What Makes The House Crowd Different?

What Makes The House Crowd Different?

Property crowdfunding is a fast growing industry within the investment and savings sector. Inspired by our model and our success as the first property crowdfunding platform in the world, many imitators have emerged to challenge the crown.

Yet, despite the increasingly competitive industry, we continue to be the best crowdfunding platform of all (officially!) So what’s the secret to our success?

Most people will tell you that the way to differentiate yourself within your market is simply to be different. But any old idiot can be different – you’ve got to back up your uniqueness with solid foundations.

We stand out from the crowd because we are expert at what we do and we do it with complete transparency. Investors appreciate the low minimum invest level, investment security is high, and the opportunities for diversification within the asset class are excellent.

Besides all that, we still have to provide a compelling reason for people to get behind us. And that is precisely what The House Crowd has done.

The First And Still The Best

We have always defined ourselves as original thought-leaders. Because we were the first property crowdfunding platform, it goes without saying that we know a good deal of everything there is to know about the industry – after all, we invented it. But, moreover, we are at the forefront when it comes to anticipating, identifying, and reacting to changing circumstances to ensure we meet investors’ needs.

Frazer: The Face of The House Crowd

Besides our obvious expertise, there is also a recognisable face at the forefront of The House Crowd as a brand. That face, of course, is Frazer. It is Frazer’s vision that gave birth to the property crowdfunding model, and his story is one that is as human as it is inspirational.

From his Manchester rave culture adolescence, to his career as a music lawyer, through to a range of entrepreneurial projects, and the eventual dawning of property crowdfunding, Frazer has lived a varied and vibrant life.

The hard work, skills, and knowledge it took him to get The House Crowd off the ground, legally permissible, and into the public eye are a testament to the power of labour and perseverance. To know that there is a man who has a lifelong passion for entrepreneurial spirit is an appealing and assuring concept for people searching for the right hands into which to trust their investment.

Hard work and skills may have been what got The House Crowd off the ground, but part of Frazer’s continued popularity is his honest and sometimes forthright way of communicating. He is a character who has always questioned the status quo, famously leaving his glamorous career in law after being told that ‘love is not a word lawyers use’ by his boss. Never afraid to swim against the tide, it’s both Frazer’s boldness and his intuition for what works that breed confidence from others.

By equal measure, he owns up to his investment mistakes; he shares and clearly articulates how he endeavours not to make the same mistake again. These are rare qualities in most leaders.

Swimming Against The Tide

It is Frazer’s questioning of the status quo that has fed the originality of The House Crowd’s manifesto.

The company has always been about democratising property investment, opening the doors to people from all walks of life. Regardless of how much or how little somebody has to invest, our policy has always been the same: we treat everyone with the same openness, attention, and we care for their money as if it were our own.

Our honesty and transparency differentiate us from the faceless competition, who despite adopting our innovative model, still slump through the dark ages when it comes to their attitude to investors. To us, our investors are all equal, and are welcomed in as though we were a family (if that’s not too trite an analogy).

These are the reasons we are different, and the reasons why we continue to lead the way in the property crowdfunding space. As we continue to grow and evolve our model with the changing shape of property in this era of uncertainty, we are adamant that we will never let go of these factors which make us so unique and special. We hope you will join us on the journey.

Frazer’s Book Is The Number 1 Bestseller!

As you’re probably aware by now, Frazer has written another book called ‘The Alternative Guide To Property Investment’ which is all about how you can use crowdfunding to build your property portfolio and a better financial future for you and your family.

The book was available for pre-order yesterday, and he already managed to top the charts for real estate, personal finance and investing, making it a bestseller!

You can order the book off Amazon here

Here are some of the reviews so far…

“Frazer has written this book using common English words which are spoken by most people every day, which makes this book a joy to read. It is almost like a modern courtroom drama with the various points discussed, analysed, the evidence being carefully considered as the reader is guided through this book with short chapters, and a complete lack of waffle or flannel (if you prefer). I wished that Frazer had written this book 5 years earlier!”

