If you’ve got cash to invest but no time or inclination to become a full-time property investor or developer, one way to enjoy the rewards of property investing can be to leverage someone else’s time and experience
There are multiple ways you could do this, but one is through a Property Crowdfunding or Peer to Peer Lending platform.
There are around 40 property crowdfunding platforms in the UK today, each one offering different takes on property crowdfunding investments, but which ones are the best?
What are the differences between Crowdfunding and Peer to Peer platforms?
The term crowd funding is a “catch all” term, but there are a few differences you should be aware of.
Property Crowdfunding is where you own equity (shares) in a property or property development project.
Peer to peer lending is where you provide a loan to a property developer for a fixed return on your money.
So which one is better? Let’s take a closer look at both…
How Equity Property Crowdfunding Works
Typically, a crowdfunding platform will source property opportunities and offer investors a percentage of the equity to make the deal happen.
A company known as a special purpose vehicle is set up to buy the property under and each investor is distributed shares in this company proportional to their investment.
How do you make returns?
If the intention is to rent the property, income is normally paid as monthly dividends after deducting expenses like maintenance, management, taxes and so forth.
Sounds straightforward, but what if you want to sell?
Unlike a direct investment, the exit is controlled by the platform, with each investment having a specific strategy.
What types of strategies are there?
You may come across platforms with buy-to-sell, buy-to-let, or a mixture of both.
On a buy-to-sell investment, upon a successful sale, the profits after taxes are distributed to all the shareholders.
With buy to let investments, the property is a much longer-term investment so you may need to wait several years before the property sells.
How long? This will depend on the terms and conditions of the platform you use.
However, some crowdfunding platforms offer a secondary market, where you can try to sell your shares to other investors.
This means if there are buyers available, you may be able sell your shares earlier. Although this is not guaranteed.
What about the risks in equity property crowdfunding?
Most crowdfunding platforms will undertake due diligence to minimise risks on the projects they bring into the platform.
This can be attractive for an inexperienced investor, but it’s important to remember investing in property in any capacity is never black and white.
The value of property prices and rents can go up and down. Therefore, your rental returns, capital gains or original investment are not guaranteed.
How Development Loan Crowdfunding Works
A development loan means you are taking on the role of a mortgage lender and pledging your funds towards a property development project.
The loan is usually for a fixed time with a fixed return on your money.
The interest you earn is usually paid as a lump sum and returned with your original investment at the end of the loan term.
For example, if you were to loan £100,0000 at 10% interest over 12 months. The payment due at the end of 12 months would be £110,000.
Today, the opportunities to loan funds on property crowd funding platforms can vary from short-term bridging to mezzanine and senior loans.
Each of these options offer different amounts of risk and reward, so it’s very important to do your due diligence before you invest in any development loan.
In most cases, development loans are secured, which means investors will hold a first or second charge on the title deed of the land or property.
This can be an attractive security position to an investor.
Theoretically if things didn’t go to plan, the property could be sold to try and recover the investment, unlike equity investors who are always last in line to get paid.
Development loans can be more lucrative investments than returns from buy to let, but there are more risks involved.
What kind of risks?
With any kind of property development there could be delays during planning, construction, or the sales period which can affect the duration and returns to investors.
Some projects may even make no profit, or a loss — so again, it’s really important to complete your due diligence beforehand.
As a result of the additional risk factors, those who want to invest in property development loans are required to self-certify as Sophisticated or High Net Worth Investors.
The current criteria to qualify as a High Net Worth investor is either by having a minimum annual income of £100,000 or at least £250,000 in NET assets, which does not include your home, pension or insurance.
Alternatively, if you’ve invested in more than one unlisted company in the last two years (perhaps through a crowdfunding platform) or you are a director of a company with annual turnover of £1,000,000 then you may qualify as a sophisticated investor.
What are the advantages of property crowdfunding investments?
One of the obvious advantages to property crowdfunding investments are the smaller financial commitments and ability to spread your risk across multiple projects.
