Tag Archives: commercial finance broker

Remember our background is in BuytoLet and Commercial finance Buy to Let News, Commercial Finance, Latest Articles

PartnersRemember our background is in BuytoLet and Commercial finance Mark, Mike and I met through the common background of BuytoLet and Commercial Finance. Over the years through The Money Centre and now Property118 we have literally helped 10s of thousands of Landlords, developers and investors start and grow their property businesses.

Unfortunately we are now old enough to have seen, done and bought the t-shirt for most things in the property finance industry including Mark and Mike being founder members of the NACFB (National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers) and working with Nationwide Building Society and Paragon Mortgages on the concept of Forward Buying Facilities.

We have been sharing our experiences and strategies for property finance as much as we can with readers, but there is always a time when you just need some help.

To start with we have our own BuytoLet mortgage sourcing system and calculator, which we designed ourselves and I keep updated. This will help you see how much you could borrow, what the costs would be and which are the most popular Lenders and Products.

We have a team of highly experienced NACFB member commercial finance Brokers who can advise you on and source the best Commercial, Development finance and BuytoLet deals.

If you need help with…

Buy to Let mortgages  : info@property118.com

Commercial Mortgages CLICK HERE

Development Finance CLICK HERE

Bridging Finance CLICK HERE

…. or guidance regarding property finance you can email us on : info@property118.com Call Property118 on: 01603 489118

Or contact me directly on npatterson@property118.com.


Tax Treatment of Equity Loans for Buy to Let Landlords Advice, Buy to Let News, Commercial Finance, Financial Advice, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Legal, Mortgage News, Property Investment Strategies, Tax and Accountancy, Tax News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I have been posting on numerous forums about the introduction of equity loans into the UK buy to let mortgage market, a common question is the tax treatment.

Equity loans do not attract interest in the normal way, there are no regular monthly payments. One UK lender, funded by USA equity house JC Flower & Co. (a leading financial services investment company with funds in excess of £5billion) has entered the UK market and others may follow. Their return on investment is earned when the loan term expires or or sale or refinance of the property, whichever is sooner. Their return is capital plus a share in capital appreciation equal to double their investment. For example, if they provide top up finance of 10% of a property value their return with be 20% of the increased capital value plus their investment when the funding is redeemed.

As you may know, I was previously a former commercial finance broker. When I was practising I was renowned for digging into complex funding, tax and legal structures to explore opportunities and threats which others may never have considered.

Note to all – I no longer provide advice and this post must not be treated as advice.

The tax treatment of the redemption of BTL equity loans will be very interesting.

Let’s use this example. Equity loans can sit over and above traditional interest bearing mortgages but for the sake of simplicity I have based the following example on equity funding only.

Property value at outset £100,000
Equity loan at outset £20,000

Property value at sale £200,000
Capital gain £100,000 (or is it and if so how is it shared? – see below)
Equity loan capital repaid £20,000
Profit on Equity loan to lender £40,000

Now does the £40,000 profit on the equity loan to the lender reduce the owners capital gain to £60,000 or is the owners gain still treated as £100,000?

The lender operating the first of these schemes has already stated they will bill their return as interest at the point of loan redemption. However, that’s not to say HMRC will see it that way, only time will tell. Therefore, my suggestion to all landlords considering this type of finance is to plan for the worst and hope for the best in terms of tax treatment. As has been proven many times, the law says you can call something pretty much whatever you like but case law or legislation will determine what it really is. Case in point, advance rent or deposit? – see Johnson vs Old

So will profits made by equity lenders need to be used to offset rental profits? If so there could be a substantial paper loss created in the year of redemption. Unused losses may be rolled forward, assuming losses are made, but such losses are only offsettable against future rental profits. No problem, in fact potentially very advantageous, IF you continue to make rental profits going forward. However, if this was your only property you may be stuffed by having to pay CGT on the full £100,000 of gain and not being able to utilise the carry forward losses. Note that rental losses can not be used to reduce other taxable income.

