Buy to let properties and selecting the best locations

Buy to Let Properties – Selecting the Best Locations

If you are considering investing in buy to let properties then understanding what makes an area or location attractive to your potential tenants is certainly worth knowing. The old adage, “location, location, location”, is a true one, even for buy to let property investors.

Buying Buy to Let Properties in Popular Locations

You’ll often find that small buy to let properties in a good area are often a much better buy than large properties in a poorer area.

This is because popular areas tend to generate better rental levels and tenant demand is often much stronger meaning void periods will be minimal.

Who Already Lives in the Area?

Most people want to live in an area they know well… they’ll be all too familiar with both its good points and bad points so will know what to expect when they move in.

Apart from the snob value of living in a better area of town, the benefits of buying in a good area are many.

As a buy to let property investor always understand your target market… ask yourself what type of tenants do I want to attract?

Most people prefer to live in an area where there are people like themselves, for example, middle-class families or families with small children.

Such families are unlikely to feel comfortable living in a predominantly student area for example… and vice versa.

Check out Local Crime Statistics

If the area you are considering looks run-down and the local shops are fitted with hefty steel shutters, there will be a perception that the area suffers from a high crime rate.

It is possible to find out the crime figures for a particular area from various websites on the Internet including The Office for National Statistics, the Police Service – Crime Mapping website and others.

How good are the Local Schools?

Better quality areas tend to have better schools, which is a definite attraction to young middle-class families.

The catchment area of a good school is usually an area where property values are increasing.

Profiting from Up-and-Coming Areas

Spotting up-and-coming property areas is where big capital gains can be made on buy to let properties, especially if you can buy at below market values (BMV) at the out-set.

If an area is new or is located near an existing, more expensive area where supply outstrips demand, professional buyers will often look for suitable alternatives, often in immediately adjacent areas.

They soon start moving into these nearby areas that may be quite rundown but still offer good quality, more affordable property.

These alternative areas are also likely to share the same transport links as the expensive areas, and may be in the catchment area of some good schools.

Spotting such up-and-coming areas early-on is an essential skill for any prospective buy to let property investor, and certainly one well worth honing.

Evaluating Potential Buy to Let Property Areas

Before buying into an area that you are not familiar with, we recommend that you visit the area during both the day and at night, to see if there are any local issues that may affect values like major traffic problems, problems with rowdy gangs etc.

Look to see if the shops sell those sorts of things that your target tenants would buy, and that they are not all curry houses, take-aways, charity shops or simply boarded-up.

Are the local properties in a good state of repair and are the gardens well maintained?

Are there many flats in the area? Look at the number of bells on the doors of large houses to see if they have been sub-divided into flats.

How good are the Local Amenities?

Check out the availability of local transport and the quality of the local schools.

Informative league tables for local schools are now easily accessible from the Internet including on from the UK Department for Education.

People try to avoid houses located on busy roads, near busy railway lines, under flight paths,  near industrial areas etc. and try to live near to shops, bars, restaurants, transport facilities and good schools.

Is the Property in good Condition?

Having selected a suitable area that you feel has good potential, always make sure your buy to let property is in a good, sound condition or one that can be made good without too much additional investment.

If you are in any doubt you should always get professional advice, surveys etc. before proceeding further.

It is also an advantage if the property has a special feature such as period features, a large garden, good views or anything else that will make it appear unique in the eyes of a prospective tenant, or buyer if you intend to sell on.

Property Investment Solutions

As a leading independent property and land investment specialists Investment Property Partners offer expert advice and support to clients across our specialist areas of expertise helping them to achieve their investment objectives.

If you are a property investor considering buy to let properties, commercial property or overseas investment opportunities please contact us today to discuss how Investment Property Partners can help you.

Further reading…

More information about student property and student accommodation… here →

More information about universities in the UK… here →