It also means you get access to a variety of property classes and development projects that otherwise would require a lot of experience and large capital outlay.
Also, as the investments are fully managed you can avoid the potential pitfalls of direct ownership, like tenants and maintenance.
Certain platforms even give you the option to invest using an ISA, so there are potential tax saving benefits for UK investors.
What are the disadvantages of property crowdfunding investments?
Unlike a direct investment, the strategy, management, exit, and investment terms are fixed by the platform, so you won’t get a choice in the sale or day to day operation.
In equity based investments, extra fees and the fact that many properties will not be using leverage may also reduce the overall returns.
Ultimately, If you’re someone who likes to have more involvement or control in your investments, crowdfunding might feel a bit disconnected investing alongside hundreds of other random people.
Are there any alternatives to crowdfunded property investments?
REITs (real estate investment trusts) are another way you can make passive investments into property.
These companies trade on the stock exchange and purchase residential or commercial property using the money pooled from investors.
Although REITs won’t typically produce returns as high as a direct investment, in the UK they must share at least 90% of their taxable income with shareholders so the dividends can still be quite attractive.
One of the benefits of trading on a stock exchange is that your shares can be sold almost anytime, unlike a property that could take weeks or months to find a buyer.
However, this also means REITs can be more susceptible to stock market fluctuations, and the efficient pricing of the market can make it harder to find “below market value” opportunities like in the property market.
What about direct passive investments?
For sophisticated and high net worth investors that have larger amounts of capital to invest, it can be possible to invest in a property bond or joint venture with a property developer directly.
Unlike property crowdfunding investments, working directly with a developer could offer more flexibility and better investment terms.
For example, you may want to keep the investment passive, but still be able to visit the site and see development progress taking place in person.
If you’re a UK company director, you might even be able to make these type of property investments more tax efficiently by investing in property using a SSAS pension.
However, this is a more advanced investment technique and won’t be suitable for everyone. You should be comfortable doing your own due diligence or paying for professional advisors to check everything over first.
How can you partner with a property developer directly?
One way to find potential developers to work with directly can be at local property networking and business events.
This can be a good opportunity to meet and get to know more about a developer and find out whether you may both benefit from working together. Many developers utilise investors as part of their overall strategy, so are often happy to discuss potential collaborations.
People in the UK are now living longer than ever, but with older age comes more strain on public healthcare so let’s forget buy-to-let for a moment, could investing in care homes be your new ticket to an easier retirement?
As buy-to-let continues to look increasingly grim due to new landlord tax rules, you may be on the lookout for something a bit different. Today we explore the idea of care home investments as the latest alternative
What are care home room investments?
Similar to hotel room investments, care home investments offer a taste of care home profits, without the huge upfront cost or hassle of running such an operation on your own.
As care homes are commercial assets there’s also no stamp duty tax to pay below £150,000 and the returns can be as high as 10% per year.
They could also be purchased under a pension such as a SIPP or a SSAS, see our article property investing with your pension to learn more about that.
Sound interesting? Here’s how a typical investment might work:
- Buy a room in a care home for about £60,000 with title deeds
- The room is leased back to the care home, who rent it out to their residents and manage it for you
- You get a fixed rent from the room minus expenses, which is usually paid monthly or quarterly
- The deal may also offer an option to buy your room back at a date in the future providing an exit strategy – more on this later
Do care home rooms make a good investment?
I’ve seen many care home investments around over the last year – in 2017 alone investors put £1.32 billion into UK healthcare real estate reported Knight Frank
But how do you know which ones are worth looking at?
According to Savills, good quality care homes with modern facilities are likely to have full or near full occupancy
What I personally like about the care home industry though is how it’s regulated by the Care Quality Commission, which means you can check the quality of a care home very easily online.
While some care home investments specialise in niche areas of care, such as those with Alzheimers, they all have a few perks over buy-to-let.
Why? Apart from the higher returns and tax savings, care for many residents is funded by the government. This can be very attractive if you’re looking for stable a source of income.
