landlords mistakes

Five expensive mistakes for landlords to avoid

Thinking about purchasing a buy-to-let property? There are a number of common mistakes landlords will want to avoid making, as they could end up costing a significant amount, writes Emily Hill, PR & Content Specialist at Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Purchasing a buy-to-let property can be a fantastic way to build wealth and achieve financial security. However, navigating the current housing market can be tricky, with even the most seasoned landlords making costly mistakes. To help you avoid these pitfalls and maximise your returns, we’ve put together five common missteps to steer clear of:

  1. Rushing into a purchase without conducting proper research

It’s easy to get swept away by the prospect of a quick return on investment, diving into a property sale without having done your homework beforehand. While purchasing a buy-to-let property is an exciting prospect, it’s important to thoroughly research the area, property type, market trends, and rental yields before committing.

Landlords should also look to gain an in-depth understanding of the local demographics, potential tenant pool, and any upcoming developments that could impact the value of your investment in the short and long-term. Taking the time to do your research will enable you to make more informed choices, and help you to avoid any potential pitfalls.

  1. Overlooking landlords’ costs

While the prospect of purchasing a buy-to-let property can have its financial benefits, you also need to take into account the associated costs before and after purchase. When calculating your potential return, make sure to factor in Stamp Duty, legal fees, estate agent commissions, and once you complete, take into account ongoing maintenance, repairs, and any potential void periods.

You should also ensure your rental income covers all mortgage payments, while leaving a financial buffer for unexpected costs – after all, you can’t expect your tenants to cover all expenses. This can help you to establish a solid financial foundation, safeguarding against unforeseen challenges and maximising your property’s profitability over the long-term.

  1. Falling for a location’s hype over its long-term potential

While trendy or up-and-coming areas might seem appealing at first glance, prioritise locations with strong fundamentals for long-term growth. Areas experiencing significant infrastructure upgrades, such as new transportation links or commercial developments, often signal promising investment opportunities. Likewise, regions with diverse job markets, and access to school catchment areas and local amenities, will attract a larger tenant pool f0r landlords.

Chasing fleeting trends can leave you vulnerable to market fluctuations, so it’s vital that you get the fundamentals right in terms of location before purchasing a buy-to-let property.

  1. Underestimating the importance of expert advice

Becoming a landlord means there are plenty of boxes to tick, actions to take, and factors to consider. With this in mind, you shouldn’t underestimate how vital expert advice can be, ensuring you’re doing everything by the book and getting the most out of your buy-to-let property.

You should also take advantage of working with a broker to arrange your buy-to-let mortgage. With access to deals that you may not be able to find on the high street, they’ll shop around on your behalf to find the most suitable deal for your financial circumstances.

A qualified conveyancer can navigate legal complexities of your property sale, while a surveyor can uncover any hidden issues. You should also consider working with a reputable property management company to handle tenant relations and maintenance, saving you time and hassle.

  1. Understanding tax implications

Make sure you’re aware of all the taxes associated with owning a buy-to-let property. This includes income tax on rental income, capital gains tax on property sales, and potential inheritance tax implications. Landlords are fully responsible for anticipating and actioning tax payments in full and on time. Consulting with a tax adviser can help you keep on top of your responsibilities with regards to tax, minimising any potential liabilities or mistakes, so make sure you remain on top of this.

Remember, becoming a landlord and growing your property portfolio is a marathon, not a sprint. By avoiding these common mistakes, conducting thorough research, and getting expert advice, you can make informed decisions and increase your chances of success in the buy-to-let property market.

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