It’s when the property market is slightly more challenging that I’m reminded how important it is to be canny (and fussy) when investing in property – whether as a buy-to-let landlord, or buying your own home.
As a London property finder, there are certain things I always look out for – even if it means paying a little more for them. The reason? Because it will be those things that give you the edge if you ever need to sell or rent in a difficult market, and it’s those things that will earn you a premium in a rising market.
1. Close to amenities
When it comes to property in London, for example, buyers and renters prefer to be within a 10-minute walk of a tube station, and close to bars and restaurants. If your budget doesn’t allow, consider looking slightly further down the tube or train line. Prices will be lower, which should enable you to achieve the right location within that area.
2. Outdoor space
Considered by some to be a luxury in London, a little bit of outdoor space can make all the difference – even if it’s a roof terrace or a balcony.
3. A parking space
Again – something of a luxury in London, but if you can afford it, it’s a luxury worth paying for. If you don’t have a car, you can even rent the space out as a separate entity to the property.
4. Buy somewhere you would live yourself
If you’re buying a property as a buy-to-let investment, choose somewhere you would be happy to live in yourself, if you had to. If it’s good enough for you, the likelihood is that it will be good enough for most prospective tenants too.
5. Avoid new-builds
When you buy a new-build, you can pay up to 30% more than for a period property, yet period properties will hold their value and can often be more desirable to a wider audience. New-builds can also come with a hefty annual factor fee, which can put off renters and future buyers.
6. Avoid quirks
In a rising market, it can often be tempting to over-look quirks. But it’s those quirks that will become a problem when the market is less buoyant. If the property has any unusual features (such as climbing out of a window to the roof terrace) or is in an unfortunate location (such a near a pylon, or sub-station), my advice is to give it a wide-berth.
The London property market is currently a buyers’ market, so it’s a great time to invest. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, please do get in touch. We offer an end-to-end property finder and management service for UK-based, and international property investors.