Lender & Product News

BTL tracker mortgage with flexibility built in.

Always good to see new products come out especially when they give our property investor clients flexibility.

It’s a two year tracker mortgage and within the two years you can:

– Sell the property
– Lock into a fixed rate with the lender

No early repayment charges on either option.

This will appeal to property investors and developers who are happy to tenant new developments, before selling as well as giving existing investors the ability to track, fix or even sell during the initial term.

Available from today as a limited-edition, two-year discounted tracker across buy-to-let and semi-commercial.

Available for:

  • HMOs (no maximum number of rooms)
  • MUFBs (no maximum number of units)
  • Short-term, holiday and Airbnb lets
  • Serviced accommodation
  • DSS, vulnerable tenants
  • Asylum Seeker
Bridging Finance for refurbishment of property

Pros and Cons of Bridging Finance when you Refurbish Property

Bridging finance is a short-term loan that can be used for a variety of purposes, including property refurbishment. It can provide quick access to funds for refurbishment projects, but it also comes with its own set of risks.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of using bridging finance for property refurbishment, as well as some tips on how to obtain it.

The Pros of Bridging Finance

One of the biggest benefits of bridging finance is speed as it can provide quick access to funds. This can be especially useful for property refurbishment projects, which have multiple property investors interested in the project.

Additionally, bridging finance offers more flexibility in terms of repayment options, which can make it easier to manage your cash flow during the project. Most lenders will allow you to pay the interest at the end, when the property has been sold or remortgaged.

Finally, it allows you to obtain finance on properties that are not mortgageable and allow you time to improve the quality and marketability of the property pending sale or remortgage.

The Cons of Bridging Finance

While bridging finance does have its advantages, it’s important to be aware of the potential downsides.

One of the biggest cons is that bridging finance often comes with higher interest rates than traditional loans.

Additionally, the repayment terms are often shorter, which can make it more challenging to pay off the loan in a timely manner.

Finally, there is always the risk of defaulting on the loan, which can lead to serious financial consequences.

How to Obtain Bridging Finance for Property Refurbishment

Obtaining bridging finance for property refurbishment can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five steps you can take to make the process as smooth as possible:

Step 1: Research different types of financing options.

Before you apply for a loan, take the time to research different types of financing options. This will help you understand the market.

Yes, you can talk direct to the lender but remember they will be bias and won’t necessarily tell you the points you need to watch out for which may trip you up during the project.

We are also bias as brokers in the sector when we say that you should talk to an experience bridging finance broker who knows which lenders to go to, but more importantly the ones to avoid.

This will help you understand the different terms, interest rates, and requirements required for each option, and determine which type of bridging loan best suits your needs.

Step 2: Determine the amount of financing required.

Knowing how much financing you need is crucial in order to apply for the right type of loan. Consider all the costs of the refurbishment project, including purchase costs, solicitors, materials, labour, and any other expenses that may arise. Always include a contingency of at least 10%.

Step 3: Find a reputable lender.

That’s where we come in. When searching for a lender, it’s important to find one that is reputable and has a good track record.

Look for a lender that specialises in bridging finance for property refurbishment and some of them will also give you a long term Buy to Let Mortgage to pay it off. That reduces costs and increases your profits.

Step 4: Prepare a detailed project plan.

When applying for a loan, you will need to provide a detailed project plan and budget. This should include an estimate of the costs of the refurbishment, a timeline for completion, how it will get repaid and any other relevant information that will help the lender understand the scope of the project. We will help you with this.

Step 5: Submit a loan application and provide all necessary documentation.

Once you have all the necessary information, we can submit your bridging loan application to the lender. Be sure to provide all the required documentation, such as schedule of works, ID and address proof, details of experience and any other information that may be requested by the lender.


Bridging finance can be a useful tool for property refurbishment projects, providing quick access to funds and the potential for higher returns on investment.

However, it’s important to consider the higher interest rates, shorter repayment terms, and the risk of default before making a decision. By following the five steps outlined above and doing your research, you can help ensure that you obtain the right type of loan for your renovation project.

For your next project get in contact with us so we can help you obtain the finance you need.

Refurbishing your HMO

Unlocking the Benefits of a Successful HMO Refurbishment

HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) properties can be a great investment for landlords looking to obtain a higher yielding rental income. However, over time, these properties can become tired and in need of a refurbishment.

A well-planned and executed refurbishment can not only improve the living conditions for tenants, but it can also increase the property’s value and rental potential.

