More and more investors are looking to alternative investment options, and the largest single investment category is without a doubt property. Think about it for a second, there is a finite amount of land, and populations continue to grow. The simple equation of supply and demand means the property (in prime locations) will continue to be an excellent long term investment as demand outstrips supply.
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As wealth increases per capita people have more disposable income to invest. Historically the equity markets have in general provided excellent returns when compared with inflation, but equity is less tangible, companies can go bust in effect vaporising your money. On the other hand property, if brought in the right location as a freehold, will be there forever, an asset for retirement income and inheritance for your children and generations to come.
So, buy to let looks an attractive investment, but there are also things to be aware of. Firstly you need to consider the ratio of rental returns to the actual cost of having the property. These costs need to be properly considered and will include; mortgage interest payments; property insurance; property maintenance; and property management. Considering these costs means allowing an appropriate budget to cover at today's interest rates and any projected increases - as interest rates for most will be the largest cost for buy to let investment.
On the rental income side you also need to allow for periods where the property is vacant, e.g. in between tenancies. As a general rule assume one month per year, but this will vary according to the type of property and the local rental market.
An increasing number of private landlords are also starting to manage properties themselves, if done correctly they can save 10% to 15% of the rental revenues. But how easy is this achieve? Depending on your situation it can be fairly straight forward, the key is having the right contacts, these include property maintenance companies (ones that you can trust) and services to locate and check tenants.
Within the UK there are services to find tenants through websites such as Simple2rent which are totally free to use, also there are some very effective services to check tenant risk through analysing their credit history, and County Court Judgements, etc. An example of this is Credit-Check-Services. But there are other websites also, do some internet research and you will find them.
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