Buy-to-Let Watch: Time for some hard work

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We may have to work a bit harder to attract new business but the sector will bounce back if we all rise to the challenge

If you have been in the industry for even just a few years, you will have witnessed the rollercoaster ride that is the UK mortgage sector.

It is a market of highs and lows. There are times when the phone does not stop ringing and we have to turn people away because we cannot take on one more client. Then there are times when we have to work harder to attract new business. The buy-to-let industry may well be heading for the latter.

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The sector will bounce back. And, as I often make a point of stating, talking down the market is a dangerous and pointless move. However, realistically, it is safe to say that some potential investors who were considering buy-to-let may be thinking again as a result of the current challenges. As such, brokers may have to rethink their marketing strategies.

If you have never had to fight for new business, you may find this a daunting task. But it is not as difficult as one may expect.

Indeed, at our recent event in Birmingham our panel of experts – including Paratus AMC’s Simon Bayley and Pepper Home Loans’ Robert Barnard – discussed the issue of how brokers could drive more business. The suggestions offered are easy to apply.

Being an expert in your field is essential. This may sound obvious, but, if you are vying for new business, you need to set yourself ahead of your competitors. Understand legislation, both current and any on the horizon. Know your area and the surrounding areas.

Do not be afraid of specialist lenders or complex products. Be willing to adapt to the changing market and to recognise what clients need. If limited company borrowing and HMOs are set to become more common (which is likely), make sure you are up to speed on both and feel confident dealing with them.

Tax will obviously be a key issue for landlords in the coming months, so equip yourself as much as possible for this, perhaps by partnering with an accountancy firm or, if possible, employing a tax specialist in-house.

Look at how you market yourself. Make sure any business cards or company branding highlight your expertise, particularly in specialist areas. There are opportunities to be had. Do not be put off by the challenge. Rise to it.

Ying Tan is managing director of Buy to Let Club