An Introduction to Investing Through Property Crowdfunding

An Introduction to Investing Through Property Crowdfunding

Traditionally, only those with access to large amounts of capital have been able to invest in the lucrative world of property. Managing a portfolio is normally time-consuming, business, which becomes increasingly more burdensome as the investor’s portfolio becomes larger.

However, in the last few years, a new method of property investment has emerged which has effectively democratised the entire investment process, allowing more people than ever to benefit from the financial gains that property investment can offer.

Property crowdfunding sprung onto the scene in 2012, and is now worth billions of dollars a year worldwide. The value of the industry currently doubles every two months, and is set to be worth $250bn by 2020.

The growth of the property crowdfunding industry has been catalysed, in part, by the relaxation of regulations over the last few years. The Government has identified the industry as being hugely beneficial to the economy, and has also begun investing in crowdfunding itself. Institutional investment is also coming into play at an increasing rate, and high net worth investors, attracted by the simplicity of the process, and the returns available, are also investing through property crowdfunding.

But why is investing in property crowdfunding proving so popular?

Offering the chance to build a diverse portfolio without all the legwork involved in traditional property investment models, and with the opportunity for significant gains, it’s no surprise that investing in property crowdfunding has grown exponentially in the last few years.

What’s more, as interest rates on savings continue to crawl along the seabed, and returns from both rental and sales continue to rise, more and more people are waking up to crowdfunding as a simple way to grow their money.

How Does It Work?

Property crowdfunding encompasses both equity investments and debt based investment (also known as peer to peer secured lending).

The concept itself is relatively simple.

Equity investments involve a group of people pooling their cash to buy a property as shareholders through a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV). The SPV is a limited company, set up solely for the purchase of that property. The SPV handles all the work, fees and maintenance of the property, whilst the shareholders receive their proportion of the rental yields, and/or share of capital gains when the property is sold.

People can invest even very small sums in buying shares in the property. On some platforms, this is as low as £50, but the average is between £500 and £1000 as a minimum. You can (and should) spread your investment sum over a number of different properties across the crowdfunding platform, to mitigate risk.

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Getting started is a very quick and easy process. You simply register on your chosen website – it is an FCA requirement that only registered and accredited investors may participate, and, once registered, you simply select the properties you wish to invest in.

Debt based investments again involve pooling resources, in this instance, to make micro loans through the platform to a third party borrower. The loan as a whole is secured against the borrower’s property and the platform appoints an agent to act on behalf of lenders and take any necessary enforcement action. These types of investment are usually short term (up to 12 months, and pay a fixed rate of interest with no capital growth).

Where Did It Start?

The House Crowd is the longest-established property crowdfunding platform. It began trading in 2012 and offers both debt and equity investments. Since then, other companies have followed in their footsteps, such as Property Moose in 2013, and Property Partner and Crowdlords in 2014. The industry continues to expand, with several new platforms emerging each year.

Is It Regulated?

Property crowdfunding firms are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which ensures that platforms are managed properly, and that risks are made completely clear to investors. As with any investment, there is risk to capital – but it’s worth comparing this risk against other investment classes, and seeing how property crowdfunding stacks up.

Before investing through property crowdfunding platforms, it is very important to do your research. Every regulated platform should have the FCA authorisation number clearly visible on their website. If you can’t find these details, it’s probably best to steer clear: without this regulation they are operating illegally.

Is It The Right Choice For Me?

As with any investment, you need to take into account your personal circumstances to establish whether it is the right one for you.

You can find out more about establishing whether property crowdfunding is the right investment for you here.

Ask yourself what you wish to achieve. Investors with a lot of professional experience and access to bank funding, may find the model less appealing than those who novice.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have a deposit available, or aren’t able to get a mortgage, then investing through property crowdfunding could be an ideal way for you to access this asset class. And, given the government’s recent attacks on landlords, which has severely undermined the profitability and viability of buy-to-let investing for individual investors, it may well be that crowdfunding remains the only sensible option available for most.

Risk

The same principles that apply to other forms of property investment also apply to crowdfunding. You should be aware that capital growth profits are speculative, and investing in properties that produce a healthy cash flow is key for minimising risk.