The Benefits of Refurbishing a HMO Property

  • Increased rental income: A refurbished property is likely to command higher rental prices than a tired, outdated property.
  • Attracting higher-quality tenants: A refurbished property is more likely to appeal to professional, reliable tenants who will take care of the property.
  • Increased property value: A refurbished property is more likely to hold its value, and may even increase in value over time.
  • Improved living conditions for tenants: A refurbishment can improve the living conditions for tenants, making the property a more pleasant place to live.

Key Considerations for a Successful HMO Refurbishment

  • Planning permission: Depending on the extent of the refurbishment, planning permission may be required. It’s important to check with your local council before starting work.
  • Health and safety regulations: It’s important to ensure that the refurbishment complies with all relevant health and safety regulations to protect tenants and contractors.
  • Building regulations: The refurbishment must comply with all relevant building regulations to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the property.
  • Budget: It’s important to have a clear budget in place to ensure that the refurbishment is completed within financial constraints.

The Refurbishment Process

  • Assessing the property: Before starting the refurbishment, it’s important to assess the property to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Designing the refurbishment: Once the issues have been identified, the next step is to design the refurbishment to address these issues.
  • Obtaining quotes: Once the design has been finalised, it’s important to obtain quotes from contractors to ensure that the refurbishment is completed within budget.
  • Completing the refurbishment: Once the quotes have been obtained, the refurbishment can begin. It’s important to regularly check on the progress of the work to ensure that it is completed on time and to a high standard.

Finance Options for Your Refurbishment

If the refurbishment is going to take more than a month, there is structural work or you are changing the planning usage of the property it is highly likely you will need to tell any existing lender in advance what your plans are.

The lender may allow the work or they may tell you to get finance from elsewhere and repay your current mortgage.

You could either go down bridging finance route, a bridge to let or even a light refurbishment buy to let.

There are many options depending on the work and how long it will take.


Refurbishing a HMO property can bring many benefits, including increased rental income, attracting higher-quality tenants, and improved living conditions for tenants.

However, it’s important to carefully consider key factors such as the right type of finance, planning permission, health and safety regulations, building regulations, and budget to ensure a successful refurbishment.

By following a clear process, landlords can create a property that is both valuable and appealing to tenants.

To find out what your options are please contact us.

BTL Mortgages

How to Choose the Right One for Your Property Portfolio

Finding a buy to let mortgage can seem like a daunting process, but with the right advice and guidance you can get the BTL mortgage you need. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Do your research

Before you start anything, make sure you have done your research. There are a lot of different buy to let mortgages available, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for you.

Get pre-approved

Before you go ahead and apply for a buy to let mortgage, it’s important to get pre-approved by a BTL mortgage broker. This way, you know you’re eligible for a mortgage.

Talk to a mortgage broker

A good broker who does BTL every day should be interested in your plans and future strategy. They will be able to help you understand the process and find the right mortgage for you.

Compare rates and costs

Once you’ve decided on a mortgage, it’s important to compare rates and all the costs as it’s not just about the headline rate.

There are a lot of different lenders out there and most are only available to mortgage brokers, so it’s important to find one that’s right for you and the property.

Get a mortgage

Once you’ve decided on a lender and have your documents ready, it’s time to get a mortgage. Make sure you have all the documents your broker has requested and be prepared to answer any questions the mortgage provider may have.

Finding a buy to let mortgage can be a daunting process, but with the tips outlined in this article, you should get the mortgage you need.

If you have any questions or would like help with finding a buy to let mortgage, please contact us.

Where have the BTL Mortgages gone?

If you’re looking for a BTL mortgage and want to fix your mortgage rate then think again. You may have to wait as the majority of lenders have removed their fixed rate products.

Nearly 40 lenders have done this this week due to the uncertainty in the market.

We’ve been here before during Covid and the last credit crunch but this seems different. When you have had something for so long it becomes the new norm. Historic five year fixes of 2% for personal investors and 3% in the limited company space now seem an eternity away.

We won’t be going back to that so now is the time to evaluate your property portfolio to see what options you have.

We expect lenders to gradually return to the BTL market once they become more confident, but rates will be higher.

Over that last few months the 4% and 5% barriers have been breached. in the limited company market we’re now looking at 6%-7% rates!

We arrange BTL mortgages every day and have been here before and as landlords ourselves we are facing the same issues as you.

If you want advice then please get in touch.

EPC Rating: How Important is it When Buying?

We see many purchasers of BTL property unaware of the proposed EPC changes .

Background to Changes

The government proposed in December 2020 that all rental properties must have an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above by 2025. All tenancies will have to comply with this regulation by 2028.

Renting out a property with an EPC rating lower than a ‘C’ will be illegal if the proposal becomes law.

What can you do

If landlords take out a BTL Mortgage on a five-year fix and need to sell the property, they may incur an early repayment penalty.

