I want to invest in property to rent. What do I buy best?

Keep a realistic return in mind 

‘Yes, with real estate you can make money, but you also do not have to expect big fat jars. Those times are over. When we sold property to an investor ten years ago, it mainly believed in the capital gain. Now that property is buying because it yields more than a savings book. For a new apartment you can count on a return of 2.5 to 3 percent ‘, according to Filip Dewaele of Dewaele Real Estate Group. We hear a similar sound from real estate developer and manager Triple Living. ‘We think that a return of 3 to 4 percent is realistic. Projects that promise 5 to 7 percent are not, ’emphasizes Joeri Voeten. ‘With student rooms, a lot more could have been earned earlier. People divided their homes into a number of rooms, asking a few hundred euros for that, and Kees was done.

Buy in the city

Naturally, you want a tenant to be in your new asset as soon as possible. Then it makes sense that you buy something in a place where the demand for rental properties is large. This means that as a landlord you have to take into account the place where your tenant wants to live. ‘This tenant takes into account proximity more than before. Close to work, but also close to schools and shops’, according to Voeten. ‘That is why we advise investors to buy something in the city instead of in rural areas, because there is a larger tenant market,’ Dewaele adds. You will not only find young people who are saving for their own home, but also older people who sold their villa in the countryside to live closer to or in the city.

Go for a new apartment …

‘Anyone who buys an out-of-date apartment will not get much on the rental market’, thinks Dewaele. ‘After all, a tenant mainly pays for a nice kitchen and a bathroom, and not so much for the location and the surface of the property. A buyer would like to pay money for that. ‘ That is why new construction is preferred. But that is not the only reason. By buying something new, you also avoid that you will quickly fall into the costs. ‘Normally, you will not have to spend money on renovations for the first 20 years with new construction,’ says Dewaele. By investing in a new building you are also immediately compliant with the latest energy standards. “This also provides a financial benefit for the buyer and tenant in the form of a lower energy bill,” says Voeten.may not be determinative to rent a building or not, prospective tenants are looking at it, “Dewaele knows. At the same time, an apartment also enjoys a home. ‘Especially when you look at the trend of more compact living. People also have much less time to maintain a house with a garden ‘. Voeten states.

… with 1 or 2 bedrooms

‘Buy something that you can offer to Jan Modaal. This means that your property must be in the normal rental class: approximately 600 to 750 euros. Then you will soon end up at the classic one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments, ‘says Dewaele. This is also the largest group if you would like to sell your property, which only increases the chance of buying interest.

Go for neutral materials 

The intention of an investment property is that you earn something from it. ‘Also look at that property as an investment and not as something you want to live in’, according to Voeten. ‘So avoid putting too much personal taste into the finish, go for materials that are as neutral as possible. This way you will be able to rent out your premises faster. Put the house also ready to move. It is an illusion to think that your tenant will paint the whole apartment, ‘says Dewaele.

Avoid vacancy 

Your return is also determined by the speed with which you can rent out your property. Too many investors are sticking to the rent they want to enter. But if your apartment is empty, you have nothing, “Voeten knows.

‘The art of renting out is to avoid vacancy and not to get the last 25 euros out of your tenant’, says Dewaele. 

‘Do not forget to come back to the market again if you are looking for a new tenant. Calculate yourself: if your house is empty for two months, you lose 1400 euros at a rent of 700 euros per month. You can not just get that up by asking 25 euros a month extra. ‘

‘Do not panic if you are in a new building project and do not have a tenant from day one. After all, tenants want to see where they end up, who do not rent on plan. So you will always have to be able to bridge a certain initial period ‘, according to Voeten.

Buy a parking space 

Perhaps as an investor you do not immediately see the advantage of paying extra for a parking space or garage on top of the cost of an apartment. Certainly not if you do not want to set the rent too high. ‘But with a view to added value, a car park is worth the investment’, says Voeten. 

Rent once furnished 

You may think that a tenant prefers to buy their furniture themselves, but in the expat market a furnished apartment is an asset. ‘With a relatively limited budget you can increase the rental value. An increase of the rent by 20 percent is possible, “says Voeten. Keep in mind a different tax regime. The risk of vacancy is also slightly greater, ‘says Dewaele.

Index the rent 

‘In a manner of speaking, wealthy Belgians see their private banker every month to talk about their investments, but they often no longer look at their real estate. In the best case, they index the rent. As owner you have many duties, but you also have rights. Do not forget to index your rental price ‘. says Dewaele (VES) 

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