Property has been a sound investment for many years, and becoming a buy-to-let landlord can still be a lucrative source of income if you know how to maximise the opportunity. First things first: speak to your lender about the mortgage and how to convert it to a buy-to-let. You must get a “consent to let” before you agree to take on tenants. There is a fee involved, and it might be that you are able to stay on the same mortgage rate, though it is more likely that your rate will be switched to a specific rate for taking on tenants.
Think about who will manage the property when there are tenants involved. Will you do it yourself as the landlord or will you work through a letting agency? If you are considering the latter, get quotes from several different agents and try to meet them in person. You’ll get a feeling for which is the right agent to represent you, even if they are not necessarily the cheapest.
Ask questions about their specialist knowledge and how they anticipate readying your property for the rental market and ensuring there are tenants in situ.
Questions to ask will include subjects such as the mandatory inspections and maintenance required. There is property inventory software available to manage work, and having that sort of technology in place should be a positive sign. You might be surprised how much can property inventory software cost. Check too that they are a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), who insist that member adhere to strict professional standards.
Other Professional Support
Check that you have the right insurance as a landlord, as it will differ from private homeowner cover. You should also consider hiring an accountant who can advise you on tax and what you should be putting aside each month.
For more information on how to become a buy to let landlord, see the advice from Love Money.
While there are a great many positives when it comes to renting property to tenants, it is not without risk, and you should be aware that no investment is ever guaranteed to return a profit. Be prepared for the fact that your investment could lose you money, especially when your property is vacant.