John Miller (crowdfunding investor)

“An invaluable and enlightening insight for your financial future’’

Nigel Beverley (crowdfunding investor)

“This book shows how I can secure my family’s future through property investment, whilst avoiding the usual hurdles. It gives me peace of mind that crowdfunding platforms exist and, more importantly, that they are run by real property experts.”

Gareth Clements (crowdfunding investor)

“I‘m retired and always looking for the best way to boost my income each year. This guide is essential reading for anyone who wants to control their own investment decisions. Why didn’t someone tell me about this brilliant alternative form of investment before now.”

Paul Stallard (crowdfunding investor)

“Frazer’s book about property crowdfunding gives a fascinating outline of his history over a wide range of ‘job’ experiences which led to the creation of his crowd-sharing property business (I think its success must stem from him earning money from ‘magic’ shows in his early teens, coupled with the rigorous training of a law degree.)

As for the main part of the book, I read it with much interest (non-monetary!) – it was very thorough – and when I had finished it, I felt that I had no questions left to ask about property crowdfunding! It also reinforced my opinion that ‘I had done the right thing’ in putting some of my pennies into such a scheme!”

Dr. Philip Briggs (crowdfunding investor)

Residential v Commercial Property Investment

Residential v Commercial Property Investment

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6, ‘Residential versus Commercial Property Investment’, of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

We have discussed the residential property investment sector at some length, but commercial property can be an excellent addition to a healthy investment portfolio if you are looking for consistent, steady yields alongside a decent level of growth.

Commercial real estate has shown long-term positive performance, with combined annual returns averaging around 9% depending on the area and type of property.

The steady and predictable cash stream potentially afforded by rental income from commercial property translates to possible protection against volatility in financial markets.

Here are some reasons why investors may find commercial property attractive:

  • Historically strong returns – With an average annual return of about 9% over a 20-year period commercial real estate has performed well historically.
  • Rental income from stable commercial properties means a potential steady and predictable cash stream (translating into possible protection and diversification during financial market volatility).
  • Beneficial taxation – When structured properly, commercial property can offer investors a number of tax benefits.
  • A hedge against inflation – A potentially important factor for your portfolio, since property normally benefits from inflation.
  • Ability to leverage your capital – As with residential property you can obtain mortgages and potentially multiply your ROCE (return on capital employed).
  • Diversification – There is no direct correlation with the stock market and you can further diversify within the asset class itself.

These are some of the different types of commercial property into which you can invest and spread your risk:

  • Office property (either prime or secondary);
  • Industrial property: Warehouse and manufacturing units; heavy manufacturing; light assembly; ‘flex’ warehouses (mixed industrial/office space); and bulk warehouses, like distribution centres.;
  • Retail: Individual shops,takeaways, shopping centres, etc.;
  • Multi-unit apartment buildings/HMOs: Although providing homes, these are treated as commercial premises;
  • Self-storage: Self-contained units rented to tenants for storage of material items, usually on a monthly basis;
  • Hotels: Bed and breakfast, small boutique hotels or big-name establishments.

However, property investors when they start investing seem to prefer residential, perhaps understandably, as it falls more easily within their knowledge base and comfort zone.

The philosophical difference between residential and commercial is that when you invest in residential property, you are essentially transacting with individuals – it is a much more personal transaction especially as people will be living in your property and making it their home.


To read more about why to invest in property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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Capital Growth v Cash Flow

Capital Growth v Cash Flow

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5, ‘Capital Growth versus Cash Flow’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Capital growth is a very powerful concept. As Albert Einstein once said, compound capital growth is the eighth wonder of the world.

What compound growth means is that if an asset worth £100,000 increases in value by 10% a year it will only take eight years for that asset to be worth more than double its original value. In ten years it will be worth around £259,000. And that’s without leverage.

Imagine that you’re back in 1996. You have £16,000 to invest, but you’re not sure what to do with it. Your stockbroker tells you one thing, your financial adviser tells you another, and your bank manager – of course – reckons you should stick it in the bank for a rainy day.

