Investing in property in Cornwall

Investing in property in Cornwall

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Investing in property in Cornwall

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If you are looking to invest in property in the South West, take a look at everyone’s favourite county. From north Cornwall to Lands End, including the Roseland and Lizard peninsulas, Cornwall is Britain’s foremost holiday destination. With around 24 million tourists visiting the West Country every year, self-catering accommodation is always in demand.


Cornwall properties are not expensive when compared to the overheated London and South East property market. However, when it comes to capital growth, it pays to take a longer view. Letting out the property should cover the cost of ownership and ideally return a good profit. Whether you are looking to invest in a second home or a solid year-round buy-to-let, it’s important to find a property that gives you a regular income.


In terms of location, Cornwall does have some very desirable areas indeed. Honeypot locations including St Ives, Bude and Padstow attract a lot of visitors and command higher property and rental prices as a result. Recent research carried out by property website Zoopla included Falmouth, Newquay and Penzance among the top 10 property hotspots for 2017, in addition to the growing student population in Falmouth and Penryn.


Investment Property Checklist


Buying a second property in Cornwall is a long-term investment that needs careful consideration. Whether you are thinking of purchasing a buy-to-let property in Truro or a holiday cottage in Padstow, it’s important to have a clear plan and a strategic approach to achieve the right result.


We’ve compiled a handy 7 point checklist with some key points you should be considering before making a commitment.


1 – Get to know the market


Property investment is not for the faint hearted. In order to minimise any risks, immerse yourself in the market to get a full understanding of how it works and what the issues are. Knowledge is power, they say, so keep abreast of relevant local property news and industry developments, regulatory and tax changes. If you know a buy-to-let landlord or someone with a holiday letting portfolio in Cornwall, ask them to share their experiences.


2 – Understand the buying process


Get a clear understanding of how the buying process works. This is not specific to Cornwall; any property investor would be well advised to get acquainted with the mechanics of buying a property. Are you buying new build or established property, off-plan or at auction? Considering a conversion or fixer upper? Whichever it is, you need to know exactly what’s involved before you sign on the dotted line.


3 – Select the right area


Finding the right area and the best location for your Cornish property investment is key. Research amenities, transport links, schools, shopping and other property fundamentals as this will drive rental demand for your property as well as sales demand for when you come to sell. Students at Plymouth University will have very different requirements and expectations than holiday makers in St Mawes or families in Helston. The most profitable areas are not necessarily those with the cheapest or most expensive – it all depends on your target market.


4 – Choose the right tenant


Be very clear about the type of tenant you are hoping to attract and adjust your research accordingly. There is a huge difference between affordable property for student lets, aspirational young professionals or established families. Holiday lets are another ballgame altogether – are you targeting pet owners, watersports enthusiasts, walkers or digital detoxers? Make sure you are buying the right property that will be popular with your target tenants.


5 – Do the sums


Compare the purchasing cost to your rental yield and be aware that lenders may require a minimum rent for the mortgage granted, plus demand a hefty deposit. Then there’s Stamp Duty due at the point of purchase and possibly Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell. Take a close look at your income and outgoings to work out your cash flow projections, always erring on the side of caution. It’s a good idea to overestimate your mortgage rate by 1%, allow 10% of your rental income for maintenance and budget for a 1 month void period per year.


6 – Shop around for the best mortgage and conveyancing deals


Unless you are in the lucky position to be a cash buyer, finding a good mortgage adviser who specialises in buy-to-let to help you get the best rates can be a real money saver in the long run. Next, find yourself a competitively priced conveyancer, ideally one offering a fixed price legal service with a reimbursement option should the sale fall through when you are not at fault – it’s better to be safe than sorry.


7 – Consult a Chartered Surveyor


Finally, a thorough property inspection is essential before you make any purchase decision. Unless you’re a trained surveyor yourself, this is not the time to cut corners. Instruct a qualified and experienced surveyor to conduct a property survey to discover if there are damp problems, structural issues or any other problems with the building, many of which may be undetectable by the untrained eye. Give your ‘snagging list’ to the developer if you’re buying off-plan, or use the survey report as a price negotiating tool.

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Richard Hocking Chartered Surveyors

Richard creating a video with BBC1’s Inside Out presenter Jemma Woodman for the Property Health Check Company (

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Richard has recently appeared as an expert advisor in an episode of the BBCs ‘Rip off Britain’, appearing alongside Julia Somerville.

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