you need to be prepared for a Buy to Let investment.
First things first, you need to understand the market you are getting involved with. Are you familiar with exactly what a Buy to Let & Buy to Let Mortgage is? Is this the right investment for you? These are all valid questions that you need to make sure you have covered. You can read more about the workings of a Buy to Let Mortgage here.
To go over it briefly though, a Buy to Let is what it says on the tin; you buy a house and let it out. Letting is another term used for Renting, meaning you become the landlord, and someone pays you to live in your house.
To determine whether or not this type of investment is the right path for you, you would be better off speaking with a financial planner or one of our mortgage advisors in Liverpool. You may end up finding that you would benefit from a much different route, depending on affordability, credit score and other factors.
You will need to consider is the type of landlord you’d like to be. Would you be hands on, fixing repairs and dealing with your tenant direct, or will you hire the services of an estate agent to help with that? The latter may make things easier but comes with its own costs, whereas being hands on retains the most profit but also requires extra hard work on your part.
You’ll need to take a look at the area you’re interested in buying a property in. What are the property prices like in that area for the type of property you’re looking to buy? Say you’ve bought a detached house in an area and the average rental amount is around £800 per month. Do you have the same number of bedrooms or do you have less? Maybe you have a slightly bigger kitchen or living area that could add a little more value. In that case you could justify an increase to say £850 per month.
It’s also worth noting that buying a property in an area you’re unfamiliar with may benefit you more than buying in an area you know and love. That way you will only be following the average prices of that area and not valuing it based on local bias.
Thanks in part to the fact you won’t need to sell a property to buy another, you will be favoured by the Estate Agent and be seen as less risk as there isn’t a chain. Your process should go similarly to that of a First-Time Buyer, without the additional hassle that Moving Home in Liverpool can bring.
With this in mind, you should also be in a better place to negotiate on the purchase price of the property. You need to make sure you don’t overpay and that your offers are relatively low, but not too low that the seller feels completely insulted. Be reasonable but be smart.
Find out why someone is selling the property you’re interested in. Is there something wrong with it or are they just ready to move on? How long have they owned the property, and have they kept up maintenance? These are all things to consider when negotiating as any additional work required may eat into your budget, justifying a potential lower offer.
Sometimes a landlord may simply be cashing in on their capital gains, often resulting in an openness for a quick sale and lower cost if offered. Alternatively, a landlord might have a family and is wanting to move home, meaning they want a quick sale but aren’t so willing to budge on price.
Speaking of the local area, you need to really focus on the appeal of your surrounding area. You may want to invest in a property close to home, but is it a smart choice? The area you live in may be home to you but may not be a popular choice for others to live. As such, it may be worth your time looking out of your home area and somewhere with more potential.
You want to keep an eye out for things like the accessibility to that area, is it an easy commute, nearby jobs, schools or universities for families or students. All these and more will draw someone to an area, they want to know everything they need is not too far away.
With that in mind, it may be worth your time hiring an outside agent to cover you in this endeavour. As mentioned before, this can obviously provide a financial hurdle due to the costs, but this is something you may need if you’re out of the area. That way, the potential tenant will have someone local to rely on in helping with maintenance of the property when required as well as looking for tenants if someone moves out.
Renovation can often improve the value of the property you’re letting out and is something that should be added prior to searching for a tenant. Renovations can not only improve the value of your property, which in turn can allow for a higher rental amount, but also appeal to more potential tenants, especially if you allow for more space.
Another important thing to remember is that your Mortgage Advisor will want a stress test on your rental amount, to see if you are suitable for a mortgage. How this works, is say for example you were borrowing £52,000, on the basis that the interest rate is a hypothetical 5.5%, you could afford to put your monthly rent at £238.
However, the lender needs to be sure you can afford additional costs on top of what you’re already paying, so may need it to be worth 125% of this figure. This means the minimum you could put your rent is £300 per month.
One of the main things to take into account when looking at a Buy to Let, is can you afford to let it sit empty for a few months and still pay off your mortgage. At the end of the day, your lender won’t care if it’s occupied or not, they just care that you pay it back. Realistically you could be waiting 2 months or so for someone to move in, in which case you need to make sure you have the funds readily available to cover yourself, just in case.
Once you’ve worked out your rental costs, it’s time to find out what mortgage deals are available to you. A lot of the stress and hurdles can be taken away with the assistance of an experienced Mortgage Broker in Liverpool like ourselves.
We have Buy to Let Mortgage experts working here at Liverpoolmoneyman, who have a reputation for building relationships with landlords and having a large knowledge and understanding of lender criteria.
Generally, Buy to Let Mortgages are done as Interest-Only, but capital and interest is readily available also. Our dedicated mortgage advisors in Liverpool will go through your options, obtaining you an Agreement in Principle and determining whether or not you’re best suited for a tracker or fixed-rate mortgage.
Our team are available from 8am until 10pm, Monday through Sunday, to answer any Buy to Let Mortgage questions you have. Please get in touch if you require further assistance on this.
You’ll need to decide on the type of tenant you would like to occupy your property. Some opt for student accommodation or house shares, also known as Houses in Multiple Occupation. These types of rental properties can be easy to fill and can require minimal work, depending on the tenant you have. Most student tenants prefer easy living, something to keep them comfortable in between lectures and their busy schedules. As such it would be beneficial for you to keep the property furnished with very simplistic décor and plain walls.
Potential downsides to this are that it wouldn’t be a consistent income as students would be moving in and out, as well as the risk of the property requiring maintenance or care after they leave due to the often stereotyped but likely recklessness of some students.
Alternatively, if it is a family you are looking to have as tenants, you might be better leaving it with plain walls and no furnishings. This way a family can visualise what their life might look like in your property for years to come, seeing a chance to raise a family there.
You’ve got to remember to respect your tenant too, no matter which one you opt to go with. If you agree to carry out their repairs, you need to make sure you keep up with that and get them done as soon as you possibly can. This will build up a trusting relationship with your tenant, allowing for a potential for recurring tenancy over the years and a steady income.
There may come a time when you need to increase the rent to accommodate changes in interest rates. You must remember to be fair to your tenant, respecting the trust they have in you, but also being realistic and making sure you can afford to keep running the property. Make sure to keep an eye on your Rental Yield, a percentage of what you paid for the property, against the rent you’re charging and the additional money you’ve put into it per year on things like repairs.
It’s important to keep an eye on whether or not the investment is still worth it, for both yourself and the tenant. You can’t keep on with a property that makes no money, and your tenant can’t risk losing their family home either due to either repossession or someone taking over and evicting them.
We have a truly dedicated and experienced team with many years of mortgage industry work under their belt, including Buy to Let Mortgage Experts. If this is an option you are seriously looking at getting into, having a Mortgage Advisor in Liverpool will be a great benefit to you and take a lot of the stress away.
With countless customer reviews that shout about our open & honest service, you can rest assured that you will be taken care of and well informed during this important part of your Buy to Let investment process.
Please Get in Touch using our contact form or give us a call, and take advantage of our Free Initial Mortgage Consultation, offered to all who get in touch. Undertaking such a large financial commitment can be daunting, but we’ll have your back all throughout and beyond.