Property guides

When and where to buy

Before making a decision on where to buy, here are a few things to consider. A local estate agent will be able to talk to you about what is happening in your area and what types of property are letting.

Do your research

Keeping an eye on house prices, as well as average rents, in the areas you’re interested in will set you in good stead for understanding local market conditions.

There are several ways Rightmove can help you to stay up to date on house prices and rents, depending on how regularly you want to be updated and how specific your requirements are:

  • House Price Index – our monthly report showing average asking prices around the UK.
  • Rental Trends Tracker – our quarterly report showing average asking rental prices.
  • Investor Newsletter – a monthly email update that’s tailored to specific areas that you are interested in following. A must for those wanting to keep an eye on market changes.
  • Price Comparison Report – an invaluable property tool showing demand, properties currently for sale and rent, and sold prices for your postcode of choice.
  • Create property alerts – once you know your budget and the area, or areas, you are interested in, save your search and activate property alerts so that we can send you details of any matching properties as soon as they come on site. To do this you will need to create an account, which you can do so here.

TIP: Speak to any friends or family that have gone through the process themselves. They will be able to give you advice and may also be able to provide recommendations for lenders, solicitors and even agents.

Where to buy?

When thinking about where to buy your investment property, always think about the following factors. By asking yourself how the area you have in mind would rank against each of these factors, based on your research, you will be able to confidently make a decision as to whether this is the right location to invest in.

Key factors to think about when choosing an area:

  • What type of tenant would be most suitable for this area? (e.g families, students, professionals)
  • How affordable is this area, given your budget?
  • What kind of reputation does the area have and what are the local crime rates?
  • How familiar are you with the area?
  • What kind of job opportunities are nearby?
  • Are there good transport links? If not, does this matter in this area?
  • What are the essential services (e.g GPs, hospitals, schools etc) like in the area?
  • What kind of shops and leisure facilities are nearby?
  • Are there any planned rejuvenation projects that may have a future impact on house prices and rents?

What to buy?

By now you know your budget and the area you would like to buy in, but which kind of property is best? Chances are, if you already know the budget and area that you’re interested in, this will automatically narrow your property options. However, in the instance that you still have many options available, think about the following factors to help you refine your criteria.

This list is by no means exclusive, but it should provide you with enough information to make an informed decision.

Key factors to think about when choosing a property type:

  • What type of tenant would be most suitable for this area? (e.g families, students, professionals)
  • What is the estimated yield on the property (go here, if you have forgotten how to calculate this) and is this in line with your expectations?
  • Does any work need to be carried out on the property before you will be able to rent it out? Or is there any ongoing upkeep needed?
  • Is the property freehold or leasehold? If the latter, how many years are left on the lease and how much will it cost to renew?
  • Are there any service charges or costs that you will need to contribute towards?
  • What is the sales history of the property and when was it last on the market?
  • How energy efficient is the property? Does it need improvements?

TIP:Download and print copies our handy property viewing checklist to take with you on your viewings.

Rental income or capital growth?

Properties in certain areas will offer larger yields whereas in others the yield might not be as high but the potential for values to rise is better over a period. What timescales are you looking at, a 30-year investment to supplement your retirement or instant rental income?

What type of property do you want?

Some properties are in need or renovation or refurbishment and can offer the potential to add value if you are willing to do the work. Or there may be the opportunity to extend and add value this way. The costs of this work would need to be taken into consideration. Think also about whether you would be doing the work yourself or if you need to find a builder?

Estate agents will be able to advise on this, also these types of property are often sold at auction, so it might be worth checking out what is coming up.

On the other hand, if refurbishment isn’t for you or you don’t have the time, you may consider investing in a new build property. These can be ready to rent out, come with a 10-year warranty and generally low maintenance. There are also opportunities to buy off-plan with the potential to see capital growth in developing areas.

What type of tenants do you want?

It’s good to be clear on what market you’re aiming for. Some people focus on renting out property near universities, to students. Others are looking for young professionals or families. Alternatively, you may be looking to rent out your holiday home in a popular destination. This will influence the type of property that is suitable and the returns you make. Again, an agent will be able to help with advice on the types of property that are in demand from each group.

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