So, you want to start or expand your existing rental portfolio? Whether you’re an experienced multiple property owner or you’ve got some money sitting in the bank and are ready for your first landlord investment, let’s dive into how you can build your rental property portfolio.

How many properties are considered a rental portfolio?

Most investors own two properties within the first five years. However, in mortgage terms, a landlord must reach four properties before their collection is considered a portfolio. At CIA Landlords, we can provide cover if you have a portfolio starting at three properties.

How do I start to build a portfolio?

Between doing your research, saving a good deposit and choosing a popular location, you could end up with a high-yielding first rental property. Here are a few tips on how to start building a portfolio.

Get sound advice from trustworthy sources

Building up a property portfolio can be a challenge at times, so seeking reliable advice should be your first port of call. Learn from other professionals around you! Building your portfolio will no doubt cost you a substantial amount of money. So, listen to financial advisors and local brokers. These are people who really understand the value of a buy-to-let property, and whether it is worth buying. Their advice can help to strengthen your portfolio massively.

If you don’t want to pay for the advice of a professional, consider doing some reading yourself. There are various books on property investment out there, and they can provide comprehensive guidance on how to get started.

Find a mortgage advisor you can trust

If you want to mortgage a property for your blossoming portfolio, it’s essential to find a mortgage advisor you can trust. Knowing everything you need to know about your money and finances is crucial to keeping your portfolio going in the long term. A good mortgage advisor can you plan ahead for the future.

Specifically, a buy-to-let mortgage means you can borrow money to purchase a property to rent out. You don’t have to live in the home yourself! Don’t overlook the option to seek the help of a mortgage advisor.

Use the right letting agent

Many landlords rely on letting agents for the management of their properties, including important tasks such as the collection of rent and finding tenants. When purchasing multiple buy-to-let properties to build your portfolio, use a letting agent that you can depend on.

Letting agents will take the stress of arranging everything to do with a buy-to-let let off your shoulders, enabling you to generate profit from your portfolio. Build a positive rapport with an agent of your choosing, and they may be able to handle every property in your portfolio.

Image of a property 'let' sign.

Treat your first buy-to-let like a business

The increased availability of buy-to-let mortgages has opened up opportunities for more people to become multi-property homeowners.

With the rise of Airbnb culture as well as the rental market as a whole, people are seeing good returns on their investment properties. This being said, people buying with the mentality to let rather than to fall in love with property, are taking location, yield and the impact on mortgages with the current government into serious consideration.

Of course, there is an element of risk when purchasing your first, second, third or even fifth property. The changing financial climate at the moment has found landlords lowering their initial property spend and even taking on more ‘project-based’ properties which require a bit more elbow grease and minor refurbishments to increase the rental yield.

Tally up your overheads before you buy

Buying any property can be an exciting step in watching your capital grow. But there are overheads to consider, and you should avoid overpaying wherever possible. One of the most essential overheads is landlord insurance. It’s important you take out the appropriate landlord’s contents and building insurance and understand how to protect your asset before you begin any tenancy.

If you’re already a CIA customer, you could take advantage of our multiple property owner insurance discount.

You’ll also want to consider the costs of any legal gas and electricity checks, property management fees – and of course, your buy-to-let mortgage if you have one.

Furnish your property inexpensively

You should furnish your property inexpensively with fire-safe furniture. The more presentable the property, the higher rent you may be able to charge. You’ll also be sending a clear message to any prospective tenants of how you expect your property to be maintained.

Know your financial limits

Knowing your limits when it comes to investing will help you expand your property portfolio quicker. You’ll generally need 15% to secure a mortgage on a second property. However, if you have a larger deposit, you’ll have a wider choice of mortgages from lenders and you may be able to have a mortgage on an interest-only basis.

Take your time

There’s no need to rush into building your buy-to-let portfolio. With the looming spectre of a housing crisis, we can understand if you’re eager! Buying houses as soon as they come on the market is a tactic many property owners have mastered in order to secure a place.

