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The rules when buying to rent

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Choose investment properties as carefully as you would your own home

When buying an investment property, you should apply the same guidelines about location, condition and security as when buying a home for yourself, says Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Volatile equity markets, relatively low interest rates and banks eager to lend money on residential property have spurred an increase in buy-to-let purchases this year, in spite of slow rental growth rates.

“An oversupply of new units in many popular areas and negotiable prices are also drawing investors back into the market, but they do need to remember that while price is important, cheap is very seldom best.

“The area in which a property is situated, its overall condition and security considerations are all equally important when acquiring a home to let.”

According to Everitt, depending on the area and your tenant target market, other factors that could make your property more attractive are:

  • Good schools within walking distance.
  • Convenient shops and health, entertainment, sports and public transport facilities.

In holiday or resort areas, the most sought-after rental properties are always those closest to the main attraction, whether that is a beach, a mountain, a hot spring or a game reserve, he says

Mostly, however, finding the right property – as well as reliable, creditworthy tenants – should never be left to luck.

“Prospective investors should seek out a qualified, experienced and reputable estate agent to help them evaluate the soundness of any proposed property purchase and to help qualify prospective tenants.

“Over the medium to long term, they will also need to be certain that the property is well cared-for and maintained and that the rent is paid on time.

“This is where appointing a specialist to manage the investment makes good sense.”


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