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Expert property basics

Uncategorized Jan 20, 2022


I am currently living in the Middle East, but have two properties in the UK, both are mortgage-free.  The value of each is approximately £250k and both are rented out to long-term tenants.

I want to start increasing my BTL portfolio size via the Buy, Refurb, Refinance method. Work will be done and managed by experienced family based in the UK.

Would you:

  1. Re-mortgage one of those properties to release equity to fund the next property?
  2. Take out a separate BTL mortgage (not linked to those properties) to fund the growth and continue with this method?


Because you have family based in the UK, the Cross Collateral bridging option mentioned becomes a possibility.

The choice of leveraging the equity in your current property is a choice between 

  1. Mortgage at a lower rate, but with continual expense 


  1. Bridging at a higher rate, but for a shorter period.

If you feel that you are continually going to be having the money raised invested...

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How was it for you?

Uncategorized Jan 05, 2022

Here we are at the start of another year; did you achieve what you wanted to last year?

My review of 2021 from a property investor’s perspective is here.

If you didn’t do what you set out to do have you reviewed what didn’t work, what did you miss doing, were there things that you couldn’t do or didn’t do?  The seeds of the future are usually in the past, so it’s worth reviewing what did and didn’t work - and what changed your original plans.

I’m not suggesting that your plans shouldn’t have changed, after all, plans made in January 2020 were pretty much blown out of the water - or had to be radically revised - due to unforeseen circumstances.  Things change and plans should not be set in stone, but not having plans means that often nothing gets done.

So here are my top 5 questions to ask yourself as you’re putting your plans in place for 2022:

What was in your plan, but didn’t get done?  And why?


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Finance without a personal guarantee

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2021

Do all lenders require a personal guarantee (PG) for a 70% LTV bringing loan? If so, is there any way to do a bridging loan without a PG (i.e. by reducing the LTV to less than 50% for example?)
Pretty much any lender lending to a limited company, rather than a person, wants a PG. This protects the lender from the shareholders winding up the limited company overnight (as they can well do) and risking any potential losses not being made good.
Borrow in your personal name and PGs are not required because the lender can just come after you for any shortfall. They cannot do this if the entity that borrowed the money doesn’t exist any longer. A PG just means that you are the lender’s failsafe if the company can’t or won’t pay up - no more, no less.
Any kind of business loan, including mortgages, lent to limited companies have PGs at their core, but mortgages are massively less risky for a bank to lend on.
Banks rarely lend more than 75% of the...

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Rent-to-Rent to Buy-to-Let

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2021

Rent-to-Rent is a great way to get into property without having a big lump of cash to invest.  But it is time-consuming as you’re operating as the landlord, with all the responsibilities for maintenance, finding and monitoring tenants, etc. - you have to work hard to make a profit.

Given that most rent-to-rent properties belong to owners who simply can’t be bothered to look after them, they’re often open to selling if it’s worth their while.

If your rent-to-rent is coming to the end of your contract and you think the landlord may be interested if you make an offer, but you haven’t got a big enough deposit yet, does that mean you have to just carry on with rent-to-rent until you’ve built up your nest-egg?

Not necessarily!

Breaking the barriers

The first barrier is finding a lender willing to give you a mortgage to buy the property.

The second barrier is finding a way around the deposit challenge if you don’t have enough to put 25% down....

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Do you feel lucky?

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2021


Could I get a normal BTL mortgage on a property and use it as a holiday let or is that super naughty?!!


If you read the T&Cs that pretty much all standard BTL lenders issue, you’ll find these conditions within them 

1. The minimum rental term permitted is 6 months

2. The maximum rental term permitted is 12 months

3. The only permitted rental contract is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)


Doing as you propose breaches 1 & 3.

The lender may not catch you doing this, but if/when they do, you have given them grounds to call in the mortgage.  You will receive a Cease & Desist letter ordering you to revert to AST renting or face repossession if you don’t.  This will be investigated to ensure you have complied.

As Clint Eastwood memorably said "so, do you feel lucky?"

You may conclude it is a safer bet to get a mortgage without the above conditions and there are a few lenders who specialise in this kind of mortgage....

