Sarah Beeny's top ten tips for buying to let

Sarah Beeny gives her tips and tricks for choosing a property for your buy-to-let business.

Top ten tips for buying to let

If buying to let seems a good investment for you, bear the following things in mind before you start looking for the perfect property. As always, careful planning is the key.

  1. Carry out thorough research. Check local rental conditions, analyse rental demand and determine the types of renting in your area. Look for obvious clues such as a large company relocation, the opening of trendy bars and shops, or the existence of good schools nearby and choose a property with features that will appeal to your market.

  2. An appealing property rental is one that is close to transport links and/or has off street parking.

  3. If you plan to rent your property to professionals, all of the bedrooms should ideally be doubles.

  4. Think low maintenance. You want a property that will run itself as smoothly as possible

  5. If you are managing the property yourself, be prepared to do some hard work. A buy to let property is far from being a hassle free income.

  6. Choose a property close to home, which will enable you to pop over and sort out any problems easily. If you are not able to do this it can cost you more than a weeks rent to get someone in.

  7. Bear in mind that family rental homes require plenty of space and storage

  8. If you are the sole freeholder of the property, you will need to ensure that the common parts and the exterior of the property are well maintained. You may wish to spend a couple of hours a week vacuuming and polishing or employ a professional cleaning company to keep these areas up to scratch. If your buy to let is leasehold, however, the responsibility for the maintenance of the exterior and interior communal areas will rest with the freeholder unless your lease specifically states otherwise.

  9. Steer clear of large gardens, especially in a town property, unless you intend adding the cost of a gardener to the weekly rental and you are aiming to market your property as a family home. As any keen gardener knows it doesn't take long for a little neglect to show.

  10. Consider whether you want to let furnished or unfurnished. Sometimes there is little difference between the rents commanded by unfurnished compared with part or fully furnished properties to let. It all depends on your market and the demand in your area. Before you go looking for furniture, do your research and find the best option for you.