How To Invest in Property: Top Tips For Property Investment

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Investing in property for beginners

Property investment is one of the most popular investment types, especially in the UK, where the stable property market is often considered a worthwhile long-term investment. This is providing that all of the key considerations have been made and research has been conducted, to maximise return on investment. Nevertheless, with the right knowledge and advice to guide you through the process, investment in property can be a great option for anyone looking for ways to invest their money.

If property investment interests you but you’re unsure about where to begin, what steps to take and what considerations need to be made, then our top tips are the ideal starting point. Whether you’re looking for a single investment or you’d like to grow an impressive portfolio, following these tips will put you on the right path to success. They are designed to prepare you for the journey, giving you a good foundation of knowledge and advice to carry forward, so that you can feel confident and equipped when it comes to investing your money.

We appreciate the importance of getting it right when it comes to property investment, as a successful investment can provide great benefits. We are proud to invest our own money and time into creating places for people to call home, through a careful design process, thorough planning and effective delivery. These developments – ranging from complete to off-plan, to buy-to-let opportunities – are then available to investors, directly from the developer. Our long-term, careful approach to property development has been the key to success, and so we understand what really matters when it comes to investing money into property.

It’s important to make sure that you have made all of the key considerations before choosing to invest. These key factors include the location, the type of property that you’d like to invest in, and any additional costs or financial implications that you need to be aware of, such as mortgage costs and any tax-related consequences. Whatever questions you have about real estate investing and whatever you need to know, we’ll cover it here in this guide to property investment.

TIP 1: Grow Your Knowledge

If you’re a beginner, it’s important that you take the time to understand the basics of property investment, before deciding to invest. The property market continues to evolve, and so it’s important that you have a solid foundation of knowledge that will help you to keep up with, and understand, these changes. Investing in a property is a big step, and so you need to make sure that you understand what it entails, and whether you’d make a suitable investor. You should expand your knowledge by reading plenty of information on the subject and you may also find it helpful to see an advisor. They can provide you with impartial money advice and more useful information regarding your specific options that are suited to your financial situation. Here is some information to get you started:

What is property investment?

Real estate investment involves purchasing a property with the intention of making a profit, either by selling it or renting it out. The investment usually also involves the ownership and management of the property, as well as the rental or sale of it, depending on whether you choose buy-to-let or buy-to-sell. It can be done on any scale, from owning one property for a profit to building a business from these investments. Investment properties may be owned by a group of investors, an individual, or a business. They may also be used as a long-term or short-term investment, although long-term is usually considered the most successful.

What is an investment property?

An investment property is purchased to generate income, and therefore a return on investment (ROI). This ROI is usually from regular rental payments, by renting the property out, or by selling it once it has grown in value. There are many different types of property that people choose to purchase, but the most common is buy-to-let, which also has an array of options. Another strategy that investors also use is buy-to-sell, where they buy a property, increase the value, and then sell it.

Why invest in property?

Investing your money into property, especially in the UK, can provide a range of benefits, such as a positive cash flow – which can provide greater financial stability – and capital gains. This passive income can also help you to save for milestones, like your retirement, and can allow you to enjoy tax deductions, where applicable. Because the population continues to grow and living trends suggest an increasing demand for rental homes, investing in the buy-to-let market appears to be a worthwhile investment. However, whilst it’s easy to get drawn in by the advantages of renting, you should consider the risks that are involved too.

How to get into property investment

If you’re seriously considering investing in a property, you should understand the process that lies ahead. You’ll need to organise your finances, understanding the costs that may occur throughout the process before you even invest your money. You should also assess whether you can afford to invest in property – by looking at your income and expenditure, and seeking impartial money advice, if you’d like some further information – as well as whether you could get a mortgage for the property. You’d then need to do all of the necessary research, to decide on your strategy and location, before putting an offer in and exchanging the contacts, before the property is yours.

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TIP 2: Be Aware Of The Risks

When you’re assessing whether property investment is right for you, it’s easy to get carried away by considering only the benefits of the investment. However, it’s just as important to be aware of the risks, so that you are fully informed and can prepare for any challenges along the way. You can mitigate these risks and potentially avoid challenges completely, with careful planning in the early stages of your investment and with a clear strategy throughout. This involves seeking the best opportunity for long-term success and the least risk, researching high-growth locations for investments, and monitoring the real estate market for any changes that may impact your investment.

When done correctly, property investment can be extremely rewarding and beneficial for various reasons, especially for your financial position. As with any investment though, there are risks involved. You should not only consider these risks but also the ways that you can avoid or mitigate them. Some of these risks may be specific to the investor, based on their own financial circumstances, but some general risks for all investors include:

Tying your money up

By over-investing in a property, your money will then be ‘tied up’ here. You may think that investing a large amount of money into a property is a good idea, but this can be highly problematic if the housing market slows, or if you need the funds back, as it’s extremely difficult to get this money back if you need it. Selling a property takes time, and therefore so will getting your money back. To mitigate this risk, you should consider diversifying your investment portfolio with different types of investments, such as bonds and stock and shares.

Property prices

Property prices can fluctuate, depending on the property market and the demand for rental properties. As a result, the value of your property can fluctuate and can therefore decrease in value. You can overcome this by remaining patient and riding out the losses, to earn a profit again when the housing market is in a better state and your property price increases. However, this risk can be mitigated or avoided in the early stages of planning an investment, by carrying out in-depth research into forecasts of the property market. Buying cheaply is also another way to lessen the risk, especially short-term.

Finding the right tenant 

Whilst the success of property investment is mainly dependent on the investor, tenants can also impact the investment. Unreliable tenants that delay paying their rent, or don’t pay altogether, will inevitably impact your return on investment and your cash flow. That’s why it’s important to carry out thorough checks on prospective tenants, to ensure that they are reliable. You can carry out these checks, or if you have a property management company that provides services to you, they may carry out these screenings for you. Another way to avoid this issue is to include a clause in the tenancy agreement, as a deterrent, that states that tenants will be subject to late payment fees if they fail to pay their rent on time.

TIP 3: Develop A Detailed Understanding Of What Property Investment Involves

Whilst growing your knowledge is vital to understanding what property investment is and how to get involved, it is also important to understand what property investment involves, both in the planning stage and thereafter, when you have secured the investment property. This understanding will help you to establish whether property investment is right for you and, if it is, it will help you to prepare for what lies ahead.