Additionally, they should consider the cost of making the necessary changes to reach the required standard if they decide to keep the property.

If you look at the EPC report it will make suggestions to improve the rating. For instance, they can switch to LED light bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

Other techniques include installing double-glazed windows, smart meters, energy-efficient boilers, wall and roof insulation.

It is advisable to talk to an EPC assessor to discuss what can be done and the potential costs involved.

Furthermore, landlords can look up their neighbours’ EPC ratings to see how they achieved a ‘C’ rating.

Although the deadline for compliance is still a few years away, landlords have an incentive to start the work early due to the shortage of skilled labour in the market.

Mortgage Implications

Landlords should also consider their exit strategies and remortgage with green BTL mortgages that offer lower rates or fees to those with energy-efficient properties.

If you need help arranging your BTL Mortgage, please contact us.

How to repay your bridging loan quickly.

You are relying on the property being sold or refinanced if you are keeping it.

These are the most common items which cause delays in the refinance process:

– Not starting the process early enough. If you have used a broker to arrange the bridging finance and they are doing the exit keep them updated and provide an expected finish date.

I’d expect to start the refinance exercise approximately one month before this for our clients. It’s surprising how many are so focused on getting the property finished they forget it needs to be repaid.

– Delays in information required by lenders. If we ask for a document we need it. Proof of income by way of accounts and/or tax year calculations and tax year overviews need to be on file. If you don’t it’s surprising how many accountants are on holiday when you ask.

– Bank statements. Check before they are released to make sure there are no items which will concern lenders.

– Make sure your ID is in date and signed and you have a current proof of address that has been posted to you.

Quite often a lender will be able to electronically identify you but if they can’t they will need paperwork to prove who you are and where you live.

– If you have more than four mortgaged properties you are a portfolio landlord so keep a spreadsheet with details of your properties including rental income, balances and mortgage payments. Also check that they have a valid EPC of E or better.

Some lenders may require a business plan and cash flow forecast. If your accounts are up to date this shouldn’t be an issue and your broker should be able to assist you.

– Update the EPC if you think after works it is a C or better as you may get a lower interest rate on the BTL mortgage.

– Buildings Insurance. With most lenders it needs to cover the rebuilding cost in the valuation. A lot of lenders require their interest (their name) on the policy and I’ve seen this delay completion many a time.

-Solicitors. Most are the busiest they have ever been so get regular updates and find out what is outstanding and what you need to do. If you reply on the same day enquiries are raised your solicitor and return paperwork quickly they are more likely to treat the case urgently.

With the odd exception BTL lenders are taking much longer at the moment to assess mortgage applications so have everything ready to submit to the lender at least two weeks before completion of the property.

This way you can send the mortgage application to the lender and by the time they have assessed it and instructed the valuation the property will be finished.

It’s frustrating paying extra bridging interest because completion has been delayed due to a lack of a document which could have been on file weeks ago.

Don’t delay, repay.

If you need any help on arranging bridging finance and/or getting it repaid we’d be happy to help.

Choose the Best Bridging Finance Broker for Property Investment

What do you do when you are looking for bridging finance? You’ll instruct a few brokers and see what they come up with. Sounds simple but could be one of the worst things you do!

Why do you ask?

The bridging and development world is very small. For some transactions there are only a few decent lenders. If a lender gets the same enquiry from multiple brokers it can go against you.

The lender may think you are desperate for the money which will concern them, it’s duplicated work for them and as each broker has their own questioning style they may get different facts on the same case which may put them off.

There is nothing wrong with contacting more than one broker but you only want to instruct one.

We’ve recently submitted a case for £2m to one lender who had received exactly the same enquiry from another broker. We had already received terms from that lender and they refused to issue any more until the client made a choice of the broker they wanted to work with.

Do your homework on the broker before you make a choice:

  • Do they understand what you need.
  • Do they arrange bridging finance daily or is it once a year.
  • Do they talk about how the bridge will get repaid.
  • If the exit is a remortgage can they arrange the finance as not all brokers do.
  • Are they regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) . Now the FCA doesn’t cover most types of bridging, however it’s a badge of regulation within the finance sector. A lot of bridging lenders will only deal with brokers who have this registration. If the broker doesn’t, it means they don’t have access to a lot of the market.
  • Do they talk about the loan conditions, the legal process, what happens if repayment is late, are your solicitors any good, interest rate calculations, is the term long enough.

I use to be a director of a bridging company so ask questions a lot of brokers may not. We want you to sleep at night and not to be worried about your interest rate going up to 30% tomorrow, because the broker didn’t notice this when they arranged the bridging loan!

Don’t just focus on the interest rate

Would you go back to this restaurant?

