How can you maximize your bridging loan by borrowing more than 75%?

I’ve spoken about the benefits of using bridging, 

But how do you ensure you are borrowing the maxmum amount so you are putting in the least amount possible?

We can lend 85% of the purchase price on day one

This is the simplest way to give you some extra funds to purchase the property.

There are some caveats as usual!

  • The gross loan needs to be under 75% of the GDV
  • 10% of the loan needs to be for the works so there needs to be at least that much to spend.
  • Works need to be light, so no structural or change of use.

We can lend you all the costs for the work.

This is more complicated, particularly at the moment.

Lenders are moving the goal posts and increasing their minimum loan sizes so please check with me before you make any assumptions on figures.

As a general rule we can lend up to 65% of the GDV, with all works covered (in arrears) so whatever is left from the total loan is your day one loan (minus fees and interest)

We can lend 75% of the open market value on day one

This is seen as the unicorn product, as it all depends on your figures!

You need to be confident that you are purchasing a property under full market value, but we do see it quite often

We can lend up to 75% of the open market value, and up to 90% of the purchase price

This is a great way to maximize your loan with no additional costs.

More options for first time landlords!

We’ve had some criteria changes this week…

The unicorn product for first-time HMO landlords is now an option!!

There will always be some sacrifices with your first HMO as a first-time landlord. 

But now, achieving a hybrid or yield-based valuation is not one of them! 

We now have an option, with a competitive interest rate and terms.

This is really a game changer for your first project. 

As always, please give me a call and I can talk through the figures and see how it can all work.


Common Mortgage Mistakes: How to avoid them?

I am often asked to ‘fix’ issues that have come about from clients not using the right mortgage, and it is sometimes pretty tricky to do. So I thought I’d run through some examples of things you shouldn’t do as a property investor…

Use a Residential Mortgage for an Investment Property

This sounds like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how much it comes up!

Yes, there are some tax advantages to buying your home over an investment property – but that doesn’t mean you should do it!!

Once you have lived in a property (or your credit file looks like you have) it can be difficult to obtain a BTL mortgage on it, particularly if it’s an HMO.

So please don’t do it!!

Use a Standard Mortgage when You Intend to Refurbish or Convert the Property

This is probably the most common mistake I see made by investors.

You’re going against the terms of your loan. The lender won’t like it and may not want to work with you again.

If you are looking to refinance and you haven’t let your property out then the new lender will see this on your bank statements and it could present a problem.

Not Speaking to your Broker before Instructing Solicitors

There are many types of solicitors, each with their own specialism – and bridging/development is very different from residential mortgages!

Using the wrong solicitor can stop your mortgage from completing, so it’s really important you get the right person for the job.

Some lenders will allow you to use the same solicitors to act for them and you, saving you time and money so check if you can do this before deciding who to use.

Not Exploring all the Options before you Commit

We have had a few cases recently where the client has paid for a valuation or received an offer before realizing that the product they are looking at doesn’t work.

This may be because the rate is too high, it doesn’t release enough inquiries or the terms just don’t seem right.

It’s important to know that you are working with a broker who does that type of business and ask for examples of previous cases.

It’s expensive to swap halfway through!!

so please speak to us (or a broker who does lots of what you are looking to do) before you start.

and if it sounds not quite right, then it probably is!!

Precise have expanded their bridge to term product!

How does it work?

  • You have one valuation carried out to give you a today figure and a GDV. 
  • You receive two mortgage offers – for the bridge and the term.
  • You have the offer for the term before you start.

For the bridge:

You can borrow 75% LTV to purchase the property

They allow a light refurbishment, including a change of use to an HMO

You have 6 months to move to the term mortgage

For the mortgage:

You can borrow 75% of the GDV figure.

The fees are reduced across both products.

There are very little legal fees to move from bridge to term and it is quick!

What are the benefits?

  • It keeps the costs down of bridging – arrangement fees, legal fees, and valuation fees are reduced
  • It offers certainty over the exit.
  • The process to move from bridge to term is quick and simple.

Jackie is always talking the talk – now she’s walking the walk with her first development!

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you are all digging deep; however we think everyone is better off than us… they probably aren’t.

This week the blog is on my live case.  As most of you will know, I have been a property investor for about 20 years, but only with vanilla properties with a small refurb thrown in.  I have always wanted to do a development and with so many of our clients going that route, it was really making me envious.

Although I had savings, I don’t have enough experience in this area, so needed someone to work with.

When you chat as much as I do, it doesn’t take long to find out who’s got the appetite for this. I teamed up with someone I have known and worked with for a number of years, as well as his business partners.   After talking about what we could do, we started looking for suitable properties.  It’s important to have a team that can cover all areas; so we were able to delegate the roles of sourcing, development, finance and renting, a solid skill group.

Having not done a lot of sourcing, I really did underestimate its importance; It was time consuming enough just to look at the properties John found.  We looked at all sorts, from converting churches all the way through to large HMOs. We finally decided on an ugly property in Upminster, Essex which had plenty of development opportunities.