What does investing in property involve?

Rules and regulations

Regardless of the type of investment property you purchase, you will need to learn about the various rules and legal requirements that investors must follow, to ensure that you are complying with the relevant regulations. This includes keeping on top of your finances and making any necessary tax payments or declaring any changes. How your taxes are impacted by your investment will depend on whether you make a freehold or a leasehold property purchase. 

As for other legal requirements, if you have a buy-to-let property, you will need to be familiar with, and uphold, any relevant tenancy laws whilst renting out your property. If you work with a property management company, they may guide you through these rules and regulations to ensure that you are compliant. 

Finding the right time to invest

It’s important to closely monitor the property market to determine the right time to invest. Investing in a property when the market is performing well is a crucial step in setting yourself up for success. Currently, investing in the UK property market appears to be a worthwhile investment – property prices appear to be affordable and are expected to increase over the next few years.

As well as monitoring the property market, you must also consider the right time to invest, on a personal level. You should ensure that you have enough money to invest and that you are financially stable. Organising and assessing your finances before investing in a property is crucial to understanding whether you can afford to invest.

Finding the right property to invest in

You shouldn’t rush the process of investing in a property. Spending time researching and deciding on the right property to invest in will pay off. You should consider your finances and your property budget, as well as the best location to purchase a property in. You can find more information about finding the right location further on in this guide, to help you make the right decision. 

When viewing potential properties to invest in, you should also take into account the needs of tenants,  if you’re investing in a buy-to-let property. Choosing a property that will fulfil the needs of your tenants will ensure that you can attract the ideal tenants and earn a high rental yield. Carrying out market research can also help you to determine whether you will get a good return on your investment in the future.

Property management

Once you have secured your investment property, you will need to consider property management options. You may have the time and the resources to manage the property yourself, but many landlords – especially those with growing portfolios – will work with a property management company, which will carry out various tasks for them. This may include arranging repairs and maintenance for the property, as well as carrying out checks on tenants and chasing rental payments. You can find out more about property management later in this guide.

If property investment interests you but you’re unsure about where to begin, what steps to take and what considerations need to be made, then our top tips are the ideal starting point. Whether you’re looking for a single investment or you’d like to grow an impressive portfolio, following these tips will put you on the right path to success. They are designed to prepare you for the journey, giving you a good foundation of knowledge and advice to carry forward, so that you can feel confident and equipped when it comes to investing your money.

We appreciate the importance of getting it right when it comes to property investment, as a successful investment can provide great benefits. We are proud to invest our own money and time into creating places for people to call home, through a careful design process, thorough planning and effective delivery. These developments – ranging from complete to off-plan, to buy-to-let opportunities – are then available to investors, directly from the developer. Our long-term, careful approach to property development has been the key to success, and so we understand what really matters when it comes to investing money into property.

It’s important to make sure that you have made all of the key considerations before choosing to invest. These key factors include the location, the type of property that you’d like to invest in, and any additional costs or financial implications that you need to be aware of, such as mortgage costs and any tax-related consequences. Whatever questions you have about real estate investing and whatever you need to know, we’ll cover it here in this guide to property investment.

TIP 4: Plan Your Strategy

When conducting research into property investment, you should consider which strategy would work best for you. The most common strategy amongst investors tends to be buy-to-let but there are many other types of investment, some of which are more specialised and niche than others. The main two strategies to consider are buy-to-let and buy-to-sell, which are usually the preferred choice amongst investors.

Once you have decided on this part of the strategy, you must then consider the type of property that you would like to invest in. The main types of investment to consider are residential or commercial properties, both of which have their own benefits and risks.

Buy-to-let or buy-to-sell

A buy-to-let investment strategy refers to the purchase of a property with the purpose of renting it out to tenants. By renting it out, the investor – or the landlord – will then receive an income from the rental payments that the tenant makes each month. This strategy is one of the most popular given its potential long-term benefits, such as a consistent cash flow and passive income. 

Many investors choose buy-to-let as their strategy because there is currently a demand for rental properties, as the UK rental market is thriving. You may wish to target a specific type of tenant within your strategy, such as students, families, or young couples. By targeting a specific type of tenant, this may determine your choice of location and property. By cashing in on the UK rental market, which is thriving, investors can enjoy the benefits they reap as a result of the rental demand and rental yields.

As for buy-to-sell – or property development – investors will purchase a property for the purpose of selling it, for a profit. When the property has been purchased, investors will then spend time transforming the property with improvements and refurbishments. This will then increase the property value, allowing investors to make a profit once the home is sold. 

This strategy is sometimes also referred to as ‘house flipping’ or ‘fix and flip’, especially if investors make this a long-term strategy where they consistently purchase properties, transform them and sell them. The principle of this strategy is straightforward, but there are many considerations to be made. You must still carry out research, to determine the best location and market conditions. You then have to budget effectively throughout the project, prioritising the work that needs to be done, and must find a suitable mortgage product for the property.

When it comes to deciding which strategy is best for you, you must consider your long-term goals and the purpose of your investment. To generate a profit quickly, buy-to-sell is considered a worthy investment. However, for long-term benefits and growth, as well as a consistent cash flow, many investors favour buy-to-let as it allows you to earn a rental income over a longer period of time. As for buy-to-sell, you’ll only make a profit once the sale of the property has been completed.

Residential or commercial property

Whilst investing in a residential property is usually the first thing that potential investors think of when thinking about getting into property investment, commercial real estate does offer another way to earn an income and a profit. Both types of property have their own benefits and challenges, and potential investors should spend time considering these to make an informed decision about the type of property they want to invest in.

Commercial property usually refers to hotels, offices, warehouses, retail stores and any other property that is used for non-residential purposes. Most companies that occupy a commercial property prefer to rent it out, which gives investors an opportunity to capitalise on the demand. Regarding the benefits, investors can often enjoy lower stamp duty taxes with a commercial investment and rental payments that are often paid in advance. Commercial properties also come with longer leases, meaning that investors can have peace of mind that they will receive a steady, consistent rental income.

However, there are risks to consider with commercial real estate. For example, mortgage products for this type of property are much harder to find, and they tend to be more costly than standard residential mortgages. As such, your additional costs may be greater with this investment. If a commercial property becomes vacant, it’s also harder to find a new occupant when compared to a residential property. When a property is vacant, you receive no rental income, which means that you may have periods of time where you do not see any financial benefits.