I can’t see HMRC allowing landlords to choose how they apply the lenders return to suit their individual circumstances, i.e. as either interest or a share of capital gain,  but we can live in hope, not that that’s a good strategy of course! If HMRC do allow a choice to be made that would be utopia from a tax planners perspective 🙂

What I would suggest to all considering equity loans is that they should plan for the worst case tax scenario and hope for the best case tax scenario. In other words, make decisions based on the worst case tax scenario and if that works then fine. Obviously there are many other aspects of the deal to consider too which is why I am an advocate of taking professional advice as opposed to taking a short sighted approach and simply jumping into deals unadvised just to save initial fees.

If you are a portfolio landlord who makes good rental profits then treating the lenders return as interest could be extremely tax advantageous if the tax regime remains as it is today. This is because income tax rates are greater than capital gains tax rates for higher rate tax payers.

Therefore, for landlords who will continue to make rental profits, post redemption of their equity loans, this is particularly attractive in my opinion. At worst, if HMRC decide to treat the lenders returns as capital gains, landlords will pay a lower CGT bill and not be able to offset interest. For a landlords with no ongoing rental profits post redemption of an equity loan, having the lenders return treated an interest charge is highly unlikely to be attractive whereas having the returns treated as capital gains will be far better for them.

If, of course, your equity loan is secured against your private home then no CGT is payable on sale anyway.

Tax Treatment of Equity Loans for Buy to Let Landlords

Tax is not the only consideration.

I have listed 11 good reasons for considering the product and 9 downsides in my main post about equity loans. That’s not to say that everybody should think equity loans are the best thing since sliced bread just because my list of pro’s and cons is 11 vs 9, it doesn’t work that way. The reasons for NOT doing something can be very different to reasons FOR doing something, they are not necessarily like for like considerations. For example, I also prefer a strategy of high gearing combined with high liquidity over a low gearing strategy because that’s what suits me and my attitude to risk. It does not mean that people who prefer a different strategy are either wrong or right, it just proves we are all different, hence we have other preferences such as careers, holidays, cars, films, food and where we live.

For further information and discussion about equity loans please CLICK HERE.


Contra proferentem mortgage conditions Advice, Buy to Let News, Cautionary Tales, Commercial Finance, Financial Advice, Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Mortgage News, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Unless you are a qualified contracts lawyer who has also studied Latin you will probably not have a clue as to how contra proferentem mortgage conditions affect you. I have spent the last two weeks getting my head around it as it was a key point in the barristers opinion for the Bank of Ireland Tracker Mortgage Class Action which has stalled due to all funds raised for that campaign having been exhausted. Therefore, for the benefit of everybody with a tracker mortgage who may be affected by a hike in their tracker mortgage margin at some point, and in particular to those affected by the decisions of West Bromwich Mortgage Company and the Bank of Ireland I offer this laymans interpretation and my thoughts on how we should progress.

Very simply, the contra proferentum law is created to enable judges to decide which conditions apply if contractual conditions are in conflict. In other words, if the contract has two or more conditions and they don’t all say the same thing one of the conditions will apply and the others will not.

The relevance of this is that West Bromwich and Bank of Ireland have conditions in their mortgage documentation and some conditions contradict others.

The law goes on to say that the judges interpretation of what the contract means will be the condition(s) which are in favour of the person to whom the contract was presented. To put it another way, if your mortgage conditions were presented by West Bromwich or Bank of Ireland the judge will rule against them because they wrote the contract and the most favourable of the conditions will be applied to you. 🙂

There are, of course, several more legal arguments our lawyers could throw at the enemy, however, in my opinion the contra preferentem argument is without any shadow of doubt our best shot

Other legal arguments will only suit some of our Class Action Group. For example, there appears to be no legal definitions of a sophisticated landlord but West Bromwich think it is anybody with more than three properties. Let’s say we win that battle and the Court decides it’s six – anybody with seven or more isn’t going be too happy are they? I will be one of them! Also, what good would that do for those affected by Bank of Ireland or by any other lender who tries this on? Remember, Bank of Ireland has a different criteria and is not using the sophisticated borrower argument. Other lenders will no doubt make up their own excuses too. What we need is a win which will affect ALL mortgage lenders.

