Thanks to rising demand for rental properties, the buy to let market is currently booming, which makes it an excellent time to think about buying an investment property. But how do you go about finding the perfect property to invest in and what things should you look out for?
Investment property is everywhere. From a three bed family home on a suburban housing estate to a waterfront flat in a smart new property development, but what suits one investor might not suit another, so you need to decide what your property investment objectives are and draw up a list of selection criteria before approaching an estate agent.
Think about the rental market you are aiming for: student accommodation, holiday lets and social housing are just three of the rental markets in the UK today. Consider the local amenities on offer and try to view properties as an investor rather than a potential homeowner.
Before you start looking at property, decide which geographical area you are interested in. Investing in property near to where you live is always sensible because this makes it easier to manage the property, but buying an investment property in a different area (or even a different country) may be a possible course of action.
Estate agents can be your allies when searching for the right investment property. A good estate agent will be familiar with the local property market and should be able to offer you plenty of pertinent advice if you are new to property investment. However, it is worth contacting as many estate agents as possible and making sure you are on all the mailing lists to be sure you don’t miss out if something suitable comes up for sale. But be aware you are unlikely to be the only person looking for the perfect investment property, so make a point of staying in touch with the local estate agents. Periodically call them or drop in to remind them of who you are and what type of property you are interested in-they are more likely to remember you if you stay in touch.
Alternative ways to find the perfect investment property
1. An estate agent is the best starting point when looking for investment property, but keep an eye on the local press and don’t be afraid to go door to door in a prime area to ask local residents if they know of any properties likely to be coming on to the market in the near future.
2. There are millions of empty homes around the UK, many of which are not officially up for sale, but are potentially available for purchase if you know whom to contact. These can often be a great investment, so if you become aware of an empty property in a prime location, do a little investigative work.
3. Property auctions can be useful if you have the available funds and understand the legally binding nature of the buying process, but these are probably best avoided unless you are an experienced investor.
4. If you have the skills, do not be afraid to take on a run-down property in need of work.