Generally, investing in a residential property is considered cheaper than investing in a commercial property, yet you can still generate profit. However, tenants in residential properties tend to sign shorter leases, often with break clauses. This may pose a risk to the investor and their cash flow. Landlords of residential properties tend to be much more involved with their tenants – the tenants live in the property and it is their home, so landlords have greater involvement in their lives. The responsibilities of organising repairs and maintenance usually fall with the landlord too, whereas tenants of commercial property usually have to organise this. However, this all depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement and it may differ case by case.

Overall, both commercial and residential properties can provide several long-term benefits, providing that careful research is conducted before investors make a decision regarding their strategy. As with any investment, they are subject to demand and the state of the market, and so both pose their own risks and benefits.

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TIP 5: Consider The Type Of Property To Invest In

Once you have decided on your strategy, you must research the different types of property to invest in. This also includes deciding between an off-plan or a refurbished property, both of which offer various advantages and risks. It is therefore important that you research these aspects of your investment thoroughly, before deciding which approach to take.

New builds, off-plan and refurbished properties

Investing in a new build allows investors to capitalise on the demand for these types of properties – interest is hitting a record high. Rightmove has reported that there has been a 35% increase in new build enquiries when compared to the previous record. This interest has also increased due to the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which helps buyers to secure a new build property. For investors, the benefits of a new build include that it’s cheaper to run, as they have been built in accordance with the latest environmental standards. These properties also have a 10-year warranty, providing greater reassurance and peace of mind.

Off-plan properties are new builds that haven’t yet been completed. As a result, investors will buy the property before it is fully completed. Off-plan properties are popular investments as many potential tenants like new builds, and therefore there is a demand that investors can capitalise on. 

The investor can enjoy all of the benefits that a new build offers, as well as additional benefits. Properties bought off-plan tend to be discounted, and their market value can increase from the sale to the time of completion, making it possible for investors to earn capital appreciation before the house has even been occupied. However, you must ensure that you buy your off-plan property from a reputable and reliable developer to minimise risks and issues. Our residential developments – The Viadux and Fifty5ive – are excepted to be in high demand for those looking to invest in off-plan real estate.

As for refurbished properties, these are usually older buildings that have been refurbished and renovated to be more modern and appealing. They are usually favoured by investors that enjoy renovations and refurbishments, and see their investment as a property development project. Older homes do still have several benefits that new builds may not offer. For example, older properties can often be more spacious and have more character. However, buying an older property with the intention of renovating it and completing any repairs or maintenance may, inevitably, come at a greater cost.

TIP 6: Research The Right Location For Your Property Investment

When it comes to deciding on where to invest, there are several considerations to make, to ensure that you select the right location for your property investment. Picking the right location is key to attracting the right tenants and earning a high return on your investment. These considerations are also key for property developers too when planning where to build homes.

Whilst London is usually considered a popular location for property investors, both investors and developers are now recognising the potential and the opportunities that are present in other major cities in the UK, including Manchester and the surrounding areas of Salford and Greater Manchester. Here, we’ve outlined what to look for in a location, as well as the benefits that Greater Manchester can offer to property investors.

What to look for in a location

When deciding on a location it’s important to consider the available data, that shows any relevant trends and forecasts such as house prices and rental yields. It’s also vital that you balance your property goals with the needs of potential tenants. As such, you should avoid buying in a location solely because it suits you – conducting research into the right location will pay dividends.  Here are some things to consider:

Similarly, potential tenants are likely to be drawn to areas that have plenty of job opportunities and some may even want an area that has a range of schools to choose from. The latter will depend on your target demographic though, as it is only really applicable to families or those that are looking to start a family.

  • The distance between you and the property – This is a personal preference and for those that have their property managed externally – by estate agents or a property management company – it may not be an important factor. However, many first-time investors fail to consider the distance between themselves and the property. If you are managing the property yourself, it may be best to focus on investment opportunities that are closer to home. Then, you don’t have to travel too far whenever there’s an issue, or whenever you need to visit the property.
  • Rental yields in the area – Analysing data that provides an overview of the best buy-to-let locations in the UK, based on rental yields and other data, will help you to make an informed decision about where to invest. A high rental yield is crucial for earning a return on your investment, and so research into this is vital. Locations with a consistent flow of tenants – such as areas with a high student population – are usually highest-yielding. 
  • Property prices in the area – It’s important to combine research on rental yields with information on house prices, to strike a balance between an affordable property price and a high rental yield. As well as analysing current house prices, you should also consider any trends or forecasts regarding house prices in that area, in the future. You should look for an area that is considered to grow and thrive over the coming years.

Greater Manchester property investment

Successful buy-to-let investments tend to be in prime city locations, making Manchester a popular area for property investors. Many potential investors would consider London as the top spot, yet more recently Manchester – and other popular areas of the North – are increasingly recognised as the best places within the UK for property investments.

We recognise all that this region has to offer, which is why we have heavily invested in it with our quality developments. We are also passionate about putting Salford on the map as a great city to invest in, thanks to its regeneration and development, business opportunities, green spaces and transport links. Our Castle Irwell development captures these elements.

Why invest in Greater Manchester?

  • Regeneration – Over recent years, the North has received around £3.4 billion worth of investment into regeneration, boosting its culture and transport links, amongst other aspects of city life. As a result of this regeneration, many prospective tenants are moving to these areas to enjoy what the city has to offer. The tenant base in Manchester is extremely diverse from students to young professionals to families, meaning there are many opportunities for property investment, regardless of your target demographic and ideal tenant.
  • Economy – As home to a range of businesses, from small businesses to large corporations, Manchester has a thriving economy and job market, with plenty of job opportunities. This makes it an attractive location for tenants that are looking for somewhere to live, whilst building their career in this area. Outside of the city centre, the other metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester represent the largest city region economy outside of London.
  • Population growth  – Manchester has been subject to an increase in population in recent years – the Office of National Statistics has shown that Manchester’s population increased faster than any other UK city in 2019. This growth is expected to continue. Due to this growing population, there is a growing demand for housing, including rental properties, meaning that there are plenty of opportunities for property investors.
  • House price growth – A recent report by Savills in March 2021 suggests that, over the next five years, an average UK price growth of 20% is sustainable, without impacting mortgage affordability. Yet for the North West, the forecast for residential prime capital values looks extremely promising, suggesting a 28.8% increase by the end of 2025.

