Dear Barry

I'm hoping you can impart some of your wisdom. Keen follower of your blog and have also enjoyed your recent property investment videos on LinkedIn. I'm about to invest in my first buy to let and want to know if furnished property or unfurnished is more sought after at the moment? I plan on buying in North Belfast and have a budget of £60,000 - 80,000. I also plan on setting up a company to buy the property as I believe it is now more tax efficient to do this so will require a commercial mortgage. Would you know someone who could advise on commercial mortgages? Kind Regards, Kate
Ask Barry Image

Hello Kate,

I’m really glad you’re enjoying the blog and my videos too - I'm really enjoying making these so keep an eye both on the blog and on the social accounts for more of these really soon

The very short (general) answer is to go for furnished – because that’s what’s come to be expected in the market place.

The slightly longer answer is that this statement covers all types of property and it’s not always the case for every property type or area. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Is there high demand for rental properties in this area?
  • What is the ceiling on rents in this area for this type of property both furnished and unfurnished?
  • What rental yield do I need from this investment?
  • Do I already have furniture or will I need to buy?
  • Do I need to spend any money to make it habitable?
  • What is the norm for properties in this area?

These questions will help you do the sums to determine the profitability for your individual circumstances of furnished vs unfurnished. 

Here's a bit of reading from the blog archives in which I explain why we don't need to be afraid of letting unfurnished - and the reasons why I believe furnished has become the norm in Northern Ireland.

With regards to the area, North Belfast is a very different “little market within a market” in my view.

I’ve known cases around the Shankill, for example, where properties are letting - unfurnished and without white goods. It’s a very localised patchwork though, so if you have any specific areas in mind, do get in touch and we can drill down into the detail to advise you.

We have an office right in the heart of North Belfast and can offer very detailed and specialised buy-to-let advice for specific markets within this part of the city.

I will put you in touch with an excellent mortgage broker and chartered accountant to advise on your mortgage and your business structure.

In the meantime, you might find this article useful. In a nutshell - you need to weigh up the tax advantages against the cost in time and money of setting up a company and preparing detailed accounts. But again, always take professional advice on that from an accredited financial advisor.


If you are a landlord with a burning question or a niggling problem, I would love to help you. Drop me a line to and I'll do my best to help!

You can always send me details of properties you're interested in - in the strictest confidence - and I will be happy to give honest expert feedback.