One of the major risks associated with cash flow positive properties is that of damage or non-payment of rent. As such, you should always factor this in as an eventuality that may affect your yields. As mentioned above, however, if you have a well-diversified portfolio, with your capital spread over several properties, any losses due to one bad tenant will be more bearable than if you had all your eggs in one basket.

View our Property Investments

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your risk tolerance. You do lose a large amount of leverage by investing through property crowdfunding, and you will only benefit proportionately from the property’s capital growth but, at the same time, having no borrowing means significantly less risk as there are no mortgage payments and no danger of the property being repossessed (as shareholders own it outright).

If making crowdfunded debt-based investment, (aka peer to peer lending) you need to know what would happen if the borrower defaults and does not repay the loan. You should ask questions about how your investment would be protected, what happens in the event of a default – how easy is it to take control of the secured property? – and how much equity is available to enable you to recover your money should the worst happen. Unless there is sufficient equity in the property, you could risk losing some or all of your money.

You should ask questions about how your investment would be protected, what happens in the event of a default – how easy is it to take control of the secured property? – and how much equity is available to enable you to recover your money should the worst happen. Unless there is sufficient equity in the property, you could risk losing some or all of your money.

If you opt for debt-based investments, your investment will be secured by a legal charge. A critical matter to consider is at what LTV the loan is made. If, for example, a loan is made at ‘75% LTV’, it means that you will be at risk of losing some of your capital if the borrower defaults, the property has to be seized, and is sold for less than 75% of its current valuation.

Debt investments are generally considered to be lower risk than equity investments, as lenders are always paid out before shareholders, however, you do not get the potential upside of capital growth.

What About If I Want Out of My Investment?

If you need a liquid asset, then property is not the best choice.

Investing through property crowdfunding facilitates liquidity to some degree as it may be easier to sell shares in a property than the whole property. However, there is never any guarantee that you will be able to find a buyer, and, fi you cannot do so, you will have to wait until the property is sold.

Some platforms will help you to find a buyer after the expiry of a minimum term, but you should check the small print before you invest. If you’re looking for a short term investment, P2P secured lending may be the better option.

To Conclude

We hope that this has offered you some valuable insight into getting started investing through property crowdfunding. Of course, you should know everything about the ins and outs of any investment before you part with your money, and we are fully committed to helping you know all you need to.

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If you have any questions, you can always get in touch with us and we will be very happy to fill you in.

Property Crowdfunding: Is It The Right Investment For Me?

Property Crowdfunding: Is It The Right Investment For Me?

Property crowdfunding is becoming an ever-more popular way for people to invest in property, often with significantly less money than investing the traditional way. However, before you jump in, it’s a good idea to assess whether this is the right investment choice for you and your circumstances.

You can view our current property investment options here.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

The first question to ask yourself when considering property crowdfunding is what you wish to achieve from your investment.

If you are looking for an investment that requires less ongoing attention than owning a property for either development or rental, or you personally have more faith in the property market than the stock market, then it could be right for you. Nonetheless, plenty of investors in property welcome the sense of control that owning a property outright brings.

Though there is more additional financial outlay involved in the purchase and maintenance of a property owned this way, some people would rather be involved in all aspects of their investment than leave it to another party.

You can find out more by registering here.

What Experience in Property Investment Do You Have?

This follows on to the second question you need to ask. How experienced are you as a property investor?

If you’ve been a full-time, outright property investor for some time, and have access to the bank funding required to own and develop a property yourself, then property crowdfunding may be less appealing.

For those who know how the market works, and perhaps already have all the necessary contacts they need for the properties they invest in, benefitting from more of the profits (after paying off loans), as opposed to their share percentage, may be a more attractive investment option.

If none of this applies to you, then take a look at your circumstances.

What Are Your Circumstances?

For novice or less experienced investors, or those who have less access to bank funding, then property crowdfunding can offer an opportunity to invest in property that is unavailable through other means. For those who are interested in the prospect of weathering the risks of property investment, rather than earning scarcely any interest on their savings accounts, again, property crowdfunding may offer an alternative path.