Many people are arguing that they didn’t receive the Mortgage Conditions from their lenders. Well sorry folks, maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, but I can assure you that you signed a piece of paper before your mortgage completed to say that you did. The Mortgage Deed I signed for my West Bromwich mortgage states “By signing this Mortgage you confirm the terms of the Standard Conditions of Offer, the Special Conditions and the Mortgage Conditions”.

There are many more arguments which I could play devils advocate with which have been raised on our forums. With a bit of thought I reckon I could win most of the arguments and I’m not even a qualified solicitor. I am, however, in the same boat as you so please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m also affected by these increases and I’m doing everything I can to make sure we win this fight. In my case that’s been 18 hour working days for the last three weeks and a lot more time on the Bank of Ireland case since it reared its ugly head earlier this year.

That’s why I would like Justin and the barrister to lead with what I believe is our best shot – contra proferentem mortgage conditions.

If we ask our lawyers to look into every legal argument we have presented on our forums we will run out of money before we get to first base. What I would prefer is that we fight the one universal truth which is that our mortgage terms are contra proferentem. If we lose and we still have some money left there’s nothing to stop us appealing on other grounds as well.

For the above reasons, do you agree that we should ask our legal advisers to focus on contra proferentem mortgage conditions?

There are lots of other things we can do as a group to be a thorn in the side of these lenders in the meantime. For example, I love the PR campaigns and lobbying we are sharing ideas on. We must continue to win the hearts and minds of the media and every centre of influence we can think of. I also applaud the tactics being used to make these lenders lives a misery, for example the Subject Access Requests. Perhaps the most important thing we can do whilst we wait for the legal bods to advise us is to spread the word. We need to get every borrower we can find with a tracker mortgage to sign up. There are also plenty of other landlord groups who can help us to do this and it’s in all of our interests to put as much pressure on them as possible to get involved and spread the word amongst their members.

Contra proferentum mortgage conditions as I see it

I owned a substantial number of buy to let properties at the time of my mortgage application and still do. The chances of me proving that I was not a sophisticated landlord are very slim but I do have an argument to suggest that property investment was not my line of business at the time I took the mortgage. All of my properties were professionally managed in order to allow me to focus on my career as a commercial finance broker. I did not consider myself to be a professional investor at the time I took out this mortgage, the purpose of investing into a property portfolio was to provide for my retirement. I don’t want Justin or the barrister to push that angle though, I think it’s a waste of money as everybody’s situation will be very different.

Neither my mortgage broker nor my solicitor were aware of the rights of West Bromwich Mortgage Company to increase the premium they charge on my tracker mortgage rate. I did read the Mortgage Conditions brochure at the time  and at the time I sincerely believed that section 5 of the Mortgage Conditions was not applicable. Note that I am also a qualified mortgage adviser and IFA. I believed that section 5 of the mortgage conditions booklet was only relevant to mortgages written on the building society’s standard variable rates, which do not track the Bank of England base rate. This was supported by the marketing materials being used by the West Bromwich to promote their tracker mortgages. Also, there was no mention of such a vital clause in either their KFI document or their offer letter. Clearly my solicitor was mislead too. I suspect everybody who was affected by the Bank of Ireland rate hike would also say the same thing.Contra proferentem mortgage conditions

So having established that I read the booklet and I signed to agree to all of their terms, including those in their Mortgage Condition booklet, what makes me believe West Bromwich are still in the wrong?

  1. Their website said, and to this day still continues to say “Tracker mortgages give you the certainty of knowing that the rate you pay will move in line with Bank Base Rates.”
  2. My offer letters states “After 30th June 2010 your loan reverts to a variable rate which is the same as the Bank of England Base Rate, currently 5%, with a premium of 1.99%, until the term end”

Logic tells me the above are in conflict with Section 5 of the Mortgage Conditions booklet which I signed and received. On the basis that West Bromwich produced the booklet, their website, and the Mortgage Deed I believe there is a clear case of conflicting conditions and ambiguity, hence the conditions they are relying upon are contra proferentem. On that basis, a judge MUST rule against West Bromwich as they are the originators of the documentation. It’s not like we are asking for the mortgages to be written off, all we want is the terms and conditions we believed we had signed up for.

