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Landlords: how much profit could you make by selling your buy-to-let property?

With a raft of taxation and lending changes, there are signs that some landlords are leaving the buy-to-let sector. How much money do they currently stand to make by selling up? Here, we take a look at new research showing the regional differences in how much profit landlords make when they sell their buy-to-let properties.

  • If you’re a landlord and are considering consolidating your portfolio, call Which?

    Mortgage Advisers[1] on 0808 252 7987 for impartial, expert advice on your mortgage options.

Landlord buy-to-let profits

New research by the estate agency group Countrywide has found that landlords made an average of GBP86,851 when selling a rental property in 2017. These findings are based on landlords selling up after an average of 8.7 years of property ownership. While this figure might sound high, it’s less than the GBP92,886 made by the average owner-occupier, with capital gains tax bills eating into buy-to-let profits.

Regional variations

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London investors made the biggest profits, with more than a quarter (28%) doubling their initial investment and average profits clocking in at four times those in the rest of the UK.

This is in stark contrast to North East England, where a quarter of landlords didn’t make any profit at all.

Top local authorities for landlord profits

The picture varies only slightly when we look at local authorities rather than regions. Again, London dominates the list, but there are also places in the top 10 for Maldon in Essex, where landlords enjoy average profits of over GBP100,000, and Pendle in Lancashire (GBP19,525). The lowest percentage profits were found in Selby, North Yorkshire, where investors made GBP9,703 on average.

Rents in London rising most quickly

The average cost of a new let in Great Britain increased by 1.5% in February to GBP954 a month.

For the third month in a row, London rents increased at the fastest speed to reach GBP1,686. Scotland was the only region to see rents drop, with the monthly average now standing at GBP587.

Five changes for landlords in 2018

Landlords face continuing challenges that threaten to eat into their profits in 2018.

  1. Mortgage rates increasing: the Bank of England is likely to increase the base rate[2] soon, and the closure of the Term Funding and Funding for Lending[3] schemes could push up the cost of mortgages.
  2. Tighter lending regulations: portfolio landlords (those with four or more mortgaged properties) face stricter lending criteria[4]. Rather than supplying details of overall profits, landlords must now provide details of every property in their portfolio when applying for further finance.
  3. Mortgage interest tax relief cuts: from April landlords will only be able to offset 50% of their mortgage interest[5] when filing their tax return (currently 75%).

    This figure will steadily decrease until 2020, when it will be replaced by a tax credit worth 20% of mortgage interest.

  4. Landlord licensing: an increasing number of local councils are bringing in additional and selective licensing schemes, with landlords facing big fines if they don’t adhere to the rules. Check out our table to see if you need a licence[6].
  5. Energy efficiency regulations: from April, rented properties will need to have a minimum EPC rating of E[7] – with fines of up to GBP5,000 for those who breach the rules.

You can learn more about the challenges facing landlords in our full story on 12 things buy-to-let landlords need to know in 2018[8].

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which?

Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which?

Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.


  1. ^ Which?

    Mortgage Advisers (

  2. ^ base rate (
  3. ^ Term Funding and Funding for Lending (
  4. ^ stricter lending criteria (
  5. ^ 50% of their mortgage interest (
  6. ^ Check out our table to see if you need a licence (
  7. ^ minimum EPC rating of E (
  8. ^ 12 things buy-to-let landlords need to know in 2018 (

Selling a house? Find out the best day of the year to put your home on the market

March 17 is the best day in 2018 for you to list your home to get a sale, according to research from an online estate agent. Online estate agency Emoov combined transaction data with the average number of days to sell a property and concluded that mid-March is the best time of the year to put a property up for sale. We explore how this varies from city to city and explain the steps you need to take to ensure a quick and profitable sale.

Average time to sell a property

To reach the March 17 date, Emoov identified the month in 2017 that saw the highest number of transactions – June – and then worked backwards, subtracting the average number of days that it takes for a UK property to go under offer (96, according to Post Office data). The research also revealed some more localised trends, as the amount of time it takes for an offer to be accepted on a property varies by as much as 51 days between cities – and the 2017 month with the highest number of transactions also varied from area to area.