-The food is usually late

-Sometimes they bring out the wrong meal

-The waiting staff ignore you

-You wait an hour to be served

-They tell you the wrong ingredients in a meal

-Their service is slow

-The front of house is very pleasant and is always telling you about the quality of the cooking and service. But reality is different, and they get ignored by the chefs.

-They care more about touting for awards than service

-The restaurant owner is aware of all this but doesn’t do much to change this

I presume the answer is no, so why are some BTL mortgage lenders like this?

Thankfully there are plenty that are the opposite so you can still get a great meal.

Next time you’re looking for bridging finance or a BTL mortgage ask about the service, as price isn’t everything.

How do you find the best bridging finance lender?

Whether you are a property developer or property investor one of the most common questions we get asked is who is the best bridging lender? 

Plenty think they are, especially the ones who are focused on awards but these don’t necessarily mean best.

Best can be:

-Quickest ☑
-Lowest cost over period of loan – This is overall cost rather than rate as there can be exit fees☑
-Least information required – this should never select a lender❎
-Rate and amount of loan aren’t changed unless there is a very good reason☑
-Always deliver, as some don’t always have the money to complete☑
-Will treat you fairly if you are late in repaying your loan rather than take you straight to court☑
-They have good valuers and solicitors that can work with you☑

The ideal scenario is all of them and thankfully we have plenty on our panel who meet the above but very dependent on you, the property and the deal.

Best isn’t always the cheapest rate so if in doubt happy to chat.

What is whole of market in Bridging Finance?

Does this phrase give you the comfort you need when looking for a bridging finance broker?

” we will search the whole of the market for you “

I’d expect your answer to be yes but do your homework first on the broker as this statement can’t be delivered.

Check they have Financial Conduct Authority (FCA )regulation. It should be at the bottom of their website and emails and it’s easy enough to check on the FCA register.☑

Most bridging finance isn’t regulated but the majority of lenders still require the regulation from the broker to accept business.

Recently we’ve been asked to refinance a bridging loan where the client is currently paying 1.25% per month. Ouch 😱

As well as entry fees for the loan there is an exit fee of one months interest. When I saw the rate I thought there was something particular unusual about the transaction or the circumstances. I couldn’t find anything and I’d have expected the costs to be 50% lower

The broker who had arranged the bridging loan for our new client is an unregulated broker who can place business with very few lenders, but the client was sucked in by their promise of searching the whole market for them. 😡

In reality their broker will only deal with a handful of lenders who usually charge much higher rates than the rest of the market.

There is no such thing as whole of market, as nobody has a relationship with every lender.

Finding a good bridging loan starts with a good broker who is regulated by the FCA.

Why a valuation for bridging finance is needed

When you are looking for Bridging Finance are you happy when a lender doesn’t want a valuation?

The answer from most of our clients is yes, as it’s a cost saving and makes the bridging finance process quicker. But as we’ve seen plenty of examples of why you should always get one.

If you already own the property there is an argument that you don’t need one as you should know the property well enough to identify any major issues.

On a purchase we strongly recommend you get one and preferably your own survey.

We’ve seen properties that have structural issues, Japanese Knotweed in the garden and being next to a sub-station. All of which the BTL lenders who provide the repayment route for the bridge don’t like.

All these issues were there at the point of purchase and all the clients went direct to lenders who offered a no valuation product and hadn’t visited the property.

None of these properties would have been purchased at the price they were, if these issues were known.

A valuer going out would have identified all these problems which would have given them time to pull out or renegotiate the price.

Yes it reduces your initial costs but at what price to the project and your profits?

Update your EPC after a refurbishment

A plea to Property Developers.

You’ve spent thousands on a refurbishment and are now looking to refinance onto a BTL mortgage to get your money back. Why not spend extra on getting a new EPC once you’re finished your project?

Most property developers who come to us for a BTL mortgage to repay their bridging loan have the EPC which was issued when they bought the property. If it’s a D or E these are acceptable to lenders, but some are still F or G which aren’t acceptable to any long term BTL lender.

Nobody has mentioned this to them before. It’s criminal, as a good bridging broker should, because it influences which lender is going to repay the project.

To get a new EPC can delay the repayment of the bridge. One recently has cost the client an extra three weeks interest. It doesn’t sound much, but that £1,300 is now in the lenders pocket rather than the clients.

If the EPC is C then many lenders offer lower interest rates so less to pay each month, increased profits and cash-flow.

Don’t delay, EPC today.

How to compare Bridging Loans

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a Bridging Finance Loan.

Clients often focus only on the monthly interest rate and forget all those “hidden” fees and costs.

If you only ask one question it’s how much will it cost me in total?

