At Progressive Property, we like to think that we are just as accessible to beginners as to seasoned professionals. Having bought and sold over 700 properties ourselves, we feel that our insights into even the most basic of property investment processes can offer value, so let’s go back to basics and take a long, hard look at the commercial buy-to-let property buying process.
We hope that even seasoned property pros will appreciate this list. The purchasing and money-making opportunities available through commercial buy-to-let property investment are as wide ranging as you want to make them, so it pays to reconsider the different stages and strategies every once in a while.
1. Calculate your property fund budget
Make a firm decision about how much of your property funds you want to invest, and if you can, stick to it.
Start by defining how much capital you have available, as this will determine your strategy. Consider your available equity, savings, redundancy packages, and any other investments you may have to use as property. If you have nothing to commit, you will have to find a partner or partners.
Bear in mind that one of the reasons that so many speculators and gamblers go wrong is because they buy without defining a set of rules. Investing in commercial buy-to-let property is too significant an act to enter without setting yourself limits and directions to abide by.
2. Put in your research
Until you have put time and effort into preparing for your investment, or have experience of having done successfully in the past, you are unlikely to know exactly how best to invest your money. The only way to combat this is to research, discuss, network, and become educated before committing.
Opting for a strategy, deciding on an area in which to invest, and choosing your commercial property type are all gigantic topics that could have a book written about each of them. Our best suggestion here would be to first attend a commercial buy-to-let property event, and consider enrolling on a course or educational experience.
The Progressive Property Network is an ideal way to start learning and networking, as you can find events across the whole of the UK and begin your practical research immediately. Another way to continue your education is to take advantage of blogs like this, as well as to join the conversation on Facebook on the Progressive Property community page, where you will find thousands of property investors to chew through the fat alongside.
3. View the property
It’s amazing how appealing a deal can look on paper and in pictures, and how figures and appearances can be deceiving. Sellers from hundreds of miles away are likely to try and convince you of unmissable deals, rock-bottom prices, and why you need to invest immediately before so-and-so snaps it up instead, but if it is cheap, there’s generally a reason.
As you are touring the property, ask yourself, does it need refurbishment? Does it have damp? Are the windows or boiler in need of replacement? What is the surrounding area like? Is it mortgageable?
These considerations are only scraping the surface of all you should be investigating too, so put in your due diligence, and always, always, always view the property!
4. Check your figures
This goes for anything in business of course, but the amount of charges that it is easy to forget about makes assessing your costs before a prospective property investment even more essential – and this means before you even make an offer.
The saleable value should be a top consideration of course, but so should the price of the deposit and costs out on remortgage, rental values, coverage percentage for lending purposes, the ceiling values and the cost of refurbishment.
5. Make offers
You are entering the property investment game to get your hands on some commercial buy-to-let property, so don’t waste your professional life away waiting for the perfect deal that may never come.
Do the math and make offers (you can afford!) on all commercial properties that are structurally sound, promise good yield, and that are in your right area; you will find yourself surprised by the offers you make that are accepted.
6. Hire reliable third parties
Once you have purchased a suitable buy-to-let opportunity in which to invest your property funds, you’ll want to find tenants to move in at the earliest date possible. Doing this and managing tenants yourself can be a time-consuming, frustrating experience, so use leverage and hire a letting agent to help ensure that you don’t end up paying mortgage on an empty property.
Just bear in mind that a reliable letting agent is an essential element of being a successful property investor, but they aren’t all hard-working organisations that you can depend upon in every circumstance, and the first you contact may not be the company you stick with forever. Persevere.
As well as a good letting agent, you’ll need a good solicitor for conveyancing and legal issues. There are clear legal requirements involved with purchasing a property, so speak to your contacts, or get in touch via our Facebook page, and make sure you have a solicitor who will carry out their duties efficiently and in a way you can depend on.
A third reliable party you’ll need is a quality broker. A good broker will arrange a full mortgage application for you quickly and easily. A bad one will take months too long and lose you the deal.
7. Refurbish your property
If your new purchase needs refurbishment, make sure to get at least 3 different quotes, as prices can vary enormously: Mark was once quoted £800 by an architect, and £7,500 by another, for the same job.
Use good tradesmen and have them start as soon as you can after exchange. Start too early and your efforts could amount to nothing if the vendor pulls out, but start too late and you could be paying mortgage while the property is empty.
8. Complete the deal
Once the drawdown of your property funds takes place, your mortgage payments will begin. At this point, you can house your tenants and complete your refurbishment.
You will, of course, have been checking your costs consistently throughout the process, staying in the loop, chasing the deal and ensuring that all is running smoothly, so by this point you should be confident in your new property. You have now completed the lion’s share of the deal, but the next part is crucial.
9. House your tenants
If by this stage you have no tenants lined up, you need to be chasing your letting agent without mercy. Your property funds and cashflow sources are at stake here, and you need people to be covering your costs as soon as possible.
Once you have tenants who have confirmed their interest, you will need an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement signed between your tenants and you. A reliable letting agent will vet your tenants thoroughly, take their deposit and secure their upfront first month’s rent.
Even once the deal is sealed and the contracts signed, you will still need to ensure that your rents are coming in. Sadly, it isn’t an automatic process, and rent payments can still be random at times!
10. Keeping moving forwards
Revaluing your property comes next, and this should come from a second surveyor because you will be seeking a higher value this time. Once you have a higher value quoted and you have owned the property for 6 months, you’ll want to remortgage, regain your deposit, and find your next property using these new property funds.
This is a summary of some of the stages involved when purchasing a property and expanding your portfolio. If you would like more detailed breakdown of these processes, check out our bestselling book for more advanced property investment advice, Multiple Streams of Property Income.
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