Building a Rental Property Business from Scratch: A How-To Guide

Building a Rental Property Business from Scratch
Reece Pape Property Writer
Reece Pape
Property Writer
5 Min Read

Looking at building a rental property business but don’t know how to get started? 

Then this may just be the perfect guide for you. 

Here, you’ll learn all about what it takes to get the ball rolling – from what a rental property business is to what costs you need to be aware of. 

Creating a rental property business can be a profitable and long-term investment, but it all depends on how you approach it.

So, without further ado, here are some tricks and tips you’ll need to get started. 

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What Is a Rental Property Business? 

Like most things in life, it’s probably best to know what you’re in for before jumping right into it.  

To put it simply, a rental property business is almost exactly what it sounds like – a venture through which an investor owns more than one income-producing rental property. 

These properties can have one or more units leased out to tenants for monthly rental fees. 

Investors can have an effective rental plan without directly managing these properties, as property management companies can be hired to carry out landlords’ duties, such as rent collection and maintenance.

Why Should You Even Consider UK Property Investment? 

This is most likely one of the most burning questions anyone has when looking at buying a rental property. 

And for a good reason too! 

A lot has changed over the last couple of years, with the various lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions having a significant impact on our lifestyles and even the economy itself. 

Even as we – hopefully – appear to be crawling our way back to some sense of normality, it’s still as important to consider your options thoroughly before making any final decisions. 

The good news, though, is that the UK property market appears to be thriving at the moment. 

Rent prices have increased across the board, with the average UK rent reaching a record high of £1,064 in February – 8.5% higher than last year. This also saw a considerable surge in average rental yields, with the likes of Manchester and Liverpool offering returns of over 7% on average.  

The slight downside is that taxes have changed somewhat in the past few years, though, so you may be earning less monthly income than you would have previously. 

Announced in the 2022 Spring Statement, for example, National Insurance will increase by around 1.25% from April, and some landlords may also be affected by ’stealth taxation’ - in which people fall into higher tax bands as a result of thresholds and allowances not being increased.  

Some of these concerns will be covered later in this guide, but the bottom line is that it’s not impossible to make solid profits in UK property. 

In fact, if done right, going into real estate can prove to be very a lucrative venture indeed. While this can also be true for other investment options – i.e., cryptocurrency or the stock market – the simple fact is that these can be a much risker endeavour. 

Property investment is a tried-and-true method for many investors for essentially one reason – it has an incredible track record for bouncing back from an economic crisis. 

Look back to 2020, at the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown, and houses prices in the UK saw a massive drop of around £2,000. 

Fast forward to January 2022, though, and buyer demand has never been higher, seeing an increase of 23% compared to the same period last year. House prices are also on the rise, with Zoopla finding an increase of 8.1% to current UK house price growth – with the average value being £245,200. 

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Is Owning a Rental Property Actually a Business? 

If you’ve done a bit of Googling, you may be slightly confused and wondering: ‘But, I thought rental ownership is an investment, not a business? Is a rental property considered a business? UK advice appears to be saying otherwise.’   

In short: in the UK, if you own a rental property that is a primary source of income, or again if you acquire more rental properties with the intention of letting them out, then, yes, that is considered a business.  

Owning a property is just the first step to being a rental property business owner.  

As attractive as this business is, the amount of money needed, the potential liabilities and the legal responsibilities can often be overwhelming – especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s where the following tips will help.  

Understand the Costs Involved 

If you haven’t realised it yet, investing in real estate is a significant commitment – one that also comes with significant fees.   

If you want to learn how to invest in rental property as a beginner, you’ll need to understand the costs involved. 

Whilst you may think you have sufficient funds to cover your investment, this may not be the case if additional costs and fees are involved (which they usually are).  

It’s vital then that you spend some time wrapping your head around the financial aspects before you start thinking about how to start investing in property.  

The most straightforward route is speaking with a financial advisor. 

This will allow you to learn about the different taxes involved and give you a better understanding of all the money-related jargon involved with the property market. 

Alternatively, you could spend some time researching this yourself, but to make it clear: 

Due diligence is key. 

After all, as we’ve established, property investment is a business venture.   

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Paying property taxes Paying property taxes

Remember Property Taxes! 

In terms of other costs, when considering your expenses, paying all the necessary taxes involved with property should be at the top of your list. 

In the UK, this includes things like:  

  • Income tax  
  • Inheritance Tax 
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax 
  • Capital Gains Tax 

Be sure to also keep on top of the latest property news to understand tax changes, such as those announced in the recent Spring Statement 2022. 

How to Start a Rental Property Business with No Money 

If you’re looking at a way to build a rental property business without spending any money, you may find things slightly tricky.  

To put it bluntly: it just isn’t going to happen.  

To make a solid investment in real estate, you need to have the money to back.  

Before you furiously click off this page, though, there are some tips to help you get started with property investment as a beginner who may not have a huge budget to start with. 

One Park Lane Liverpool One Park Lane Liverpool

Research Mortgage Payments 

If you don’t have the money to spare, the best route to take in this case is using a buy-to-let mortgage. 

Like a regular mortgage, you can take out a loan on a buy-to-let property.  

You pay a deposit and then pay it in chunks through monthly repayments. 

Different providers will offer varying interest rates, but it also depends on how long you want the mortgage for.  