What is the outlook for care home investments in the UK?
In the early 1900’s you’d be considered above average if you made it past 48 years old.
Today with advances in medicine, we’re living longer than ever – in fact that number has nearly doubled to 82 years old for a women, and 79 for a man.
Sadly the older we get, the more care we need to deal with…well old age
As a result the UK is suffering from a social housing crisis – there just aren’t enough rooms to fill demand.
According to analysis by LEK, the UK needs 200,000 care home beds over the next 10 years which is 45% of current capacity.
It’s a serious issue with the UK government committing £3.8 billion, so it’s no wonder private operators are moving in to fill the gap.
Private care homes also charge higher fees, often seeing increases of 5-6% per year in order to cover rising costs and wages which could offer you great protection against rising inflation.
How safe are care home investments?
If you’re buying new then checking out the builder and what protection is in place to cover deposits would be high up on the agenda.
However some companies buy up existing care homes that are underperforming due to poor management, or lack of modern facilities.
By refurbishing and installing better management these can in theory be obtained at low prices and turned around to make higher profits.
That said, checking the valuation, track history of management and investigating local demand for care will be key to success.
What about an exit strategy?
Although online resales of care home investments are rising, a care home room is considered a long term investment and not something you can sell at a moment’s notice.
A lot of deals may offer buy backs, but this offer is only as good as the business behind it.
Therefore a good analysis of the business is crucial, as you’d not only be buying a piece of real estate, but also into the underlying business model too.
Overall if chosen well, care home investments can offer another string to the property investors bow.
The stability of income paid by government funding is hard to turn your nose up at, and you could also be helping to supply care to the many who need it.
Plus, unless we all turn into robots in the near future, the demand can only continue to rise…
If you’re a director of a UK limited company and like to have control over your financial future then you could be missing out on significant tax advantages by not considering SSAS property investments
Today we take a look at types of SSAS property investments and how a SSAS could also protect your wealth and allow you to invest into property virtually tax free.
What is a self-invested pension plan?
Have you ever heard of a SIPP? They’re aimed at the self-employed and allow you to make your own investment decisions for your pension, rather than a pension provider making the decisions for you.
Just like a work place pension a SIPP provides numerous advantages over cash investments, such as income tax relief and the ability to draw down a tax free lump sum at age 55.
However one of the possible disadvantages of a SIPP is the limitations on what you can do with the funds and the types of investments you can make.
Although you can use a SIPP to invest into property, it can be quite difficult and you’ll often be tied into a selection of investments that are pre-approved by your SIPP provider.
How is a SSAS pension different?
SSAS stands for ‘small self-administered pension plan’. They’re designed for individual or small groups of directors to self-direct their own pension plans.
You can set up a SSAS as an individual director and include family members, or as a group with other directors and employees.
Unlike a SIPP though each member of the SSAS actually becomes a trustee. This means you and any other members get complete control to invest into anything you want
Sounds great, right? It can be, but there are still HMRC guidelines into what investments qualify for tax relief and which ones don’t.
Therefore it’s important to get this right on any SSAS property investments you make, so remember to get professional advice before making any investments.
What are the benefits of a SSAS?
Setting up a SSAS can provide many advantages such as:
- Tax relief on your personal and business income
- No income tax on investments
- No capital gains tax when selling investments
- A tax free lump sum from the age of 55
- The ability to loan funds out from the SSAS
- The ability to transfer other work place pensions or assets into your SSAS
- A way to shelter your wealth from the tax man for your family and future generations
Now we understand some of the advantages of running a SSAS, how could you use one to invest in property?
How to invest in property with a SSAS
Although you cannot DIRECTLY buy residential property with a SSAS, there are multiple indirect ways you can.
Let’s a take a look at some SSAS property investments you could consider…
Convert a commercial property into residential property
Hands on investor? With relaxed permitted development rights in the UK there’s never been a better time to buy old commercial buildings such as pubs, restaurants, factories and warehouses.