Whenever you consider an investment, whichever form this may take, you need to ensure that you are covered in the event that the investment takes a turn for the worst. You should only ever invest what you can afford, so make sure your calculations are correct, and you won’t cause yourself financial harm if, for any reason, the value of your investment falls.

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To Conclude

As a final note, if you decide to invest in property crowdfunding, there is further investigation to be undertaken. You will need to choose the right crowdfunding platform. It is very important to do your research, and to only settle on the platform that meets all your needs and requirements. Make sure they are regulated by the FCA, that they have a good reputation, and that their customer service and complaints procedures meet your standards.

View our Property Investments

Entrusting your money with any investment vehicle is a decision that should never be made lightly. Ensuring that you are confident with all aspects of the investment is crucial, including the issue of risk. Property crowdfunding is no different to most other investment types, in that there is always a risk of loss. Knowing everything you can, and choosing the right investment for you, is the key to investing happily, smartly, and – hopefully – profitably.

 

Crowd Funded Property Investment: 10 Reasons Why It Is Right For You

For the part-time landlord, those who have a property or two to rent out but don’t see it as their full-time job, these are worrying times.

This group, accounting for roughly 70% of all landlords, faces a squeeze on profits and a ramping up of admin.

And with house prices rising and competition for quality properties high, just finding an investment opportunity within budget is a challenge in itself.

But out of difficult times spring new opportunities.

Crowd funded property investment is an increasingly popular choice. Here’s why it might be right for you

Continue reading “Crowd Funded Property Investment: 10 Reasons Why It Is Right For You”

The House Crowd shortlisted at National Business Awards 2014

National Business Awards logo

We are proud to announce The House Crowd is one of just 10 companies across the UK that has caught the attention of judges and has been shortlisted in the New Business of the Year Award category for the highly prestigious National Business Awards 2014!

It is recognition of us democratising the property market through crowdfunding – revolutionising how would-be investors, particularly those with smaller budgets can invest.

Judges were impressed with our disruptive and pioneering spirit, opening up a much-loved but notoriously difficult-to-enter market. The House Crowd’s strong customer service and general impact on the North West property market was also noted.

Our MD, Frazer Fearnhead said: As a start-up with big ambitions, it’s fantastic to be recognised on a national level. The House Crowd is part of a whole internet revolution that is giving power back to the people and creating a global community that can interact with each other, cut out big institutions and join forces for the common good. 67 % of our investors felt cut of from property investment before they found The House Crowd.

On a regional level, we are helping some of Greater Manchester’s “forgotten” communities to re-establish themselves. Breathing new life into old properties can have a dramatic effect on local communities as a whole, bringing in new people and ideas, and helping to create a new sense of pride in an area.

On a global level, we are trailblazers – creating a unique, innovative and ground-breaking concept, now emulated in several different countries.

The House Crowd has succeeded in injecting people power in to the once elitist UK property market and in turn, has brought property to the general population.

The winner will be revealed at the National Business Awards gala dinner held on 11 November in London.  Fingers crossed.

More VCs announce their investments in crowdfunding platforms

Crowdfunding for property is becoming the largest industry in terms of committed capital, according to an article on Crowdsourcing.org.

In the US, a recent investment by Canaan Partners of a whopping $9 million to Realty Mogul illustrates this clearly. Hrach Simonian who is a principal at Canaan and sits on Realty Mogul’s board told what he see are the key things VC’s see when making property investments via crowdfunding:

  • Technology is part of the solution, but it’s not the whole solution. You need to attract both sides of the marketplace, the sponsors… and the investors.
  • Is the market that a startup is in big enough, and is the timing right?

 

Simonian acknowledged that the real estate market is worth around $11 trillion and that niche crowdfunding platforms (which is what we believe The House Crowd is) are more advantageous over general ones, and with so many VC’s making investments in property via crowdfunding, it’s great news for the industry across the world.

FSA gives green light to online crowdfunding platform

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has for the first time approved a crowdfunding website facilitating direct investment in small businesses. It means investors using the website, Crowdcube, will now be able to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and access the Financial Ombudsman Service if they have a complaint.