But, buying quickly also means you may have to buy twice. Be sure you are well aware of any issues with the buy-to-let you are about to purchase, and that you’ve sought appropriate advice before you sign a contract.

Image of a clock face.

Cash in on your current profit

If you have one or two buy-to-let rentals that are currently flourishing with tenants, why not cash in on your current profit? If the price of your current properties is rising, you could use this new capital to make new purchases elsewhere.

Building your portfolio is often a cycle of investment and reinvestment, and that’s how you keep growing in the long term. By branching a portfolio out into new residential areas, you can expand your own potential for a good return. Don’t limit yourself to what you currently know, as long as you have the right support to inform your purchases.

Treat your tenants well

Protecting your asset with landlord’s building and contents insurance should go hand in hand with treating your tenants well. Good tenant retention reduces the need to spend on onboarding new tenants through marketing, property management and time.

Getting off to a good start with thorough credit checks, clear assured shorthold agreements, fire and property safeguarding will put your tenancy on the right track from the very start.

Of course, from time to time, there may be breaches in the agreement and damage may occur in the property. Be sure to understand the difference between wear and tear and malicious damage so that you’re not left footing the bill at the end of a bad tenancy.

How to find a high-yielding property

Firstly you’ll want to understand how HMOs (homes of multiple occupancy) are different from single-occupancy rental properties.

HMOs mean you take multiple rents monthly rather than one from a single occupancy. As a landlord, you’ll have the opportunity to scale up the rent (fairly) in relation to the number of occupants, property type and location.

HMOs are increasingly popular in the UK student property market; a very strong portfolio market to enter into. With that said, properties popping up in university cities such as Cambridge and Oxford don’t necessarily equal high rental yields. See the UK highest rental yield for 2022 as reported by Zoopla.

District Gross yield Average rent Average value of rented property
East Ayrshire 8.48% £504 £71,334
West Dunbartonshire 8.40% £562 £80,326
North Lanarkshire 8.07% £573 £85,225
Renfewshire 7.97% £606 £91,249
North Ayrshire 7.94% £524 £79,237
Burnley 7.92% £493 £74,681
Hartlepool 7.80% £481 £74,045
Middlesborough 7.64% £531 £83,333
Sunderland 7.61% £546 £86,078
Inverclyde 7.55% £568 £90,264
From a report by Zoopla

Image of a map of Great Britain and Ireland.




Buying further North and in the Midlands in areas such as Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham are seemingly more attractive with low house prices and high rent yield.

Considering you might want to manage your first property yourself to keep overheads low, location can be essential to your success in generating a good profit. If the property is in Edinburgh and you live in West London, you may find property management is in fact eating into your precious time.

As the old saying goes ‘time is money’. Your time should be generally focused on buying your next investment rather than continuous property management. It’s an easy trap for a landlord to be consumed by managing the first two properties and not progressing into portfolio territory.

How to manage your profit

If you look to save 20% of all of your profit, you’ll be able to progress in the property market relatively quickly as well as see how your profit is behaving.

If you’re able to save 20% of every rental profit, you’ll be one step closer to your deposit for your next property. With many people losing money on inflation, investing in property is more popular than ever.

Don’t forget to insure yourself

Landlord insurance is a must for any buy-to-let property you intend to advertise to tenants. A lot can happen during a tenancy, and it’s important to prepare yourself for any eventuality. Here at CIA Landlords, we can help find the right cover for you. Whether you have concerns about accidental damage or you’re floundering about contents insurance, CIA Landlords has you covered – now and in future.

Whilst there’s no legal obligation to have landlord insurance, why take the risk? This final step secures your buy-to-let portfolio, for good. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with CIA Landlords today by calling 01788 818 670, requesting a callback online, or, if you are ready to take the next step, get your personalised quotation here. Our experts are always on hand and more than happy to assist you in any way we can.

We won't be beaten on any like for like landlord insurance quote.

Get a quote