We MUST win a Court Case before even more lenders follow suit.

The deadline for submission of instructions has now expired. However, it may still be possible to join the representative action subject to paying Court fees and an additional cost to cover associated administration. For details please email : carla@cotswoldbarristers.co.uk


Good Landlords Campaign Board of Directors GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors, Latest Articles

The GOOD Landlords CampaignOne of my goals is for The GOOD Landlords Campaign to eventually become a registered charity. For that to happen there are several hoops to jump through, the first of which is to form a steering committee.

For the moment, The GOOD Landlords Campaign mission statement is “to promote and facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords and letting agents”.

Forming a charity isn’t something I have done before but I was a founder of the NACFB (National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers) so I do have some insight into forming a professional trade association. I served on the steering committee and also as the first Membership Director. 21 years on the NACFB is the UK’s leading professional body with over 1,000 member firms and virtually all providers of commercial finance having signed up as Patrons.

I am looking for volunteers to form a steering committee for The GOOD Landlords Campaign with the possibility of being voted onto the Board of Directors at the inaugural members meeting of the charity.

Subject to having a sufficient number of volunteers (ideally around a dozen) the plan is to hold a meeting every two months.

If this is something you would like to volunteer for please complete the form below. I will contact all interested parties towards the middle of September with a view to arranging the first meeting mid October 2013. The initial agenda will include:-

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision
  • Funding
  • Sponsorship
  • Increasing awareness

Expression of interest form


Mezzanine Finance for Developers Commercial Finance, Latest Articles

(By Malcolm Jones of Brooklands Commercial Finance)

Despite the Banks recent profit announcements, Developers are still being frustrated by their continued reluctance to lend. When Banks are prepared to lend on development projects the percentage of costs or of the Gross Development Value (GDV) is often so low that it is not workable.

Many borrowers are now turning to Commercial Finance Brokers such as ourselves to assist with raising the total finance required.

Most property development loans can be broken down into Senior Debt loans and Mezzanine Loans. The Senior Debt element is the amount lent by the bank or finance company and this is often limited to 60% of the costs. Mezzanine finance is a second charge loan that sits on top of the senior loan and hence the name “Mezzanine”.

Mezzanine Finance

Due to the dramatic drop in bank lending to the property sector in recent years, many successful and profitable residential developments have made use of Mezzanine finance. With the Senior debt lender funding 60% of the costs the Mezzanine lender will often lend 30% of the costs, leaving a requirement of only 10% from the developer.

The finance can cover the costs of the land purchase, site and infrastructure costs, build costs and professional fees.

By using Mezzanine finance the developer is able to reduce his equity contribution, spread his risk and considerably enhance the percentage return on his own invested funds. Although Mezzanine finance is more expensive than Senior debt, there are many financial advantages.

For example:

Mr A goes for low gearing Mr B goes for high gearing
Mr A invests £200,000 in building 1 house Mr B invests £200,000 in building 6 houses
The GDV is £600,000 The GDV is £3,600,000
Finance at 50% £200,000 Finance at 90% £1,800,000
Finance cost £50,000   Finance cost at £450,000
Net Profit £150,000 Net Profit £550,000
Gross Profit 33% Gross profit 33%
Return on developers money 75% Return on developers money 275%

Because of the increased risk to the mezzanine company, they look for experience developers, good projects and a reasonable profit level.