Instead, you decide to use that £16,000 as a deposit on an £80,000 buy-to-let property in London (that was the average house price in London just 20 years ago).

Two decades on, the average London property is worth over £488,000.

That means, provided you covered your mortgage payments and costs with rental income, your £16,000 has turned into £408,000 profit. Now there may well have been various incidental costs to take into account but, I think it’s fair to say, you would still have done many times better than if you had put that money into a pension or kept it in the bank.

It’s not possible to make the benefits of property investment any clearer than that.

It is, in my opinion, far and away the best investment you can make. Imagine that property only did half as well as this over the next ten years. It would still be likely to produce several times the returns of any other asset class.

Because of the power of compound growth, many people think property is all about capital growth, and that aspect is certainly what helps make it an attractive investment. And the fact that you can leverage purchases and obtain, for example, an 80% LTV mortgage multiplies the rate at which your capital can grow at astonishing rates.

Nonetheless, many people have come unstuck by leveraging highly and speculating on capital growth. They have then found themselves in an unsustainable position having to subsidise mortgage payments as the rental income has not been sufficient to cover their financial outgoings on the property.

You may be able to support one property at £200 a month whilst you wait for it to increase in value, but how many more of those could you afford?

However, if all your properties at least ‘wash their face’ and produce a small profit from rental income, you can support as many of them as you can buy – and benefit from the capital growth in all of them.


To read more about why to invest in property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria

Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria

This is an excerpt from Chapter 4, ‘Establishing Your Own Investment Criteria’, of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

We held a dinner for our top-20 investors recently and I think it’s fair to say that just about everybody had different reasons for investing and slightly different criteria for choosing what to invest in.

Before investing any money, you need to consider what you want to achieve. Do you want to sit back and let your investment grow in value (e.g. stamps or wine or a pension fund, if you still think that’s a good idea) or do you want to generate an income (e.g. shares or property)?

Or perhaps a mix of the two?

Do you solely want to provide for your retirement and reinvest any income generated or do you need to earn an immediate income from your investments?

Are you prepared to risk all your capital on the same sort of investment or do you want to make some ultra-safe investments and speculate with a certain portion of your money on riskier but potentially more lucrative investments?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself as the answers will help formulate your own investment criteria. If you have decided that you want to invest some of your capital into property, then the two most significant decisions you need to make are whether you want the emphasis to be on capital growth or cash flow and whether you want to make commercial or residential property investments.


To read more about establishing your own investment criteria, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension

Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension

This is an excerpt from Chapter 3, ‘Why Property Is the Best Vehicle to Supplement Your Pension’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Research from Saga Investment Services (amongst various others that reached the same conclusions) has found that the UK’s over-50s population needs to double the number of pension contributions they are making, if they are to stand any chance of a decent income through their retirement.

The research found that the majority of those over-50s surveyed believed they’d need an average annual income of £15,200 to get them through their retirement (personally I cannot imagine trying to subsist on such an amount in my old age – especially given inflationary factors).

The people surveyed estimated that they could generate this from a pension pot of £143,830 on average. Their estimated figures fall shockingly short of reality.

A pension pot of this size would actually generate just £7,940 guaranteed income a year (for a healthy 65-year-old) for life. That’s nearly a 50% shortfall. Basically, they need double the size of their pension just to make ends meet.

To have a comfortable life, which respondents identified as being defined by holidays, dining out, socialising, and hobbies, it was calculated that they’d need at least £21,630 (clearly they are less profligate than me). That would require a pension pot of nearly £400,000 – double the respondents’ estimate of £194,000 (which would generate just £10,170 guaranteed income a year).

On their estimated required sum, their pension fund would be exhausted within 12 years.

Poor returns, excessive fees and inconsistent annuity rates: a pension sure ain’t what it used to be. It’s no surprise, then, that people are starting to look for alternative ways of generating money for their retirement. Research suggests that property investment is turning out to be twice as popular as any other form of investment with the over-50s.