The key points are:

  • Interest Rate: Is it calculated daily or monthly?
  • Do you know what interest rate applies for the whole term of the loan as some lenders start off with a low rate then increase it?
  • What is the minimum period they will charge you? It’s usually one – three months but we’ve seen it as high as nine!
  • If you are late in repaying the loan will the rate increase, is there be a monthly fee and will you be in court soon?
  • Do you know the rate will you pay before you part with your money to pay the valuer? Some lenders are known to quote rates from.
  • What is the arrangement fee?
  • Does an exit fee apply? If yes are they based on the interest rate or loan amount or GDV of project?
  • Is the term of the loan long enough to finish the project and exit the bridge?
  • What value will the lender work off. There are at least three – Open market,180 day and 90 day.
  • Does the lender accept title insurance/search indemnities to speed up the process.
  • How good are the lender’s solicitors? Some are very slow.

A good bridging broker will know the answers to these questions. We also know the lenders who deliver and those we need to avoid.

Finally how will it get repaid. If you are keeping the property some bridging lenders will also do the long term loan. That’s worth knowing!

Another 80% LTV product for Buy to Let Landlords

It’s good to the see one of our lenders return to 80% LTV on single lets. They have two and five year fixed products for BTL mortgages which come either with a free or discounted valuation.

Available for personal and limited company ownership. Portfolio landlords welcome.

Tenants working, students and DSS on AST. Corporate Lets and Local Authority & Housing Association Lets (prior approval required).

They also finance HMOs and multi unit blocks and products available at both 65% and 75% LTV.

To find out more about this product and our services please contact us.

advice lettering text on black background

ILA – The Hidden Costs of a Guarantee

When taking out a BTL mortgage 99% of lenders require the directors and possibly shareholders to personally guarantee the mortgage.

This guarantee needs witnessing from a solicitor who must explain the legal implications of the document. This is called Independent Legal Advice (ILA).

A lot of brokers do not mention this process so when it comes to signing in front of a solicitor there can be a big surprise. We have seen some fees as high as £800 to witness one document!

There can be a choice though as lenders fall into these categories:

  • ILA always required
  • ILA can be dispensed with under certain circumstances. Usually when the guarantors are the same as the directors
  • The guarantee can be witnessed by anybody over the age of 18 who is not related to you or on the same loan
  • No Guarantee required

As we move down the list the cost to witness the guarantee reduces to zero and the process is much quicker.

Make sure you are fully aware of the options and costs as there can be significant savings with the right lender.

We always discuss this as part of the legal process. If you require help getting your next Limited Company BTL mortgage please contact us.

Tax Returns

It’s that time of the year when last years Tax Information expires. The normal reaction is “I don’t have to submit it until next January”.

You are correct, but last years information is now 18 months old to a lender and if you don’t have the current figures you may not get your first choice of lender for your next BTL Mortgage.

Make your accountant happy and get the information in soon if you haven’t done so already.

Remember the Tax Year Calculation and Tax Year Overview are needed by most lenders with some asking for the return itself.

What do lenders do with this information?

Tax Year Calculation (also known as SA302) – this confirms to the lender your income and tax status. It’s important as some lenders have minimum income requirements and the rental calculation is different for a high rate tax payer.

It’s also used to double check your personal property income compared to your portfolio.

Where do I get it from? Whoever does your annual tax return can access it from the software they use.

Tax Year Overview – this confirms to the lender the amount of tax due in the tax year and how much has been paid.

Where do I get it from? Your accountant or you can download it from your Self Assessment account.

Tax Return (also known as SA100) – this confirms that you are declaring the same number of properties that you own personally at the time of your finance application and will show a lender the total income for the personal portfolio.

Where do I get it from? Whoever does your annual tax return can access it from the software they use.

Bridging Finance for refurbishment of property

Light Development Finance

This is ideal for professional developers. You have the deposit, can cover the interest and fees, but could do with some help on the refurbishment costs. This product may be perfect for you.

A minimum loan size of £200,000 with a Day 1 loan of up to 75% LTV and a projected gross development value of 70%. You need a minimum of 20% profit on all costs.

Up to 100% of costs of works funded in arrears so you need working capital to cover the first 4-6 weeks of costs, the deposit and the fees.

Permitted uses for the product:

  • PDR schemes
  • Property conversion to residential / HMO
  • Heavy property refurbishment and extension
  • Finish and exit

It’s not for ground up development as we have other lenders for that. Legals and valuation at cost with no lender mark up.

Contact us now for a detailed quote.

Portfolio Landlords – BTL Remortgage

As a professional landlord it’s not just about the rate when choosing a BTL remortgage, it’s also speed if you are approaching your current lender’s variable rate. If you have a quick lender and competitive rates you are on your way to a speedy completion for your Buy to Let Remortgage.