The property is a 4 bed house with a 1 bed annex on a good sized plot.  It was originally on the market for £750k, which was too high.  We waited and it dropped to £650k, at which point we put in a cheeky offer of £550k. It was accepted, but they would not allow an option agreement so if we were to proceed we would have to take a chance on the planning.

We intend to build 5 or 6 flats, which will be COVID friendly and eco friendly.  We will try and keep an existing wall, to avoid CIL, which again, reduces costs.

As we couldn’t get the option subject to planning, it was important to see what has happened to the immediate area.  The road has a lot of new builds, both flats and houses, so we can see that the precedent has been set.

We will be getting planning after completion, so I sourced a no ERC product, which will allow us to rent it out for the short term.  Any cash in will help towards costs.  We also insisted on a 2 week gap between exchange and completion so we could start the works required before we rent it out.  The property is a 60s house that had very elderly owners; it was really dated.

It is so important to check exactly what is needed to do to get it rented out, it needed to make financial sense, as it would all be knocked down. Just the painting of a large house is time consuming; it also needed some work to the electrics as they were definitely not tenant safe. As the owner removed all white goods, we sourced good second hand ones off Facebook market place.  They will all be PAT tested to make sure they conform.

We chose this route to avoid bridging; due to the time scales involved in applying for planning. Bridging, as we know, is an important route in a lot of cases but during COVID, this can lengthen the timescales. When you don’t know your timescales it’s worth looking at a longer term and lower cost option.  It really does depend on the property, thankfully this property is tired, but very habitable.

In the 3 months it’s taken to exchange, we have not been idle.  We have instructed the Architect and progressing the drawings and planning.

We complete on the 19th February and it’s definitely given me something away from work and lack of social diary dates to get excited about.

We have benefitted from the maximum SDLT discount, but there are still plenty of deals to be done out there.

How does an 85% LTV bridge sound?

Here we are at Friday again, although the days all seem to be merging into one! I hope you are all doing ok, for those home schooling like me we’ve got one week left before a slight break of half term which I am so excited about! The irony of children’s mental health week being in the middle of a winter lockdown is not lost on me…

This week we genuinely do have some good news though. After a bleak January and with the stamp duty relief deadline inching closer we really do need it.

Shawbrook Bank have this week re-launched their 85% loan to value bridge. There are a few caveats to this, which I will go into but this is a great sign of confidence in the market moving forward. It allows you to borrow an additional 10% on top of the 75% (net of lender fee) for refurbishment costs.

What you need to know:

  • The 10% is for refurbishment costs, so you need to be spending at least that amount on the refurb. You can spend more (and fund it yourself), but if you spend less than the additional loan will be capped at that.
  • This is for a light refurbishment, so nothing which involves planning or building regulations or any structural changes.
  • You do need some experience, one similar project is enough
  • The maximum loan is capped at 75% of the post works value, so we need to give the valuer a copy of the schedule of works and they will give us a figure to work with.

This is brilliant for so many scenarios:

  • It allows you to borrow additional funds for the refurbishment and this is be upfront rather than in arrears which we often see with typical refurbishment bridges.
  • It suits conversions to small HMOs (up to 6 bedrooms)
  • Any residential internal refurbishment which can include kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and re arranging layouts where no structural works are required.
  • You don’t have a cap on the amount you can spend on the refurbishment, and the additional funds will go towards this.

As always, we are happy to chat through any enquiries you have. We can let you know whether we think your project is something suited to this sort or product or whether something else would work.


How Covid has changed the property market

We are half way through lockdown, hopefully! How are you all finding it – is  it tougher than previously? This week I am talking about how Covid has changed the investment property market. I spoke about this at last week’s PIN meeting, but I wanted to go into a lot more detail on the blog as I think it’s such an important topic at the moment.

There are two aspects to this; the types of investors who are now coming to the market, as well as the types of property and tenancy.

Who could be the new investors on the block? 

There are plenty of reasons why people may be looking to get into property at the moment. We have had such a massive change of lifestyle and direction this year; many people have spent more time with their family and have realised that they want a career that is more flexible around that. We have all had time to stop and reassess what is really important to us – stepping off the hamster wheel can make you reluctant to get back on it!

Property can offer so much more flexibility in your life, it can be YOUR career on YOUR terms. It will be full of challenges, but also comes with autonomy…  and, of course, the potential for growth.

Grabbing an opportunity…

With plenty of working people having been furloughed for possibly a lot of months, then being made redundant, this may give some the push to use the money and put down a deposit on a property.

A lot of you will also have gained some extra time with less social activities, therefore allowing time to spend dedicated to researching potential areas to invest in and work on strategies.  Netflix or new career research…..????

Also, I think that having gone through this year and the uncertainty it has brought, it has increased the importance of having a diversified income stream. Property can be something to add to your income pot, adding an asset to any savings and/or pension, but importantly it gives an income to take the pressure off in a changing jobs market.

There are also a number of ways in which Covid has changed the way we view particular tenant profiles.