Guess what? Commercial property like this can be directly purchased into a SSAS, and could then be converted into residential by using permitted development right laws.
The development could then be sold on providing a tax efficient return back into the SSAS.
Because this strategy is repeatable, it can be a great way to grow a pension pot and it’s probably one of the easiest SSAS property investments available.
Provide bridging finance to developers or property professionals
Picture this: a property developer has found an exciting opportunity to build some housing…but they need a little help with the funding
You know your SSAS allows you to issue loans, so being the savvy investor you are you see an opportunity to strike a deal.
In return for the loan you agree a fixed share in the profits and also take security over the property until the development completes.
If you’re looking for something passive then SSAS property investments like this can show high digit annual returns without the hassle of construction, solicitors, or tenants.
Interested in these kind of investments on a smaller scale? Be sure to take a look at our article on property investment bonds
Borrow money from your SSAS to invest in property
One of the secret weapons only available to SSAS is the ability for you to lend money from it at very low rates.
You can currently lend up to 50% of the value of your SSAS, so a pot of £300,000 could mean gaining access to up to £150,000 of your pension. You could even use those funds as a deposit towards a mortgage.
Combined with the ability to draw down a tax free lump sum at aged 55, this can be one of the most attractive SSAS property investments available to access your pension funds for property investing.
You may think owning a slice of a hotels monthly profit would require lots of money and effort, but in this article we explore the idea of hotel room investment and how to make a monthly income while letting someone else do all the managing
The current residential buy-to-let market is full of challenges ranging from stamp duty tax hikes, to tighter profit margins and changing mortgage rules
A hotel room investment could offer you a simpler alternative to all this mayhem, and you might even be surprised to learn you can invest from £80,000 and get up to 10% back per year
Sound interesting? Let’s take a closer look…
What exactly is a hotel room investment?
Normally investing in a hotel would be off the cards to most
Why? It would involve buying an entire property, putting in a significant amount of money (or finding equity partners) and then employing a hotel operator (or managing it yourself)
Doesn’t sound very appealing as a ‘hands off’ investment, does it?
On the other hand owning an individual hotel room can open the door to:
- A low entry property investment
- Security of ownership with a title deed
- Predictable and regular income
- An easy way to diversify
All without the hassle of handling any bookings, advertising rooms or changing a single bed sheet!
Plus as hotel rooms fall under commercial property, there are potential hidden tax advantages too…
For rooms under £150,000 there’s no stamp duty tax to pay. You can also invest using a pension wrapper like a SIPP or SSAS if you have one.
Some hotels even offer perks like free usage every year, so you could potentially get a few free holidays too.
How does a hotel room investment work?
You can invest in a room two ways: off-plan or into a functional hotel that’s seeking to raise money for expansion through room sales.
Unlike buying shares in ‘Hilton’, one of the advantages investors get with hotel room investments is physically owning them.
Just like buying an apartment, the investor usually gets a leasehold which is registered at the UK land registry office.
The room is then leased back to the hotel operator for a monthly or quarterly rent, ideal for regular income seekers.
Most hotel operators also offer assured rent, offering more predictability and better control for planning finances.
What about management? The hotel operator often takes care of it
They handle the bookings, servicing, catering, and everything else.
Each month they take a cut of the profit and then pay the rest to investors.
And the exit?
Most hotel room investments offer a ‘buy back’ option after a certain duration of ownership which is usually between 5 and 10 years
This allows the investor to exit with an uplift in the price, and the operator can reclaim the profits back for the hotel.
However it’s important to note that any ‘buy back guarantee’ is only ever as good as the strength of the company behind it, which we’ll touch on a bit later in the article.
Is now a good time to invest in hotel rooms?
According to Knight Frank, Investors ploughed over £5 billion into the hotel sector in 2017, which is a 35% increase from the previous year.
Why the surge? This is largely down to the strong boost in tourism and overseas investment seen from the weaker pound
However according to PwC’s latest hotel forecast, hotel occupancy rates have actually been climbing since 2011.
