Buy-to-Let Property Investing

Investing in Buy-to-Let Property is a great way to create a second income now and build a retirement pot for your future. But to own a successful Buy-to-Let means you must have a grip on not just the investment strategy (where to buy, who to rent to, etc.) but also the regulations and responsibilities you must adhere to as a landlord. This free ebook explains the top ten common mistakes to avoid with Buy-to-Let property.

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Buy-to-Let property has surged in popularity in recent decades, as it provides an attractive return over time that commonly out-performs any high street savings account. The UK property market provides an excellent opportunity to earn great returns, and Buy-to-Let is the most straight forward investment strategy to help you gain a piece of the pie.

This page contains helpful resources on all things Buy-to-Let, including a dedicated forum where you can ask questions to 65,000+ other landlords.

More and more people are looking to benefit from the lucrative returns of a buy-to-let investment strategy. Since June 2018, 234,000 buy-to-let mortgage loans were taken out within a 12 month period; resulting in over £36 billion being borrowed on buy-to-let mortgages.

In recent years, new legislation was brought in by the Government to try and free up property for first time buyers, making it trickier to purchase property with a buy-to-let mortgage. This being said, with the Government’s recent changes to stamp duty land tax, now is the time to take advantage of the reduced tax rates and a stamp duty holiday on properties up to the value of £500,000.

Read on to find out how to avoid the common mistakes as a first-time buy-to-let property investor, and how to build your buy-to-let portfolio.

How you can get started in buy-to-let property

As with any investment, you must do your homework. The easiest and quickest way to lose money is by rushing into an investment option. The money you make through a buy-to-let, or another property investment strategy, can influence yours and your families future, so it is only right that every option is considered carefully.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you begin your property search. In order to remain level-headed, it is crucial you do your investigation into each location you are considering, whether it’s local or further afield.

To help you assess possible locations for your buy-to-let, focus on these categories:

  • Regeneration
  • Local Economic Growth
  • Population
  • Transportation Links
  • Tenant Market Size and Demand


In your search for a location, looking for signs of regeneration is vital. Quite simply, if the local council is investing in an area, then the location’s popularity will increase. With their improvements, more people will be attracted to the area and will, subsequently, be looking for somewhere to live. This demand will also help to drive property and rental prices up in the near future.

When deciding on your location, make sure you have a thorough look round. Look for infrastructure projects and signs of new construction. Take the time to visit the local council’s website and read up on any local Government news. Check out any plans and try to get a feel for the scale of the regeneration.

Local Economic Growth

Similarly, it is always advised to sound out the local economy. The potential for economic growth, in addition to local regeneration, will influence the success of your investment.

Rather than wading aimlessly through the local council’s facts and figures, target your research on the following:

  • The level of growth in the area
  • Unemployment rates
  • The general trends in property prices (use websites such as which give you sold houses prices in specific locations)
  • The prevailing trends in the rental market (ask at least 3 local estate agents and look at how many rental properties are on the market, and at what prices)
  • The average levels of disposable income

Something else to consider is the number of new business start-ups in the local area. An increase in new start-ups suggests the local economy is on the up, and such businesses will only help with economic growth by providing a service and creating jobs.


By driving around an area and visiting its amenities, you can get a feel of its demographics. This information can be vital when you are choosing your target audience and marketing your buy-to-let; however, another factor to consider is an area’s population growth.

If an area is undergoing construction projections, make sure you find out what it is that is being built, as this could affect the overall demographics of a place.

For example, if the local university is expanding its campus, there will be a need for more student accommodation. When considering your buy-to-let property, it may be more profitable for you to consider an HMO (which is a perfect strategy for university students). Find out more about HMOs in our ebook here.

Alternatively, if the council is implementing a new primary school, more families will look to move into the catchment area. Again, this will change the target market of your property investment.

Types of tenant groups to consider, include:

  • Students
  • Young Professionals
  • Families
  • DSS tenants
  • Retired people

Whatever location you choose, being close to good transportation links will only increase the desirability of your rental property. 

Here’s a list of the Due Diligence you should check on any potential buy-to-let property you are considering:

  • Is it Freehold or Leasehold? (If Leasehold, what length is left on the lease? A short lease will need to be renewed and can be a costly task).
  • Are there any covenants on the property that would restrict you in renting the property out?
  • If you are planning to do any works to the property, are there any restrictions in place on the house, or the road, that would prevent you from doing this? (Listed buildings often have restrictions on building works).
  • Are you paying the right price for the property? A good Yield is considered anything from around 6% upwards. You can use our free Yield calculator here.
  • Is it structurally sound? Paying for a structural survey before you sign on the dotted line can be money well spent.

