Firstly to answer the question, is buy to let still a good investment? Yes, in fact in most countries buy to let investments are performing better now than they have for many years, because of constrained mortgage markets and other factors hampering home-buying.
That said: buy to let investment is never a good idea for those who treat it casually, who think that they can just buy a second property and be a landlord in their spare time. Sure, buy to let investing, being a landlord can be done whilst in full time employment, but it needs to be treated like a business and given to proper respect.
Buy to let is one of the most difficult forms investment, it can and does quickly become a disaster for those who don't go into it properly. We are not just talking about not making money from the property investment; buy to let has cost people everything. When you make a buy to let property investment, you are becoming a landlord, and a landlord has responsibilities.
Because of the law it is very difficult to evict tenants who are not paying rent, in fact if they are seen to be trying their best to pay what they can, then they can live in a property for a pittance. Meanwhile the landlord is legally bound to maintain the property to a high standard. So you can see why investment, buy to let style is dangerous when done badly, very dangerous indeed.
But done well it is one of the best forms of investment, you only need to look at the amount of millionaires, billionaires and very rich people who have started out as single-property landlords. So, the question is how to do it right.
Well, we mentioned treating it professionally, but the most important thing is tenant vetting, if you can find good tenants you are laughing, but remember this, there are as many bad landlords as bad tenants so it is equally important that you concentrate on doing your best to be a good landlord.
Calculations and research are very important when going into buy to let. Return on investment is the buzzword. There are countless guides out there on how to choose a good investment property, but basically it is finding an area where supply is weaker than demand, finding a property that is reasonably priced, and then working out how much the property will cost on a monthly basis, and weighing it against the rent it will earn.
This is especially true is a mortgage is to be used, and if you plan to be a landlord in your spare time then you should factor in the cost of rental management. Fixed fee property maintenance cover is a good idea as well, like NPower Hometeam and British Gas Boiler care. Thankfully a buy to let investment calculator can do all the counting for you.