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Welcome to Buy-to-Let Direct

Buy-to-Let Direct is a specialist in the buy-to-let and commercial mortgage market. We have a wealth of knowledge and are dedicated to helping UK landlords and businesses find the best financial products and services available to them.

Why use us?

All our products and services are available online, with the added benefit that you can speak to a specialist at any time should you require help or assistance.

With over 20 years' experience in the buy to let and commercial mortgage markets, we offer:

  • Independence - we are not tied to any one lenders’ products
  • Easy access to the information you are looking for
  • Products and services tailored for you
  • Support from specialists

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Buy-to-let - there's a first time for everything - Mar 12, 2020

There has been a swathe of tax and regulatory changes impacting on the buy-to-let sector in recent years which may have affected the perception of residential rental property and its viability as an investment option. Consequently, the sector has seen a reduction in the number of amateur landlords and it is now primarily the domain of professional property investors. However, there are still people entering the market and looking to make their first buy-to-let purchases – a group referred to as ‘first time landlords’.

Most lenders on our panel will accept applications from first time landlords providing they are currently an owner occupier, so there are plenty of product options in the marketplace. There is often a requirement that applicants have owned their residential home for a minimum length of time which may vary from 6 to 12 months, although some lenders do not state a minimum period providing the applicant’s name is on the title deeds.

It is not quite as straightforward for first time buyers - those with no existing UK property at all. We currently have around fifteen lenders on panel who will consider applicants without a history of property ownership such as Barclays, Landbay, Precise and Vida Homeloans. Some lenders will apply an affordability calculation alongside their normal rental stress tests and criteria, which depending on income multiples may limit the amount applicants can borrow.

There are also options for first time buyers to be the second applicant on a buy-to-let mortgage and it is a familiar scenario when parents help their children onto the property ladder in this way. Lenders who consider this include Interbay, Leeds Building Society and Paragon.

In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of limited company applications, especially since the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief for buy-to-let properties. We have also seen first time landlords setting up an SPV for their initial property purchases, which is definitely an option worth considering as it may provide financial benefits depending on individual circumstances. It is always recommended to seek professional tax advice before deciding about this option.

It is simple and inexpensive to set up an SPV, but it is important to register the company with an appropriate SIC code relating to the letting and management of property. Most lenders will accept brand new SPVs with no accounts history, but they will require personal guarantees from the directors/shareholders. There are also lenders that accept companies that trade in non-property related businesses, although the product options for this scenario are fewer.

A significant advantage of using a corporate entity when applying for a buy-to-let mortgage is that they are not affected by the recent tax relief changes or the 2017 PRA regulations relating to rent stress tests. Lenders normally apply a less stringent rental calculation for limited companies, typically at around 125 per cent at 5.5 per cent which may increase maximum borrowing levels for new landlords.

Those investing in buy-to-let property should give proper consideration to property type, tenant demand, location and rental income. These variables can have a significant effect on the overall profitability of an investment and prospective landlords will surely benefit from thorough research. For example, we get frequent enquiries about HMOs and multi-unit properties which often give a better than average rental yield due to multiple rents being charged.

Unfortunately for first time landlords most of the specialist lenders who finance HMOs and multi-unit properties require a minimum amount of previous experience as a landlord. For example, Vida Homeloans requires 12 months’ experience and Paragon Mortgages requires 3 years. However, there are a few options such as Masthaven, Kent Reliance and Together who will consider this scenario for first time landlords.

To conclude, there are plenty of investment opportunities for first time landlords and a wide range of buy-to-let mortgage products to choose from. By considering the different factors that may affect the level of finance available and overall returns on a property, new landlords can make more informed choices during their first buy-to-let investment experience.



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Landlords are considering their options - Feb 11, 2020

Tax relief

As the end of the financial year approaches, buy-to-let investors will be mindful that mortgage interest tax relief will be phased out completely in April. The effects of this tax change have been implemented in stages over the last three years, giving landlords the chance to plan and adapt to its financial consequences.

The significant rise in limited company buy-to-let mortgages is a clear indicator that many landlords are considering the tax advantages of using a corporate structure for their property investment businesses. Around 35 per cent of our applications are currently for limited companies and we are frequently asked by landlords whether or not it is a good option for them.

This is not a question we can readily answer as the financial implications of using a limited company will vary depending on individual circumstances and portfolio size. We always recommend seeking tax advice, but we can also provide information that could assist in the decision-making process. For example, if a landlord client is seriously weighing up the benefits of setting up an SPV, providing mortgage illustrations for both personal name and limited company products could help calculate the overall cost savings involved.

Historically, limited company finance has tended to be more expensive than personal name finance although the gap is narrowing, and some lenders no longer distinguish between the two applicant types. In any case, it can be useful for landlords to be able to compare potential monthly repayments when deciding which route to take. Our online mortgage finder has a simple built-in filter for limited company products enabling visitors to obtain comparable mortgage illustrations without entering a complete fact find.

(NLA Landlords Tax course link - https://landlords.org.uk/landlord-tax)

Remortgaging

It is difficult to predict what effect the current political and economic climate will have on interest rates in 2020 as Mark Carney prepares for his departure from the Bank of England and Andrew Bailey gets ready to step in.

It has also been predicted by industry pundits that the buy-to-let remortgage market will slow in 2020 as more landlords are choosing 5-year fixed rates which lengthens the remortgage cycle. However, mortgage rates are still very low and now could be a good time for landlords to examine their whole portfolio to make the most of these deals.

If landlords start to feel more confident about the UK economy in the coming months and are considering expanding their portfolios, releasing equity from existing properties is a popular way of providing a deposit for a new property purchase. There are plenty of options to choose from for all property types and situations, including many that come with incentives such as a free valuation and free legal fees.

For clients looking for a like-for-like remortgage, switching lender is not the only way to secure a lower rate. There is now a growing number of lenders who offer retention products to existing customers which can provide a quick and easy way to refinance.



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