If you require any assistance with Development finance please Click Here

Mezzanine Finance


Buy to Let Property Sales – Partnering With Estate Agents Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property Development, Property For Sale, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Earlier this year we spotted an opportunity to set up a buy to let Estate Agency. However, due to lack of resource (time) very little has been done other than a dozen or so sales on behalf of developers, plus setting ourselves up with The Property Ombudsman Service and organising Professional Indemnity insurance to keep ourselves legal of course.Buy to Let Estate Agency

The reason we haven’t got around to growing the buy to let Estate Agency business is that our passion is facilitating the sharing of best practice amongst landlords and letting agents on the Property118 forum which I set up just over two years ago. Prior to that I was a commercial finance broker and I’ve been a landlord since 1989.

The opportunity is a very simple one. Nearly 200,000 landlords and associated professionals subscribe to our daily newsletters and engage on the Property118 forum. Some of these people are no doubt in the market to buy more property. It occurred to us that most properties are sold with vacant possession, however, for landlords that can be a bit of a nightmare as both the vendor and the purchaser both experience costly void periods.

Rightmove and the Zoopla Property Group portals are ideal to sell properties with vacant possession but if a landlord wants to sell or buy a tenanted property these portals are far from perfect as there’s no search facility for buy to let property. Furthermore, their interfaces are not geared up to show rental yields, returns on capital invested, costs of letting etc. At Property118 we have created a landlords calculator to work all of these things out

As we haven’t got time to source properties to sell, never mind to prepare sales particulars, do floor plans, arrange viewings and progress chase offers through to completion, our idea is to work on a split commission basis with other agents.

We will showcase properties on the Property118 forum and link to them in the daily Newsletters. Enquirers will be landlords who may well already own properties in the area, hence for agents who partner with us on this venture, all referrals will be good leads for future sales and letting opportunities as well as prospective purchasers of the property which is being marketed.

From the landlords perspective, they will be presented with properties which are already let and will have no void periods and perhaps most importantly, without any buyers premium attached to them. The sales particulars will include details of the tenancy including:-

  • rent currently being paid
  • profile of the tenant
  • time already in the property
  • management fees currently being charged
  • other expenses relating to the management/maintenance of the property

This information, together with an indicative financing quotation will enable us to calculate not only rental yields but the cash on cash equivalent annual returns after all costs including mortgage, insurance, lettings and management, a sensible maintenance budget and where appropriate any ground rents or service charges. This will enable investors to compare cashflow returns on their money to the returns they are currently receiving elsewhere on their investments. The potential for capital growth is obviously a primary reason for people to invest into property too of course.

We will not allow this activity to overwhelm what we do here at Property118, therefore, we will cherry pick the properties we want to promote based on those which we believe make sense to buy as investments.

It is unlikely that we will be in a position to accept instructions directly from landlords to sell their properties due to the lack of infrastructure to provide a sufficiently professional service, i.e. floor plans, viewings, for sale signs etc. Therefore, any such enquiries will be referred back to the agencies we end up partnering with. Landlords are, of course, also welcome to introduce us to any agencies they are already working with as we will not get tied into any exclusive contracts. Our independence is vitally important to us.

I would like to have a chat with any agents who see some mileage in this opportunity. I have some ideas on splitting commissions but I am very open minded at this stage as the project is very much in its infancy.

Mark Alexander - Your Property ConciergeIf you would like to chat please comment below, email me  – mark@property118.com or call me on 07834 754 223.

Regards

Mark Alexander – founder of Property118.com


Residential Property Development up by over 15% Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Development, Property News

arrow up graph of stacking housesThe value of private residential property development projects starting on site is up 15.2% compared with the same period in 2012 according to fresh figures from just release by construction industry analysts Glenigan.

The UK construction industry has seen a rise of nearly 1.9% in new building project starts in the three months to May, led by growth in the private housing sector

Gains in private housing starts valued at under £100m were focused in London and the South East in the past month, but increased activity in Yorkshire and the South West in April also boosted the index. Starts on several other private housing projects worth over £100m will give the Minister of State for Housing Mark Prisk who has led the Government’s Help to Buy and NewBuy schemes further cause for positivity.

Development Funding:

Property developers are now taking advantage of improving finance options and returning to the market to develop land and to pursue new and abandoned conversion projects. We have seen lenders coming back into development funding, as demand for housing rises and the economic outlook improves.  We are definitely witnessing an increased appetite from lenders looking to lend.