These are some of things a lender can do to speed the process up:

  • Title Insurance
  • Electronic Signatures on Application Forms
  • Open Banking
  • Relaxed view on Independent Legal Advice

Ideally the lender should also offer the following:

  • Product Transfers
  • Extensive solicitor panel
  • Ability to repay extra each year

When comparing mortgages always add up all the costs including interest, all lender fees, legal costs and providing Independent Legal Advice for the personal guarantee.

Also look at the information they need and how long will it take you to prepare. The list includes:

  • Portfolio – will it meet the lenders LTV threshold, with most it’s 75% although some are less and others more
  • Rental Calculation across portfolio
  • Business Plan – doesn’t take long and lenders have their own format
  • Cash flow – the longest to do but not many lenders ask for it
  • Bank Statements confirming income on the portfolio
  • Tax Year Calculations, SA100 and Tax Year Overviews for at least two years
  • Limited Company Accounts for at least two years
  • EPC – are they all E or better. If F or G a lender may ignore the income but still include the debt

We’ve been doing this type of mortgage for many years so please contact us if you need help on your next BTL remortgage.

HMO Mortgages – Room Sizes

Lenders will always ask their valuers to consider the minimum room size and communal space standards in accordance with current RICS guidance.

The HMO must have the correct level of communal space, amenities and fire precautions as set out by the respective local authority.

The spatial requirements are as follows:

  • Single bedroom: floor area 6.51m2 minimum
  • Double bedroom: floor area 10.22m minimum (rooms can’t include areas where ceiling height is below 1.5m)
  • 1-3 persons: 13.5m2 total communal living space, the kitchen must be at least 5m2
  • Four persons: 17m2 total communal living space, the kitchen must be at least 6m2
  • Five persons: 18m2 total communal living space, the kitchen must be at least 7m2
  • Six persons: 20m2 total communal living space, the kitchen must be at least 9m2
  • 7-10 persons: 27.5m2 total communal living space, the kitchen must be at least 11m2

BTL Portfolio Lending

What is BTL portfolio lending and what are the benefits? It’s not to be confused with a portfolio landlord (four or more mortgages). It’s when one lender takes multiple properties on one loan.

Very few lenders can do this and it tends to be the banks, both high street and challenger and a few specialist lenders.

The question I get asked a lot from professional landlords is when should I do this? There is no definitive answer as every portfolio is different.

If you are considering restructuring your portfolio as part of tax planning then review your finances at the same time.


– You go from a number to having a relationship with a manager who understands property.

-Greater flexibility if a property becomes empty as rental cover calculated across the portfolio.

-Can be lower costs in setting up the loan as reduced valuation fees and legal costs.

-Option for 100% on purchases if there is headroom within the security calculation.

-Low pricing if loan is for 3-5 years increasing cash flow.

-Administration easier as one account as less lenders to deal with.One direct debit for all properties and only one lender discussion at renewal time.


-Performance Covenants: eg: Minimum LTV, rental cover, net assets.

-Provision of regular information to the lender including accounts, portfolio lists.

-All rents may have to go through the same bank where the loan is and all monies in these current accounts can be used to offset the loan balance if things don’t go to plan.

-Some lenders will only commit for three or five years and then you renegotiate so further valuation fees, set up fees, possible increase in rate. Others will do twenty-five.

-Lenders may require regular valuations on the portfolio which you will pay for.

-Cross default clauses. If you have a problem on one loan it affects all the others with the same lender.

-Consolidation clauses. If you sell a property they may take 100% of proceeds.

-Usually on repayment basis so lose benefit of cash flow if that’s you want.

-Ideally £1m loans + to get the best rates.

-Less brokers to assist you due to the complexity

At Searchlight we have experience in arranging these facilities and we’d be happy to talk you to about your finance requirements. Please contact us by phone or email.

Refurbishment Lending for Costs


  • Initial Loan 70% of the value
  • Refurbishment costs 100%
  • Gross facility up to 70% of end sales value
  • Loan size £250,000- £1.5m
  • Term – up to 18 months
  • Minimum value £300,000
  • Works must be lower of 50% of current value or £500,000
  • Experience essential

Suitable for

  • Extensions
  • Conversions
  • Planning
  • Permitted development
  • Heavy refurbishment
  • Structural works

BTL Portfolio Restructure Accountants Advice

Today I have come across one of the worst structures implemented by an accountant for a BTL landlord I have seen. The client owns properties personally and he has been told to put all the rental income through a limited company and then create a deed of trust as part of this process.

