Property investment for beginners
Are you a first-time property investor purchasing your first investment property? The entire property investment process can be rather daunting at times, especially for newcomers, so we have created this guide to walk you through all you need to know when it comes to property investment for beginners.
Property investment for beginners: What is property investment?
The concept of property investment can be daunting to a first-time property investor, but to put it simply, property investment is the purchase of a property with the intention of earning a return on your investment through rental income and/or future resale of the property. Here at Knight Knox, we specialise in buy-to-let property investment, which is the purchase of a property with the intention of renting it out to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) instead of living there as an owner-occupier.
Should I invest in UK property?
For the longest time, UK property has been an excellent investment class that has continued to go from strength to strength, year after year. In the 12 months to December 2022, house prices in the UK increased by 9.8% whilst rents increased by an impressive 4.2% – the largest annual increase since the Office for National Statistics began recording rental value data.
Looking forward over the next few years, both house prices and rental values are set to continue to grow – albeit at a slightly slower pace when it comes to the former. According to JLL, house prices across the UK are set to increase by 8.9% in the 5 years to 2027, whilst rents are set to surpass this and increase by an incredible 15.9% in the same period.
This continued house price and rental growth across the country and positive market forecast for the next few years all showcase the potential of property investment and have resulted in an influx of those looking to take their first step into property investment. So, what do you need to consider as a first-time property investor?
What do I need as a first-time property investor?
When it comes to investing in UK property, there are a few forms of documentation that are required before you can move forward with the purchase to comply with UK anti-money laundering and fraud laws. These checks will usually be conducted by solicitors, banks and the agent you purchased through. These documents include:
- Proof of identity – your passport or driving license is ideal
- Proof of address – a bank statement, utility bill or driving licence is required
- Source of funds – Payslips, tax returns and proof of benefit are among the documents that can be used as proof of source of funds
These documents may be requested at numerous stages throughout the investment. So, it is important to have them ready from the start in order to avoid any unnecessary delays in the process.
Property investment for beginners: What to consider for your first investment property:
First things first, you need to set a budget for your investment. Take a look at your personal finances and determine how much money you can afford and want to spend on your first investment property. The budget you set will massively impact both the type of property and the locations in which you can invest. One of the key factors is deciding on whether you purchase with cash or if you need finance, this will also determine what company you can purchase from and the type of property.
Whilst choosing what location you want to invest in can be one of the more exciting aspects of the property investment process, when it comes to buy-to-let it isn’t the be-all or end-all. The main thing to consider when it comes to investing is the tenant demand in the area and the rental yields, so instead of setting your heart on a specific location, we would recommend getting in touch with a property consultant and asking them to find you a property that meets your investment goals as opposed to in a particular area. Take a look at our guide to some of the best buy-to-let areas here.
In addition to deciding on the location, a key feature you will need to make a decision on is the type of property to invest in. Do you want to invest in a 3-bedroom house, student accommodation or a 2-bedroom apartment with a balcony for example? Apartments are usually much more sought after when looking towards a city centre, whereas houses are more favoured in suburban areas, and student housing is extremely popular when in close proximity to popular universities.
Off-plan or completed?
When it comes to property investment, many immediately think of investing in a completed apartment. However, off-plan investment continues to be one of the most popular asset classes in the UK. Off-plan investment refers to the purchase of an apartment or house prior to its practical completion. They are usually cheaper than completed properties, and also offer the appeal of a brand-new apartment when advertising your property on the rental market upon completion.
Once you have decided where to invest, the type of property, and whether or not you want to invest in a completed or off-plan property, the next step is to determine how much you will need to make from the investment in order to make it profitable. It’s important to keep in mind that there are more than just the initial costs to consider for an investment property, such as maintenance costs, management fees and what you will do if you enter a void period.
It’s important to look into tenant demand for the type of property and location you’re investing in, to determine how much you can make. Compare similar types of properties in the area and see what they are rented out for to give yourself a good idea of the price you can charge. Also, keep an eye on how quickly these properties are removed from the market thanks to a let being agreed upon in order to gauge an idea of the demand for similar properties.
Free property investment for beginners guide – perfect for first-time property investors!
How much money do I need to start investing?
The answer to this question depends on a multitude of factors. How much is the property you are looking at? Are you purchasing the property using a mortgage or cash? Where is the property located? All of these factors will affect the starting amount you need to invest in property. To get a general idea, the best thing to do would be to get in touch with a property consultant today who will be able to find an investment suited to your needs.
What costs can I expect?
There is no definitive answer to this question as there are a number of factors that you will need to consider such as whether you want to manage your property yourself, whether you will have mortgage repayments and whether you’re buying a freehold or leasehold. However, there are some fixed costs that you can definitely expect – these include Stamp Duty for residential properties and solicitor’s fees. It is also advisable to put aside contingency money for maintenance on your property and void periods.
What are the risks associated?
Like all investment ventures, buy-to-let has a few risks that you will need to consider before you invest. First and foremost, the housing market is not protected against external negative factors – for example, if there was a financial crash, this could have an impact on the property market and the value of your property may fall. You will also need to rely on high demand from tenants to have a steady income, however, the last few years have showcased how resilient the UK property market is amidst economic uncertainty.
Property investment for beginners: Steps to buying your first investment property
Here at Knight Knox, we make investing in property simple. Our investment process can be broken down into 5 simple steps:
Step one: Discuss your requirements with your property consultant.
The first step in investing in anything is deciding what your priorities and requirements are. Get in touch with us today and one of our dedicated property consultants will discuss all of your requirements to get an idea of which investment is best for you.
Step two: Your consultant will assist you in finding the perfect investment opportunity.
After talking through your requirements, it’s time for you to pick your perfect property. From choosing your preferred location and size to choosing the orientation – there are a plethora of decisions to be made and we will be happy to help you through them all.
Step three: Pay a reservation deposit to secure your apartment.
After finding your perfect property, you will be expected to pay a deposit to reserve it and take it off the market. At Knight Knox, we require a reservation fee of £5,000.
Step four: Notify your dedicated aftersales consultant of your chosen solicitor.
You must appoint a solicitor to carry out legal work on your behalf. If you are unsure of which firm to use, Knight Knox has a panel of recommended firms that are well-versed in the intricacies of buy-to-let property investment. Once you have decided on which solicitor to use, they will require you to sign an instruction letter to confirm the appointment.
Step five: Exchange of contracts will be required within 21 days of reservation.
UK property statistics
Annual house prices in the UK have increased by 9.8% in the 12 months to December 2022 (HM Land Registry, 2023)
UK rents rose by 4.2% in the 12 months to December 2022 (ONS, 2023)
House prices in the UK are forecast to increase by 8.9% in the 2023-2027 period. (JLL, 2022)
Rental values in the UK are forecast to increase by an impressive 15.9% in the 2023-2027 period. (JLL, 2022)