Buy-to-let faces a big year. Tax changes are being introduced, the interest rate is shaky, and housing supply is low.
Yet, the private rental sector remains steady, and many landlords are looking to keep their portfolio as it is, or even expand it. We conducted a poll after November’s budget announcements. 52pc were untroubled by the possibility of an interest rate hike, 56pc will be unaffected by the Stamp Duty levy due to go live in April and 58pc will continue expanding their portfolios in spite of tax relief changes going live from 2017 onwards.
However, smaller-scale landlords have the potential to leave the industry, freeing up some properties for growing landlords.
So, given the fact that there are opportunities around the UK for new investment, do you have the current lifestyle and means to take the next step in expanding your portfolio?
The first thing you need to know is whether you can feasibly afford any more properties. Mortgage rates are very low at the moment, but the Bank of England predicts a rate rise in the next year. Now is a good time to invest, before April’s 3pc stamp duty levy increases the initial cost of investment. However, remember that your property can also benefit from capital gains and a secure rental income, consolidating the cost of your property over time, so don’t be too put off if you miss the deadline.
Also, ask yourself if you will be able to keep up with mortgage repayments, plus ongoing costs like maintenance and repairs?
Furthermore, if you want to expand your portfolio, you’ll need to identify your goals. Don’t buy a new property arbitrarily, only do so if you feel you need the income to help pay your taxes or savings. Also, consider the tax implications you will inherit by getting another property. Will they benefit you in the long-run?
Buying properties takes time and will distract you from your current portfolio while you see a deal through.
Looking forward to when a deal is complete, and your first tenants have moved in, are you comfortable with the idea of having an extra mouth to feed, so to speak?
Your lifestyle as a landlord, and your personal life, will always be affected by expanding a portfolio, so consider using a lettings agent to help take some of the burden.
Perhaps your long-term ambition has always been to have a property empire. Consider if you want to specialise in a certain type of property, for example small flats or two-and-three-bed houses. Or maybe you want to focus on a certain tenant demographic, or hold an interest in a particular town or on the outskirts of a city. Or maybe your ambition is financial, and you want to hit a certain income level before
By working out what you want to target, you can start setting goals for yourself in the first few months and years of investment. This will help quantify what you hope to achieve with your new-look portfolio.
Family and Work
Are you a full-time landlord? If not, how much will you need to change to accommodate extra property? On the other hand, you may have a job independent of being a landlord. Find out if your current employer has the means to reduce your hours when you take on the extra responsibility.
Also consider evenings and phone calls at home – will it disrupt your family life? Being a landlord can turn into a 24 hour job, so decide how much time you can dedicate to that lifestyle.
Contact your Network
This is a great opportunity to see how your network can help you out. They can either help you find a property, fix it up, or find you tenants. By reconnecting with old acquaintances you may be able to accelerate your deal, getting from start to finish that much sooner. Putting out some feelers will never go amiss – you could find a bargain round the corner.
Use a Letting Agent
A letting agent can work with you to identify available properties, help you get funding, source contractors for maintenance work, find and reference tenants, collect rent and handle the day-to-day management of the property.
CJ Hole is a letting agent with 30 years’ experience. Contact your local branch
today to find out how we can help you take your portfolio to the next year, and prepare it for all the upcoming changes in the property industry.