Land Registry, his tenants and lenders think he owns them personally, HMRC expect the rent to go through his personal tax return but it’s in the limited company. Finally the deed of trust shows he and the company own the properties 50-50!

As well as being in breach of his mortgage conditions, he can no longer refinance his BTL mortgage portfolio or buy any more property.

What’s worse for the client is the accountant is a family friend, so I envisage many an awkward conversation ahead.

Before you do any restructure I recommend that you talk to a Chartered Tax accountant who understands the property market and once you have options, speak directly to your lender or a broker who understands the BTL market.

You will find out how the lenders view your options and you won’t lose sleep at night because of what your accountant has done.

We know what the lenders like and don’t like, so are happy to help you with your BTL mortgage restructuring plans.

Light Refurbishment Finance

Has your BTL mortgage been refused due to the condition of the property?

Improve the value and the rent on a tired property. Whether it be a new kitchen, bathroom, damp, electrics we have lenders for all of them at competitive rates up to 85% LTV with experience and 75% without.

Contact us for refurbishment finance options.

Light Refurbishment Bridging on Property & Costs

Shawbrook initially launched this light refurbishment product to a limited panel including Searchlight.  Now, normally you would fund the costs out of your own money, which can limit the number of projects you do.

Shawbrook will provide additional borrowing as long as:

Maximum initial loan 75% of lower of the purchase price or value. The total loan including purchase is not higher than 85% of the initial purcahse price or 70% of the end value.

A recent example for an experienced developer.

Purchase Price £150,000
Costs to refurbish £45,000
End Value £260,000

What happened

Day 1 loan of £112,500 – 70% of the end value is £182,000 and 85% of purchase price is £127,500 so maximum total loan based on the lower figure is £127,500. Deduct the initial loan of £112,500 and the developer has an extra £15,000 from the lender towards their build costs. This was put towards another purchase which previously they could not afford.

Commenting on this significant development, Emma Cox, Sales Director, Shawbrook Commercial Mortgages;

“We have worked tirelessly over the past five years to improve this important element of our product offering, and 2018 represents a real success story for the Shawbrook STL range. The ability to borrow 100% of refurbishment costs under one facility can be critical for investors looking to add value and develop their portfolios, and we are delighted to be able to support this activity.”

“While the product range continues to evolve in response to market demand, we have managed to keep all the old benefits in place to help our brokers and their customers build for the future. The 0.25% discount remains available for repeat borrowers with no minimum interest periods or ERCs, and we are also pleased to retain a great deal of flexibility for borrowers with the maximum 24-month term providing time to refinance or sell.”

£330,000 refinance from a bank that says No

Due to their withdrawal from the market their existing lender had given notice to a long established Lancashire property company to move it’s property portfolio to another bank or sell.

The directors were in their 80’s and spent most of their time overseas and didn’t own a main residence in this country. To add to this their tenants received housing benefit which most of the banks didn’t like.

We kept in constant contact with the outgoing lender and updated them at every stage. This gave the bank the confidence to grant extra time in a complicated restructuring.

Never to back away from a challenge we arranged with the directors for a UK based relative to become a director. This gave a new bank comfort in succession planning and where other brokers had failed we obtained the finance needed. The properties have been retained giving the clients a comfortable income in their well-earned retirement.

Auction Finance at 75%

Yes 75%. Valuation instructed same day and a fast track legal process to reduce the stress. All the lender asks is that you have at least two rental properties.

Contact us now to get your purchase agreed.


Time to change banks?

I deal with the Bank’s every day and its clear there is a huge difference in what they say in the media and what they do. They keep banging the drum that they are open for business and they have money to lend. But do they want to lend? Yes they do but you now have to work at getting the funding.

I see three main issues with the lenders:

1. Managers who don’t understand business – most of the experience has gone
2. Faceless underwriters who are scared in putting their name on a “YES-we will agree this one”
3. They don’t have as much money as they use to so the quality line has gone up.

On the positive side, it is getting better and more lenders have entered the market.

To maximise your chances of getting the funding:

1. Keep them informed on a regular basis-they don’t like surprises
2. Treat them as a shareholder
3. Tell them about your future plans and not just the past
4. Draw up a business plan. It can be just 1 page
5. Show them numbers – they like numbers. As well as your last annual accounts show them current figures as well
6. Advise them in advance of any cash flow issues. You are more likely to get it paid
7. Find out how your manager is targeted – see how you can help them

At Searchlight we have strong relationships with the lenders so if your current lender says no contact us to see how we can help.

Bridging Finance – How strong is your exit route?

Do all lenders care about the exit?

Not wanting to be too controversial but various cases have led me to the conclusion that not all lenders look in detail on how they are going to get repaid. I must stress it is some and not all.

