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.

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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.

Traditional Property Investment versus Property Crowdfunding

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 ease of management.

Whilst those who favour traditional property investment value the sense of control associated with full ownership of a property, along with the costs and time involved in maintaining their investment, others simply do not have the time, nor the resources, to keep up with the demands of a property.

There are also additional financial implications to consider, and we will go into these in this article.

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Responsibility

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.

Find out more by registering here.

Furthermore, the due diligence, prequalification and vetting of an investment property are all handled by the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), the company behind the purchase 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 is a lucrative and engaging 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, which is not something that all those wishing to invest in property have to hand.

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. However, they may also benefit from factoring in potential mortgage rate rises.

Find out more about our current property investment options.

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.

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 will 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 resides within your hands. Property crowdfunding, on the other hand, requires a majority vote from all shareholders if you wish to sell before the end of the investment term.

View our Property Investments

To Conclude

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 you have placed your money. At the end of the day, however, whichever path to property investment you choose, there is potential for great returns.

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”

What Tax Benefits Are Available From Investing In Property?

Recent announcements relating to changes in Stamp Duty and how tax is calculated on rental properties have been anything but encouraging for landlords and anyone thinking of investing in property.

However, what tax breaks exist for property owners. Continue reading “What Tax Benefits Are Available From Investing In Property?”

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.

Affordable UK property investment despite rising house prices?

House prices are racing ahead once more, and not just in London as recent – figures show increases are now spreading across the country.

The latest reports from Halifax and Nationwide put annual house price inflation at 8.7% and 9.5%, RICS has said as shortage in supply of quality homes for sale is pushing prices up making it even harder to access UK property investment.

RICs forecasts the average UK house price will rise by 6% a year for the next 5 years, increasing by a total of 35% by 2020.

If you are looking for to get your foot on the housing ladder and take advantage of the market, prior to the further rise in houses prices but haven’t got the money for a large deposit then don’t miss out.

With the power of crowd funding, you can invest through The House Crowd with just £1000, click here to find out how.

UK property crowd funding future looks bright

As the UK economy recovers, interest in property development is also recuperating. Thankfully however, the opportunities are now open to all with the concept of property crowd funding becoming increasingly popular in the UK, started by The House Crowd in 2012.

It is flattering for us that there are now around 5 property crowd funding websites dealing with buy-to-let residential property, each offering a slightly different business model but based around the same concept that the crowd funding company acts as the central point between the owner, developer, landlord, letting agent and a number of individual investors wanting to buy property as part of the crowd.

The House Crowd, and some of the other UK online platforms are looking at commercial property for crowd funded investment, already being done in the US. Traditionally seen as more risky, obviously more expensive and therefore unattainable, crowd funding is making this accessible and offering higher returns.

A major reason for the rise in people following The House Crowd suit, is the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new regulatory rules on internet crowd funding which came into effect on 1 April 2014, in summary, ensuring that platforms must be fair and not misleading; risks should be highlighted; systems must be in place to separate the crowd’s money from the platform’s – all of which we do here at The House Crowd.

So, to be part of the bright future, why not invest with the first property crowd funding company – to find out how, click here.

Top Buy-to-Let Returns; Manchester does us proud!

Impressions aren’t everything. Investors are now beginning to look way beyond the wealthy, gold-plated streets of London and into more lucrative areas of the country.

The latest data on buy-to-let returns, from lender HSBC shows cities offering the greatest yields (rental income measured against property cost) include Southampton, Blackpool, Nottingham and Hull with many private landlords in these areas owning at least 1 in 4 properties.

Taking a moment of pride – Manchester falls into the top 5 cities offering the greatest yield with a return of 7.98%. That’s number TWO on the list!

So why are these cities more attractive to landlords you ask?

The answer; although London properties offer prosperous returns due to high rental income, the original investment near extinguishes the return. High house prices in the big city crush the yield and limit the return. Therefore, investments into the top yielding locations are much more appealing to landlords thanks to healthier returns and overall more durable investments.

So it certainly pays to do your research, and here at The House Crowd, we’ve done just that from our very first investment. Visit our Why Join? section for more information on the benefits of property investment with The House Crowd.

Information sourced from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/buy-to-let/10859896/The-towns-that-offer-the-best-buy-to-let-returns.html

May keeps up it’s bullish reputation

This spring season has seen a national property average price rise of 3.6%, nearly a whopping £10,000, pushing the national average up to a record high of £272,003, said to be caused by the combination of the Easter and May bank holidays causing a lull in the number of properties coming to market at a time of high demand.

Whilst demand for housing remains strong (up by nearly 20% for Rightmove enquiries so far for 2014), the supply of new properties just can’t keep up. Early 2014 appeared to be a tease, fondling with an increase in new sellers.

Annually, the rate of increase is now 8.9% (the highest rise since October 2007 when it stood at 10.4%), yet whilst the housing market momentum is recovering, London is still letting the team down. New seller asking price in the big streets of London is up by 16.3% compared to an average of 4.9% in the rest of small town England and Wales. Translation? 2014 asking prices are up by around £4,405 per week in London whilst the weekly average for the rest of us is £1,521.

Indeed, outside London and its commuter belt, demand may be better balanced with supply by the more stringent checks and affordability tests under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) that became mandatory less than a month ago. The main conclusion at present is that the delays in lenders’ processing systems are curtailing lending, with it being too early to comment whether mainstream buyer activity will have a significant drop-off from the new controls.

Where a major imbalance exists between supply and demand the long-term solution has to be to create more housing supply to meet any structural need rather than to artificially hold down demand. But with Spring over and the summer fast approaching, the lull in the market can only get better! This is where we come in! Here at The House Crowd, we believe Investors should “crowd” together, each providing a small amount of the money needed to purchase a suitable investment property at a good price,  typically an empty or run down property where we can add value through refurbishment. This in turn improves the supply of the housing market, creating fair value for money.

For full info on successful property investment click here; http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/property-investments/