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Buying land without an option

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2020

THE QUESTION

I have a deal on a plot of land for £30k and GDV will be £410-420k, build cost will be £150k, my profit will be about £240k.

I have paid the planning consultant to check the plans and he is confident that we will get planning.  The owner of the land won’t get a lawyer to sign an option agreement; he only wants to give us word of mouth.

I have told him we both need a solicitor to do an option agreement, that after we get planning approval, he will only charge us £30k for the land. We have invested almost £500 on the deal so far and we’re not sure what to do, do we walk away?

If we get planning but have no option agreement, he can change the price on us or back out without any paperwork.

THE ANSWER

Developers use a lock out option contract to tie the seller in for a period (usually 12 months, but can be longer) so they have time to apply for planning.  If they get it, they exercise the option and buy the property...

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Tracking down unmortgageable properties

Uncategorized Feb 05, 2020

A smart investor is always looking for properties that are considered unmortgageable by the mainstream mortgage lenders.  Why?  Because the sellers know they can’t expect to get full market value for a property that doesn’t qualify for a mortgage. 

That means that the pool of potential buyers is MUCH smaller.  Consequently, they know they’re going to have to negotiate and bring the price down to make the sale.  We’re not talking about knocking off a couple of thousand here - but anything between 10-50% below full market value.

So how do you find these properties?

  1. Any properties listed with the online websites (e.g. RightMove) that are listed as ‘Cash buyer only’ - particularly if there aren’t any internal photos. That usually means things are pretty bad!
  2. Check out the property auction listings. Again look for ‘cash buyer only’ notes.
  3. Keep your eyes open in your local area for properties that have been...
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How to get your offers accepted

Uncategorized Jan 20, 2020

THE QUESTION

We’ve been searching for a property to flip for several months, consistently doing viewings and putting in offers.  But, our offers are always rejected.

We’ve done our due diligence so know what our maximum is to make a decent profit.  We follow up properties that we’ve offered on and have broadened our area with no luck.

How do we get vendors to accept our offers? We viewed over 50 and made offers on many without having any of them accepted by the vendor.  Any help/advice is gratefully received.

THE ANSWER

You are doing nothing wrong and plenty right, but an understanding of human behaviour will enable you to get a better perspective.   It’s human nature to over-value what you own already and under-value what you seek to own.

Whilst your calculation of what you need to pay for a property is probably accurate, it is not matching seller’s expectation of the sale price that they can achieve.

If your offers were being...

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A festive future

It’s nearly the end of another year and the time when that ‘quiet’ time between Christmas and New Year is an excellent time to reflect on your year and make plans for the year to come.

So how was 2019 for you?  What did you achieve that made you feel good?  What was in your plan at the beginning of the year, but somehow didn’t get done?

What would you like next year to look like?  And more importantly, what will you need to do to make reality match that?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably either already in property or you’re seriously considering getting into it - and you must be aware that it’s one of the industries where the people outside it are known for being negative about it.  In order to succeed, you’ll need to be able to combat negative input.

To overcome the challenges along the way, you’ll need to develop a positive attitude to dealing with these.  It’s all about seeing a...

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Mixed use property

Uncategorized Nov 10, 2019

THE QUESTION

 I am looking at a mixed use building currently fully let.  It consists of:

  • Ground floor let to a barbershop at £300PCM
  • 3-bed flat above (over 2 floors) let at £495PCM

My question is:

  • How would you put an indicative value on this type of unit when making an offer? It currently has a guide price of £96k and is going to auction, but didn’t sell at last auction (not sure if it didn’t meet guide or reserve)
  • How willing are commercial lenders on financing such a property?

THE ANSWER

  • Properties like this are based on a multiple of the rental income and that is influenced by based on the quality of the tenant and strength of the lease. i.e. a Tesco Express on a 20 year lease would value significantly higher than a barber on ‘whatever length’ lease.

So you have an annual rental income of £9,540. The guide price is therefore based on 10 x income and that is not unrealistic for this type of property.  If it...

