Investing in your first buy to let property


Investing in your first buy to let property

by Adam Horton

Where to start

Purchasing a buy-to-let can be a great investment, but there is also substantial risk. Whether you’re buying a property for security in retirement or aspire to build a portfolio to provide a full-time income, we have put together some key points to help make your first step into property investing successful.

The first thing you should do is establish a clear vision of what you hope to achieve by making a buy-to-let investment. You will then be able to work backwards to set out a clear, structured plan about how you will get there. It will also enable you to make clearer decisions on opportunities based on whether they will help you take the next step towards achieving your goal.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra


Having a deep understanding of the local market is the best way to ensure you’re buying a property that will meet rental demand, at the right price. Spending time researching can pay huge dividends in the long run. One way to get started is by talking to the experts in your area. Someone with years of experience in selling, letting and advising on property investments will know instantly what type of property and in what area will deliver the income and capital growth you hope to achieve. They will also be able to help with other services you need when buying a buy to let investment, such as knowing who the best local solicitor is, help preparing a business plan and securing finance.

Present your property in the best light

If you want to achieve the highest rental income possible, presenting your property in the best light is essential. People will pay more for properties in perfect condition – doing things ‘on the cheap’ often costs more in the long run.

Great property, fantastic tenants

It might sound obvious, but the right property, in the right location, marketed at a fair price, really will attract the very best tenants. Getting the best tenants is one of the easiest ways to maximise your return. Bad tenants can miss rent payments, fall into rent arrears, and poorly maintain or damage the property – all of which will cost time and money. Going the extra mile initially to ensure you’re attracting the right kind of tenant almost always pays off.

Maximising and protecting your assets

The ‘easy part’ is often considered to be buying the property and finding a tenant. Making profit is where it gets tricky. One of the hard things to balance is expenditure on maintaining and updating the property, to maximise the rental income and attract the right tenants, but without over-spending and causing a negative impact on your returns.

Changes to property investment returns

The legislation to protect tenants has changed a lot over the past decade and keeping on top of new rules is essential. Securing appropriate safety certificates, complying with deposit schemes and potentially having to update properties in the future to comply with regulations can add a lot to your costs.

Taking the next step

Hortons are well-placed to guide you through the buy-to-let process, from sourcing property to and advising on letting, competition from other landlords and how best to present the property once you have purchased it.