publication date: May 28, 2009
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
If you’ve never invested in property before, using a consultant makes sense. However if you’ve successfully invested by yourself over the last 10 years or more it might be difficult to understand why you need anyone else’s help.
However, the next ten years are not going to be as easy to make money in as the last ten. Valuing properties is a very difficult task, finding ones ‘below market value’ isn’t easy; knowing what tax you’ll have to pay when you cash in your investments isn’t straightforward and finding an area that won’t be oversupplied with properties to rent and buy is going to make buy to let investment harder and harder over the coming years.
So how can a buy to let consultant help you?
1. Work with an independent consultant that DOESN’T make money from you when you buy a property. Ideally pay them a day rate so that their advice is independent to you and your circumstances and not relying on commission from property purchases.
2. An independent BTL consultant should be able to value a property properly for you. No property has ‘one price’ but properties do have a maximum you should pay for them and an independent person is less likely to get ‘carried away’ with bidding for a property than you are.
3. Consultants should already have a good team of recommended suppliers that you can use and should also secure a discount for you, saving you money on their fees and time finding the right people from mortgage brokers to insurance and legal/tax specialists.
4. Having an independent person to work with when analysing a property to buy (or checking out what to do with your current portfolio) is helpful as they have no emotional attachment to the properties you own or want to buy. It will help you see the ‘wood from the trees’.
5. Any consultant worth their salt will keep you up to speed with legal changes and market reports that are relevant to you, even once you have paid them for their services.
A good consultant will not charge thousands of pounds for their services. They may be a good letting agent that gives advice free of charge or charges you hundreds of pounds for their services. They may charge up to a £500 for individual work, but give taster courses for less than £300 (usually for two people) and some even offer them for free.
The main thing to make sure is any consultant that you work with ONLY makes money when you do, or they charge via seminars and one to one consultancy only and don’t sell or rent any properties.
For more information and to find an independent property consultant, visit the Designs on Property website, contact us or visit the website of Belvoir Lettings.