Buy To Let Property Courses – Full Article – part appeared in Daily Telegraph

With the announcements this week in the Chancellor’s Budget about extending help for mortgages, the property industry is on the cusp of a mini boom in house sales again. The desire to own property is inherent in most people’s desires and new landlords will no doubt be created through the re emergence of the Buy-to-Let sector. There are many courses which have come to the market recently explaining how to get in to Buy-to-Let and no doubt, just like before the recession, there will be many more offering expertise and knowledge about how to get started.

From my experience most of these courses are overpriced and you find the same information in a good book on the subject or by looking around the internet for free information, of which there is a lot widely available. The great thing with web information is that independent forums are often created which gives users of the information a platform on which they can express their views, often giving other readers free insight in to whether the knowledge is useful or not.

I would caution against parting with hard-earned money for a course about Buy-To-Let without first finding out whether the company promoting the course actually own property themselves and if so for long and how many units. This is vital, as just like when looking at buying a franchise you have to know whether the person selling it to you is doing it themselves. If the information is worth your while they almost certainly will be.

Some courses offer practical advice from seasoned property experts, but as in any industry you have to be careful as to find the correct and relevant information from people who know what they are doing. Look for signs of partnerships with well known estate agents, legal practices and accountancy firms. If they are endorsing the course it is more likely to have been created by professional, experienced property investors with a credible track record.

The property industry is a minefield when it comes to new legislation, law, planning compliance and building regulations and these vital elements are changing all the time. Getting caught out through lack of up to date and relevant knowledge can cost you as a landlord a fortune and ultimately your business if you don’t know how to deal with these issues.Relevant information can be found through the internet, books, and by speaking to people who are in the industry already.

Be wary of Free seminars as they often try to “close” you after the seminar to buy a course or some future seminar, often at hundreds of pounds or more. Whilst some of these may be relevant and useful to you it is worth bearing this in mind if you go to what you think is a free event. The really thick skinned can go along for the free seminar and pen and leave with some free knowledge, however good or bad!

Ask how long they have been in business, where they own property themselves and if so how many houses and apartments, their current true return (yield) after all of the costs such as maintenance, agents lettings fees and management charges. This is particularly relevant with apartments where they will have a management company and a monthly or quarterly bill for every apartment in the block. This takes away a lot of the worry of day to day maintenance and building insurance in most instances (providing the management company is experienced) however it is a fixed cost that you have to pay, and often catches people out.

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