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Chartered Surveyor East London

With the soaring popularity of buy-to-let, many people in South East London, East London, Ipswich, Suffolk, and across the country are becoming landlords for the first time. If you are thinking of following their example, what are the key features to look for in a property – and those to avoid? Also, what safeguards should you take, and is it a good idea to ask a chartered surveyor to examine the property?

Growth in Buy to Let

Ever more people have invested in buy- to-let over the last few years, with the Council of Mortgage Lenders having recently revealed that the private rented sector’s value is now approaching £1 trillion. Parts of the country experiencing especially high rental demand include Forest Heath in Suffolk and areas of East London, including Newham.

Historically low interest rates have made property especially attractive to investors at present. It is expected even more people will enter the market, including those using lump sums from their pension pots. However, there can be possible pitfalls, so here are some pointers to help you get started.

Think Location: Where is the best place to buy a property? It is vital to do your homework at the outset. This means looking at what is available on the rental market in the area where you are considering buying, and what kinds of rents are being charged.

If the market is flat in your own home area, it might be worth looking elsewhere, perhaps in a neighbouring area. The ideal is to find a district which is rising in popularity but hasn’t yet reached its peak. If you consult a letting agent, they should be able to advise you on the market in the area.

Budget Realistically: When deciding whether to invest in property, you need to look at all the costs involved. These include fitting the property out, maintaining it and ensuring it stays in good repair, complying with official standards. One recent survey suggested more than 10% of landlords forget to factor in repair costs.

You could also have to pay an agent to manage the property on your behalf. Another consideration is that there may be periods in between rentals, known as “voids” where you have no rental income. You need to look at how much you can realistically charge in rent and whether it will cover all of these costs.

Decide What Type of Property You Are Looking For: Obviously your budget will be a key consideration here. However, you also need to look at the type of property most in demand in your chosen area. Are family homes the most popular rentals, or is it a district mainly lived in by young single professionals, where small flats are more sought after?

Draw Up a Shopping List of Features: Here, it can help to think from the viewpoint of a potential tenant. For instance, are you looking at properties in an area where most people will expect parking? Modern bathrooms and fitted kitchens are also features which many people renting properties now expect as a matter of course, along with fitted wardrobes.

Also, from your own point of view as a landlord, remember to consider the likely maintenance costs. It could be best to avoid properties with large gardens or other features which will be expensive to maintain without significantly enhancing the rental value.

Get a Proper Survey of the Property: Once you have found a property which seems to fit the bill, it’s vital to check that it is in good condition. If you fail to do this, hidden problems could end up costing you in the future. As landlord, you will be legally responsible for keeping the home in good repair.

If you are getting a mortgage, remember that the mortgage valuation is being carried out on behalf of the lender, not for you, so it won’t necessarily pinpoint all the problems you need to know about. Equally, if you are a cash buyer, don’t be tempted to do without a survey just because you aren’t taking out a mortgage, which is a false economy.

Whether you are borrowing money or investing your own savings in a buy-to-let property, a survey is an essential – just as it would be for your own home. Your chosen property is a major investment. If there are serious problems with it, such as subsidence or damp, then your tenants may have to move out and it won’t bring in the income you are relying on.

Arranging for an independent chartered surveyor to carry out a full building survey before you agree to buy can guard against all these risks. It could also actually save you money on the purchase, because if defects are found it may be possible to negotiate a reduction in the asking price.

Decide If You Are Willing to Carry Out Refurbishment: TV property shows often follow people buying homes in a poor state of repair, then carrying out work before renting them out. But this may not be practical unless you have the right expertise and enough time. It’s also important to know how much the costs are likely to be and what value they will add in terms of rental income. Again, property surveys can help you to be aware of future repair needs.

Based in Martlesham, near Ipswich in Suffolk, Anderson Associates are expert chartered surveyors, serving customers in a wide area including Essex, Kent and South East London. If you are considering buy-to-let purchases, we can provide you with full building surveys, so that you have all the information you need before deciding whether to go ahead.

Chartered Surveyor East London - Click to find out more about our services, or call us on 01473 623 656 or freephone 0800 652 8285.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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