City Average time to sell Highest month for transactions (2017) Best day to put on the market London 111 June 24 February Swansea 110 June 25 February Hull 101 June 6 March Cardiff 86 June 21 March Derby 86 June 21 March Sheffield 83 June 24 March Leeds 77 June 30 March Plymouth 76 June 31 March Nottingham 74 June 2 April Manchester 71 June/August 5 April/5 June Stoke-On-Trent 70 June 6 April Newcastle 97 July 9 April Norwich 83 July 9 April Birmingham 77 July 29 April Portsmouth 73 July 3 May Brighton 84 August 23 May Bristol 61 August 15 June Liverpool 112 March 23 November Southend 78 March 27 December Leicester 76 March 29 December Average 96 June 17 March

Preparing to sell your property

If you’re planning to put your house or flat on the market, there are some key steps you can take to get yourself and your home into the best position for a quick sale.

  • Declutter and get an honest friend to give their opinion of how your home will look to a prospective buyer – you’d be surprised how easily it is to become blind to your property’s flaws.
  • Get your paperwork in order – documentation covering work you’ve had done to the house, eg building regulation and electrical certificates, buildings insurance, and an energy performance certificate[2] will all be needed further down the line so it will speed things up if you’ve already tracked them down.
  • Find a solicitorconveyancing[3] can be the lengthiest part of the home-moving process, so try and find a firm with a good reputation and the availability to move things along quickly.
  • Speak to a mortgage adviser[4] – having a good idea of how much you can borrow for your next property will enable you to hit the ground running when you start house-hunting.

For more advice, check out our guide on how to sell a house[5].

Finding the best estate agent

The estate agent you choose will make a big difference to how quickly your property sells – and how much you get for it. The first step is to research local agents[6] and find the firms most likely to be able to help based on who has sold local properties like yours recently.

Once you’ve got a feel for the local market, invite three agents to come and value your home. This is a really important part of the process, as not only will it enable you to find out roughly how much your house is worth, but it will also enable you to interview each agent and understand what they would do to help sell your property. Our estate agents checklist[7] outlines the key questions to ask.

Don’t just go with the agent that gives you the highest valuation: some companies use this as a tactic to win business. It can be a good idea to combine the average valuation you receive with recent local selling prices (which you can check on sites such as Zoopla and MousePrice). Fees are a major consideration, especially as most high street agents charge a percentage of the sale price (the average is around 1.3%) – so this can run to thousands of pounds.

Some agents will allow you to negotiate, while online estate agents[8] will often offer lower fees for a more stripped-back service. Once you’ve found an agent that you’re happy with, make sure you read the contract thoroughly and watch out for long tie-in or notice periods. Again, you can negotiate on these terms – don’t sign unless you’re completely happy with the arrangement.

  • We’ve teamed up with Get Agent, a service that lets you compare estate agents in your area based on how many properties they’ve sold, the average time it takes them to achieve a sale, how much of the asking price they achieve and the fees they charge.

    Use our tool to compare estate agents[9].

Achieving a sale

Once your property is on the market, be as accommodating as possible to potential buyers. Most estate agents say it’s best if you can make yourself scarce during viewings, as buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions and spending a decent amount of time looking around. If the estate agent passes on any queries from people who are interested in your property, make sure you answer promptly and honestly.

When the all-important offer comes in, consider the buyer’s situation as well as the amount they’re offering – particularly if you have more than one party interested in buying.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which?

Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which?

Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.


  1. ^ Which?

    Mortgage Advisers (

  2. ^ energy performance certificate (
  3. ^ conveyancing (
  4. ^ mortgage adviser (
  5. ^ how to sell a house (
  6. ^ research local agents (
  7. ^ estate agents checklist (
  8. ^ online estate agents (
  9. ^ compare estate agents (

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