Buy-To-Let: 8 Questions you should ask before you buy

So you are looking to buy a property as an investment – what do you need to watch out for?

You may be an established landlord with a large property portfolio, or you may be taking your first step in the buy-to-let market, but there are some common questions you need to know.

The estate agent is obliged to answer your questions honestly by law, so make the most of this – after all, they know more about the house than you do on your first visit.

#1 Ask about the immediate area – are there any known problem neighbours or is the council planning on building a bypass next door?

#2 It is worth checking exactly what is and is not included in the sale. You are going to rent this out so you don’t want to take possession only to find the previous owner stripped it bare of light fittings, carpets and curtains (if you had expected to get them as part of the deal) as that will mean you’ll have to replace them all first. 

#3 Ask about white goods too – you may be able to offer a built-in dishwasher and fridge freezer to your tenant at no extra cost to yourself.

#4 Check how long the house has been for sale and how much the sellers are looking to achieve, price wise. You might find out that there is some flexibility on the price. 

#5 Investigate any alterations and major repairs that have been done and ensure they complied with building codes or planning permission. Ask for the paperwork to prove this – it will change your business plan considerably if the council suddenly informs you that the conservatory has to come down. Likewise, make sure you know and understand the implications if the building is listed or in a conservation zone – it could affect future development.

#6 Ask for as much paperwork as possible on the boiler, electrical systems, drains and plumbing – these could be expensive if you need to replace or repair. 

#7 What council tax band is the house in? Your tenant has to pay the tax after all so it will be an important part of their monthly budgeting and you need to understand your tenant.

#8 And as well as the house itself, investigate the local area – how close it for good schools, commuter routes, train and bus links and shops – all these can be strong features for a potential tenant.

If you have any other questions, please contact our lettings team on 01793 520 721.

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