If you’ve been growing your property portfolio and have a few conversions and refurbs under your belt, you might like the idea of becoming a developer and building a multi-home project yourself.
You may have been watching Grand Designs, the Big Build and other similar TV programmes and feel ready to tackle a bigger project with homes to either rent out or sell. However, it’s not as simple as a straightforward conversion.
Firstly, you’ll need specialist development finance - not a self-build mortgage or even a bridging loan.
Almost without exception development finance lenders want provable, documented, comparable experience that the borrower has successfully completed a project similar to the one they’re now seeking to fund.
These lenders have a policy of putting up barriers to entry and this lets them cherry-pick the projects that they see having a high chance of success. Development finance is not given for ‘on the job’...
There is one thing that can seriously dent the profit in any project and that’s overpaying for the property. An essential part of your due diligence is to work out the maximum you can afford to offer on any property, while still giving you the profit margin you need.
It’s easier to work backwards when doing this.
Start with the end value that your property will be worth once you’ve completed any work that you propose to do to it. You should be able to find comparable values of similar properties that have sold within the last few months.
The majority of properties that investors buy are flats, terraced and semi-detached houses. They don’t tend to buy large detached properties in five acres of ground, this means that comparable values are much easier to obtain for these types of property.
If you are buying a commercial property this may not be so easy and you may need to engage a commercial surveyor to get a true current and future value.
Most investors think that the only way to finance deals, when their bank account hasn’t got enough in it, is to joint venture (JV). To maximise your return on investment there is a JV Pro-Fit Retainer strategy.
Stop giving away 50% of your deal’s profits when you joint venture and, if you do decide to set up a joint venture stay on the right side of the FCA.
The key thing to remember is that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that you must only joint venture with someone who is categorised as a sophisticated investor. That means you need to know about PS13/3 and what constitutes a sophisticated investor and there are seven main criteria for these.
If I buy a property with five flats and then split the titles and try to get 5 BTLs mortgages for the flats: would there be an issue with mortgage providers not being willing to provide mortgages in the same building?
Simple answer - yes. This issue confuses a lot of investors.
Even at property meets people run in the opposite direction if anyone suggests that bridging finance might be the solution to their financial challenges.
Other well-meaning investors will advise you not to touch it because it’s too expensive. They’ll warn you that you’ll lose your shirt - or try to frighten you off with other prophecies of doom.
So here’s a question for you:
If you’re an investor that’s never used bridging it probably does.
We all have a scary box and what is in mine are professional people, i.e. solicitors and mortgage advisors who advise people not to use bridging finance. I find it amazing that people who should be knowledgeable about property don’t understand that, in the right circumstances, bridging finance should be your first choice, not your last choice.
What is it about bridging finance that’s so scary?
When you’re negotiating with the seller of a property you are interested in, don’t forget to prepare properly. That means being ready with your persuasion strategies. One of these is the Calculator Close. This is how it works.
Start with the asking price – get them to enter this in the calculator. Then break down all the costs involved in getting it to the ceiling price, one by one, including:
Don’t allow them to use ‘bargain basement’...
Unmortgageable properties represent a gold mine of opportunities! But before you jump in you need to understand why they are unmortgageable and which ones have profit hidden in them – and the deals to avoid.
Unmortgageable properties are valuable because:
The vast majority of property investors are mortgage-dependent and when a property can’t be mortgaged they walk away. This leaves the field clear for the few investors that have the knowledge of how to buy this type of property.
Better still, not only do mortgage-dependent investors walk away from unmortgageable properties, they often don’t even spot them; they’re not on their radar.
The owners of an unmortgageable property are usually aware that it’s unmortgageable. Often this is because they’ve lost...
Some people will warn you that buying a property that you can’t get a mortgage on is madness. If you listen to them you could be missing out on some great opportunities that may be unmortgageable – but are still very profitable!
Traditional lenders have a long list of types of property they won’t touch. These include:
Cash buyers get better deals. They can negotiate substantial discounts on the asking price for properties, sometimes even as much as 50% below market value if there’s a really motivated seller.
The need to get a mortgage slows things down and can take months, so the ability to get the deal done in under a month can be very attractive to a seller who wants to get money out and move on.
I’ve explained how bridging works in many of my blogs, but to really see how it operates here’s a fairly typical case study.
The investor: An experienced investor, but not with bridging finance. He had about £38K in actual cash available.
The property for sale: A former care home, originally a terrace of six houses, that had closed due to the owners being unable to afford to meet the Care Quality Commission standards. It had been on the market for some time – with no interest.
The asking price: £350,000
The plan: To apply for...
The problem with buying property as an investment is that you need to have enough money to put down as a deposit – and then it’s locked into your property for six months or more, until you can remortgage. The days of ‘no money down’ mortgages are gone; you need a deposit to get any mortgage these days, usually 25% of your purchase price.
At this rate you’ll be lucky to add two properties a year to your portfolio, unless you have a big nest egg.
The secret is not to lock your capital into a mortgage, but to use creative financial packages specially developed for property investors.
Don’t lenders love property investors, because they have plenty of assets so their mortgage is secure?
Buy-to-let lenders like their clients to have a nice, secure full-time job earning a minimum of £25,000 a year and have their own cash for at least a 25% deposit. If you have too many...