October 9, 2023 9:27 am

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Nikka Sulton

“What’s the required property investment capital?” is a common query from aspiring investors. When I began, I had no money, and many face this challenge. While some think substantial capital is essential, I’ll explain how you can invest without your funds later in this blog.

The question of how much money is needed to begin property investment is a common one. The answer, however, isn’t a fixed figure and varies based on several factors. Your investment goals, location, property type, purchase method, and chosen strategy all play a role.

Certain areas may require larger initial investments due to higher property prices, while others are more affordable. Property types can also affect your financial requirements, as some demand larger deposits.

Different investment strategies offer flexibility in terms of required capital. In the traditional buy-to-let approach, a 25% deposit, along with additional funds for taxes and legal fees, is common. This typically amounts to 30% of the property’s value to get started. For instance, with a £100k property, you’d need £30k, £45k for a £150k property, or £60k for a £200k property, and so forth.

Property Types

The choice of property type can greatly affect your investment costs. It not only influences the property’s purchase price but also determines the funding options available, ultimately impacting the initial capital needed.

In the property industry, we categorize property types as “Asset Classes.” In the UK, the most common asset classes for investors are:

  1. Residential accommodation
  2. Serviced accommodation
  3. Student accommodation

Let’s delve into the investment costs associated with each of these asset classes in the following sections.

Understand the Different Buy-to-Let Property Strategies 

To get started in property investing, it’s essential to grasp the various avenues available. Buy-to-Let (BTL) property investment offers several approaches, each catering to different preferences, financial situations, and investment goals.


1. Traditional Buy-to-Let (Single Lets)

This method involves purchasing a property with the intent of renting it out to tenants for residential purposes. The rent collected should cover mortgage payments and expenses, resulting in a monthly profit. Typically, this approach is a long-term investment, with returns stemming from both the rental income and potential property value appreciation over time.


2. Buy, Refurbish, Refinance, Rent (BRRR)

The BRRR strategy begins with acquiring a lower-valued property, renovating it to increase its worth, and subsequently refinancing it. By leveraging the property’s enhanced value, you can retrieve the initial investment and reinvest it in another property. Additionally, the property can be rented out to generate ongoing rental income.


3. Houses in Multiple Occupations (HMOs)

HMOs are properties shared by multiple tenants from separate families. Typically, these accommodations feature shared communal spaces like kitchens and living areas, sometimes including shared bathrooms. While HMOs offer higher rental yields compared to traditional BTL properties, they also come with increased operational costs.


4. Holiday Lets

Holiday Lets specialize in short-term rentals, catering to holidaymakers for part of the year. With the recent rise in domestic tourism and staycations, this niche has gained popularity. Success in holiday lets hinges on selecting the right location to attract guests and maintain consistent bookings throughout the year.


How Much Money do I Need to Start my Buy-to-Let Property Business?

The question of how much money you need to start in property investing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on factors such as your chosen projects, risk tolerance, and property objectives. Despite the misconception that property investing requires substantial capital, there are options for various financial situations.

Generally, you can start with cash, a bridging loan, or a buy-to-let mortgage for your initial property purchase.

1. Cash Purchase

You can buy a property outright using personal savings, inheritance, or a cash gift. With no mortgage payments, the rental income becomes 100% profit.


2. Equity Release

If you own your primary residence and have built up equity through mortgage payments, you can extract this equity to fund an investment property. It’s a common way to enter the property market.


3. Buy-to-Let Mortgages

While some lenders have strict criteria, it’s possible to obtain buy-to-let mortgages even if you don’t currently own a residential home. Typically, a 25% deposit is required for most buy-to-let properties.


4. Bridging Finance

Bridging finance is a short-term loan used by investors to acquire a property. It’s repaid by refinancing with a long-term product, such as a buy-to-let mortgage. Bridging loans typically require a 30% deposit based on the property’s value.

Bridging finance offers flexibility, as approval is based on your deal’s exit strategy rather than your income and credit history. As long as you can clearly demonstrate how you’ll repay the bridging loan, such as through a buy-to-let mortgage or property sale, lenders are likely to provide the necessary funds. Many investors kickstart their property ventures using bridging finance and the BRRR (Buy, Refurbish, Refinance, Rent) strategy, allowing them to acquire properties, refinance them, and generate monthly rental income.

How much money do I need to invest in residential property?

In recent years, significant transformations have altered the urban landscapes of major UK cities. Property developers are continuously erecting luxury apartment complexes to meet the growing demand from city-dwelling professionals.

Property investors acquire units in these residential developments with the intention of renting them out, rather than residing in the property themselves. This strategy enables investors to generate rental income monthly while ideally witnessing the property’s value appreciate over time.

This prevalent form of residential property investment is commonly referred to as ‘buy-to-let,’ signifying the purchase of a property primarily for rental purposes. It stands as the most widespread type of property investment.

Upfront Costs

One significant advantage of investing in residential property is the option to buy using a mortgage, reducing the initial investment required. This approach does involve taking on debt and committing to monthly mortgage payments, but the rental income from the property should typically cover these expenses and provide additional income.

For buy-to-let investors, 75% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages are accessible, meaning investors need a cash deposit equivalent to at least 25% of the property price.

