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  • Writer's picturePat Harper

Top questions to ask when booking a BTL property viewing

Updated: 4 days ago

Ask the good questions when booking a BTL property viewing

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If you're looking to invest in BTL properties, it's important to ask the right questions when speaking with estate agents. After all, they hold valuable information about the seller and the property that can help you make an informed decision about whether to actually spend time viewing the property and how much to bid.

But when most people call an estate agent to book a viewing, all they ask is "When can I view?".

Asking good questions can help you gain valuable insights into the BTL property and its potential as an investment. To save you time and money, here are some key questions to ask your estate agent before booking a viewing

Maintain a positive relationship with your tenants so you can keep them long-term. This means you are less likely to be burdened with the costs of a vacant property. Communicate with tenants regularly, respond to their queries and take care of maintenance work, that you, as a landlord, are responsible for, swiftly and thoroughly.

Why are they selling?

Know the reason behind selling BTL properties

When considering buying a BTL property, it's important to ask your estate agent why the seller is looking to sell. This question can give you insight into the seller's motivation and potential negotiating power. For example, if the seller is in a financial bind, and you can offer a fast cash offer then you may be able to negotiate a lower price.

Knowing why the seller is selling can also help you identify any potential issues with the BTL property and factor those costs into your offer. Even if there are issues with the property, remember that most problems can be fixed at a cost. Asking this question can help you gain valuable insights into BTL properties and their potential as an investment, helping you make a more informed decision about whether to pursue the deal.

Are they flexible on price?

Competitive pricing is important when looking for BTL properties

When looking to invest in a BTL properties, it's important to ask the estate agent about how flexible the seller is on price. This question can give you valuable insight into how motivated the seller is to sell.

For example, if the agent tells you that the seller has already rejected an offer of £90,000 then you might be able to clinch the deal with an offer that is slightly more i.e. £91,000.

If the BTL property has been on the market for a long time, the agent might explain that the seller is open to offers below the asking price.

On the other hand, if the seller is not flexible on price, you will need to offer the asking price or above to have a chance at securing the BTL property.

Is it in a chain?

No chain is better when buying BTL properties

When inquiring about a BTL property, it's good to ask your estate agent if the property is part of a chain. When a property transaction is in a chain, it means that its sale is dependent on the completion of other property sales also. E.g. the person selling you the BTL property might need to find somewhere else to move into before they can move the sale of their property forward.

If the BTL property you are considering is in a chain, then be aware that this could cause delays in the completion of your purchase. Offers from buyers who are not part of a chain, such as buy-to-let investors or first-time buyers, may be seen as valuable buyers because they help to complete the chain and move the sale of the property forward.

Is it owner-occupied/vacant/tenanted?

Find out the living status before purchasing a BTL property

Knowing the current living status of the BTL property can give you valuable information about the seller's motivation and potential negotiating power. For example, if the property is owner-occupied, you may be able to speak with the owner during the viewing and get more information about the BTL property and the seller than you would from the estate agent.

If the property is vacant, the seller may be more motivated to sell because they are likely incurring wasted costs such as council tax, utility bills, maintenance and mortgage payments while the property remains unoccupied.

If the BTL property is tenanted, you will need to consider the rights and obligations of the tenant, which can impact your ability to view the property and make an offer.

Will it be sold with the sitting tenant or vacant possession?

Know the pros and cons of BTL properties with sitting tenants

If the BTL property is currently tenanted, it's important to ask your estate agent if it is being sold with a sitting tenant. If the tenants are staying then you need to ask how much rent the tenant is paying and whether their rental payments are up to date. This information can help you to negotiate a fair price for the BTL property.

If the tenant's rental payments are not up to date, you will want to offer a lower price for the BTL property to compensate for the potential cost and hassle of evicting the tenant, or make your offer ‘subject to vacant possession’.

If purchasing with a sitting tenant you will also need to conduct checks to ensure you are inheriting a good tenant and also ensure that you will be compliant, in the eyes of the law, on day one of ownership. These checks generally come later on in the conveyancing process.

Who is the sales progressor?

Knowing who the sales progressor is important when buying a BTL properties

For a buyer of a BTL property, it is especially important to know who the sales progressor is.

The sales progressor is responsible for overseeing the entire sales process of BTL properties and ensuring that everything is moving forward smoothly. They are the point of contact for the seller and have insight into the seller's motivations, as well as knowledge of any other offers that have been made and the price the seller is willing to accept. If you want to negotiate the purchase price of your BTL properties, the sales progressor is the best person to speak to.

Additionally, once your offer is accepted, the sales progressor will typically be the person who helps the BTL property move through the conveyancing process.

Need Some Help?

Hire a property deal sourcer to help you build a BTL property portfolio

But to put it simply, it is worth taking the time to ask the right questions when speaking with estate agents. The more information you can gather about the seller and the property, the better equipped you will be to make a competitive offer. And, by the way, don't forget to ask “when can I view?"!

If you would rather spend your free time with loved ones than dealing with the logistics of booking viewings on BTL properties, consider hiring a property deal sourcer. They can handle everything from finding a great deal to managing renovations and overseeing the lettings process.

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Let us take care of your BTL property investment so you can focus on what matters — enjoying you life and achieving success. Get in touch with Pat here.

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