In fact, the average occupancy rate now sits at 76% – perhaps why hotel room investment is so popular with pension funds and institutional investors?
Overall, despite higher labour costs and the challenges of Brexit, it appears the outlook remains positive for the UK hotel sector.
What are the potential risks with a hotel room investment?
1) Off plan or operational hotel?
One potential risk to an investor when buying a hotel room is whether they invest off plan or into an existing hotel.
Ivory Stone only look for operational hotels that are producing income, but buying off plan can still be a good way to own a hotel room.
Like any off-plan purchase, it’s important to check out the management company and the track history of the owners thoroughly first.
For instance, are they actually experienced in running hotels or is it their first time?
What about planning permission? How are investors protected if there were delays in the construction?
2) Limited resale market
Although investment companies and pension funds have been snapping up hotels there is still a limited secondary market to sell hotel rooms
This means if an investor wanted to exit earlier it might take longer to find a buyer. Although if you were getting 8% per year, would you really be in any rush to sell?
3) Location and demand
No business is immune to fluctuations in the market.
Although a hotel may offer a guarantee on the rent and promise a buy back, it’s still important to make sure the figures are realistic and check there is sufficient demand.
The type of hotel plays an important role too.
For example, holiday hotels tend to make the majority of their profit during peak season, and can be quiet during off-season.
If there was a change in tourism to a specific area or country, this could have an effect on the hotel income and profit to investors.
On the other side of the coin, hotels that provide business facilities may be more consistent all year round.
Additionally, budget hotels can be more resilient in a financial downturn as was seen in the UK.
How does a hotel room investment fit in with your portfolio?
Bought carefully, a hotel room investment can give the safety of a tangible property asset and a predictable monthly income.
There are of course risks like anything in life, but for the right investor a hotel room could offer numerous advantages over buy-to-let
There are a mixture of property bonds available to sophisticated investors today, but what exactly are they? how do they work? and how safe are they? Let’s take a look
What are property bonds?
Property bonds allow investors to enjoy a taste of the profits made by professional property developers, without the challenge of building a portfolio or the hassle of tenants and ownership.
Property bonds, sometimes known as “loan notes”, are essentially corporate bonds issued by property developers.
The investor buys the bond and in return receives a certificate and security over the property they’re helping to fund.
A fixed annual interest is then paid to the investor, often lasting between 2 and 5 years.
At the end of the term, the investors bond “matures” and the principle is returned back to them.
Bonds are bought in cash, but it’s also sometimes possible to invest using a pension too.
For example, if you hold a self-administered pension like a SIPP or SSAS. You have the freedom to invest in a range of commercial property opportunities, instead of being tied to the stock market.
You can check out at our article on SSAS property investments to learn more about that.
How do they work?
A property developer will use the investors funds to purchase and renovate properties.
Normally an SPV (special purpose vehicle) is also set up for this purpose to keep the assets separate and protected.
The investors funds are then secured against the properties with a charge, which is registered on the title of the property at the Land Registry office.
This makes the investors loan to the developer secured, because the investor holds an interest in the property as collateral in case something went wrong.
A common example of secured lending in action is when a bank lends money to someone for a mortgage.
Imagine if we took out a mortgage with a bank but didn’t keep up with the monthly payments. What would happen? The property would likely be repossessed
Secured lending eliminates a lot of risk for the bank in this example, because it’s likely they could always sell the property to recover their money
Why don’t property developers just lend from the bank then?
Most property developers who issue property bonds do lend money from banks and other finance providers too.
However, as banks are now quite strict with their lending criteria, they will often only lend 50-75% of the loan, which leaves a much bigger gap to fill.
As a result, many developers use private equity to help fund some of their projects. This allows them to expand and take on additional projects which they wouldn’t normally be able to do using traditional means.
Private investors who lend money to fund development projects can often demand a higher return on their investment.
This is because their funds are usually helping to fund the majority or all of a development project, so they are taking on some additional risk.
Are property bonds safe?
