At the House Crowd, we get asked a few questions repeatedly.
What is the House Crowd? (we’re a crowd-funded property investment platform – more on that here),
Err, what does that mean?
Should I invest in property?
When should I invest?
On the top two, we can talk all day. We love talking about ourselves.
The bottom two –should I invest; when’s the right time? We can give some advice but ultimately it’s down to you. Here’s a starter though…
THE RIGHT TIME TO INVEST IS NOT ‘AS SOON AS POSSIBLE’
We hear this so much and, frankly, if we were of a different biological make-up on hearing it we’d turn big and green and start smashing stuff.
Investing now means taking advantage of favourable interest rates, with buy-to-let mortgages hugely appealing. It also means investing in a time of solid, if unspectacular overall economic growth, employment opportunities are generally on the up in many areas and so rents are rising too.
Throw in the fact that property prices are also on the up in many localities and you seem to have a perfect triangle – attractive mortgages, strong yields and asset growth.
So why on earth would we advise holding fire?
We’d ask you to think just how competitive the market is right now, how many experienced, successful landlords there are coupled with all the people looking to join. Pretty much everyone with savings will have given at least some thought to using those savings to invest in property, this includes people reaching retirement age and looking for a sound investment.
If you’re looking at potential buy-to-let properties you can be sure that many more experienced investors are looking at the same property too. You need to be sure your sums are just as watertight as theirs.
Before you take the plunge you’ll need to be able to answer some questions.
1) Have you got an area in mind? Why have you chosen this area, is it purely out of convenience – it’s where you live, or is it a strong area for property yields?
2) The area you’re looking at – what are you likely to get a property for? What will the costs be after that? And what rental income can you expect
3) What type of tenants do you want? (Don’t just say good ones!) Are you happy to rent out student digs? Do you want long-term tenants, perhaps a family renting the property, or is a faster turnover, with more risk but higher monthly returns more appealing? Does this type of tenant marry with the area you’re considering?
4) How hands on are you willing to be? Will you be overseeing repairs and finding tenants, or will that be through an agency.
5) Is the area you’re considering going to change? This could be for the better or worse – do you have knowledge that regeneration could see rental incomes rise, or is it a one-employer town where one industry leaving town could see prices and rents fall through the floor?
In short, there is more to research than simply watching Homes Under the Hammer and seeing a series of people buy at auction and then enjoy appealing returns. That said, we do love Homes Under the Hammer. Who doesn’t?
What programmes such as Homes Under the Hammer do is give the impression that the only question is how much profit will be made, or how large the yields will be.
More official figures don’t back this up though – a quarter of landlords with a single property are not making a profit, many are making a loss. Imagine investing all that money, having all the stress of managing it, finding tenants and maintaining the property only to lose money each and every year.
We suspect that many of those who are making a loss, or struggling just to break even are those who didn’t do enough research.
I’ve Done My Research…
Good on you! Now is the time to invest. There’s no need for a mad panic, there is no indication that interest rates are suddenly going to jump up. However, it is a good time to start looking at what’s out there and to consider making that purchase.
An alternative with reduced stress?
At the start we mentioned those questions we get asked – What does the House Crowd do?
The properties are all picked by experts in the industry, people with a wealth of experience in choosing just the right buy-to-let properties; often hidden gems which need just a bit of initial work.
And if one property sits vacant for a few months – it might affect one fifth of your return, it won’t be anywhere near as problematic as when you individually own a single property.
Time to Get Reading and Researching
If nothing else, we have established that the right time to invest is as soon as you feel comfortable you have answered all the key questions and can make an informed choice rather than a rushed one.
Do your homework, and perhaps have a look round this site to see if you are interested in crowd-funded property investing. If you are, we’d love to answer any queries or concerns you might have. Either way, we wish you luck!