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Cash or Mortgage?

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2021

Some investors who have a healthy bank account wonder if it’s best to use the cash on a property investment or to keep it for a ‘rainy day’ and apply for a mortgage for their next property purchase.  It’s a dilemma; buying cash  

There are definitely advantages to buying cash:

  •  Cash buyers can buy properties that you can’t get a mortgage for - but that have potential to have their value significantly uplifted.  These are the kind of properties that mortgage lenders won’t lend on, so they are the preserve of a select few.
  •  Buy faster = buy cheaper is a simple equation. If a seller won’t go along with that, pick another seller that will. If you are paying cash, you need to maximise that advantage by getting it cheaper.  Sellers know they’re selling in a limited market and cash buyers never pay full price. 
  •  Buying cash has zero borrowing costs, obviously. You can complete quicker than by using a...
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Getting into flips

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2021


With 10 years in the BTL business I’ve a number of properties bought jointly with my wife.  I now want to get into flipping properties (buying, renovating and selling for profit).  Here are my questions:

  1. Is flipping still a good strategy in these times?
  2. Is it beneficial to start this under a new company?
  3. Most importantly where can I source such run down properties from? Any online source? Any specific agencies?
  4. Do we normally get mortgages on such properties?
  5. Any specific areas of the country that should be targeted?


That's a fair list of questions; let’s have a crack at them -

  1. Flipping in a rising market is a much easier than in a falling market - it’s a bit like swimming up or down stream. Your challenge if you decide to flip is which will it be when you come to market your property for sale, rising of falling? Since the end of lockdown 1 in June 2020, the market in most areas has definitively been rising. The end of the...
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Are you a ‘one-eyed’ borrower?

Uncategorized Oct 05, 2021

Mortgage lenders love 'one eyed’ borrowers!

What do I mean by this term? One-eyed borrowers are those who focus on one aspect of a mortgage to the exclusion of the rest of the deal.  For most borrowers this single-focus is on the arrangement fee or the rate of interest.

As far as the lender is concerned fee focused borrowers don’t pay much attention to the interest rate they are being charged.  Lenders love this one eyed borrower because they know they can hook them with a product which drops the fee down low, or even make a zero fee product.  

The thing lenders love best is that it doesn’t even cost them anything to do this, they just jack up the interest rate to make exactly the same as they make on their low rate/high fee products - give with one hand, take with the other.

However, there are also one eyed rate borrowers who are so focused on getting a really low interest rate they don’t pay much attention to the arrangement fee they are...

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Asking for the Impossible...

Uncategorized Sep 20, 2021

Asking for the impossible … 


Obviously you find the good deals when you’re not looking and haven’t got the capital to hand.  Currently I have around £20k in cash, and I’ve found a property that requires refurb (£15k).  The purchase price is £195k, with a projected sale price of £270k. 

How can I finance this?  I am happy to look at bridging.  I’ve never done a flip before, always BTL, and I’m not averse to renting it out, but the yield doesn’t really fit my usual figures.  Am I asking for the impossible?


You more or less got it - asking for the impossible.  Your available cash equates to 10% of the purchase price, and then you need to also pay for, stamp duty, valuation fees, legal fees, and the refurb on top.

No lender will to lend you 90% of the purchase price, so bridging is a non-starter, - you need more cash, or you need to use equity in a property...

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No Lockdown for Property!

Uncategorized Sep 05, 2021

No lockdown for property!

The predictions for the property market weren’t good as we entered lockdown in March 2020.  

Savills, who are a nationwide, very well-respected estate agent, presented their opinion on the future of the property market due to the pandemic.  They predicted that the property market would suffer a severe dip by the end of December 2020, with property prices dropping between 5-15%.  They estimated that this would be followed by a two year climb back and things would be back to normal by 2025.

Why were their predictions wrong?  I believe various factors had an impact.


Brexit was confirmed without all the hoped for agreements at the end of January 2021.  Most people in property, during the 4 year + period between the vote and eventually leaving, thought that there would be a property crash as soon as we left the EU.  

Many investors thought it was a good strategy to wait for prices to drop and then sweep up the good...

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