Additionally, investors should budget for:

  1. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – In the UK, stamp duty typically applies to properties valued above £250,000. However, if the purchase results in the buyer owning multiple properties, stamp duty may be due regardless of the price. You can estimate your SDLT using a tool or refer to our guide: “How Much Is Stamp Duty On a Buy-To-Let Property?”
  2. Legal Fees – A solicitor is essential to handle the legal aspects of property acquisition. Costs vary based on property value but typically range from £1,000 to £2,000.
  3. Contingency Funds – Maintaining some extra cash as a financial buffer is advisable. This reserve can cover unforeseen expenses, such as furnishing the property if it’s unfurnished.
Purchase Price Mortgage Deposit (25%) Stamp Duty Land Tax Legal Fees Buffer Estimated Money Required Upfront
£100,000 £25,000 £3,000 £1,000 £2,000 £31,000
£150,000 £37,500 £5,000 £1,250 £2,000 £45,750
£200,000 £50,000 £7,500 £1,500 £2,000 £61,000
£250,000 £62,500 £10,000 £1,750 £2,000 £76,250
£300,000 £75,000 £14,000 £2,000 £2,000 £93,000

The data suggests that an initial sum of slightly over £30,000 is sufficient to begin investing. While there are indeed viable buy-to-let properties in the UK around the £100,000 range, it’s essential to recognize that this is relatively low compared to the average prices in the UK’s most popular cities (Birmingham, Leeds, London, Liverpool, and Manchester). For more insight into average property prices, we suggest referring to the Land Registry’s House Price Index.

Given this, we recommend that most residential property investors aim for a starting budget of £50,000. This budget provides the flexibility to target properties valued between £150,000 and £200,000.


Outgoing Costs:

Ongoing expenses associated with residential property typically include:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Service charges
  • Ground rent
  • Management fees (for a hands-off approach)
  • Maintenance expenses

The total of these costs can vary significantly, ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand per month, depending on the specific property. Accurate predictions depend on the property’s particulars. We recommend that investors carefully evaluate all potential ongoing expenses and their potential impact on net monthly rental income.

Property Investing Strategies You Should know

Investing in property with limited funds is possible, and even if you have some capital, it’s essential to stretch it wisely. One strategy is known as Rent to Rent.

In Rent to Rent, you identify landlords with properties struggling to find tenants for various reasons. You offer the property owner a guaranteed rent, which is typically less than the market rate. Your goal is to rent the property for a profit to another tenant, whether as serviced accommodation or a house of multiple occupation. Landlords often agree to this arrangement because they value the stability of regular monthly payments and are willing to forgo the higher rental income they could potentially earn by managing it themselves. You essentially take on the role of property manager, making it a hands-on, active income approach, but it can be highly effective, especially for those dipping their toes into property investment.


While Rent to Rent can be a good starting point, another strategy to consider is a purchase lease option.

1. Purchase Lease Option Agreements

Another strategy closely resembling Rent to Rent is the Purchase Lease Option. In this approach, you rent a property from its owner, providing them with a guaranteed monthly rent. Then, you rent the property out to others at a higher rate.

The significant difference is that you secure the option to buy the property at a predetermined price in the future. Essentially, you lock in today’s price, generate rental income in the interim, and have the opportunity to purchase the property at the agreed-upon price, even if the property’s market value has risen significantly. This strategy offers substantial potential benefits, but it’s relatively unknown, making it less competitive and a valuable option to explore. If I were starting anew in my property investment journey after 26 years, I would certainly prioritize learning about Purchase Lease Options, as they can complement various other investment strategies effectively.

2. Vendor Finance, Joint Ventures & Private Loans

Another viable strategy is Vendor Finance, which enables you to finance deals without using your own capital. Here’s how it works: you identify a property owner who is keen to sell but doesn’t necessarily require immediate cash from the sale. They’re not interested in options; they simply want to transfer ownership to you. In such cases, there are several methods to leverage the equity in the property, essentially having the owner lend you the necessary funds.

It’s important to note that traditional mortgage companies typically require you to have some of your own capital invested. However, once you have some skin in the game, there are alternatives. Specialized lenders and bridging companies may recognize the equity provided by the owner as a deposit, reducing the amount of money you need to put in upfront.

Another avenue to explore is Joint Ventures. Many individuals have the financial resources but lack the time, knowledge, or interest in actively seeking property deals. If you become skilled at finding excellent opportunities through education and training, you can connect with these potential partners at networking events or property gatherings. You bring the deal to the table, do the legwork, and they contribute the capital. Typically, the arrangement involves a 50/50 split of both cash flow and equity growth.

An even more advantageous option than a Joint Venture is pursuing a Private Loan. You might wonder who would be willing to lend money to you. Well, the truth is, many people are open to it, especially considering the paltry returns offered by banks these days. Often, your best prospects are those you already know: friends and family. You won’t need to solicit funds; instead, you inform them of your property ventures and see if anyone is interested in earning a better return on their money than they’d get from a bank. It’s surprising how many people have undisclosed savings, inheritance, or funds from various sources, sitting idly in their bank accounts. They are potential partners you can assist.

In the UK, discussing one’s financial situation isn’t typically part of polite conversation, but you’d be amazed at the financial resources people may have at their disposal, whether from selling shares, cryptocurrency investments, or other circumstances like divorce. These funds often earn minimal interest in the bank. Your property investments can provide an opportunity for them to see a more profitable return. Similar to a Joint Venture, you locate a promising property deal, and they provide the funding. Instead of sharing profits, they receive a fixed return on their investment. Over time, as property values increase, you may refinance to repay their investment, or explore other avenues to settle the debt.

Of course, when handling other people’s money, you must exercise extreme caution and ensure prompt repayment. It’s essential to collaborate with individuals you trust, who know you well, and with whom you share a positive relationship.


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