Buy-to-let market enjoys boom time

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SINCE the introduction of TV programmes such as ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ and ‘Property Ladder’ the number of individuals who have ventured into the buy-to-let industry has boomed.

And for those who haven’t yet been tempted, now could be the perfect time to take the plunge, says Mansfield lettings agency Belvoir.

“Current research indicates that demand will out-strip supply for much of 2011/2012,” says Chris Pawlikow, owner of Belvoir, Mansfield.

“And with a study by Paragon Mortgages reporting that for the majority of landlords yields are up and void periods are down, now really does seem like a fantastic time to become a landlord!”

Mr Pawlikow added: “With saving interest rates so low and the stock markets in such a volatile state, investing in property seems to be a very sensible option, but sensible has to be the operative word.

“Like any other decision that involves a large amount of money, buying a property to let should be a carefully thought-out process,”.

“I would encourage anyone who is in a position to do so to consider purchasing a property to rent,” says Chris. “Despite the horror stories, if you buy the right property and use a good lettings agency, buy-to-let can be a relatively hassle-free investment strategy.

But people deciding to enter the buy-to-let market should take care to choose the right property and follow the Belvoir step-by-step guide.

LOCATION KNOWLEDGE

The statistics paint a rosy picture of the health of the overall rental market, but some areas of the country are doing better than others so consider location very carefully.

EXPLORE AVERAGE RENT

Explore the average rent for the area – Once you’ve chosen the locality in which you want to buy and decided what type of property it is you plan to purchase for a particular kind of tenant do your research to discover what the average rent is.

DO YOUR CHECKS

Before you start thinking about keeping the tenant happy you need to be happy with the tenant. Make sure you (or your agent) carry out full references and credit checks and get a guarantor.

WHAT DO TENANTS WANT?

If you really want to stay one step ahead of your competitors and avoid those dreaded void periods go the extra mile to find out what the tenants you are targeting really want.

Ask the local lettings agent what they are often asked for and talk to friends who may be renting to get their point of view.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

First-time landlords must not underestimate the value of thorough research. IFor example, you will need to be able to call upon a tried and trusted plumber should anything happen to the pipes.