The younger generation, too, is turning down traditional pension plans, focusing instead on property investments (and now crowdfunding as a means to access the asset class). As mentioned previously, the number of people choosing – or being forced – to rent, due to the difficulty of getting into the property market, or simply because it’s more convenient in many ways, is rising rapidly.

A pension also has the disadvantages of limited (and badly publicised) choice of annuity provider and the fact the money is inaccessible.

When it comes to cashing in, holders are often disappointed to find that they are unable to access their lump sum when they wish to without severe financial penalties. And despite recent changes, one can only access 25% of one’s pension pot without incurring punitive taxation.

Not only that, as far as I know, the benefits of a pension end when the holder dies. That means you could have saved £400,000 in your pension, purchased an annuity with that, at age 65, and receive £21,000 a year thereafter. But if you were to pass away within a few years your spouse and heirs would receive nothing. The pension company keeps everything.

Clearly, this is not the case if you buy a property, which can be inherited; though the Treasury will, no doubt, steal as much of it as they can. Did I say ‘steal’ – how outrageous, that I should accuse our esteemed government of ‘stealing’ money that has already had tax paid on it at least once before – in the form of income tax, stamp duty, tax on savings interest, dividend tax, etc.

I do apologise. Clearly, it’s perfectly fair for them to take whatever they feel like.

Whilst it is important to start saving for retirement as early in life as possible, the younger generations are waiting later and later before considering their retirement planning. This may be in part due to high living costs and stagnating real earnings amongst the young … or, perhaps, their preference for electronic gadgets, dining out, designer clothes and foreign holidays over prudent saving … Just saying!


To read more about supplementing your pension with property, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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How Much Diversification Is Sensible?

How Much Diversification Is Sensible?

This is an excerpt from Chapter Two, ‘How Much Diversification Is Sensible?’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, ‘The Alternative Guide To Property Investment‘. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that I go against traditional wisdom as I am not particularly convinced about diversification across different asset classes as one cannot possibly be knowledgeable about all of them and therefore must seek to rely on third-party advisers. If you have no time or inclination to look after your own money this is probably sage advice.

I accept that for most people there are good reasons to do so but, for me, I would point to the fact that one of the wealthiest people I have ever met invests all his money in property. But not just in any property, and not just in one particular area, but in one particular street (in central London). He won’t even consider buying properties on adjoining streets. As far as he is concerned, they are outside his area of expertise. Clearly, specialisation can have its advantages.

Therefore, I am not giving advice, just telling you what I personally think. The consensus of opinion about diversification may be generally sensible for most people but may not be right for everyone, especially for those who are experts in their field. That’s a matter for you to decide.

What I do think is sensible for most people is to diversify and spread your risk (within reason) so all your eggs are not in one basket.

And one reason I believe property crowdfunding is such a beneficial concept is that it allows you to spread whatever available capital you have over a number of different properties so, if a disaster befalls one, you don’t have all your money tied up in it and you still have others to fall back on.

Within the asset class ‘property’ itself, you could, if you wish, diversify your portfolio in a number of different ways. It could include traditional buy-to-let properties, new-build apartments, commercial investments, HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and ‘fixer-uppers’.

Secured lending and development finance are other options that fall within the property investment umbrella, as you lend out sums to property developers and business owners who own property they can use as security.

Diversification also means a selection of risk profiles. Of course, you should take into account your personal circumstances and lifestyle requirements, as well as your own attitude to risk. Typically, higher risk investments come with the prospect of higher rewards, whilst a safer investment may yield lesser gains.

Buy-to-let has been the most popular option for property investment. Private renting has almost doubled in the period from 2003 to 2015, and in Manchester, it has almost quadrupled, from 6% to 20%.

This means, in theory, that the buy-to-let sector should offer great potential for investment over the coming years. However, as we shall learn later, the traditional way of purchasing single buy-to-let properties may no longer be the best way to capitalise upon this growing market. In fact, it may not be feasible at all for most individuals anymore.

