What’s your priority? Knowing what you want from your property investment is essential, as this will have an influence over what kind of property you will want to invest in.
For instance, are you interested in a higher monthly return, or are you more interested in a higher level of capital growth? Or somewhere in between?
Know what you want to achieve (What's your end game?)
Are you looking to create an income, either for now or for your retirement? Or would you like to sell those properties in a few years when you’ve created equity? Perhaps you’d like to leave one or all of them to your kids?
Knowing what you’d ideally like to do in the future could have an influence on the type of properties you buy.
Do the numbers
The idea is that the property is going to effectively fund itself, so you’ll want to ensure you’re not overpaying, especially if you’re looking to add value to the property by carrying out some refurbishments. Ensure also that you’re comfortable with the monthly costs in comparison with the rent you’ll receive, and that you’re happy with the property’s saleability; whilst you may plan to sell after a certain number of years, circumstances could change those plans for you.
Don’t be tempted to buy something just because you love it.
I’ve seen several landlords over the years buy properties for the wrong reasons - either they buy something similar to what they live in themselves, or they buy in an area they’ve got an affinity towards.
By all means buy where you are comfortable buying, however this should be based on the numbers and the rentability. I would fully advise to keep your emotions out of it.
Decide if you want to be hands-on, or passive.
Either is viable - if you’re hands-on, then you can effectively save on fees, but you have to know the law and accept that you need to be constantly on hand to fix things when they go wrong, or deal with any problems, such as arrears or legal evictions.
Or you could sacrifice a small percentage of your income and have all the above done for you, whilst keeping you compliant and within the law, meaning all you have to do is receive your income each month.
Know the law (or work with someone who does)
If you’re renting your properties out, then you simply HAVE to be compliant. This applies to the property itself, the safety certificates you need to have, the type of tenancy that’s in place, and the protection (or Plan B) you have if that tenancy goes wrong. There’s no law that says you need an agent, but if you do not use one, then you have to ensure you read up on, and stick to, the laws and rules in order to ensure you have maximum protection. Most of these laws have been create in the last 3 years, and many have been amended to take into account the Covid-19 pandemic, and if you’re not aware of them, you could end up without an income, or the ability to evict. At worst, you could be fined.
An agent will take a small percentage of the income in exchange for making sure you’re compliant, and ensuring everything is done for you, and some, including us, will have access to income and legal protection.