Author: Zoopla.co.ukproperty news author Frances McDonald has worked in the property industry for 30 years and has helped to compile reports on housing market trends and home values. Here she looks at the best ways to find inexpensive investment properties.
Despite the ups and downs of the housing market in recent years, investing in bricks and mortar is still well worthwhile if you can get hold of the right property at the right price. And there are still bargains to be had if you know where to look – be that repossessions, derelict or simply empty homes for sale that the seller is keen to get rid of.
We all remember the headlines from the US about its sub-prime mortgage crisis that peaked back in 2008, and the UK, while hit to a lesser extent, has also seen an increase in homeowners defaulting on their loans. To recover their lost money, banks are keen to offload these foreclosed properties and they can often be snapped up below market rate.
While a private vendor may spend time and money on doing their property up before going to market, the banks are keen to offload them as soon as possible so will take a lower price for a quick sale. There is also the advantage of there being no chain to complicate any deal.
Repossessed properties are commonly found on sale at auction so search for local auction houses or check notices in local papers for upcoming events in your area. Find out as much as you can about any property that looks like it may offer a return and budget realistically for any work that may be required.
Another avenue is to look at is developers who may have overstretched themselves in the house-building boom and have been left with properties that they are struggling to sell.
Empty homes offer similar advantages. They are often available following a death and family members are generally keen to offload them as soon as possible so can be susceptible to a mutually beneficial offer for a quick, smooth, chainless sale.
Longer term empty homes are also worth considering. Check out EmptyHomes.com, a charity set up to highlight the huge numbers of homes lying empty across England. The charity is keen to see as many of these properties brought back into use as soon as possible and it could be a useful resource to the committed investor.
Once you have the details of empty properties that you may be interested in, a bit of research may allow you to locate the owner who could be looking for an easy way to get rid of their property that isn’t making them any money as it stands. You won’t always be able to clinch a deal this way but there could be some gems here that you wouldn’t find through more traditional routes such as estate agents.
Always remember that no matter how cheap a property seems, you do have to decide whether any potential downsides that have prevented others from making the most of it will similarly hold you back. While you may be able to rebuild, redecorate and spruce up the garden, you can’t change a property’s location so do tread carefully and do all your homework before investing in any kind of property, be it repossessed, part of a failing development or lying empty long term.