The commercial property market, too, can be a good option.

Investing in commercial real estate can mean:

  • positive leverage (potentially increasing ROI (return on investment);
  • tax benefits (proper structuring can offer an array of benefits tied to interest, depreciation and so on);
  • more control (personal ownership equals control);
  • a hedge against inflation (such property tends to benefit long term from inflation);
  • cash flow and current income (rental income from stable commercial real estate means a potentially steady and predictable income stream);
  • historically strong returns (average annual return: 9.5% sustained over a 20-year period).

You can find out more about commercial property and how it compares with residential property investment later in this book.


To read more about diversification, you can click below to register your interest in the book. Fill in your details, and once the book is released, we will send you more information.

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The House Crowd Wins Property Wire Awards 2017 Crowdfunding Platform of the Year

The House Crowd Wins Property Wire Awards 2017 Crowdfunding Platform of the Year

Following last week’s news that we had been nominated for the Crowdfunding Platform of the Year in the first annual Property Wire Awards 2017, we are delighted to announce that we won!

Our Property Wire Awards 2017 Win!

As the first property crowdfunding platform in the world, offering diverse property investment products and increasing accessibility to the property investment space, the Global Property News service selected The House Crowd as the leading company in the property crowdfunding space.

We were presented with the award at the ceremony on Old Street, London, on Friday night, alongside many other industry leaders. We met a really interesting mix of people from the industry at large – some we knew already, and some new faces. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to find ourselves amongst such similarly forward-thinking property pioneers.

The awards were extremely competitive within each of the categories, which ranged from Best Buy to Let Mortgage Provider to Best Trade Association and many more in between. There was a real dominance of London-based companies up for nomination, so it was a real joy for us to promote the potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

Recognition For Our Work

This announcement comes just as we reach our fifth anniversary, and we are proud to be recognised as trailblazers in property crowdfunding at this point.

The award is also a great opportunity for us to share The House Crowd’s story to becoming the first in an industry now worth £700 million a year in the UK alone.

We have worked hard to provide an alternative means of investment for those who are increasingly finding themselves pushed out of the property market by legislative changes.

Over the last five years, we have evolved from buying £50,000 terraced houses to offering the large range of investment products we do now, from peer to peer-secured lending to property crowdfunding itself.

We are also introducing a specialist bridging finance service, along with the planned launch of HC Finance and HC Investments websites.

Frazer Fearnhead, our founder and CEO, said:

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved over the past five years, and Property Wire recognising us as the best is testament to the team’s hard work.

“Despite having to fight through reams of red tape to make it happen, property crowdfunding is already worth £700 million a year in the UK with numerous other platforms having followed in our footsteps.”

Our Investment Director, David Roberts, has also added:

“We are a follower of Property Wire as a great source of property news. It is a pleasure to be recognised by these industry leaders for the work we are doing in the property crowdfunding space”.

The Dire Housing Crisis Needs The Help of Property Crowdfunding

The Dire Housing Crisis Needs The Help of Property Crowdfunding

The housing crisis in the UK doesn’t just restrict our ability to provide the much-needed homes the country’s population needs. It’s also, according to Katja Hall, the Deputy Director-General of CBI, costing UK households £4bn a year.

Of this figure, £3.2bn is down to increased housing costs, and the remaining £770m is due to higher transport costs, as inability to live near work drives more people to commute expensive distances from work. This is, of course, exacerbated by soaring fuel prices and train fares.

Housing shortages are also pushing up market rent at a time when, for the majority of households, disposable income remains weak.  The high cost of moving home and lack of decent and affordable housing also deprives businesses of the flexible and mobile workforce necessary for them to grow and thrive. In short, people and businesses are paying the price for our lack of new homes.

We know that we need to double the number of new homes we provide every year to meet demand, and have been falling shockingly short for years.

