Financing a new development or major refurbishment works

Property development loans are a form of short term financing available for those who are looking to take on a development project: whether that’s building a new development or conducting major refurbishment works.

This form of financing is not for minor renovations to a property or for purchasing land or a new property over a long term but is specific to those involved in the purchase of land or property with the sole purpose of developing the site. If you’re looking for a way to finance any other property-related investment, there are other types of loans or mortgages which might be appropriate.

What you need to apply for a property development loan

Most loans of this nature will be taken out for a period of between 6 - 24 months. Due to the short life of this loan, the finance available will be based upon the feasibility and prospective profit of the project.

Generally, lenders will want to see that the borrower has a good track record and experience in the sort of work they intend to carry out before they will offer the developer finance to complete the project.

That said, even developers with little or no experience can still apply for this type of finance but may need to demonstrate additional security for the lender such as employing professionals, including architects, project managers and professional builders to name but a few, to assist with the job and to reassure the lender that the project is in safe hands. You will also need to demonstrate that you have adequate funds yourself to contribute to the project if required.

You will likely be asked to provide evidence before you can be approved for developer finance, this evidence can include:

  • The purchase price of the property, including any stamp duty, legal fees, etc.
  • The total expected cost of the build or renovation including a full breakdown of the costs likely to be incurred through the duration of the project.
  • The end value you’re expecting from the project (also known as the GDV: Gross Development Value) and the potential yield of the project (for example if you’re building a block of flats to rent out, what will you expect the rental income to be?)
  • A contingency plan in case anything goes wrong during the project.
  • Drawings or plans of the project and details of what you’re hoping to achieve during the development.
  • A timescale in which you expect the work to be completed. This should include any potential delays or contingency plans to be put into place and different stages of work which will be completed.
  • Details of any relevant experience you have and the qualifications of your team including their full details.
  • Evidence that planning permission has been granted for the project and that any building regulations are being adhered to. This should also include any restrictions, Section 106 requirements or Community Infrastructure Levy restrictions.
  • Details on your exit strategy (such as a sale of the property or refinance plans) in case any problems arise during the lifespan of the loan.
Working with a professional mortgage broker such as The Mortgage Hut can assist you in this process in a number of ways. Our team can commence with relevant questions (“fact finding”) about the property and project in order to ascertain what will be required by a lender to maximise your chances of approval for a loan. We can also help you navigate the market to find the best finance deals.

What can you get towards your property development?

The size and scope of the project will greatly influence the funding you’re able to obtain for your development, so it’s essential to have all the information mentioned above before applying. This enables the lender to get a clear idea as to what you’re proposing in order to ensure they can offer terms appropriate to the job.

In general terms, lenders will usually offer development finance options between 70 - 80% of the cost of the project, including the purchase price of the land and construction funds.

This leaves the developer needing to find 20 - 30% of the financing themselves, although security can be offered if multiple properties are owned in the same way a commercial mortgage can be secured against a residential property in lieu of cash if required.

These terms can be modified if the purchase of the land hasn’t taken place yet.

For example, a lender may offer to finance 70% of the purchase price for the plot of land and 100% of the building costs subject to a maximum Loan to GDV between 65-80% depending on lender and the size of the development.

How does repayment work?

When it comes to repaying development loans, these are usually offered on an interest-only basis. The interest is rolled up into the loan and the full amount is payable on exit. “Exit” of a development loan usually occurs when the property is sold and the loan, plus interest and any fees, is repaid to the lender. This differs to a standard mortgage wherein a monthly payment is required. As such, development loans can be beneficial for those undertaking development projects which might not offer profit until sale.

Clearly, lenders will only offer a development finance option if they are confident that the project will generate sufficient profit and interim income. They also need to believe in the feasibility of the project: a lender won’t offer funding if they’re not confident they will get it back!

Other types of development finance:

Although you might have a clear plan in your head as to what project you want to finance, a property development loan might not necessarily be the right type of finance for you. If you’re uncertain as to what type of finance is best for your next project, why not contact our expert team for a no-obligation consultation. We can talk you through the different financing options available plus any rates or deals you might reasonably expect. You don’t need to have the plot before contacting us, get ahead of the game and ensure you’re ready to get the right finance in place for your next project.

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