Q.I am thinking of buying a buy-to-let property in central London. What type of property makes the best rental and which tenant market should I be going after?
A.We tend to advise our investment clients to opt for a two double bedroom, two bathroom configuration for a rental investment. This set-up will appeal to a wide tenant market: professional sharers, but also single professionals who want the luxury of a second bedroom. Three bedrooms are to be avoided because whilst you will inevitably end up paying more for the property, three beds are often too small for families and too big for sharers/singles. Other things to consider are proximity to transport links and shops. Buildings with porters will also attract a premium, and will help you get a corporate tenant. This is the best type of tenant, as corporate lets tend to be secure and lengthy, with the company often footing the rent bill. The corporate tenant market is very strong in central London at the moment, but in order to secure such a tenant, you must ensure that the property is professionally managed during the tenancy, as many companies will insist upon this.
Q.I have been looking to buy a two bedroom property in South Kensington for around £800,000 for the last six months, and I have not found anything suitable. However, since I live in London, I am reluctant to spend money on a buying agent. What the benefits are of working with a buying agent?
A. This is becoming a more and more common scenario for us at Black Brick due to incredibly low stock levels, especially in central London. The difficulty in this kind of market is that there are many buyers competing for very little good quality stock. To be in with a chance, you need to have the time to build relationships with estate agents to ensure you are the first person they call when they take on a new property. Most buyers don’t have the time to do this, and this is where a good buying agent can make all the difference. Because estate agents know us, and know that we represent clients who are committed to buying, we are often the first to hear about properties before they come onto the open market. This means we can alert our clients to suitable properties before anyone else, and enable them to buy a property without it ever appearing on the open market. Through our extensive connections, we also have access to properties that are entirely off market. A good buying agent should also be able to negotiate you a great deal, because we know the market and prices, so we can negotiate aggressively and ensure our clients end up getting not only the right property, but acquiring it at the best possible price.