A promising future This growth and other future forecasts suggest that investing in a property within the Greater Manchester area will be a worthwhile investment, with a return on investment and increasing house prices. That’s why we’ve invested in this great city, with developments such as Burlington Square, Local Blackfriars, The Press and Local Crescent, which are situated in the heart of Manchester City Centre.

TIP 7: Be Financially Organised & Seek Advice If Necessary

Many investors make the mistake of failing to think beyond the property price – they do not consider any additional costs that may occur as a result of their property investment. To make sure that you are prepared for all costs, you should make sure that you know which extra costs to expect, and how they fit into your budget and your affordability. For example, you should consider how a property investment will affect your tax payments, and factor this into your property investment budget.

You may also find it beneficial to seek financial advice before you commit to investing in a property. Whilst online reading and your own research can help you to understand the financial risks and benefits, seeking financial advice from an experienced team will give you guidance that is specific to your own personal and financial circumstances. This will help you to assess whether property investment is a wise venture, and what your budget for this investment should be.

Additional costs to be aware of when investing in property:

  • Taxes: When investing in property, you will be subject to additional tax payments. These may include stamp duty, capital gains, and income tax. Regarding the latter, this tax will be paid on any rental income that is earned from your investment property. As for capital gains, this is payable on the profit that you earn from the sale of your property.
  • Inspection & valuation costs: Once you have an offer accepted on a property, you may wish to pay for a building inspection to be conducted. This will bring any potential issues to your attention. As for property valuation costs, some mortgage lenders will ask that you arrange and pay for a property valuation as a part of your loan application, so it’s important to remember these additional costs.
  • Costs of insurance & mortgage products: As a landlord, you should take out landlord insurance, and you may wish to consider other relevant insurance such as public liability insurance. These will come with a cost, so it’s important to factor this into your considerations about the cost of an investment property. Likewise, you’ll need to find a suitable mortgage product, which will mean that you have mortgage payments each month, to repay the money that you have borrowed.
  • Fees for using a solicitor and property management services: You may need a solicitor to help you navigate the legalities of your investment, which will mean that you have legal fees to pay. Once you have secured the property, you may decide to use a property management company. If you do, you will need to consider the cost of these services, which are often charged on a monthly basis.

TIP 8: Be Sensible With Your First Investment – Stick To A Sensible Budget

Whilst it may be tempting to invest a lot of money into property, especially if you’re aware of the potential benefits, you should avoid the temptation and remember to be sensible with your investment. This might mean starting off small, but there’s plenty of room and opportunity to grow in the future – there’s no deadline on the success of your investments. As with any investment, beginners should spend time researching the property market and assessing their options before they commit to this new venture.

In practice, being sensible and starting off small means organising your finances and knowing your own personal, financial circumstances, in order to make the right decisions. Having this understanding of your finances will ensure that you set yourself a sensible budget, and do not spend more than you can afford. Many first-time investors expect property investment to be expensive, and whilst it can be, there are plenty of affordable opportunities out there that are ideal for beginners.

When looking at properties that fall within your budget, it’s also important to consider the quality of the property and whether it will attract the right tenants. Striking a balance between finding a property within budget and finding the right property for tenants, that will generate returns through high rental yields, is crucial. Buying a property that fails to generate returns serves no purpose if you want to reap the economic benefits of property investment.

If you’re looking to invest in multiple properties with the aim of building an impressive portfolio, or even your own property investment business, you should still start off small and build your portfolio strategically and steadily. As such, you should invest in only one or two properties at a time. This will also help you to grow in confidence and feel more comfortable with the investment journey and your own personal strategy.

If you are hoping to build a portfolio of multiple investment properties, you may want to consider using the services of a property investment company. Using knowledge from a team of experts will help you decide on where to invest and the right time to invest – they will help you to get the most out of your investment. However, regardless of your investment strategy, whether you’re looking to invest in multiple properties or a single property, you should still remain sensible and stick to a budget. Sticking to a budget will ensure that you don’t encounter any challenges in the early stages of investing, simply based on your own judgements and poor decisions.

TIP 9: Have The Right Attitude

To prepare for the journey of property development and all that it entails, it’s just as important to develop the right attitude and to have the right mindset as it is to do your research and grow your knowledge. The most successful property investors are the people that remain focused, patient and knowledgeable throughout the process, in order to overcome any challenges and to seek out the best opportunities. With that in mind, here are some tips for developing the right attitude as a property investor:

Stay positive

Remaining optimistic throughout the journey of investing in a property is essential. Research has shown that positive thinking can help people to make better decisions and focus better on their long term goals, which is vital for investors. Remaining positive will make the experience much more enjoyable too, and will help you to keep a clear head when it comes to researching and decision making. Having a positive mindset will help you to stay motivated too, which is a good skill to have as an investor, especially if you’re faced with challenges that you need to overcome.

Be prepared

As discussed earlier, investors must have a good understanding of the risks that are involved with investing in property. With this understanding, you should remain prepared for any challenges that may come your way, such as fluctuations in property prices and issues with tenants. Being prepared and managing these risks will ensure that your investment is successful, despite the challenges that occur.

Always be willing to learn

Because the property market is ever-changing, you need to be willing to learn and grow your knowledge at all times. The best investors will never stop learning. You should always be willing to learn from your own experiences and from any developments and changes in the property market. You should always strive to build on your knowledge, using this to inform your decisions.

TIP 10: Consider Property Management

To maximise the benefits of your investment, having a clear property management strategy in place is key. When it comes to property management, you can do this yourself or you can work with a property management company that will do this on your behalf. Investors with several investment properties often use a company for their property management, as they lack the time that is required to successfully manage all of their properties.

What is property management?

Property management, or property asset management, is the oversight of commercial, residential or industrial properties. This means managing operations related to real estate, such as:

  • Finances: This includes managing rental costs, keeping to a set budget and keeping a record of any transactions.
  • Tenants: Property management involves managing tenants, including their screenings, tenancy agreements, payments and any complaints that have been submitted.
  • Other general operations: This could include communicating with tenants and property owners, if the property manager is an external third-party, ensuring that the landlord and the building is compliant with all legal requirements and regulations. 

What does a property management company do?