This is a far more resilient market than I think anyone was expecting! Back in March lenders were worried that this academic year would be completely online learning from home; yet we have seen students return or go to university. They are craving any kind of normality it seems! There are also benefits to house sharing in HMOs over student accommodation at this time. It’s generally smaller bubbles and you have got more communal space if you are limited with your external social life. There’s also the option to encourage a two year letting period taking away the need to find and view somewhere new to live. This gives you the option of somewhere to stay during the summer if you’re not able to go home.

Long leases 

In this uncertain market, lenders and landlord are crying out for some guarantees, and that’s what this can offer. For a long time any lease over 12 months was a big problem, but now we have at least three lenders who are looking at this, and at competitive rates, on a 75% loan to value, interest only product as we discussed previously. The yield may work out slightly lower, but when you take out voids and repairs you aren’t far off what you would get for a professional tenant. This is definitely a growing market and something I’m sure we will see more of.

Holiday let’s

UK holidays are going to be the way forward for the next few years. I’m sure many of us (myself included!) enjoyed a fantastic UK holiday this year, and it’s made us all realise how many places there are for us to explore in the future. It’s a cheaper option, and for many that will be a big consideration next year. It’s also far more flexible with bookings and pets – abs is far more environmentally friendly!

As an investor, your self contained unit is going to be far more attractive than a hotel or B&B in these covid times. Lenders are becoming more open to these options too. We have a lender who will now allow you to purchase on a bridge to carry out some works and then move to a term mortgage in 9 months so you don’t need to worry about initial rental voids. This gives you some time to get it all ready to hopefully open once the weather improves and restrictions are over (big fingers crossed on that one!).  Also, there is a market for working away from home – which gives potential for the times of the year not traditionally busy.

We are again seeing lenders more open to holiday let’s, using both the market rent as a 12 month tenancy or the passing holiday let income if we have a proven track record.

Cities vs Suburbs

Priorities are changing for tenants. It’s no longer so important to have access to cities and towns and tenants are now favouring larger spaces both inside and out. Outdoor space has become far more desirable, and a home office or space to work is now a massive selling point. Other, more rural locations are becoming more attractive, which may open up new opportunities as investors – perhaps your local area, or something which is affordable that wouldn’t have worked previously for an investment property.

With change comes opportunity, and as a resilient group of investors I really feel that over the next few years we will see so much of both.

As always, call if you have any questions. Look after yourselves, only two more weekends to go – fingers crossed!

Case study: The importance of the ‘route of least resistance’

Happy Friday everyone – by the time you get this I will be on my way to Pontechianale for a well earned break…

This week is a case study on the importance of the ‘route of least resistance’

The case involved a commercial property in London, with planning to change to 3 flats and keep the commercial on the ground floor.  The client is an experienced investor with a mixed portfolio as well as having carried out many refurbishments.  They wanted to borrow 70% LTV for the purchase.  The valuation was ordered within a few days… we had a 5 week completion time and it all seemed on track and straightforward.

We complete on plenty of refurbishment loans, and clients often are looking at the lowest cost option, forgetting that actually what they want is a quick, pain free completion and that they are confident will complete on time. The lender we chose are not expensive by any means and they have very reasonable legal and valuation costs, but they may not be the cheapest headline rate.

It was also important that we had a clear exit in place as lending against commercial at the moment can be tricky.

Everything started out very positive and felt like it would be a fairly painless completion.  Then the first curve ball flew in… there was a £200k down value, albeit the GDV was bang on. The vendor wouldn’t budge on the price and so discussion time was required to decide what to do.  The clock is still ticking. As the GDV came in as initially expected, they decide to proceed.

While this was going on, as happens on cases with a short completion date, we were getting all the due diligence and documents signed off by the lender.

Then we received a call from the client to say that the family has now got involved and offered money so the funding is not required at all.  We hadn’t asked for an up front fee, so you win some and lose some. He’s a good client of ours, so we know he is happy with our service and we moved on to other cases.

I then got a call a week later to say there was some confusion on the family help and £200k net is still required for completion in 2 weeks.

This is when clear communication was required. Due to family funding, the shareholders increased from 2 to 7, which included funds from 6 different accounts, including 3 offshore companies, which increases the due diligence. You think COVID is a moving glacier, cases can be a bit like that too!

The important thing to work towards is The Route of Least Resistance… always focus on the prize. This is particularly important on a case that has exchanged and requires a speedy completion and includes many stakeholders.

The Directors were a dream to work with, but the client’s solicitor gave us many challenges.  I have learned over the years that the name and prestige of a law firm does not necessarily give you the right solicitor.  It is always about the person actually handing the case that matters.

The lender, Lendwell, were amazing, as always.  They are sensible and don’t invite dramas of any sort. Full communication with their lawyer, Melissa at Lightfoots, also made a huge difference.

Completion was 10th August, all on time.  The client can now get on with the refurbishment and we will be ready to look at the refinance for them once it’s completed.

Baya offers the steady hand on the rudder at all times.  However tricky something may seem, keeping your eye on the prize is what gets it over the line.  Thanks everyone involved.