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articles > Does it Stack Up?
Article > Does it Stack Up?
Simon Zutshi Get some Property Magic

 

Article kindly provided by Simon Zutshi

www.PropertyInvestorsNetwork.co.uk

 

One of the main benefits of investing in property is the significant capital gain you can make as your property rises in value over the long term. However, to benefit from the gain you need to make sure you can afford to hold the property in the meantime. Ideally you don’t want to have to support your property portfolio. Quite the opposite in fact! Your portfolio should support you financially. The rent you receive from your tenants should more than cover all the costs of ownership such that each month there is surplus cash profit left over for you to enjoy.

Investors who lose money are often the ones who get it wrong because of cash flow. They can’t afford to hold their property and so have to sell which depending on the market conditions means they themselves may become motivated sellers. The purpose of this chapter is to help you ensure you maximize the cash flow from your investment properties.

So let’s go back to fundamentals for a moment. As a property investor, one of the critical skills you need to develop is the ability to quickly assess a particular opportunity to decide if it is a good investment and suitable for you or not.


What makes a good investment?

Now let's just remind ourselves of the first 3 of my 5 Golden rules of Investing.

1. Always buy below market value from motivated sellers.
2. Buy in an area with strong rental demand
3. Buy for cash flow

Of course you want to ethically pay as little as possible for the property but the discount alone is not the only factor to consider. There is no point buying a property even with a great discount if you cannot easily rent it out and make a positive cash flow.

To help you focus on only buying good cash flow properties you could buy “as if prices will never go up again” and so the only reason to buy would be for the great cash flow and return on investment.

When researching any potential investment there are two main factors we are concerned with. We want to determine:
A) The true market value of the property
B) The realistic market rent that could be achieved

This is the information that a mortgage company would want a chartered surveyor to collect on their behalf in order to assess whether to grant you a buy to let mortgage on a particular property. You need this information a long time before you even apply for the mortgage, to decide if it is the right kind of investment for you.

With these two pieces of information you can ascertain whether you are going to make a profit each month after covering all of the expenses.

The main expense you will incur on a monthly basis is the interest on your buy to let mortgage. I have a very simple rule of thumb which you can use to asses this monthly expense.

For every £20,000 you borrow, at an interest rate of 6%, you will pay £100 per calendar month (pcm) in interest. For example, if you were to borrow £80,000 it would cost you £400 pcm.

This is based on a 6% annual interest rate for two reasons: First of all it’s the average rate I've had over the last 15 years. Secondly, it keeps the numbers easy to calculate because every £20,000 you borrow cost just £100 pcm. I like to keep thing as simple as possible.

If the average cost of a mortgage is only 5% per annum then this rule of thumb is very conservative. This means that in reality £20k will not cost you as much as £100 pcm but by using this in your calculations you are being very cautions which is good because you don't want to be too optimistic.

When working out the cash flow many investors are too optimistic on what the costs will be and they don't get it right. It’s better to be pessimistic and have a nice surprise to make more money than expected.

Does the investment stack up?

The mortgage lender will then use a rent multiplier to make sure that the rent is going to be enough to cover the monthly interest and the other cost associated with the property.

This rent multiplier can vary from lender to lender but most will uses something like 125%. This means that the lender wants to check that the monthly rent is 125% of the monthly interest payment. (Rent > Monthly interest x 125%).

With a mortgage of £80,000 and a monthly interest charge of £400 your lender would generally want to see a monthly rental income of at least £500 pcm (£400 x 125%). The extra 25% over and above the interest payments is an approximation of the other monthly costs.

Using this rent multiplier will help you to very quickly asses if a property is going to make monthly cash flow for you. With a monthly interest cost of £400, if the monthly rent was just £500, it may only just about covers the costs. However, if the monthly rent was £550, then it means you would probably make some cash flow from this property each month. If the rent was just £450, you wouldn't be making positive cash flow, in fact we know it's going to cost you month each month. In reality the lender may not lend the full amount.

To summarise, you can quickly work out if a property stacks up as follows:

1. Work out how much is the mortgage going to cost you
2. Multiply the monthly interest by 125% to give the required rent
3. Check that the actual rent is more than the required rent

Having used this quick approximation, if the property does not stack up you can move on to the next one without wasting too much time. If however it looks like it does stack up well, it may be worth spending a little more time to properly work out the true cash flow to help decide if you want to purchase it.

 

This article is taken from the new 2010 edition of “Property Magic: How to buy property using other people’s time, money and experience.” Property Magic is an Amazon No 1 best seller and we highly recommend it. You can buy it here

Get some Property Magic

Kind regards,
Simon Zutshi

Founder, property investors network
www.PropertyInvestorsNetwork.co.uk

 

 

 

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