Some developers or investors will choose to delegate the day-to-day operations of property management to an external company that specialise in property management. This is particularly true for investors that have several investment properties, or for developers or investors that would like to focus on their next project. A property management company will therefore carry out the day-to-day tasks involved with managing a property, such as collecting rent, organising maintenance and repairs, and drafting or renewing tenancy agreements on the landlord’s behalf.

Delegating property management to an external company can give investors more time to complete other tasks and also another source of knowledge and expertise to draw from when making important investment decisions. Typically, owners will pay their property manager a set fee for their services each month. Sometimes, the fee may also be calculated based on a percentage of the rent that is generated whilst a property is under the management of that third-party company.

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TIP 11: Consider Mortgage Products Carefully

Before investing in a property, you should consider the different mortgage products on the market and which one you’ll need. Because some mortgage products are harder than others to obtain, considering mortgage products early on in the process is important – it could influence your decision regarding the type of investment to make.

Obtaining a mortgage for your investment property, rather than buying with cash, provides the opportunity to expand your portfolio much quicker. As such, finding the right mortgage product can provide a great opportunity for investors, but trying to find the right product can be a challenge. You have to consider which mortgage to choose and whether you meet the criteria. 

Some mortgage products are harder to obtain, such as holiday let mortgages and mortgages that are suitable for HMO investments. However, obtaining a buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage is usually considered relatively straightforward, providing that you pass the affordability criteria and are eligible for the mortgage. 

BTL mortgages tend to be the most common mortgage for investors, given that buy-to-let properties are a common type of investment property. Most lenders – especially big banks and building societies – will offer BTL mortgages, but it’s always a good idea to discuss your options with a mortgage broker who will help you to source the most suitable deal.

What are buy-to-let mortgages?

BTL mortgages are specific products for landlords and investors that want to purchase a property for the purpose of renting it out, to make a profit. The rules regarding BTL mortgages are quite similar to regular mortgages, but some key differences are worth noting:

  • The interest rates and fees with these mortgages tend to be higher than standard mortgages.
  • The majority of BTL mortgages are interest-only, meaning that you will repay the interest monthly, not the capital. Then, at the end of your mortgage term, you will have to repay the full amount.
  • The minimum deposit for a BTL mortgage tends to be 25% of the property value. However, this can range from 20%-40% depending on the lender.
  • Most BTL lending is not subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation. There are some exceptions though – for example, if you rent the property out to a close family member, then this is considered to be a consumer BTL mortgage. This type of mortgage is assessed in the same way as a standard residential mortgage, in terms of the affordability assessment and lending criteria.

Who can get a buy-to-let mortgage?

You must meet the criteria to obtain a BTL mortgage. Each lender will have its own criteria and affordability assessment and these may all differ slightly. However, to get a BTL mortgage, there are some criteria that you must meet for all lenders. You can get a BTL mortgage under these circumstances:

  • You want to become a property investor and invest in houses or flats.
  • You are already a homeowner, either with an existing mortgage or as an outright owner.
  • You understand the risks of property investment and are happy, and can afford, to take these risks.
  • You have a good credit score.
  • You earn at least £25,000 a year. If you earn any less, you may struggle to get approval for a BTL mortgage.
  • You meet the age requirements of the lender. Most lenders will have an upper age limit – this is usually between 70 and 75. Note that this is the oldest you can be at the end of the mortgage term, not the start.

How much money do you have to put down on an investment property?

If you’re using a BTL mortgage to purchase an investment property, you will usually have to put down a 25% deposit – this is 25% of the property value. As for how much money you can borrow from the lender, this is linked to the amount of rental income you expect to receive as a landlord. Lenders will usually require your rental income to be at least 25% higher than your mortgage payments. To calculate how much your rental income is likely to be, it’s a good idea to talk to local letting agents in the area that you’re looking to purchase the property in, as well as conducting your own research online.

TIP 12: Get To Know Your Ideal Tenants & Their Needs

Picking out your target tenant and understanding their needs is crucial when it comes to property investment. By making these considerations at the start of your journey, it can inform the type of property you invest in and which location you invest in. For example, students will have very different needs compared to a young family. Infact, they may be interested in different locations altogether.

Students will, inevitably, occupy places that have popular universities, such as Manchester. Manchester and Salford are home to over 100,000 students, which is one of the largest student populations in Europe. This makes these cities a great investment location for potential investors that are looking to target the student population.

So, if students are your target tenants, this will likely have an impact on where you decide to invest. The location should be close to a university campus, in an area that has good transport links and places for them to enjoy an exciting social life. The UK has a wealth of higher education institutions with global reputations, so the demand for student property continues to grow. 

As rental yields rise and students are prepared to pay more for their accommodation, to attend the university that they love, investing in student property is considered a profitable investment. Students are usually keen to keep their accommodation because they care about their education and the university that they attend. As a result, they tend to pay their rent on time with no issues.

As for tenants that are looking for residential properties, they will probably be looking for a property in an area with job opportunities and good leisure facilities. You must keep these needs in mind when you’re deciding where to invest and what property to invest in. 

Deciding on your ideal tenant and considering what it is they want in a property can help you to purchase the right investment property, to attract the right prospective tenants. It’s important to make these considerations from the outset when considering where to invest, to ensure that you get it right from the start. Residential properties are also in demand in the UK, with renting now seen as a lifestyle choice rather than a last resort. 

Young people especially are now choosing to live and work in city centres to enjoy a thriving social life and build their career. With this in mind, cities like Manchester and Salford are becoming extremely popular with these tenants, who are looking for high-quality residential properties in city centres. 

How to find tenants

Thinking about how to find the right tenants shouldn’t be an afterthought once you have bought your investment property – you should be thinking about how to find the ideal tenants at the very start of your journey to invest in a property. Finding the right tenants starts with offering a great property in an in-demand location, which is an early consideration to make in the process. After that, once you have secured the property, you should focus on effective marketing and thorough tenant checks before they occupy the property.

When it comes to marketing your property in a way that will attract the right prospective tenants, it all starts with how you present your property. If you want your property to stand out in a crowded market, it’s worth investing in quality, modern furnishings and facilities to attract prospective tenants. You might decide to invest in a new build that already has these features, or you may wish to add these features yourself if you’ve bought an older property. The latter can also increase the value of your property when you come to sell it.

