Whether you’re an established landlord or a first-time investor, you’ll probably be thinking about what to buy: a ready-to-go rental or a doer-upper. Which one should you pick?
Currently, lots of changes are being made around rental rules, and reports claim that many landlords are selling up. However, there are still plenty of investors making their move into the rental space. And with the UK facing a possible decline in house prices, now may be the right time for you.
But what do you buy?
A turnkey rental is one that is ready for tenants to move into once the sale is complete. A renovation project is a property that needs repairs or extensive decoration to get it ready for new tenants.
Both have their pros and cons, and in this quick read, we explore them in more detail.
Generally, a renovation project will be cheaper than a readymade rental property. That’s because you’ll be adding value when you carry out the necessary works and making it a more attractive home for tenants. However, if you are purchasing with a Buy To Let mortgage most providers won’t lend on properties which require works.
Turnkey rental properties may cost a premium, especially if they have proven profitable for a previous landlord.
Generally, with a turnkey rental, you’ll be paying for the property, legal costs and agent fees before you can rent it out. However, it’s always worth keeping a contingency just in case problems arise after purchase. You may also have to pay for things like gas safety checks, electrical appliance checks and so on if they need to be brought up to date. Be warned, some buy-to-lets may be marketed as turnkey but could still require work. Don’t be tempted to skip essential steps like a proper survey/inspection before purchase.
When renovating, what you save in the purchase price, you could end up paying out in repairing, refitting and decorating the property – although this can be done on a budget that you control. You can also design it to suit the area’s rental market.
While this may not be a problem for all landlords, some like to offer rental properties of a particular standard. With a turnkey property, you’re paying for the complete package, so you won’t get to put your personal stamp on it (unless you want to spend even more money). With a renovation project, you can design it and create the exact property you choose but don’t get too hung up on personalisation as it may not appeal to the broader market and will normally incur increased costs. A good rental investment needs to be compliant and stack up financially.
Purchasing any property is often a long and drawn-out process, but especially so if you’re buying a doer-upper. Before you start earning a rental income, you’ll need to do the necessary work. This could take months to complete, leaving you without a rental income and paying off a mortgage in the meantime. A huge advantage of a turnkey rental purchase is that as soon as you’ve completed, you can get tenants in.
If you’re looking to invest in a buy-to-let, please contact our team at Richard James Lettings & Management.