building valuations


Buy to Let is it for you?



Who are we and how can we help you?

We are independent building surveyors who give advice on all sorts of property. The reason we say we are independent is because we are independent of any estate agents and mortgage lending companies such as banks and building societies or any financial institutions. This is particularly important when you are looking at a buy to let investment property as our advice is independent and specifically aimed at your circumstances. If you are interested in property advice with regards to a buy to let property then free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and yes we do have independent building surveyors who have first hand experience of buy to let properties as they own them themselves.


Can a Buy to Let property portfolio replace a pension?

The short answer to this is yes and indeed many pension funds use property investments to fund the pension. This has been one of the investments that has been used for many, many decades by pension funds. Probably a better question is can a buy to let property give me a pension?


Can Buy to Let property give me a pension?

The reason we have rephrased this and put the emphasis on you is that buy to let property does to a greater or lesser extent require you getting involved with the property process. Whether this is hands on or whether you use experts in the field (and our first point we would make is that experts should be experts i.e. trained and experienced, not just come into the property market as many people have).


MC900431579[1]Do your due diligence on buying property

It is well worth reading a book on the concept of buying property and managing property. You certainly shouldn't mistake it from the buying of a house to live in as a home. It is often quoted that since the time we have had accurate records which is about the 1950's the Halifax Building Society as it was then or the Nationwide have shown property to roughly double in value every seven to ten years. There are of course exceptions to this and it does go up and down and whether it will happen again as the past doesn't represent the future is all a matter of opinion and nothing more. As in any market, be it good, bad or ugly, if you buy well then your investment will serve you well. You do need to remember only you will truly look out for your interest.


Make the decision to invest in property and then carry out your research

We would strongly recommend that if you make a definite decision to invest in property then set yourselves goals and targets. Over the decades we have seen many property investment companies come and go, most of which looked very reputable at the time. You do need to make sure that they know what they are doing. Chartered Surveyors are generally considered to be the expert in property. There are different types of Chartered Surveyors; you need to make sure the chartered surveyor that you take advice from has experience and knowledge in the market that you are looking to invest in.


First things first, investigate demand for Buy to Let

MC900104754[1]With regards to buy to let properties first things first, it is always important to buy in an area where people will rent property at the level you need to cover your costs. We would always recommend that you test the market first by seeing what prices people will really pay to rent the type of property you are looking at buying by placing adverts. This is a very small cost to investigate the market and far better than relying on other peoples advice particularly those who are trying to sell you property!



All property has plus points and minus points or as we would prefer to say the good, the bad and the ugly

We have heard it said in the property world to buy the worst property in the best road. Whilst it doesn't literally have to be the worst property, we do understand the basis behind this thought as you can refurbish the property, extend and alter it to bring it up to the general standard of the road and as such it would then increase the value of that area. However you need to be aware that too large a refurbishment will mean the property is empty and you will be paying out money without getting any rental income. So, with nearly all property there are pluses and minuses.


MC900238189[1]Have a survey to ensure there are no major expenses and that you are buying the property with your eyes wide open

A good survey will ensure there are no major items of expense such as new boilers, new electrics, new roofs etc so have an independent survey. Remember often surveyors are owned and run by estate agents as are solicitors and mortgage companies so make sure you get independent advice.

Make sure there are no structural problems. Have an independent survey (you can tell we are independent surveyors!)


Location, Location, Location

Location 1 Area of property

The area the property is in, i.e. this could mean near to tube stations, bus links, schools, etc.



Location 2 - Location in the market

This is its position in relation to stamp duty level. Is the property priced at the stamp duty level or is it below the stamp duty level, allowing the price to grow easily. Be aware always of prices that are just above stamp duty level as they are often priced at that level with the expectation of people negotiating them down to stamp duty level.


Location 3 - Who will rent it?

The other location question is who will it appeal to? Will it appeal to a single person, a couple, a couple with children, a growing family or a retiring couple.

Can you get finance?

Get your finance in place and make sure you know what you can afford so you can make all estate agents well aware.


Preparing the property to be let

Decide whether you are going to have metered electric and gas. If you are buying a flat go and talk to the neighbours to see if any of these properties are let. If you are buying a house go and ask the neighbours if any properties are let.


MC900019306[1]Books on Buy to Let market

This article will of course only scratch the surface of Buy to Lets. There are courses you can go on but do check the qualification and experience of the person holding the course. Also there are books that you can read. Like anyone involved in property world we have our favourite books, we would recommend the following, although they are not all directly related to property they have been of help to me as a surveyor in the property world:


Rich Dad, Poor Dad By Robert T. Kiyosaki

The Insider's Guide Making Money in Reals Estate: Smart Steps to Building Your Wealth Through Property By Dolf de Roos and Diane Kennedy

UPW By Anthony Robbins

Getting things done By Ed Bliss

The House Builders Bible by Mark Brinkley

The other recommendation we would say is to get help books on CD or books on MP3 so you can listen to them in the car.

Other articles that may be of interest

We have written many surveying articles which may be of interest to you:


Useful Tips for purchasing a Buy to Rent property

Why are our surveys better than the competition?

Adding Value to your Property

Property management, its all about cash flow

How to buy a property at an auction


Why have an independent building survey?

Always have an independent building survey as this will highlight any property problems. Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.


Compare our website and compare our surveys

Please feel free to have a look at our website to see for yourself the quality of our website, articles and our Building Survey reports. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK.


Our Executive Summaries make things simple

Our Good, Bad & Ugly Surveys!

In addition we would also like to introduce to you what we call our Good, Bad and Ugly survey which is a building survey, sometimes known as a structural survey, and is something that we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly. The key factor we believe is that our surveys are easy to understand in plain English.


We highly recommend you always make sure when you have a survey you meet your Surveyor at the property.


We can email you examples of our structural surveys

If you are interested in having a Structural Survey we can email you examples of our structural surveys please call us for a friendly chat on free phone 0800 298 5424.

We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports. We can send you examples of Structural Surveys on, we believe, every type of property and era. Property eras are most typically Tudor and Elizabethan, Georgian and Regency, Victorian and Edwardian, War Years, Post War Years, Modern and New.


Surveying articles

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The content of the website is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision. Free phone on 0800 298 5424.


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