As for marketing, to find the right tenants you need to get the word out there. You could use a property management company or letting agent to help you find a tenant for the property. Other than that, listing your property on rental websites and marketing it through social media and word of mouth is a must. When doing so, make sure you use professional photography and detailed property descriptions, so that your audience knows exactly what’s on offer.

When prospective tenants are interested, it’s important to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that they have the right to rent, as well as a stable income that will help them to pay their rent to you on time. You should also look out for tenants that have great communication skills, as this is always a promising sign of what to expect when they become a tenant. For extra security, you might want to consider asking tenants to provide details for a guarantor, or you might want to avoid tenants that are making a huge jump in terms of their commitment and rental payments.

TIP 13: Exercise Due Diligence At All Times

What is due diligence?

Due diligence is referred to a lot in the property industry, but you may be left wondering what it means. Due diligence, in property, is the process of assessing and evaluating an investment property, before you invest. By exercising due diligence, the investor can thoroughly understand the property’s potential, as well as any potential risks. Investing in a property is a big step, so it’s important that you understand the potential for capital growth and any risks that are involved. 

With due diligence – in other words, comprehensive research – you can avoid common pitfalls and costly mistakes. This research should also help you to determine whether the potential investment property will help you to achieve your goals and target the right audience. For instance, if you’re looking to target students, are you investing in a location with a student population, that’s close to a university campus? In terms of your goals, for example, if your goal is to fund your pension, you should consider whether the property and the area has a good potential for growth.

Exercising due diligence

Here are some of the ways to exercise due diligence throughout the process of investing in a property:

  • Check that the property will generate a significant rental yield as without high yields, you won’t make as much profit through rental returns as you would like to.
  • Check that the location of the property has potential for strong capital growth and demand for rental properties, due to a large population of prospective tenants.
  • Work out your affordability and your finances multiple times. Ensure that you can meet the financial commitments that come with investing in property. 
  • Do your research to ensure that your investment is worthwhile. Research the tenant population in the area to ensure the demand is there, what properties in the area have sold for and whether the developer you’re working with has a successful track record.
  • Regarding the developer, you should make sure that they’re reputable and well-established. Looking at feedback and reviews on sites such as Trustpilot will help you to find out what their reputation is like.
  • Before choosing your developer, research your options and have a think about which one aligns with your property goals. If you have a set budget or a location in mind, this can guide your choices.

Due diligence is a vital part of property investment – it can help to ensure that your investment is worthwhile, that you have a well-considered and responsible approach. It can also help you to avoid errors and risks that could have easily been avoided with some research. Due diligence is a process that should be followed in any business decision, negotiation or investment. Property investment is no different!

TIP 14: Create An Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is an essential part of any investment plan. An exit strategy is a plan that an investor has for when they come to sell their properties. It might feel counterintuitive to put an exit strategy in place before you have even invested in a property. However, it’s important to be prepared so then you can maximise the profit and the potential of your investment. 

Every investor will have a different exit strategy based on their own goals, circumstances and preferences – what’s important is that you feel personally and financially comfortable with the exit strategy that you implement. For instance, some investors choose to execute their plan if the housing market fluctuates too much for their liking, whereas others choose to use their exit strategy once they’re ready to retire and want to enjoy their profits from the sale of their property.

Because every investor will have a different strategy, their key considerations before putting the plan together will differ. Generally though, there are some important factors that all investors will need to consider, to ensure that their exit strategy is effective and can run smoothly. You should consider your risk level, how long to invest for, how you will exit and who your target buyer might be when selling the property

As with any investment, you should monitor the market to determine the best time to exit, if personal circumstances don’t dictate otherwise. By paying attention to the housing market and any fluctuations in prices, you can determine when your property will have reached its maximum value. That way, you can receive a significant ROI.

One of the ways to determine your exit strategy is to consider when you’ll want to sell your property. For some investors, the most important factor is time, especially if their investment goal is linked to a specific milestone, such as their retirement. For example, if you’re using your property for a pension, then executing your exit strategy once you’re ready to retire makes perfect sense. However, keep in mind that property investments usually perform best as long-term investments, so it’s worth factoring this into your strategy.

For other investors, profit will drive their exit strategy. Some base their strategy on capital value and exit their investment when it has reached a particular capital value – this is usually a figure that they have decided on at the early stages of investment.  For others, their strategy is yield-based. With this type of strategy, investors will set a minimum level of yield that they are satisfied with. Once the yield falls below this minimum, investors will then sell. With these strategies, time isn’t a key factor.

If you have a property portfolio, you should consider how you are going to sell your properties once you exit your investments. You may decide to sell all of your properties, invest the money in other asset classes or enjoy the profit you’ll make once you have sold them. The best option might be to sell some of the properties and not all, so that you can use your money to pay off the existing mortgages and earn a passive income, debt-free. Of course, you may decide to sell none at all if the property market conditions don’t work in your favour.

TIP 15: Consider Investing Alone vs Investing With Others

When it comes to investing, you might be unsure whether to invest alone or invest with somebody else, or even a group of people. Before making a decision, it’s important to have a full understanding of what to expect when you invest in a property, including the financial commitments and what’s expected of you as an investor. This can help you to decide whether the person you’re investing with will make a good partner.

Investing in a property with a friend or a group might sound like a good idea, especially if you’re all passionate about making a successful investment. It also means that any costs are split between you all. For example, you don’t have to save as much for a deposit as the funds would come from all investors as opposed to just you, if you were to invest alone.

If you’re considering investing in property with somebody else, then you need to remember that all of your finances will be taken into consideration by a lender – you all need to be in a good financial position and able to make your mortgage repayments. If you encounter any issues along the way, you may all have difficulty getting a loan in the future. 

If you do decide that you would like to invest with somebody else, it’s all about being sensible and having a mutual understanding of your agreements and responsibilities. Your friendship may be tested due to disagreements along the way, so you should both set out your responsibilities from the start to avoid any miscommunication. You should also ensure that you both have an agreement drawn up that provides details of the investment and the deal, as there is no easy way out. If you encounter problems or, for whatever reason, your relationship breaks down, you need to be clear on what happens next.

If you’d like to be in control of your investment and prefer to be independent when it comes to your finances and ventures, then investing alone is probably the best option for you. You’ll have the full support of a property management company if you choose to use one, and by conducting thorough research and building your knowledge, there’s no reason why investing in property alone has to be daunting.

