We are slap bang in the middle of summer holiday season and most of us are either returning from warmer climes to a still-delightfully-sunny Belfast, or are preparing for a getaway soon.
I think summer is a good time, just past the halfway point of the year, to take stock in the property business and start thinking strategically about the future and mapping out the rest of the year and perhaps even 2019.
One of my landlords was clearly on the same wavelength as he visited this week with some documents for a new tenant. After admiring our shiny new office refurb (I've been dying for an excuse to include that in an article!) he popped his round my door to pick my brains about his investment plans.
He wanted to add a couple of £250,000 max properties to his existing portfolio, ideally in the BT7 or BT9 areas as he already owns houses here, and wasn't keen on apartments due to service charges etc.
His primary objective is maximising yield, as opposed to capital appreciation, so he wants something that isn't going to require a lot of investment to get it up to rental standard, and he's going to want a decent calibre of tenant who will look after the place.
Although he had a preference for properties within his patch, he was open to suggestions for any houses within the Greater Belfast area that would offer a decent yield.
Let's take a look at my top three recommendations - maybe it will inspire your own property search.
At £124,950 we're pretty close to the top end of the budget, but I don't see much to be done here. The eagle-eyed among you may spot a damp patch on the ceilings downstairs, so possibly a previous leak requiring a bit of stain-blocking and a lick of paint, but other than that, this 2-bed terrace would be ready for the rental market immediately.
It's in the university area, but far enough from the infamous Holylands as to appeal to young families and couples as well the more mature end of the student spectrum. There are similar, less-roomy properties on the street renting for £550, so at a rental income of at least £600, you would see approx 5.8% yield.
Although it features the 'hard architecture' I have lamented at length in previous articles, this immaculate little terrace boasts a back garden as well as a BT9 postcode. I can't see any work required here and I couldn't see it hanging around long on the rental market.
Benefiting from both a quiet location and convenient links to the hospitals, city centre and Lisburn Road, you may find this will be popular with young families, professional couples and hospital workers who may all be happy to agree to more long-term leases.
I believe you could ask at least £650 in rent, for a yield of nearly 6.25%.
For my wildcard, I suggested this 3-bed terrace in Dunmurry. This will be a family rental all day long, and with good links to many good schools nearby, plus virtually equi-distant from Belfast and Lisburn and with good train and bus links close to hand, I would be confident of securing a long-term lease here.
Similar properties in the area rent for around £695 and this is on for £125,00 so you could secure an approximate yield of 6.7%.
Regardless of whether you're a landlord with us or not, feel free to pop in or drop me a line with any buy-to-let queries. I'll always be happy to help - firstname.lastname@example.org or 197 Lisburn Road.