The quality and safety of a property investment bond will depend on which one you are looking at, as they will likely offer different securities and terms.
Ultimately, only you or your financial advisor can decide whether or not property bonds are right for your portfolio.
However, the property developers Ivory Stone choose to work with do hold a strong track history of paying investors. They also offer a first charge security, and have also been approved for pension investment via independent SIPP/SSAS suppliers.
In a buoyant and highly resilient property market such as the UK, many property investors would argue that funding an experienced property developer while holding a first charge on the property, is safer than owning unsecured shares in the stock exchange for example.
However a stock investor may ague differently, which is why it’s always important to do your own due diligence and seek professional advise if needed before investing in anything.
Remember that although it’s possible to make ‘double digit returns’ per year by lending money to developers, like any investment it’s also possible to lose money too!
Save yourself a headache when looking for the best property bonds by downloading our free cheat sheet guide
It explains all the common terminology, why certain “property bonds” or “loan notes” can be more secure than others, and questions you can ask to help find out more about an offering – all in one convenient place
New UK tax rules mean a £125,000 property will now cost you £3,750 more in Stamp Duty Tax, something which previously would of cost you nothing – isn’t there another way?
As a UK property investor, you not only face paying extra stamp duty, but tougher mortgage rules and less profit because of changes on how mortgage interest can be deducted.
While there are still buy-to-let deals out there, it’s certainly going to be harder for investors to find them with these new challenges in place
In fact, almost one fifth of landlords are now ready to sell up, according to recent surveys completed by the National Landlords Association
If you’ve got a lump sum of cash to invest and you’re thinking twice about buy to let, there are some other options worth considering that can still make your money work very hard for you
In this article I’m going to share 3 alternative ways you can invest in UK property without paying stamp duty tax
1) Hotel Rooms – Earn a monthly income from the booming UK tourism industry
Since the Brexit vote, the UK tourism industry is booming due to the weaker pound making it more attractive to visit the UK.
In locations close to cities or attractions, buying a hotel room can offer steady monthly income, and often comes fully managed making it a hands off investment
Some of the benefits typically include:
- Higher yields than buy-to-let, usually in the region of 8%+ NET per year
- Investors usually buy a room in the hotel and then lease this back to the hotel operator, who cover all the costs and pay a fixed rent per month
- Most operators will offer to buy back the room in the future at a profit – providing an exit route
- Due to hotel rooms falling under commercial transactions, there is no stamp duty tax on purchases below £150,000
2) Purpose Built Student Accommodation – Make regular income from the UK’s top university cities
The purpose built student accommodation sector has seen positive growth year on year for the past decade. It’s no wonder it’s a staple for many hedge and pension funds.
Why? University accommodation simply can’t keep up with new student housing demands, which has led to shortages of rooms in many university cities
Here’s a few of the typical benefits:
- NET yields usually in the region of 8-10% per year
- Rooms often come fully managed making them ideal for income investors looking for minimal hassle
- Most operators offer rental assurances and a guaranteed exit with uplift after a few years
- PBSA is classed as commercial property, so no stamp duty taxes on purchases below £150,000 and no Capital Gains taxes when you sell either
3) Become an ‘armchair’ property developer, lend cash and take a cut of the profits
Although the new buy-to-let changes make it tougher for investors to make profits, there is still a serious shortage of housing in the UK.
The recent 2017 budget announced new government targets to build 300,000 new homes per year through incentives for developers.
How can you profit from this?
It’s still hard for smaller developers to lend from banks, so developers are always seeking assistance in funding new projects.
One way developers are securing funding is through structured vehicles like ‘mini property bonds’ or ‘loan notes’
Some of the typical benefits to these might include:
- Fixed income, usually in the region of 10%+ per annum
- A short term investment, ranging from a few months to a few years
- Full funds returned at end of term, with no long term commitments
- A security charge or debenture against property assets to help minimise any risks to the investor
- No stamp duty taxes to pay, as you are not directly investing in the property
So there you have it, 3 alternative ways you can start earning income from the UK property market, without paying any stamp duty tax
What are the risks with alternative assets?