TIP 16: Increase The Value Of Your Investment Property

Once you’ve purchased your investment property, you should consider ways to increase the value of your property. Not only could this increase the amount you receive when you eventually come to sell the property, but it can also increase your rental income. Even simple home improvements such as fresh paintwork can increase your monthly rental income. If you want to go a step further, you can carry out home renovations which will allow you to set higher rental costs. This might be a kitchen renovation or a bathroom upgrade, depending on what will benefit the property the most.

How to increase property value

House price growth plays a significant role in determining the value of a property when you come to sell it. However, there are ways that you can maximise the value of a property yourself. These range from easy, affordable changes to renovations that will cost you a lot more. 

The decisions you make when it comes to boosting your property’s value will depend on the property you have bought. For instance, a new build won’t need as much work as an older property might do. Here are a few ways to increase your property value:

  • Spend time redecorating the property.
  • Replace any old fixtures and windows with new ones, to modernise the property.
  • Organise and complete any necessary repairs and maintenance, such as structural repairs.
  • If your budget allows, build an extension to maximise living space. You could do this by building a conservatory onto the living room in the property. You may also want to consider a garage conversion.
  • Maximise garden appeal by taking good care of the garden.
  • Make the living area open-plan.

When to sell an investment property

Deciding when, and if, to sell an investment property involves several key considerations – it’s not a decision to be taken likely. Most of the time, deciding when to sell an investment property may be determined by personal circumstances and your reason for investing in the first place. With all that in mind, here is a brief overview of what you should consider before deciding to sell your investment property:

Goals and circumstances

Think about why you bought an investment property in the first place. Was it for the steady, passive income or an eventual one-off profit? The latter may be true if you bought the property to save for an important milestone such as your retirement. If that time has come, selling your investment property is probably, naturally, the next step that you’re going to take. If passive income is more important to you than the profit of a sale, holding onto the property might be the best choice for you. 

The cost of selling

Selling a property obviously comes at a cost, so you need to keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether now is the right time for you to sell your property. You’ll face legal fees and estate agents expenses throughout the process and you should also note that, if the property is unoccupied, you’ll miss out on rental income during this period of time. If you make a profit over the threshold when you sell your house, you may also have to pay Capital Gains Tax. These extra costs should always be factored into your decision.

The state of the housing market

The state of the housing market, locally and UK wide, can impact the sale of your house. Of course, periods of house price growth are always the best times to sell, so selling during this time should always be favoured. Sometimes, personal circumstances may dictate when you sell your house but if you have the freedom to choose, you should analyse the state of the housing market and any relevant forecasts to decide whether it’s the right time to sell.

Demand for rental property can fluctuate, so you may be tempted to sell for this reason. If you are seriously considering it, remember that you can always ride out the drop in demand, if financially possible. If you do decide to sell, you should look at the state of the housing market first.


TIP 17: Research Property Portfolio Expansion

If you have invested in a property and you’re reaping the benefits, expanding your property portfolio might seem like an exciting prospect, especially if you have long-term goals or want to treat your property investments like a business. Knowing how to build a successful portfolio takes a lot of hard work, commitment and knowledge, just as running a successful business does. That’s why, if you’re considering property portfolio expansion, it’s important to do your research first. Then, you know what’s required, what to expect and whether it’s the right move for you.

What is a property portfolio?

A property portfolio refers to a group of investment properties. These can be owned by an individual, a company or a group of investors. If you’re building a property portfolio in the UK, it’s likely that you’ll buy several buy-to-let properties, to generate a significant income through your ROI. Inevitably, this income would be more than what you’d receive from just one investment property. Many people will grow their property portfolio to turn it into a full-time business and career.

With the right research and knowledge, expanding your property portfolio can provide many benefits. It provides the opportunity to diversify your investments – you can buy properties of different types and in different locations, which can have a positive impact on your risk level too. If one property fails, you can still earn an income from the others within your portfolio. 

This requires thorough research into locations and risk levels as well as considerations about your own financial situation and affordability. It also takes time – building a property portfolio isn’t necessarily a quick way to generate an income. Even with good knowledge, the right research and a detailed strategy, it can still take a couple of years to see the benefits of your investments. Your timeframe will also be determined by the amount of money you have at your disposal for your investments.

Should I expand my property portfolio?

If you’ve started to invest in property and you’re aware of the benefits that building a property portfolio can bring, you might be wondering when the right time to expand your portfolio is.

Here are some of the things you must consider before deciding to invest in more properties:

Your financial situation

Before going any further, you should consider your current financial situation and how any further investments could affect it. You need to consider whether you’re currently managing your repayments and have a consistent cash flow. If you aren’t managing, then it’s not worth considering any other investments right now. 

If you’re currently in a good financial position, you still need to consider the extra repayments you’ll have to make, if you do invest in another property, and whether you can afford these. If you think you’ll struggle, you should consider alternative methods of investment that may be safer, or focus on your current investments and mastering that strategy first.

Your risk levels

If you try to expand too fast, you might impact your financial security. This is true with any business expansion and property investment is no different. Determining your risk levels can help you to decide how comfortable you feel when it comes to expanding your property portfolio, and if you can financially afford to take the risk. Your financial circumstances are the most important aspect to consider when assessing your risk levels.

The lending criteria

After assessing your financial situation, you need to look at the lending criteria to decide whether it’s likely that lenders will let you borrow the money. There are several reasons why you may not be allowed to borrow – you may have an unstable income or you might have reached the borrowing capacity. Discussing your situation with a broker might be beneficial here.

Your goals

You need to establish what your short-term and long-term goals are to decide whether investing in another property will help you to achieve them. Think about whether you’re happy to grow and expand steadily at a slower pace, or whether you’re hoping to achieve financial independence soon, thanks to your property portfolio.

How to build a property portfolio

Building a successful portfolio of properties involves detailed research and knowledge. As well as using the rest of the tips on this page, here are just a few of the ways to build a property portfolio:

  • Do your research – Once you have assessed your financial situation and decided that expanding your property portfolio is the right move, then you should conduct thorough research, as with any property investment, to ensure that you invest wisely. Researching rental yields, good locations, house price growth and populations are just some of the key factors.
  • Diversify your portfolio – By diversifying your portfolio, you can spread your risk across numerous ventures. If you stick to investing in just one type of property, you put yourself at greater risk and may limit your potential. You can diversify your portfolio by investing in different property types and different locations.
  • Have a clear exit strategy – We discuss how to create an effective exit strategy elsewhere within these tips, but having a clear strategy is vital when you expand your property portfolio. It helps you to look ahead to the end result of each investment and your goals play a key part in these considerations.