House Builders’ Hands Are Tied

Combined with difficulty accessing available land for building on, despite only 10% of the UK’s land being developed, access to finance continues to pose a major barrier for small and medium sized house builders, further exacerbating the housing crisis. The government needs to focus its spending on capital investment in housing stock, but house builders also need access to alternative forms of finance in order to make a dent in the provision of new housing.

Secured peer-to-peer lending to house builders offers a marked solution to the problem. Provided house builders can secure planning permission, access to finance through the property crowdfunding industry has the potential to keep house builders afloat, whilst simultaneously assisting with the provision of these desperately needed new homes.

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Property Developers Need Finance

Along with the problem of providing new builds, there are also an estimated 650,000 empty properties in the UK, over 200,000 of which have been left empty for over six months. Whilst house builders take care of the situation of building new accommodation altogether, there is also much scope for developers.

Many of the empty homes in the UK require significant renovation, and one of the barriers for developers who would do so is the un-mortgageability of these properties. Properties come up for sale by auction all the time, but without ready access to funding, there is no way for most people to take up the investment.

Bridging finance, again offered within the property crowdfunding model, can tide investors over so that they may make those time-sensitive investments. Peer-to-peer funding for renovation work also opens the doors to small and medium-sized property developers to work their magic and provide modern, high-quality homes.

Equally, straight-up crowdfunded investment projects do the same job of bringing high-quality housing to market.

The Government’s See-Saw Success

Government investment in build-to-rent is promising, with a £45m cash injection for 2,000 new homes in the North being announced late in 2016. However, optimistic news back in October of government promises for 225,000 new homes by 2020 was shadowed by the mention that only 15,000 of these would be ready for habitation by then.

Realising their inability to cope with the housing crisis themselves, the government has recognised the solution that the property crowdfunding industry is offering to the crisis, and has provided significant investment in the model.

We are confident that the property crowdfunding industry will be instrumental in helping to alleviate at least some of the problems with UK housing stock, whilst also offering an alternative investment option for those seeking to invest in the property market themselves.

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Baby Doomers: A Bleak Retirement Outlook For The Over 55s

Baby Doomers: A Bleak Retirement Outlook For The Over 55s

The House Crowd has conducted a survey of the over 55 age group to ascertain their plans for retirement. The results make for decidedly depressing reading.

Baby Doomers

Those nearing the end of their working years reported a pessimistic outlook for their retirement. 78% of those surveyed said that they are financially unprepared for their retirement, with over a quarter saying that they think it’s too late to change plans and save more.

Just 16% of respondents were confident that their lifestyle will improve once they retire, whilst 37% expected their lives to be worse. The financially secure retirement that we all hope for was considered no longer possible for a full 41%.

State Pension Shocker

Shockingly, it seems that a significant proportion of over 55s will be reliant on their state pension to support them through their later years.

Over half of respondents do not have a personal pension and have no plans to put one in place. Over a quarter have no workplace pension, and – once again – no plans to put one in place.

Once retired, respondents said they’d like £18,235 to live off, but expected just £14,180.

And who’s to blame? 20%, on average, blame the government.

Well, 23% of women do, anyway. Only 18% of men thought the government was at fault for their retirement woes.

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that fewer women reported being financially prepared for retirement than men. Just 17% of women thought they were on track, compared with 28% of men. Regardless of gender, the results are far lower than anybody would hope.

A Silver Lining

It all looks pretty dismal, but there could be a solution. Frazer had this to say after seeing the survey results:

“These results paint a miserable picture for our Baby Doomers – but it’s not too late for people approaching retirement to improve their situation. By exploring newer investment options, like property crowdfunding, over 55s can benefit from solid rates of return to help make retirement more comfortable.”

The property crowdfunding industry has been around since 2012, and is now worth billions worldwide. Though, as with any investment, there are risks to capital, the potential returns of this method of property investment could mean the difference between a rotten or a relaxing retirement.

Find out more about property crowdfunding as a potential investment choice for your retirement by registering on our site using the purple button below. Alternatively, click the blue button to see our current range of property investment options:

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