It seems very self-explanatory but make sure you buy in an area of demand, ensure you have good local employment and good transport links. I have learnt from my mistakes, I took a punt on a few houses when I first started investing in HMO's that aren't in a typical room let area & although they do get filled it's never that quick and cash-flow is the name of the game (rooms sitting empty for months on end really hurts). Do your research, look at demand on spare room.
When looking for properties source through agents, I cannot express enough the gains of having a good agent on your side. We have got to the stage now where some of the agents we work with don't even bother doing viewings with us anymore, they just give us the keys to the property (often before it goes to market) so that we can go and assess the potential.
Another avenue is to source directly through HMO letters, don't forget the power of 'leafleting'.
Check the HMO register, there may be retiring landlords looking to sell off their portfolio. I was able to pick up a 22 bed HMO from a landlord who could no longer look after the running of such a large investment.
Join an HMO Facebook group, this is a perfect way for sourcing deals and the forums are fantastic for advice.
Once you've chosen an area, make sure you download the HMO regs from the council's website - every area has very different criteria.
When assessing the property, try and see what can be done via PD and how many en-suites you can get into each room. My MO for higher rental figures & demand is definitely an en-suite. This is why most of my latest HMO's will have an en-suite in almost every room. People will pay top £ in order to not have to share washing facilities - FACT! Please do bear in mind though that you will need building rigs when installing a new end-suite so make sure you take that into account...
On the note of building regs & refurbishment - the following work will most likely require approval:
* The erection or extension of a building
* An alteration involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
* Installing replacement windows using a builder or window company which is not FENSA registered
* The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
* The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
* The underpinning of the foundations of a building
* When you want to change the building's fundamental use
* Renovation of a thermal element
* Change of a building's energy status.