There can be a lot of hidden costs with buy-to-let property investments, and many investors can get caught out. 

When purchasing a buy-to-let, it is essential to remember you will still need to pay an extra 3% in stamp duty on top of the revised rates for each band up until 31 March 2021. Similarly, make sure you are aware and factor in all the different taxes you will be liable to pay — e.g. if your property is standing empty, you will be responsible for paying the council tax.

If you purchase a flat or apartment for rent, you will need to consider the monthly service charge that all landlords must pay. Also, you may need to make provision for ground rent charges. This annual fee comes into play when the property is under leasehold and is only relevant to apartments. You are entirely within your right to ask for a breakdown of the service charge, so you can further understand where the money is going.

Here’s a breakdown of the expenses and day-to-day costs you need to consider when investing in a buy-to-let property:

  • Letting agent fees (if you are not managing the property directly yourself)
  • Redecoration fees (to get the property up to scratch before you can rent it out)
  • Landlord insurance
  • Building insurance
  • Annual safety checks (on the boiler, electrics, etc)
  • General building maintenance (it’s always best to keep some rental income aside to cover wear and tear on the property that will need to be fixed during a tenancy period)
  • Income tax (payable on your rental income, minus day to day running costs)

Download our Buy-to-let ebook for more detailed guidance on costs associated with a buy-to-let property investment from the top of this page.

Once you have decided upon your location and found a suitable property or property development, it is now time to find your tenants.


On top of traditional advertising methods, such as a ‘To Let’ board and an advert in the local paper, the internet now plays a significant role in the rental market.

To catch the attention of prospective tenants, you will have to ensure your property is visible and has an online presence. When scouring through rental properties, the majority of people are most interested in the price, location, and the photographs or video; therefore, keep any additional text in your advert brief and to the point.

When advertising online, the more websites you use, the larger your outreach. Social media platforms, for example, Facebook Marketplace, is also growing in popularity.

If you’re planning on taking on a buy-to-let property on top of your day job, you may need to consider a reputable management company.

If this is your first buy-to-let property investment, using an agent to help you manage and arrange your tenants is an excellent way to gain experience. By using their expertise, and exploiting their extensive exposure, your property can be rented out straight away. Moreover, by using a professional company, you have the security of tenant referencing as well.

With most management companies, their costs are negotiable. Instead of taking their first figure, usually around 10%, push them to reduce their fee to 5-6%. This reduction of the expenses will significantly increase the success of your investment.

By establishing good relations with a management company early on, if you decide to purchase another property, they can help you save money in the future.

For seasoned investors looking to increase your buy-to-let portfolio, it is always recommended to talk to a specialist finance broker to understand your property finance options better. A possible alternative is to purchase your buy-to-let properties using a limited company name and apply for portfolio mortgages.

Buy-to-Let Portfolio Mortgages

When you own multiple buy-to-let properties (usually a minimum of four), a portfolio mortgage enables you to keep all your buy-to-let mortgages under the same mortgage protection. A portfolio mortgage, allows all your mortgages to be managed by one lender with one monthly payment and one statement for all.

If you’d like to find out more information, join the conversation on buy-to-let property investments on our chat forum today to get advice from fellow investors, industry experts and landlords.

Watch almost 2 hours of invaluable tips and advice for landlords...

UK landlords faced unprecedented challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic, with financial and practical challenges with their tenants and rental properties. In this Chat Show episode, we spoke to Buy-to-Let and Property Finance expert Paul Mahoney about how life has changed for UK landlords and how they can better protect themselves in the future, should similar events occur. This is essential viewing for all landlords.

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A 1-2-1 Mentorship will help you build a Buy-to-Let portfolio faster!

If you have ambitions to build a successful Buy-to-Let property portfolio but have questions about getting the right finance in place to allow you to scale up, or perhaps you are struggling to choose a location, or maybe you would like to create a diverse portfolio that includes a mix of HMOs, buy-to-lets and more… then you would benefit from a 1-2-1 mentorship with Property Forum’s CEO Nicholas Wallwork. Find out more using the link below.

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