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18 ways to make a profit in property

There are many ways to make a house pay for itself, or at least boost your income. Savvy homeowners can maximise their investment, but there are pitfalls that need to be avoided. Be smart, take a long-term view and you could be sitting pretty in a few years. Here we pick the best ways to make a profit from bricks and mortar.

There are many ways to make a house pay for itself, or at least boost your income. Savvy homeowners can maximise their investment, but there are pitfalls that need to be avoided. Be smart, take a long-term view and you could be sitting pretty in a few years. Here we pick the best ways to make a profit from bricks and mortar.


This home in Hurdcott near Salisbury is currently run as a B&B. It is on the market for OIE £895,000. Contact Winkworth Salisbury on 01722 443000.

1. Buy-to-let

Everybody seems to have a buy-to-let or two these days. It seems more sensible than leaving cash in the bank. Plenty of demand for rented houses. Easy money. You might think so, but don’t go into it without fully researching the sector. Make sure you secure a competitive mortgage deal, find a popular area and use the right agency to let and maintain the property.

2. Buy a do-er upper

If you can find a house that needs a little TLC you can make a profit in a short timescale. If the property needs a lick of paint, a new kitchen, bathroom and a garden makeover, you can be in and out in a few months, then put it back on the market at a higher price. Again, do your homework and don’t expect to beat the ceiling price of the street. Don’t forget selling costs and capital gains tax when calculating potential profits, too.


3. Buy cheap

Sometimes you’re just lucky. One of your neighbours might want the house off their hands as quickly as possible. But it’s more likely that you’ll make friends with the estate agents in the area and search diligently. Dated décor, structural problems and blighted areas can all drive the price down. The first two can be fixed – at a price – but beware the third.


4. Think ahead

If a major infrastructure project such as Crossrail 2 is coming to an area near you, expect house prices to romp up when it’s completed. Get in at the planning or construction phases. And you will be perfectly placed for the boom when people realise it’s an easy commute and, actually, a great place to live.


5. Divide and conquer

Consider buying a large family house and splitting it up into flats. You need to weigh up the cost of alterations against the finished value of the flats. Check with the council planners before you buy as you will need permission. If there are other houses in the road that have already been converted into flats, you stand a much better chance of being able to follow suit.


6. Buy abroad

Take advantage of the euro exchange rate at the moment and look at the fantastic bargains to be found overseas. A little French farm, a whole Italian village, a Spanish villa – they’re all looking cheap at the moment. Further afield, prices in parts of the USA are unbelievable, while apartments on popular resorts in exotic holiday locations will never be short of renters or buyers.

7. Lights, camera, action

So you’ve bought your house and you want to live in it. How can you make extra cash from it? One way is to rent it out as a movie or TV location. The right house in the right place can earn up to £2,500 a day. It does not have to be a beautiful property in a fancy location. Rustic cottages, minimalistic loft apartment or sometimes just the perfect view might make the cut. Magazine shoots are another option. Get onto an agency’s books – try or


8. Take in a lodger

It was common less than a century ago and renting a room is an easy way to make money. The taxman will let you keep £4,250 of this income before you have to declare it and this sum will rise next year. A lodger can be good company or a useful pet-sitter, but it helps if they have their own bathroom and there’s space in the kitchen for a separate fridge.


9. Rent out your garage

If you’ve got a garage, carport, or even just a driveway, you might be able to rent it out. If you’re near a busy station and the car parking cost there is exorbitant, you may find someone willing to pay you £100 a month for easy parking. If you live near an airport or a large entertainment venue you could even offer park and ride. Take a look at the website Beware planning, tax and insurance issues, though.


10. Make your garden an allotment

If you loathe gardening or find that it’s getting too much for you, offer to rent the land out as an allotment. There are huge waiting lists for council allotments and many people might love to rent a plot in your garden. Expect to get between £10 and £30 a year per plot. If you like the idea of fresh vegetables on your doorstep, you could do a deal for a share in the produce in return.


11. Open a campsite

If you have a large garden in a pretty spot, consider offering it as a campsite. Check with the council to see if they require a special permit or licence. You may need to offer facilities such as a loo and showers, but also think about wifi and electricity or a cooked breakfast to attract campers who could pay up to £40 a night. The free website will give you more ideas.


12. Have a phone mast in the garden

Phone companies will pay up to £7,000 a year to site their masts on your land. If you don’t mind the impact, or don’t have any neighbours –– this is a good way to make money. It might lower the value of your property when you come to sell it on, however.


13. Install green electricity

If you invest in solar panels or a wind generator, you will find that you are able to sell electricity back to the National Grid at times. You will have to spend several thousand pounds to install the technology, but within four to six years, you should be not only enjoying free electricity yourself, you will be able to sell it back to the utility company.


14. Have a hoarding

Lease a space on your property for an advertising hoarding. Needless to say, it will help if you have a gable end facing a busy road or a long, high wall or fence to fix it on. You will also have to get planning permission from the local council. But this form of outdoor advertising used to be popular and maybe it can be so again.


15. Let your house while you’re away

You can even let your own house out while you’re on holiday. Particularly if you live near Wimbledon and are going away for the first two weeks of July. Some houses in Stratford, East London, were renting out for up to £5,000 a week while the Olympics were on. Rules have recently been relaxed for short term lets, but check with your local authority.

16. Offer storage space

If you’ve got space you don’t use, such as the loft or a cellar, you could rent it out for up to £30 a week. Try to see what prices are like near you. They recommend you ask half the price of local self-storage facilities. They also offer the contracts and insurance you need, making it an easy process.


17. Buy at auction

You can still bag a bargain at auction, but beware sale room fever. Property goes under the hammer for a reason. It may have access issues or the seller just wants a quick sale. Don’t buy anything unseen and always read the legal pack. If you secure the winning bid and the bank refuses to lend on it, you will have paid the deposit for nothing. Don’t assume the other bidder has any more idea of the property’s worth. Decide your highest price and stick to it rigidly. Better to be disappointed than both disappointed and out of pocket.


18. Run a b&b

You don’t need a huge house to offer b&b. One room is all that’s needed. It means you do have to be there to welcome the guests and make breakfast. You need suitable parking facilities and the house must be clean. Even the most unlikely locations will be used by travelling workers if they know about you, so maybe advertise your services with all the local employers. You could earn between £40 and £100 per room per night. Alternatively, go up market and offer glamping if you own a house with plenty of land.



If you would like advice about your property, contact your local Winkworth office and they will be able to offer expert advice. Click here to find yours. 

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