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Should Investors Still Be Buying in the Current Market?

Jul 28, 2008
Should property investors still be buying properties in the current property market? This article endeavours to explore this question and answer it once and for all.

In the last few months many lenders have made it increasingly difficult for new entrants to break into the buy to let market. The credit crunch has hit lenders hard and in response they have hit the buy to let investor harder.

Banks don't trust each other and therefore are no longer freely lending money to each other; this is having a knock on affect on their lending to the general public and investors.

The number of mortgage products available has decreased by almost 75% since April 2007. Significant players like mortgage express have pulled key products leaving many buy to let landlords wondering how to make their next property purchase stack up.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be claiming that they can be the solution to the property investor's financial problems and that they can still offer products like instant remortgaging. Investors have become weary of these deals and promises because they know some of these deals maybe bordering on the fringes of what is lawful.

Should You be buying properties at the moment?

Well it depends on what your strategy is. Are you a buy to let investor who is in this for the long run? Can you handle the negative comments in the media and not have a heart attack every time you hear the words "Property Market Crash"? If you answered yes to both these questions, then you should still be buying.

However, you should be analysing your strategy, as it might need tweaking in the current market conditions. By following the guidelines below you stand more of a chance of building a robust portfolio at this time.

- Focus on buying for more than 25% below market value.

- Focus on buying lower value properties with good rental yields and positive cash flow.

- Stay away from anything off plan, or anything that it is difficult to get comparisons for.

- Don't release equity and put it all straight into your next purchase, begin to build up a bit of a cash reserve to help you weather any storms if things get any worse.

- NEVER, miss a mortgage payment. At the moment if you miss a mortgage payment on any of your properties, you are probably going to decrease your financial options even further. Lenders are being more stringent with applicants than they used to be and the odd blemish on your credit file that you might have been able to get away with before may now stop some of your mortgage applications in their tracks.

- You, have to be looking at maximising your return. Buy properties where you are able to simply and easily rearrange the internal structure. Doing things such as moving internal walls around to create added value such as an additional bedroom, could be crucial at the moment. Do everything you can to entice the buyer.

- Consider advertising that you will pay stamp duty and all legal fees, this can be the difference between success and failure in the current market place.

For the investors that understand the property and financial markets and learn how to work with them in any and all conditions, the next few years promise to be times of learning and expansion, not contraction. Yes there are difficult times ahead, but out of huge challenges can come tremendous growth.

If you have hit an impasse, use all your powers to work out how to push through it. Maybe you need to learn a new skill such as lease options, sale and rent backs or investing abroad. Be adaptable, be resourceful, ask questions, learn from others, do joint ventures, make up your mind to push forward not go backwards.

This is when the men get separated from the boys, the novice investors from the professionals and tomorrow's property multimillionaires from the "I could have been somebody" crowd.
About the Author
To learn more about how to invest in property successful, visit the Investment Property website for more tips, advice as well as a free investment property workshet to help you analyse property deals easily.
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