Traditional Property Investment Versus Property Crowdfunding
Property crowdfunding and traditional property investment have some significant differences. The main difference is to be found in the nature of managing the investment.
Whilst those who favour traditional property investment value the sense of control associated with full ownership of a property, there are significant costs and time commitments involved in maintaining their investment, Property crowdfunding on the other hand is to a very large extent a passive investment with thord parties managing everything on your behalf. So if you do not have the time, nor the resources, to keep up with the demands of building a property portfolio it can be a very attractive option.
There are also additional financial implications to consider, and we will go into these in this article.
Property crowdfunding eliminates many of the responsibilities involved with traditional property investment. An investor wishing to create a properly diversified portfolio of properties will invest large sums on a smaller range of properties, and will be responsible for everything from biological disruptions (by infestation of plant or animal life), to managing tenants and weathering void periods on a rental property. With a crowdfunded property investment, none of these aspects apply, as they are taken care of by a third party.
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Furthermore, the due diligence, prequalification and vetting of an investment property are all handled by the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), the company behind the purchased property.
If, on the other hand, you have the skills and experience necessary to avoid mistakes and handle the investment on your own, then traditional property investment will probably be a lucrative way to grow your money. That being said, you will need substantially more money in the first place in order to make your first investment purchase.
Fees and Costs
There’s also the matter of fees. A traditional property investor will have to contend with solicitors’ fees, mortgage broker fees, loan arrangement fees, and surveyor charges, for example. With property crowdfunding, these fees are included within the overall cost required to sell the property, as listed on the crowdfunding platform’s website.
It’s also worth learning from the mistakes many property investors made ahead of the 2008 property crash. Many found that their mortgage lenders had allowed them to leverage at a rate that exceeded their affordability. The banks then revalued people’s assets, leading to a swathe of repossessions, subsequent catastrophic loss, and bankruptcies.
Checking the small print and getting legal advice when investing with the traditional property investment model is wise. Then again, none of this applies to property crowdfunding.
This is, of course, a worst-case scenario for traditional property investors. It is, nonetheless, one that still bears some weight. If mortgage rates rise, those who have invested with a mortgage may find themselves out of pocket. Buy-to-let investors should take the obvious step of making sure that their monthly rental income covers, at the very least, their mortgage repayments by at least 130% and should factor in potential mortgage rate rises.
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Buy-to-let landlords have also been hit by changes in Government legislation that have removed the ability for these landlords to deduct interest from profits from their tax liability, which can prove a further obstacle to ensuring the profitability of their investment. Again, there are no such risks with property crowdfunding, which usually buys properties for cash with no or minimal borrowing.
Challenges and Rewards
Whilst there are challenges involved with investing in property in the traditional manner, there are also a great many rewards. First of all, rather than earning a percentage of returns based on your initial investment sum (as with crowdfunding), once all outgoings (such as loans and legal fees, for example) have been taken into account, an outright property investor could earn a potentially much higher return.
There is, however, a downside to this. Where a traditional investor leverages a lot of cash, the risks to the investment are increased dramatically. Should the investment value fall, they could stand to lose a very significant amount. Whilst risk is, of course, not negated with property crowdfunding, no mortgage is necessary.
Selling Your Investment
Another benefit of traditional property investment is the control over when to sell the investment. If you are able to sell at a profit, and as quickly as you require, then the power is in your hands. Property crowdfunding, on the other hand, usually requires a majority vote from all shareholders if you wish to sell before the end of the investment term.
Property investment, whether traditional or crowdfunded, has long been a profitable investment choice. Whilst both forms of investment carry risk, there are significant pros and cons on both sides, which potential investors need to factor into their investment decision.
Weighing up which type of property investment is right for your particular needs is key to ensuring that you are confident in where to place your money. At the end of the day, however, whichever path to property investment you choose, there is potential for great returns.