Although alternative property can provide greater income (and in many cases a more ‘hands off’ investment) than buy-to-let, there are a few things to consider:
- They are only available to cash investors
- They won’t usually have much of a secondary market – so it might take longer to find a buyer if you wanted to sell earlier
- Extra due diligence and care will be required to check out the developer and any guarantees offered
Of course, it’s important that you fully research these options yourself and seek whatever professional advise required, before deciding whether or not they are right for your portfolio.
However, as part of a well-diversified portfolio, many sophisticated investors are using these alternatives to enjoy higher incomes, pay less tax and avoid the hurdles faced in the current buy-to-let climate.
You might think the only way to benefit from property is by spending months researching the perfect location, placing the right tenants and finding the right management company. But what if instead you could get someone else to do all that hard work for you and still enjoy a profit?
Loan Note Investment or “Property Bonds” offer one way to gain exposure into property markets, at a much lower entry level, by becoming the lender instead of the landlord.
Here’s how they generally work…
- You lend a property developer some money
- They use that money to fund their development projects, and in exchange they agree to pay you a fixed return over a set period of time
- Just like a bank, you’ll usually be given a secured legal charge on the property asset as your protection
- At the end of the term they agree to repay your original loan, remove the legal charge and you walk away (or reinvest)
For passive investors, loan note investments can put your money to work straight away, and also offer some advantages vs the numerous obstacles that might be faced trying to build your own property portfolio
The Advantages of Property Loan Note Investment
- You can potentially receive a predictable fixed income over a set period of time with an agreed exit point
- Unlike traditional buy-to-let, there is no dealing with tenants, and no surprise damages or hidden maintenance costs to keep you awake at night
- No complicated taxation rules and no extra costs like stamp duty or legal fees
- Chosen carefully, you can gain the partnership of an established developer with many years of experience and a team of professionals behind them
- The lower entry point could also allow you to benefit from a more diverse portfolio, by spreading smaller sums of capital over a wider range of developers and projects
The Limitations of Property Loan Note Investment
- You’re offered a fixed return for a fixed duration of time, which means you wouldn’t benefit from long term capital growth in the properties
- Loan Note investments usually cannot be redeemed until the end of their term, but most notes are usually considered quite ‘short term’ lasting around 2 to 5 years
- Depending on the type of developer, there may be varying degrees of off-plan development risk. However, certain developers minimise that by only redeveloping existing buildings with planning permission in place
- There is nothing to say that the developer could not default on their interest payments or the final capital repayment, but that could also happen if you bought a property and suffered a void period or the property market conditions changed
- Loan Note Investment is only available to certain types of qualifying investors, so not everybody is eligible to invest in them
Why don’t these developers just lend from Banks?
It seems that since the financial crisis of 2008, banks are much more risk adverse with lending in order to meet their new holding requirements.
Although bank lending has greatly improved, the days of obtaining 100% development finance are long gone. Today, most lenders offer around the 60-65% mark, leaving a much bigger gap to fill.
These extra upfront costs and longer decision times mean developers are naturally looking at other ways to raise money.
Over the years, JV (joint ventures), crowdfunding, peer to peer lending, property bonds and loan notes have all become established ways for developers to raise money as they offer advantages over traditional bank financing.
Which ones are the best?
At a time when there is a big shortage of housing in the UK and parts of Europe, investing with developers who are helping to fulfil housing demand seems like a no brainer.
However, with so many Property Loan Notes and Property Bonds on the market – how do you know which ones are even worth investigating?
Whilst it’s possible to make in some cases ‘double digit’ returns by working with developers this way, like any kind of investment, it’s also possible to lose money too.
The type and location of the development, the company track history, development track history and the type of security offered are all factors that will change the quality and risk, so extra due diligence and care is a must.
