Michael Dean

Presenting a development deal: The nitty gritty

Presenting lending opportunities can sometimes be challenging due to the complex nature of the property market.

In addition, because of a lender’s size, structure, management team, processes and sources of funding, it inevitably varies what information each funder needs to see in the first instance.

For us at Avamore, the key information to cover at initial enquiry stage includes:

  • market value and/or purchase price
    • build cost/build facility requirement, including (but not limited to):
    • professional fees
    • S106
    • community infrastructure levy (CIL)
  • GDV
  • length of term required and proposed build periods
  • full project address
  • photograph of the property
  • plans and evaluations for the completed scheme
  • the total borrowing requirement and borrower’s equity contribution.

The above makes it easy for the Avamore credit team to assess whether or not it can move a deal forward. After this initial summary, things become more complicated and any lender will request more and more information the further a deal progresses.

We have compiled a list of the ‘nitty gritty’ points which borrowers and brokers will need to gather. It is useful to be aware of the lender’s expectations and, while you do not want to overwhelm the funder at first contact, being prepared to present the following points helps to move the deal forward in an efficient manner, once the lender confirms the deal is of interest.

Feasibility check

This might feel like a simple summary, but it is extremely important to understand the market dynamics, particularly the supply and demand in the area. It is a good idea to check whether the developer has spoken to a local agent to understand the feasibility of the scheme and ensure that they have conducted a thorough site visit. This will help with understanding the market and also, the sub-market segmentation. It is likely that there will be an equilibrium price, which is a function of the micro-location, proximity to transport links, local employment opportunities and amenities. Checking all of these factors will help to establish the approximate sale price of a property.

Details around the product

It is important to narrow down exactly what the developer is intending to build. We need a thorough description along with accurate comparison and placement among the rest of the market. If you can get a like-for-like scheme, which has sold at a good price and within a reasonable timeframe, it will provide comfort to the lender around the value of the scheme. Profiling an ideal customer also helps with a development finance application, as it highlights whether there is a large enough pool to purchase the property. Establishing if it will appeal to owner-occupiers or investors is important because it helps to ‘match up’ the number of potential buyers for that particular scheme. In the case of appealing to investors, it would be wise to go one step further and fully understand the rental market and the financial products available, ie a potential investor may need to take a buy-to-let mortgage on the property and they will have to understand whether the rent payable by a tenant is enough to cover a BTL lender’s interest coverage ratio.

Breakdown of build costs and a development appraisal

For a development project, it is important to provide an overview of the costs which would be incurred during the build, including construction costs, professional team costs, CIL and s106. In general, a development appraisal is a useful tool for establishing the feasibility of a project and is likely to highlight any red flags which might come up. In the appraisal, it is useful to consider factors such as the build cost per square foot (is it net internal area (NIA) or gross internal area (GIA)?), additional fees, marketing costs and a contingency budget. It is also important to note that build costs need to come up to scrutiny when examined by the lender’s project managing surveyor (PMS). If the PMS says the build cost is too low, then the terms can change.

GDV (breakdown of GDV per unit)

The total GDV and the breakdown per unit GDV helps to understand the viability of a scheme. If a developer is building multiple units and one will make up a significant proportion of the total GDV, the lender will need to assess the feasibility of a successful exit in the event that the unit fails to sell during the term of the facility.

Construction/professional team overview

It is incredibly important to understand who is supporting the developer to see the project through to completion. The lender will need to know thorough details around the contractor, including experience and previously completed projects, as well as information around the build contract (whether it is full design or construction management). In addition, it is essential to know who the architect, structural engineer, mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineer, project manager and employer’s agent are (the level of involvement for each of these participants is dependent on the size of the scheme).

Loan-to-cost (LTC)

The lender will always need clarity around how much equity the borrower has invested in the scheme and so the LTC is incredibly important to ensure the borrower has ‘skin in the game’.

Land to build, Land to GDV and land to total cost ratios

Comparing the cost of the land to other factors in the project can be valuable for a lender. If the proportional cost in the value of land is high compared to the build cost, it can provide additional comfort and security.

While the above list is not comprehensive and applicable to all lenders, for Avamore, it puts the credit team in good stead to move the deal along and contributes to an efficient completion for the borrower and broker.

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