Stuart Law, Chief Executive of buy to let specialist Assetz, comments:


1)      Can you learn anything from buy to let courses or are they a waste of money? What are the best sources of advice, tips and info for landlords?


“While education in property investment is important, investors should avoid paying significant sums for buy to let courses which are unnecessary and generally don’t teach anything which cannot be found out for free. The fundamentals of buy to let, such as understanding yields, costs and returns, can be learned from free courses or by seeking advice from a property investment company. It is also always worth speaking to local estate agents to assess demand in the local market, the profile of tenants and the kind of yields you can expect to receive.”


2)      There is pressure on landlords to make their properties more energy efficient and soon they will have to by law. How is this affecting landlords? Is the energy efficiency of a property something the landlord should pay good attention to when they buy an older property? Are new builds a better bet for this reason? What about reducing other bills a landlord faces – what are the biggest sources of woe for landlords that they have to fork out on and how can they try to prevent that?


“It is estimated that 11% of homes in the private rental sector are rated F and G in terms of energy efficiency and new legislation coming into effect in 2018 will make it an offence to let these properties. Landlords buying older properties will save themselves considerable sums by paying close attention to the Energy Performance Certificate and selecting a property which already has a good standard of insulation in the walls and loft as well as double glazing.


“Landlords who already own properties which need updating should consider using the Green Deal, which enables them to fund improvements to energy efficiency through future bill savings, thereby incurring no additional costs to themselves or the tenants.


“New build properties are the safest bet when it comes to keeping costs low. Insulation in new homes has to meet a minimum required standard and they are fitted with new boilers and appliances which are under warranty, meaning fewer unexpected bills for landlords.”


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