The secret to good investment that will give you financial stability now and in the future and allow you to live the dream is to diversify. If you spread your money into different investment options, then if one fails, you’re backed by others. If you’re looking at where to get started, there is plenty of valuable advice on investment for beginners. If, on the other hand, you are starting to consider yourself a bit of an expert, maybe it’s time to make the leap to property investment. But is it the right time?
From the market point of view, probably. You’ll have heard the saying safe as houses’ & this is why many are tempted to invest in property. Owning a property is a solid, realistic and tangible thing, unlike stocks and shares that often seem somewhat nebulous and even mysteriously complex.
Have you got what it takes, emotionally and financially? Property investment brings its own unique trials and tribulations; and so here are a few aspects you should factor in before you take the plunge.
Are you a long-term strategist?
Be aware that once you enter the property market as a buy-to-let landlord, you’re committing yourself to a longer-term strategy. You will not be able to liquidate that asset readily and in a hurry ñ selling property takes time, even more so if you have long-standing tenants in situ. More than that, it can be expensive too: you should be prepared for the administration, legal expenses and Capital Gains Tax too, if you make a profit from the sale. All this will eat greedily into your profits. Are you prepared to tie your money up, potentially for years? Or do you like to keep things as flexible as possible? If you’re a short-term thinker, it may not be right for you at this stage.
Are you risk-ready?
With every investment comes an element of risk, so you should rehearse these thoroughly before making a final decision. Not many first-time investors will have the cash available to buy a second property to lease outright. You will probably find that you’ll have to re-mortgage your existing property, releasing funds in order to buy the second property outright. This, of course, puts your own home at risk if you fail to keep up with repayments for whatever reason. The alternative is to take out a further, buy-to-let mortgage, but this typically entails having a large deposit ñ as much as 25% of the asking price. And of course, on top of this, you will have fees to pay, which can all mount up a lot quicker and higher than you might think.
Do you have a decent contingency fund?
Say you buy a slightly worse-for-wear property that needs some work ñ can you afford to replace the roof? Do you have money in the bank to get a damp-proof course done? Perhaps your tenant defaults on their rent for several months and it takes time and expensive legal help to extract the money ñ or the tenant ñ out of the property. You’d be naive at this stage not to expect the unexpected. So make sure you have money laid aside in case of a rainy day, whatever the scenario.
A hard head for business?
Enthusiasm and passion can give you the drive to go a long way in life, but you must remember that this investment is one that’s meant to contribute towards securing your long-term future. You have to be hardheaded about the whole venture. It’s a business. Beware of falling in love with the wrong property for the rental market you’re aiming at and spending more than you should on features that won’t add value. If you’re worried about getting too emotionally involved in the process, but still fancy yourself as a landlord, perhaps you should consider an arm’s-length approach, using the services of a specialist buy-to-let property brokerage that can give you honest, impartial advice and add value, as well as property investments, to your portfolio.