Can I remortgage my home to buy a rental property?

Could you remortgage your house to purchase a buy-to-let property, or to fund the deposit for a rental home?

Key points

  • Remortgaging could be a way to fund a deposit for a buy to let, or even to buy one outright
  • It's important to consider all the additional costs, such as legal fees and stamp duty
  • You should consider talking to a financial adviser about your options before remortgaging your property

Fancy yourself as a landlord? At the start of 2016, savers in the UK were getting record low returns, yet house prices and rent returns looked set to soar.

According to Bank of England statistics, the average monthly interest rate on Cash ISAs was a measly 0.81% for January 2016 - the lowest rate since records began - yet in December 2015 the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) predicted that house prices would soar by 50% and rents would be up by a quarter by 2025.

When the outlook for savers is as bleak as this, some people have questioned whether they could and should look at their mortgage and invest in property instead.

But to qualify for a buy-to-let mortgage you'd typically need a deposit of at least 25%, and of 40% or more to find the very best deals.

With average house prices reaching £300,000 in October 2015, that means you might need a deposit of £75,000-£125,000 - which probably puts buy-to-let out of reach for all but the most diligent of savers.

For rent signSo, could remortgaging your home be the best way to free up some cash to invest in property?

Financing your investment

The crucial thing to remember with remortgaging to pay for a buy-to-let is that you're borrowing more - and you'll pay interest on that borrowing.

If you're remortgaging to raise a deposit on buy-to-let, you may well be putting yourself in a position where essentially you're borrowing 100% of the buy-to-let property's value.

If it puts you in the position to be able to buy a second property outright you may well find that a remortgage deal works out cheaper than the buy-to-let options on the market

If it puts you in the position to be able to buy a second property outright you may well find that a remortgage deal works out cheaper than the buy-to-let options on the market as residential mortgage interest rates are generally substantially lower than buy-to-let rates.

Your own home would, of course, be at risk of repossession if you couldn't meet the mortgage payments, but you would own the second property outright.

Are buy-to-let properties a good investment?

Is a buy-to-let property a good enough investment to risk taking on more mortgage debt against your own home?

It's impossible to predict the future, but while there's high demand for rental properties rents tend to be pushed up. So when there are also poor returns on cash savings it's no surprise that more people are looking to buy-to-let.

However, a rental property may be better as a part of someone's portfolio rather than their sole investment, and would-be investors should think carefully about what they expect from a buy-to-let.

Buyers should also beware of 'falling in love' with investment properties and need to make sure that they're approaching it as a business venture.

The cost of getting into buy-to-let

If you remortgage in order to raise capital for a buy-to-let mortgage then you'll need to do your sums carefully to ensure you can afford it. And that means factoring in the fees and costs.

Mortgage fees

Both buy-to-let and owner-occupier mortgages can carry hefty fees.

Should you be able to buy the second property outright you would, of course, avoid the second mortgage fees.

If you're currently tied into a mortgage you may even need to pay early repayment charges to remortgage early, which also has to be considered.

Letting fees

It's not just mortgage fees that you need to factor into your sums.

Many inexperienced landlords will choose to use a letting agent to set up or even manage their tenancy. That can mean fees at the start and a monthly charge, which is often a percentage of the rent.

See also:

Stamp duty

Stamp duty land tax is a potentially sizeable cost with any house purchase, but from April 2016 anyone purchasing a second property will be subject to an extra 3% stamp duty on any property costing more than £40,000.

This increases on a tiered basis too, so it could mean a steep bill for homeowners buying a second property to rent out. 

Compare both mortgages

Unless you're buying your rental property outright then you'll need two new mortgages. To find the best option for your home and your investment, you'll need to compare residential and buy-to-let mortgages from across the market.

Don't be tempted in by low rates if they're coupled with high fees; do the maths carefully to find the right mortgage for you.

There are plenty of things to consider with buy-to-let mortgages - read our buy-to-let mortgage guide for more information.

Can you afford to invest in buy-to-let?

Buying a rental property is an attractive dream - we're a nation obsessed with property.

But would-be investors should consider the worst-case scenario and whether they could still afford both mortgages if they were left without a tenant.

Not only that, but a buy-to-let property will need money spending on it, whether to repair wear and tear, carry out upgrades or replace items if you're letting it furnished.

It's sensible to keep an emergency pot of money available so that these costs don't surprise you and sink your buy-to-let boat.

By Felicity Hannah