What is property portfolio management?

Property portfolio management is essentially the same service as property management but on a larger scale. A third party can manage your entire property portfolio, which is useful if you do not have the time to manage all of your properties effectively and efficiently. Managing properties can be time-consuming and challenging, especially if it isn’t your main income source or core business. Whilst this service will add to your expenses, it’s usually worth it – managing a property portfolio can be demanding, and you need to meet these demands to ensure that you’re successful.

Hiring a team to manage your property portfolio will ensure that all of the properties, and you as a landlord, are meeting any relevant legal and safety requirements. They can also chase payments, organise repairs and draft tenancy agreements for all of your properties and tenants. If a hands-off investment approach suits you and your circumstances best, then it’s worth seriously considering property management for your entire portfolio. 

However, if you’re keen to turn your property investments into a full-time career and your core business, opting for a hands-on strategy where you can manage the properties yourself will probably be the best option. This way, you can learn on the job and gain first-hand experience in the industry. A combination of both hands-off and hands-on is also possible.

TIP 18: Always Keep Your Plan Under Review

Keeping your financial plan, and your investment plan more specifically, under review is extremely important. A regular review will help you to feel organised and more confident about your next move. It can ensure that you don’t stand to lose money and it can also help you to save on tax and track your financial goals. This is important for any investment too, not just property.

As for when to carry out this review, you should remain flexible. If something unexpected happens that might affect your investment, such as a change in interest rates or stock markets, then you should carry out a review when these things happen to see how they might impact your investment. As for setting regular reviews, these should take place at least once a year, to make the most of your tax allowances. For products that are fixed-term, such as bonds, you should review before the lock-in on these products runs out. You should always consider how a fluctuation in interest rates or property prices might affect your investment, regardless of whether these things have happened yet.

As well as taking into consideration external factors, such as the stock market and interest rates, you should also consider personal factors that may affect your investment, such as tax status. If you have changed income tax bands since your last review, you need to make a note of this. If you’re preparing to sell any of your assets, such as your investment property, then you need to consider how this change might affect your Capital Gains Tax payments.

You should also consider how you feel about taking risks. Over the years, your knowledge about property investment will grow, and your finances should do too. This might change the way you feel about taking risks. If your finances allow, you may feel comfortable and confident enough to expand your property portfolio in the coming year. However, if you’re nearing retirement, you might decide that you want more reassurance and less risk when it comes to your investments.

Conducting a financial review

Here’s a brief overview of how to carry out a financial review:

  • Assess your current finances by looking at how well you’re saving and paying off any debt that you have. You should also consider if, and how, your circumstances have changed and if this will mean that you need to adjust your investments or savings plan.
  • Look at your tax by checking your tax status and whether you’re being tax efficient.
  • Have a think about the changes that need to be made. When you know what your financial circumstances are, you can then decide whether you need to make any changes to your investment plan or your savings. Changes might include moving accounts for a better deal and shifting your balance between your investments to spread your risk accordingly.

Seek financial advice if you need it. If your circumstances have changed and you need some financial advice about what to do with your money and your investments, consider speaking to an independent financial advisor or broker.

TIP 19: Continue To Learn & Expand Your Knowledge

When you start on your property investment venture, it’s important to take all of the information you can get and conduct thorough research, to ensure that you’re making the right investment decisions. Whilst learning at the earliest stages of property investment is crucial and the key to success, you should never stop learning. Even when you’ve been investing for years, have a growing portfolio and think you know all there is to know about property investment, you should still make time to expand your knowledge.

Keeping an open mind and continuing to learn throughout your journey is vital for so many reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it can help you to make informed decisions regarding your finances and your investment. This means that your decisions are led by data, knowledge and research rather than guesswork, to maximise the chance of success. As such, you can have confidence in your choices because you’ve been well prepared and informed. Staying in the know throughout the time that you’re investing is also a great way to know when to sell and how to maximise your ROI along the way.

We’ve established that continuing to learn is an important part of your investment venture, but where are the best places to find this knowledge and information? You should head online first and foremost, where there’s a wide range of websites, blogs and guides dedicated to property investment, regardless of the stage you’re at. From new investors to experienced investors with growing portfolios, there are resources out there to suit all levels of experience. If you’re interested in investing in Manchester, check out our Manchester Investment Guide for all there is to know about investing in the area.

As for other sources of information, you could do courses in property investment to grow your knowledge. Another great way to learn is to use your network and your team if you have one – drawing on their expertise and advice will go a long way. If you’re keen to be hands-on with your investment, by managing the property yourself, you’ll find that you learn a lot throughout this process, by having first-hand experience. As with any investment, to maximise your chance of success, you should always look at resources that are relevant to housing market trends, forecasts and prices to help you make informed decisions.

TIP 20: Expand Your Network

In any industry, expanding your network and having a wealth of useful contacts can always come in handy and property investment is no different. If you have chosen to invest privately in property and don’t have a team or management company behind you, building your network is an essential step. These people can help you on your journey and can provide knowledge, support and resources if you ever need them.

Property management companies will have a wealth of contacts that can help them with maintenance and repairs. However, if you decide on a hands-on approach for your investments, you’ll have to build this network of contacts yourself. As a property investor, you’ll come across issues that require repairs or maintenance, such as problems with the boiler or a plumbing fault. You’ll be expected to organise a repair for these issues, so having a network of tradespeople that you can rely on is essential.  Getting these issues sorted effectively and efficiently will help keep your tenants happy and will ensure that you keep receiving a rental income. 

Besides the practical side of managing your investment and building a network that can help with this, you’ll also have to manage the financial aspects of your investment if you don’t use a property management company. As such, having a network that involves accountants and other financial professionals can help you to get the most out of your investment whilst ensuring that you’re financially compliant with any relevant rules and regulations.

Aside from the property management aspect of your investment, you should also expand your network to include other investors, especially if you’re a new investor. Drawing on their experience and knowledge, especially if they have been successful, can be extremely beneficial. They’ll be aware of common mistakes that they have faced and can guide you through the process and how to avoid them. You can expand your network in this way by attending events, using social media and websites and forums designed for investors.

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