Being the rare breed that I am of broker, landlord and experience of running a bridging company, the exit does concern me. Now three cases were all presented by other brokers to lenders with repayment coming from a remortgage. All had major holes in that strategy and the risks were never explained to the client by either the broker or the lender.

1. A six-month loan at a low rate when the client needs nine months. To extend costs far more than a nine-month term with another lender.

2. A remortgage to a limited company whose main director/shareholder had adverse credit as long as your arm but the broker put the exit down as a remortgage and the lender never checked.

3. A valuer saying there was asbestos in the property but no specialist report being requested.

4. A recent case has got me thinking about how little due diligence is done by some lenders on the exit. We have another broker introducing Steve to a bridging lender to convert a guest house into an HMO. The deal gets done, refurbishment goes to plan and after several weeks of the client not getting the exit I get the call to sort out the repayment. Steve meets the criteria of the HMO lenders.

I ask him about planning and he tells me it has established use. I say prove it as that’s what the lender will need. He then comes back to me and says it doesn’t have planning and has to apply for it. So he has spent his money on a property that has planning for a guest house. Now he admits he missed it but this was never discussed by the lender or the broker. Surely their solicitors knew as well?

What does that mean to the bridging lender? Well the cynic in me says another two-three months of receiving interest and the bigger cynic the possibility of default interest. Now I hope I am wrong but I can’t see any reason why the lender did not identify this and bring it to the client’s attention.

Now that’s four cases where their broker gave them a product that was never going to work. Clients weren’t aware of it and it has cost them all financially, never mind the stress and anxiety.

At Searchlight, we work on the exit first and if it can’t be provided by multiple lenders we won’t do the bridge.

Contact us now to see how we can help you as we don’t expect this product to be around for long


One of our Buy to Let Lenders

• No limit on number of properties owned

• No limit on background mortgage amounts

• No minimum income for existing landlords

• Existing landlords don’t need to be owner-occupiers• Loans up to 80% LTV

• Maximum age 85 for repayment

• Professional Landlords and Developers welcome

• Property Income accepted

Contact us now to see how we can help with Buy To Let

All products are aimed at UK business BTL landlords and subject to underwriting. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any debt secured upon it.

Lenders using the same language

It’s always been difficult to compare fees when lenders use different words for their costs. By early 2016 most lenders should have a “tariff of charges” in place that will be in a standard format. They will also be in the same order in their promotional literature.

This follows a Which? campaign and will make it easier to understand and compare.

Refurbishment BTL products

Anytime I get asked for bridging I ask is there an alternative? If you don’t have to complete quickly and the property has a kitchen and bathroom there may be BTL refurbishment mortgages out there as an alternative.

It is provided in two amounts.  The lender will provide a loan of up to 80% of the lower of the purchase price or valuation. The valuer is provided with a detailed schedule of works and they provide an after works valuation along with a rental figure. The lender will base their end loan on the completed value and rent. The difference between the two is retained by the lender (retention).

The work is completed and the valuer does a re-inspection. If the after works valuation is confirmed then the retention is released to you.

If you are looking to convert a property into an HMO then with experience you have access to a specialist HMO refurbishment mortgage or you use cash or bridging finance.

BTL products we have access to

We have direct access to lenders that will consider:

  • Limited Company applications
  • Single Freehold split into multi units
  • Multi Lets
  • HMOs of all sizes
  • Portfolio Finance
  • Student Tenants
  • DSS/LHA Tenants
  • Retail with flats above
  • Rental valuations
  • No minimum income
  • Limited Company applications
  • Pension and Trust applications
  • Professional landlords
  • Adverse credit
  • Ex Pat applications
  • Foreign Nationals

Ex Pat BTL Mortgages

We have lenders for UK nationals residing outside of the UK, providing you have a relevant satisfactory UK financial track record and other UK property assets.

You need;

  • UK bank account
  • a minimum of two UK investment properties with at least one mortgage outstanding
  • Independent personal income to support your other financial commitments
  • In a position to withstand interest rates rise or any tenancy voids

We are happy to consider applications from experienced investors up to a maximum of 75% LTV.

Searchlight Finance Ltd is a broker not a lender.

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We are a credit broker not a lender.

Searchlight Finance Ltd is registered at 98, King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6HQ. Company Register number is 07929050.

Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our FCA registration number is 743220. You can check via www.register.fca.org.

We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, Z3109319 and you can check via www.ico.org.uk.

We conduct both regulated and unregulated business and therefore not all products provided through us are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We source finance from the whole of market and may receive commissions that will vary depending on the lender, product, or other permissible factors. The nature of any commission model will be confirmed to you before you proceed.

Member of National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).