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Should I sell buy to let property?

26th January 2016

To assess this, it’s always a good idea to take a logical approach and weigh the pros and cons when compared to more traditional investments. With that in mind, we’ve laid out some of the main considerations below.

Management Costs

Managing one or several properties often has costs attached, whether in your own time or through employing others to deal with issues in your stead. Calculate these costs, and add them your cons column so you can calculate the real yield.

Inability to Spread Risk

Unlike shares or other traditional investments, property is an expensive investment to make initially. A more traditional investment portfolio can be spread among various sources to minimise risk. If a few fail to perform, the overall totals don’t suffer too greatly.

Property lacks this defence mechanism, as even the smallest properties cost vast amounts of money, and therefore cannot be easily split.

What’s more, if all your savings are invested in property, you are at far more risk of changes to the property market than those who choose to split their investments between property and other, more traditional options.

Not Easily Liquidated

Property is very much a long term investment. Not only are there costs attached to the purchase and sale, but the procedure of doing so is long and drawn out, taking weeks, if not months.

On the other hand, investments in shares can simply be sold immediately, and the potential loss of selling at an inopportune moment is minimised by the aforementioned spreading of assets.

Additional Costs

On top of management costs, there are also other additional costs to consider. Solicitors are needed for purchase and sale. Building surveyors are a wise investment to ensure what you are buying isn’t damaged in some way. The list goes on. Make sure you calculate these costs, and add them to your management costs, in order to see your true margins.

No Tenant? No Income.

This point is simple enough. With no tenant, you will receive no rent, and therefore no income. This point is especially important to those with mortgages on their properties, as you may not have a tenant, but the lender will still expect to be paid.

Fluctuating Property Value

Just bear in mind that rental income isn’t the only way your investment will grow, as the price of the property is often the true investment. Be sure to include it in your calculations when comparing profits to costs. Although your property has the opportunity to grow in value, equally it has the potential to fall in value. This should be taken in to consideration alongside your other pros and cons when considering which type of investment is most suitable for you.

Repairs and Maintenance

Finally, it’s important to remember that property is not indestructible, and will not it fix itself. You will need to regularly hire tradesmen to ensure each property is kept up to standard in order to not only appease your tenants, but also maintain the value of the property.

Building defects may not be obvious to a tenant, but when you bought the house you most likely hired a surveyor. Many buyers will do the same, and not repairing the property before a defect gets out of hand can cost you more when it comes time to sell.

Compare Pros to Cons, Profits to Costs

If all these cons weigh too heavily on your mind (or your wallet), then more traditional investments may be advisable.

Whatever you decide, if you need to move your existing investments around, or simply want a more in depth conversation about your own specific arrangements, don’t hesitate to call or email. We always aim to get you the best return for your investments, but your peace of mind is important too.

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Gale and Phillipson Investment Services Ltd, Gale and Phillipson Advisory Services Ltd, Gale and Phillipson General Financial Services Ltd are all authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference Numbers 431387, 142752, 195080) and trade under the name Gale and Phillipson. Gale and Phillipson (SE London) Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference Number 195522) and trades as Indigo Financial Advisors. Registered in England and Wales numbers 05409822, 02232959, 03751076 and 04077157. Registered office: Gallowfields House, Fairfield Way, Richmond, DL10 4TB.

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