The opinion here at The House Crowd is that it’s good to see a regulator starting to approve dynamic forms of financing like crowdfunding. As demonstrated by our unique business model, crowdfunding can provide great returns for all, in a safe, transparent way.

Currently, as The House Crowd doesn’t fall under the definition of either a CIS (Collective Investment Schemes) or OEIC (Open Ended Investment Companies), we do not require the FSA’s authorisation to operate.  However, even though we are not FSA regulated, we do everything we can to ensure that all our dealings are as transparent as possible and that investors are made fully aware of the risks as well as the rewards in any investment. We also ensure your money is protected as far as possible – you never pay money directly to us, all investment monies are paid to a solicitor’s client account and held there until the property is purchased and your shares are issued.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

Kickstarter kicks off in the UK

Earlier in the year, we blogged about the creative project funding platform, Kickstarter, announcing plans to launch UK operations in Q4 of 2012. Now, we’re delighted to report Kickstarter has kept to its word, launched successfully on our shores and begun offering our savvy entrepreneurs, artists and other creative groups a platform on which to pitch for much-needed investment via crowdfunding.

The success of Kickstarter across the pond cannot be underestimated – since its launch on April 28, 2009, over 350,000,000USD has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 300,000 bright ideas.

In our opinion, the arrival of Kickstarter on our shores should be welcomed with open arms. It has the potential to coax the very best of our budding entrepreneurs out of the woodwork and provide a necessary shake-up of common perceptions about the importance of crowdfunding, to our already shell-shocked economy. Furthermore, Kickstarter allows everyday people with great ideas, who are perhaps lacking the self-assurance to commit wholly to their creative idea, to essentially “ask the crowd” to gauge the value of their start-up business or creative visions, and hopefully, obtain that all-important vote of confidence.

Now, more than ever, we need to look to fair and transparent methods of investing together to help give a much needed jumpstart to our stalled economy, where investment funds are becoming as hard to find as a credible political party. Here at The House Crowd, we’re confident Kickstarter is an ideal platform from which to do this.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

Crowdfunding hits Dubai as the worldwide phenomenon continues to spread

An article in Arabian Business on Sunday , had us enthralled as we read of further international growth of crowdfunding.  Click here to read the article.

According to the report, in the last month alone, two Dubai-based crowdfunding firms, Eureeca and Aflamnah, have launched. In the week following its launch, Eureeca received more than 65 enquiries from companies seeking investment and as many from investors looking to fund. So, what might this mean for the crowdfunding world? We’re think it’s safe to say that this is yet another example of the influence crowdfunding is having on a global scale.

Indeed, research firm Massolution forecasts that crowdfunding will raise $2bn worldwide this year, up from just $530m in 2009. In addition, it also expects the amount of crowdfunding platforms to increase to 530 by the end of the year, up from 452 in April.

As always, there are critics for the crowdfunding approach to raising capital but statistics rarely lie, and the figures being produced and the results being achieved internationally by crowdfunding is enough to convince us (why else would we have set up our own property investment company based on this model?).

Of course, the proof is in the pudding and as our first project heads towards its final phase, we will be reporting back on our own results and what was achieved by the sale of the UK’s first crowdfunded property purchase.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/)

Could this be the largest crowdfunded charity project in the world?

News is filtering through to The House Crowd HQ that a new viral philanthropy project, named ‘7 Million Acts of Love’, is aiming to become the world’s largest crowdfunded charity project. Every day we are hearing of exciting new initiatives which are utilising the crowdfunding model, and this one in particular excites us.

The brains behind the idea is Max Sidorov, the man who is probably best known for the IndieGoGo campaign he began that raised over £600,000 for a bullied bus monitor in America. Sidorov is aiming to create “the largest crowdfunded charity project in the world”, with a goal of raising $7million to support social good causes, with a particular focus on bullying initiatives.

Any example of crowdfunding in action is positive, however, we think this is a particularly fantastic idea as it really demonstrates how the concept can be used to make a difference within our communities and and also further social causes – so well done to Max!

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/)