One area of the property market that has enjoyed a sustained period of prosperity in recent years is that of the buy-to-let sector, with landlords benefitting from high demand for rental accommodation and the fact that many first-time buyers have been priced out of owning a home.

But while the growing number of prospective tenants makes the lettings game a profitable one, it isn't as simple as constructing a portfolio and watching the cash roll in - just like any other business venture, it needs research, planning and maintenance.

That's why investors thinking of grabbing a slice of the action need to think carefully about how they're going to set about acquiring assets, most notably where the finance is going to come from and what sort of returns they'll need in order to meet their budgets.

The locations in which they're going to buy properties are also an important aspect of this process, as while those in desirable areas will enable them to set the highest rent prices, they're also going to be the most expensive to buy.

Once a landlord has worked out the ideal region to purchase a property to let, next it's all about checking the various legal requirements to ensure that they aren't putting it up to let without having fulfilled all their health and safety obligations.

When these boxes have been ticked, marketing the property becomes a landlord's main concern, as attracting tenants with various furnishings and competitive rent prices is essential in reducing the length of any void period.

Whether or not you choose to enlist the help of a lettings agent can depend on your experience and knowledge of the buy-to-let sector, but once your property is inhabited and the tenants have moved in then the next step is maintenance.

That means ensuring that your assets are suited to the needs of those who are living there, repairing any damage and responding to any concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Last but not least is the need for an appropriate landlord insurance policy which can guard against unexpected costs, protecting an investor's budget and improving their chances of maximising their returns.