Save yourself a headache when looking for the best loan note investments by downloading our free cheat sheet guide
It explains all the common terminology, why certain “property bonds” or “loan notes” can be more secure than others, and questions you can ask to help find out more about an offering – all in one convenient place
Before you can even think about investing in your next rental property you’ll need either the full cash input or a large deposit, right?
Wrong! One of the great things about some of the deals we can offer you is an ability to invest in UK property with a low deposit and no mortgage.
If you’re an overseas investor who might struggle to get a mortgage in the UK, or you’re an investor who doesn’t have a lump sum of money available, but do have high disposable monthly income that you want to make best use of, this could be the perfect solution for you.
Let me explain how it works…
Suppose we have found an empty office building in a good rental location with planning permission already in place.
Our developer plans to convert this building over the next 18 months into 60 new residential apartments.
For sake of brevity, let’s assume they are all 2 bedroom units and offered to investors 10-15% below market value at £100,000 each
They offer us two ways to get involved:
Option 1 – 0% Payment plan and mortgage option
You pay a small 3% deposit to secure an apartment (which would be £3,000 in this example)
Then, you set up a payment plan with the developer and pay off 30% of the balance in 18 monthly instalments at 0% interest. So in this example that would be about £1,600 per month
A few months before completion you arrange a mortgage for the remaining 70% balance
On completion of the property, tenants are placed and your rent is underwritten by an independent management company
Option 2 – 0% Payment plan and no mortgage option
Like the first option, you would pay a small 3% deposit to secure your apartment
Then, you set up a payment plan with the developer to clear 50% of the balance in 18 monthly instalments at 0% interest. Working out to about £2,700 per month in this example.
On completion, tenants are placed and you then use your underwritten rental income to repay the developer the remaining 50% over the next 5-7 years, also interest free.
Once repaid, you own the property outright which can be kept for income or sold on for a profit
What I like about this type of deal
- The developer has a vested interest in receiving their money in both options which forces them to select the development locations carefully and with a long term view in mind. They also retain 20-30% of units in their buildings to sell on completion which shows they have confidence in what they’re selling
- If it would take you 18 months to save up a big enough deposit to put down on a property anyway, then this option allows you to start enjoying the benefits of property ownership, such as price growth, ahead of time. Additionally, with the initial 10-15% discount you’re locking in profit from day one.
- You pay 0% interest
- Although nothing is ever 100% guaranteed, if the rents are being underwritten by an independent management company then this provides additional security and peace of mind on the income
- If opting for the ‘no mortgage’ option, any annual rental rises would reduce down the repayment time
- You are given the registered title deed at the land registry on the property as your security
- The developer has a track history in the UK property market dating back to the early 1990’s
Things I would take into consideration
- If you take out the no mortgage option then you won’t get any income from the property until the balance is repaid, but you would still save a small fortune in mortgage interest and arrangement fee’s, plus benefit from any growth in the property’s value
- Like any property purchase you’d still need to cover management fees, service charges and ground rent, although these costs are generally quite minimal.
- The projects are off-plan but as the developer only takes on existing buildings and uses permitted development rights in most cases, this minimises risk of development delays. All development contracts also have step in rights and performance bond insurance. This means if the contractor/freeholder went bust, the insurance provider is then legally obligated to step in and find another contractor to complete any remaining work.
- The repayment plans are with the developer directly and unlike a mortgage lender these are outside the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority. That means you wouldn’t be entitled to any compensation if the developer went bust. However, it is worth pointing out that a solicitor is in place to handle initial repayment monies, and investors are also given the title deeds to the property on development completion
Want to find out more?
Availability is always changing and the best way to find out more is to get in touch and request our latest available prospectus.
To save any disappointment, before you do get in touch make sure you are OK with the following:
- Monthly plans start from around £1,500 per month – so you’ll need at least this in disposable monthly income
- You’ll need a small reservation deposit of around £3,000 (this is deducted from the purchase price at completion) and around £850 to cover legal fee’s
- You’re flexible with locations and open to new areas (these deals are typically only available around the West Midlands area)