Friday, June 1, 2012

Commercial Mortgages and Development Finance

There can be a lot of confusion surrounding Development Finance and what it implicates within the financial world. People tend to confuse Development Finance with Commercial mortgages, which is more than easily done as the two do tend to overlap one another. Development finance is where an individual or company/business is looking to develop property/properties and have some capital but need a short term loan to help complete the development. Depending upon the lender and the circumstance, such loans normally span between 12-24 months. Commercial Mortgages on the other hand, are usually only required once the development has been completed and additional funds are necessary. Hence, Development Finance and Commercial Mortgages do tend to overlap. Despite the "Credit Crunch", Development Finance is rapidly becoming more main-stream and is a very specific type of finance. Development finance is an extremely active market, with businesses wanting to expand for survival during the economic downturn. There are many high street lenders out there and therefore there is a wide variety of development finance specialists available to the consumer. It is recommended that you seek professional advice in order to find the right deal for you.

Typically in the UK, Development Finance is used for various development plans such as; Property Refurbishment, New Build Projects, Property Conversions and initial land purchase and international projects. Additionally, there are various types of Development Finance which undoubtedly adds to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the term. For example, a Senior Debt Loan usually covers the first 70% - 80% of loan to value although it can be arranged against gross development value. A Mezzanine Loan is a second charge loan on top of the senior debt loan, usually used to fund costs on one property while a developers financial resources are tied up elsewhere. Finally, Joint Venture 100% Finance contracts you with an experienced partner who underwrites the project and shares the profits upon completion.

Property development is about having a vision; it's about understanding the market and turning that vision into a reality. However, developers often have problems getting the finance right and knowing what products are available and which lenders to use can be confusing. The forms of development finance are dependent upon personal circumstance, for example whether you are a company wishing to expand, a home owner hoping to develop, or a home owner looking to start anew. Funding is also available through this method for community projects which aim to provide; economic development, affordable housing and community development financial services. Therefore, Development Finance is determined entirely upon an individual assessment made by the lender. Lenders will look specifically at aspects of the development proposal, such as; land purchase, ground work/services, footings/base, first fix/second fix and final snagging/sign off. In the difficult current market, lenders have to be more careful when choosing which developers to back; they are much more likely to support a developer with experience in the field than someone new to the industry.

Development Finance lenders are there to build a relationship with the developer in order to share their vision and provide the support needed to make that vision a reality. This type of loan is ideal for use against labour costs, professional costs (for example, architect drawings) and other building costs. Property development loans will be secured against the land or the property you wish to develop. Newer forms of Development Finance funds are available either for debt, mezzanines or equity in combination with primary lending sources. More traditional forms, like with Commercial Mortgages, normally require a deposit of at least 20-30%.

Loan to Value rates and interest rates vary depending upon experience and percentage of funds required for development. However, there are various client benefits to Development Finance; it can be raised quickly and each case is assessed on its own individual merit. Furthermore, the development lender will be on hand to support the client with advice on their development throughout the process and the same person, who authorises the funds, will work with the client to manage throughout the Development Programme. So, whether you intend to use your finished project as an investment or whether it's used to help your business grow, Development finance is a fully supportive and flexible form of financial assistance to help you make that vision a reality.

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