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Property Investor Show delves into psyche of buy-to-let investors

The show says that much like other long-term commitments, such as getting married or taking a new job, it is important to make sure that you are making the right decision. Among other factors, this can come down to whether a particular form of investment suits your personality.

Those who like risky ventures should look at emerging markets such as eastern Europe, while for amateur investors looking for a more guaranteed investment, a more reliable option is student lets.

Similarly, those who want a let-and-forget property should pick hands-off options like holiday rentals using a management company.

For a gambler who doesn&#39t mind being first out of the blocks to try something new, hoping that they might make a fortune out of it at some point in the future, the ideal buy-to-let would be an eastern European apartment.

Since joining the EU in May, the former Eastern Bloc countries are now opening up to the West. Quick off the mark are Hungary and Slovakia. Bulgaria, set to join in 2007, is already seeing the investors move in. Corporate lets are the favoured option in the capitals, but holiday lets could become an option if the budget airlines bring in the city weekenders.

A first-timer on the other hand would probably want to get involved in property investment and have a bit of time and cash to spare. They don&#39t mind getting involved in looking after the property but want to see some income straight away. The ideal buy-to-let for this buyer would be a student house.

Student houses require a good location and lots of bedrooms and that&#39s about it. They can be cheaply decorated and furnished and you should see returns as soon as the term starts. Void periods run annually during the summer holidays but with on average four full-paying tenants for the rest of the year they should be able to afford this time out.

Then there are the flash Harrys, who characteristically have some spare capital behind them, are looking for an easy alternative to the pension fund as well as something they can enjoy the benefits of now.

The ideal buy-to-let would be a Spanish villa. A Spanish villa on the edge of a golf course could provide them with a sunshine retreat as well as rental income from tourists. A decent villa in a good location in the established areas will cost close to UK prices but the infrastructure is in place meaning that the golfers are likely to be attracted to the year-round sunshine.

However, they will need to employ some local staff to maintain the gardens and pool as well as clean the interior of the property on a weekly basis.

Wheeler-dealers are those who don&#39t mind a bit of risk but like to be involved with their investment and know what&#39s going on. They are willing to put quite a lot of money into a project that will provide returns. The ideal buy-to-let would be a city apartment.

A new city-centre development of apartments can provide a good buy-to-let property for highly desirable tenants such as young professionals. Buying multiple units off-plan will usually secure further discounts although apartments will need to be furnished to a high specification, and competition in the city rentals market is very tough. The next trendy apartments within

walking distance of the tube could steal tenants and with it their income.

Finally there is the long-termer, who doesn&#39t have much to spend, but would like a property with long-term investment potential and believe that you know which areas will see big price rises in the future.

The ideal buy-to-let would be a housing benefit, DSS type property. Good returns are possible from a low initial expenditure on a family home at the bottom-end of the market. If they buy in an up-and-coming hotspot then strong capital gains could be realised when you sell up in 15 years time and in the meantime there is usually high demand for DSS properties. However they need to be managed very closely and there is an element of risk with rental incomes. Changing regulations with the introduction of the pathfinder scheme means that tenants are now paid a local housing allowance direct, giving landlords less security but more flexibility when setting rent levels.

Nick Clark, director of the Property Investor Show, says: “There are currently so many different options available for someone looking to invest in property. The option that would best suit a specific individual is based on a variety of factors such as how much they plan to invest, how hands-on they want to be and the level of risk they are prepared to take.

“However the healthiest type of investment, regardless of personality type, is one that is well-researched. The Property Investor Show, with over 240 exhibitors and 100 seminars, should be able to provide all the expert advice and information potential investors will need, from financing purchases, to the next hotspots both here and abroad.”

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