If you’re using a buy to let mortgage to buy an investment property, the minimum deposit you need to put down is usually 25% of the property’s value.   

The more you have for a deposit, the lower your repayments will be and the better your chances of securing a mortgage. 

For example, when buying a property worth £100,000 with a buy to let mortgage, you would only need a minimum down payment of £25,000. 

Some property companies also offer a payment plan.  

Payment plans allow the investor to split the cost of the property into multiple instalments, which is particularly useful if you don’t have the total amount of cash in your back pocket but will have it in the next couple of months.  

Unfortunately, if you don’t have the money to cover either of these options, your only option is to save until you meet this goal. 

One of the key takeaways is this: 

When planning on how to start building a rental property business, make sure you treat it like any other business - by putting a financial focus on your strategy.  

Creating a Business Plan 

Whilst it may be tempting to just throw caution to the wind and leap straight in to claim your massive piles of money- this isn’t always the wisest (or realistic) move.  

For those wondering how to start a rental property business UK, coming up with a business plan is a great way to assist your chances of success further down the line and help steer you away from any bad decisions. 

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What Does a Business Plan Consist Of? 

Essentially, a rental property business plan is what it sounds like – an outline of what you want to achieve with this venture.  

Despite what you might be thinking, this is not some massive task – you won’t be asked to write a dissertation on this. 

The best business plans are the ones that are concise and to the point.  

You’re going to want something easy to commit to memory. 

To help, here are five aspects to think about when creating your plan:  

  • Where are you now? – This includes both your available finances and how much money you’re willing to spend.  
  • What are your goals?  – Think about where you want to get to. What are your specific aspirations, and is there a real financial goal to help you get there? Are you looking at building a property rental business and taking the bulk of the landlord duties yourself? Or do you want to just build a property portfolio with a hands-off approach, working with a rental/letting management company that takes care of all the day-to-day duties?  
  • What is the right strategy for you? – By picking the strategy that best aligns with your goals, you’ll be able to bridge the gap between your current situation and what you want to get out of property investment. 
  • How do I achieve these goals? – Once you have figured out your business model and have some sense of your planning process, you’ll need to action your business plan. Undoubtedly a daunting task to consider, the best way to approach this is to create a to-do list of every job you need to do, both one-off and recurring tasks. You could even break some of these tasks into smaller ones to constantly feel like you’re making progress. 
  • Where should I look to find the best property? – Finding the right location for your investment is probably one of the most important aspects of this process. There are several factors to consider, and this will be covered in this guide in further detail later on, but usually, this will depend on qualities like property price, tenant demand, and the average rent in the area. While this research can be quite time consuming, it is absolutely crucial if you want to secure a good investment. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other things to consider when investing in property. 

See one of our latest guides for further information on building a property business plan. 

Researching locations for property investment Researching locations for property investment

Location is Key 

As mentioned, location is probably one factor that matters most when investing in property. 

In the UK, property prices can vary depending upon the region. 

For example, property prices in Liverpool can differ massively from those in London. Qualities like high rental yields and strong capital growth are also more common in some areas than others. 

When building a rental property business, if you want the best profit, you have to do the research to find the best possible location. 

Look for High Rental Yields 

If you want the best possible investments, then rental yield is the one to keep your eye on. 

Of course, the area in which you invest will considerably impact how much profit you see – a combination of low average property prices and high average rental costs will usually result in solid yields.  

When it comes to rental yield, working with a property investment company can make things much easier, as you’ll already know the project/assured profit that comes with each venture. 

However, if you’re investing privately without using an investment company, you don’t have to panic! 

You can work out potential rental yields for an area by determining its average property price and average rental cost.  

The North West region, in particular, has seen high rental yields recently, with the likes of Manchester and Liverpool offering returns of over 7% on average.  

Liverpool L1 City Centre Postcode

The Mill

Invest With £60,000

Liverpool Prices from £139,950

Assured 6% NET Rental Return

Grade 2 Listed Building

Exclusive Investment Opportunity
Liverpool Prices from £125,995

6% Rental Yields

Stylish Liverpool Apartments

Off-Market Property
Manchester Prices from £200,000

5% Projected Rental Return

Amazing Onsite Facilities

Keep Your Eye on Capital Growth 

The property market has flourished over the last year or so, with consistent house price growth throughout. 

In fact, 2021 featured record highs in terms of capital growth. 

A trend that appears to be continuing for the foreseeable future. 

The North West again proves to be one to watch, as it’s predicted to see the UK’s highest house price growth rates.    

In their residential market forecast, Savills predict 18.8% average growth for the region by 2026. 

The same growth rate is predicted for areas like Leeds, Preston, and Middlesborough.   

This highlights the strength of the North of England compared to the South, with lower five-year growth of just 5.6% in store for London. 

Conclusion 

So, you now (hopefully) know the basics of how to build a rental property business. 

In summary, if you want to succeed with residential property investment, you need to do the research.  

A lack of proper preparation and understanding could leave you with both wasted time and – more importantly – money.  

If you’d like to learn more about property investment, consider reading some of our latest up-to-date guides.  

Or, if you’re feeling ready to start your investing journey, take a look at some of our latest properties to see if any are right for you. 

Reece Pape Property Writer
Reece Pape
Property Writer

Reece Pape is a property writer at RWinvest. Reece is passionate about keeping property investors updated on must-have information and housing market news, utilising the latest property market statistics and data.