Buy to live or buy-to-let?

Making an investment in property is always a difficult subject.

You want to spend your money wisely when it comes to investments but with so much advice out there on where to put your cash, it’s a minefield of confusing tips.

Any property purchase is an investment, but many people make the decision whether to buy a forever home to live in and renovate as they see fit or buy a home and let it out to others.

For some, buying a home to let it out is a far more tangible option than putting their money into stocks and precious metals. Being able to physically enjoy looking for beach homes for sale and knowing you will be able to make a small income from the home can make you feel your investment in real estate is worth it, even if it’s a stressful journey to get there. Becoming a landlord does come with responsibilities – both moral and legal ones – and you have to be the person accountable for the home you’ve bought, even if you’re not living in it.

You don’t have to build a whole portfolio of homes to become a successful landlord. It’s a misconception that you can only have a business as a landlord if you have more than one property. Just one property let out to tenants gives you tax responsibilities, as well as the costs associated with repairs and making up a rental shortfall if your tenants let you down.

You are the person who will be taking any and all responsibility for the property in the long run, so it makes sense that you are fully insured and fully aware of the possible risks.

The choice to buy-to-let will ultimately depend on your goals for your home. If you have ideas of making big money off your home, then you are setting yourself up for a long road of waiting for it to happen. 

Buy-to-let is an expensive investment, there’s no denying that, but it can be a huge learning curve for you. The risks with buy-to-let properties vary from home to home but before you even embark on letting the property out you must get your figures right. Taking on a mortgage is a big deal, and if you aren’t sure on whether you can cover the mortgage should the tenants let you down, then you shouldn’t buy-to-let.

Your tenants are being trusted to take care of your house, but sometimes it can take a court order to get them out again if there are issues. You have to follow all procedures to the letter to ensure that both you and your tenants have a mutually comfortable arrangement.

Being a landlord is not an easy thing to do and it’s up to you to ensure that you follow the right rules and regulations for your particular area.

Speak to the bank before you make a large investment and triple check the numbers as you go to make sure you’re not putting yourself out of pocket in any way.