IT’S time to invest your cash in a local Sidcup rental property. Whether it’s your first dabble as a landlord or you have an expanding property portfolio, there are always some key questions to ask the estate agent.
By law, an estate agent must tell the truth and you need to know what you are buying – after all you want to make money not spend it on a load of nasty surprises. So ask the obvious:
- Is there anything you should know? Are there noisy neighbours or is a bypass planned to run by the back garden?
- Check exactly what is included in the sale – will you have to immediately rush to Ikea for new light fittings and white goods?
- Has the house been for sale for ages? You could get a lower price – which means more profit.
- What about major works? Has the house been extended or had attic conversions and have they got the permissions for these? What about major repairs? You do not want to have to rebuild the gable wall due to subsidence. Linked to this ask about the boiler, electrical systems and plumbing and drains – all big ticket items if you need to replace them.
- For older properties – is it listed or in a conservation area? Your potential for development could be severely restricted.
- What about council tax bands – a key part of any tenant’s outgoings so is it right for your market? Ask about the general area – is it good for schools and transport? These can be key selling features for the right renters.
- For Leasehold properties – ask to see latest information on maintenance charges and ground rent currently being paid. Are there any future works planned for the building? Is there a sinking fund in place for any large works planned? When was the communal roof last repaired/replaced and when was the last time the communal areas were decorated (internally/externally?). These questions will help you foresee any expenditure which could affect your cash flow and profit. Finally make sure you know how many years are remaining on the lease and if the owner knows what costs might be involved in case you wanted to extend the lease shortly after buying the property. Lease extensions can often run into tens of thousands of pounds so it is vital you consider how short the lease will be if you decide to sell your investment at a later date.
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Speak to me: If you`d like to have a chat about anything in this article or property related, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I`d love to hear from you.
Paul Long (Director & Author of The Sidcup Property Blog)