Are you looking to complete your first developer project?
If you are seeking development finance for your first project, you may have already experienced that some lenders will be reluctant to lend due to your lack of experience – even if you have a solid trade expertise background.
That’s where we can help. We have nurtured valuable working relationships with a string of family offices, specialist funds and private lenders with an appetite to fund first-time new-build developments, residential and commercial refurbishments and property conversions.
We are able to prepare and guide you through a development appraisal with you and present your prospective developments in the best possible light to targeted lenders, highlighting profit margins and demonstrating client expertise with confidence and clarity.
Up to 75% Gross Development Value (LTGDV)
Up to 100% Loan to Cost (LTC)
No Minimum Term
No Geographical Restrictions
Why do many lenders not lend to new and inexperienced developers
A developer who can get in on the ground floor of a great project will be able to make a big profit even if they don’t have a long track record of success. However, many lenders are nervous about providing finances for borrowers who are just starting out in the industry.
As always with lenders, the problem is one of risk.
Lenders do not like risks - especially the risk that they will not be repaid. They will look very carefully at any project they are asked to fund with development finance and get an expert in the sector to assess the proposal and the property - and the developer.
Obviously, the refurbishment of a tired semi in a desirable road presents less risk than the conversion of an industrial unit into flats, or the demolition of a derelict warehouse and replacing it with townhouses.
In the same way, a developer with thirty years of successful projects completed means much less risk than someone who is attempting their first project.
Not only will they set the interest rate they charge to reflect the risk, but they will also refuse to lend at all if the risk is too high. They see an inexperienced developer as having more chance of running into problems with a project.
Getting approved for a loan as a first time developer
Development finance lenders will always assess each applicant’s project on its own merits, and will closely examine all aspects of a deal before making a decision.
There is no set of checkboxes to be ticked, but the developer needs to be able to show that they have a clear, realistic plan for their development.
Detailed costing and a detailed understanding of the market you are working towards are paramount. Lenders will seize on any vagueness in figures - and they will not be impressed if your proposal does not suit the marketplace. Luxury flats in a run-down area of high unemployment may be easy to create, but very difficult to sell.
Lenders will want to see that you truly understand the costs involved in your development and that you can be expected to keep good cost control throughout the project.
One of the biggest problems for inexperienced developers is overoptimism. They commonly underestimate the overall costs and rarely include sufficient contingencies - which an experienced developer will know will almost always be needed.
The most professional way to provide this information is with a schedule of works. This will require a detailed breakdown of the work and costs involved in the project, together with projected timings.
The lender's valuer will assess whether the intended budget is realistic and if the time scale is achievable.
The more detailed and accurate your figures, the better.
They will also take a close look at you. You should have some experience of building projects, Experience in project management would be useful - and a relevant trade would be more useful still.
Your exit strategy
A key element in this proposal is the exit strategy that you will use to repay their loan, and the two most common ways of doing this are through a mortgage or through the sale of the property.
The feasibility of the developer’s exit strategy will be assessed by the lender as a crucial element in their lending criteria, because if it is not realistic they may not be able to repay the loan.