Buying properties for the buy to let market is a smart investment. Even with reduced tax breaks for landlords and a government determined to tip the balance in favour of first-time buyers, there is still more money to be made in property while interest rates remain so low.
There is more money to be made if you snap up a property that needs a significant amount of work, especially if you are able to do some of the work yourself. Once the property has been renovated, you can fill it with tenants or sell it on for a profit. However, if you elect to do some of the work yourself, it is a good idea to adhere to safe health and safety at all times. Here are a few things to watch out for.
Electrical work is not for amateurs. It’s perfectly OK to wire in an extra socket or change a regular light switch to a dimmer, but if the property needs rewiring or the consumer unit could benefit from an update, it is essential that you call in a qualified electrician.
All electrical work must be signed off by an electrician. Landlords cannot rent properties with unsafe electrical supplies, so have the electrics checked before you invest in the property, especially if it’s an older property, and if work needs to be done, call in an expert. Poor electrics can cause fires, and besides the obvious risk to life, your property could also burn to the ground.
Asbestos is a very significant danger in older properties. Outbuildings, roof materials, and internal walls can all contain asbestos. Asbestos doesn’t represent a problem until it’s disturbed. Once this happens, fibres are released into the atmosphere, which can cause all kinds of serious health problems. Hopefully, any survey you have done will reveal the possibility of asbestos, so you won’t end up accidentally discovering it when you tear down a wall or ceiling. Either way, this is not a job you can tackle on your own. Call in an expert to remove the asbestos safely.
If you have a head for heights, you probably won’t think twice about climbing a ladder to fix a loose tile or broken gutter, but if you feel woozy two feet off the ground, don’t even attempt the job.
Working at height is OK as long as you are careful. Ideally, you should have a second person present to secure the bottom of the ladder. If this isn’t possible or a ladder can’t be erected safely, have a scaffolding tower erected instead. With scaffolding, you can make repairs to a roof, chimney, or fix a rotten window frame, without fear of falling. It’s also much safer for contractors who are working at height.