Below are examples of Development finance terms that are currently on offer:-

  • England, Scotland and Wales
  • Individuals, companies, partnerships
  • 70% property development loans available
  • Mezzanine Finance
  • Joint venture funding
  • Non-status loans/poor credit history
  • Rates from 0.75% per month
  • No exit fees
  • Interest rolled up into the loan or serviced
  • Arrangement fees added to the loan
  • Transparency – No early repayment penalties or hidden charges
  • Interest calculated only on the amounts drawn
  • 65% day 1 value, 100% build costs

To have a development project assessed you normally need to provide the following information:
A description of the project
A recent CV to show experience in property developing (if a builder or property developer)
Statement of your business/personal assets and liabilities
Plans and drawings
Confirmation of Planning Permission

To achieve optimal development finance terms for your project you need the right contacts with excellent presentation skills and a reputation for success to put your business funding requirements to tender.

Please complete this enquiry form and we will be delighted to introduce you to the right person for your individual needs.

As founder members of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers “NACFB” since 1992 we have all the contacts and connections you are likely to need.

Development Finance Enquiry Form

Step 1 of 2 - Your contact details

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Holiday Lets purchased using commercial finance on the increase Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

holidayMembers of The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) have reported a steady increase in Holiday lets being purchased using commercial finance along with the number of lenders and products to support this business.

Investors and Lenders are being attracted by the higher potential income that can be generated by holiday lets in locations of strong demand, seeing this as a good income generator for investors and lowering the perceived risk to lenders’ security.

As reported recently by the Independent “the second home sector grew again last year. The rise means there are now over a quarter of a million homes across England that have been brought as holiday homes or lets.”

It is important to determine what the property is to be used for and to make the distinction between a Buy to Let (which will be let on assured short-hold tenancies) and a holiday let, which will allow the owner to use the property for holidays and to let out for short-term.

Lenders are now offering specific mortgage packages to support this growth in popularity of holiday lets, recognising the appetite of borrowers for second homes, and Brooklands commercial finance have sought out examples for us of some of the best deals and criteria currently on the market:

  • Rates from 3.65%
  • LTV’s up to 75% (100% with additional security)
  • Low arrangement fees (and free valuations in some instances)
  • Interest only available
  • Whole of mainland UK
  • Established and new holiday lets
  • Rental Stress testing at 120% of the mortgage payments
  • Minimum incomes required £20,000 for sole applicant and £30,000 for joint
  • Minimum property values £50,000
  • Maximum property values £500,000 or more with business case
  • First time investors are acceptable.

If you would like any assistance to finance a Holiday Let please email info@property118.com with your requirements and contact number and we will ask our preferred brokers Brooklands commercial finance (members of the NACFB) to assist.

Or call me on 01603 489118

 


Switch to a BuytoLet mortgage within six months of purchase Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

New commercial finance facilities are offering the option to switch bridging finance to a  BuytoLet mortgage within the normal 6 months period other lenders require you to wait.

Borrowers are now able to bridge  70% of initial purchase price and then, within six months, switch to a BuytoLet remortgage based on 70% of the ” new, higher valuation figure.

The best available product is 0.69% per month for the bridging finance and then 4.7% plus Libor for the Buy to Let term facility.

 

Continue reading Switch to a BuytoLet mortgage within six months of purchase


Lending Criteria to Consider when Purchasing a Buy to Let Flat Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Mortgage News, Property News

I had a question concerning this from our reader Dan today, but many Buy to Let investors I talk to are unprepared when looking to purchase a flat about considering what lenders will take as suitable security. Banks often have a surprisingly vast array of criteria that needs to be considered when lending.

I have compiled a list of questions a lender will ask and factors to consider when purchasing a flat. Although fairly in depth, I would not consider this exhaustive as after 15 years I know it is still possible to run across circumstances not seen before. Continue reading Lending Criteria to Consider when Purchasing a Buy to Let Flat


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