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Isn’t bridging expensive?

We have brokered hundreds of bridging loans, I also run the UK's best established (only?) training programme (the Ninja Investor Programme) to educate investors in the intelligent use of bridging.  But the minute you mention the word ‘bridging’, people who haven’t learned about it tend to say, ‘that’s expensive!’

Bridging interest rates are higher than most mortgage rates, BUT if the difference is not doing the deal or paying a little bit more and making a good profit then bridging isn’t expensive at all.  I’m always surprised that people prefer to borrow money from a Joint Venture partner rather than from a bridger - and then give away 50% or their hard-earned profits.  No bridger will take 50% of your profit.

The interest rate for your bridging loan depend on a number of factors that you don’t have much influence over.   When you find a deal, you want to bridge that specific deal.  The rate depends...

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Buy as a company or as an individual?

THE QUESTION

I have a restaurant business, which is a limited company.  A couple of our sites are in places where finding staff can be tough, so offering live-in accommodation could really help us.  I’d like to buy a property to use as staff accommodation, what kind of mortgages are available and how much will I need for a deposit?

THE ANSWER

Staff accommodation seems to be a sensible solution to restaurants in remote places.  There is a prestigious restaurant on the Isle of Skye that does exactly that; and staff accommodation is an attractive perk in the hospitality industry.

Buying a significant asset (especially property) in the name of a trading business leaves the asset available for any potential future creditors of the business to go after.  

The smarter options would be to buy in your personal name or set up a new limited company for owning property.  Deciding which is the smarter of the two is, essentially, a tax question because you will be...

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Refurb and flip

Many property investors focus on buying property, adding value by refurbing and then reselling or refinancing as a buy-to-let.  It’s the core of most property investment.

Of course, there are many other strategies, but let’s look at how you make finance a refurb and flip effectively.

1:  Find a suitable property

This might be a property with a motivated buyer where you can negotiate a deal below market value.  This will benefit you in reducing the amount of capital you will have to invest.

2: Calculate refurb costs

It’s important to do this exercise carefully - no guesstimates.  The refurb needs to improve the value of the property too or you’ll lose money on the deal, especially if you plan to resell right after refurb. 

Getting your money out and repaying your loan should leave you with a healthy profit.  Work out what you want to make on the deal, then work out exactly what your refurb will cost.  When you’ve got...

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100% finance – too good to be true?

property invesment Sep 25, 2019

If you’ve been in property a while you may remember the halcyon days of 100% finance for buy-to-let mortgages.  Sadly, all long gone, since the credit crunch sent the banks running for higher ground where deposits are required.

I’ve just discovered that there’s a new player in the field offering 100% finance for development projects. 

This is a finance opportunity for new build or conversion projects looking for £500K upwards.  They are offering 100% finance in return for a 50:50 share of the profits for the right deals.  It’s virtually a JV, with a sophisticated investor who understands property.

Usually a developer needs to front up between 30-50% of the land purchase to get the project going, but this new finance option will lend 100% - with a few criteria.

Do you qualify?

  • The loan can be from £500K upwards.
  • There’s NO INTEREST – but the profit on the gross development value (GDV) of the project must be at least...
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Self-build project finance

property investment Sep 20, 2019

THE QUESTION

I have just applied for planning permission for a house that I'm going to live in.  The question is where is best to get a development loan?  I have several houses that I rent out already but I’ve never built a property before.

THE ANSWER

Development loans are for commercial projects that will be sold or rented out.  When it is for a house that you intend to be your main residence, that all changes.  What you need is a self-build mortgage.

What it is different is that it becomes an FCA regulated loan because you intend to live in it and that is a game changer for several reasons.

Only lenders that have been regulated by the FCA to lend on main residences are allowed to lend to you.  Development finance lenders, by and large, will not have gone through the process of regulation because they only lend on commercially based projects, those that are built for profit.  This means all such lenders are prohibited by the FCA from lending to...

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