If a particular development isn’t proceeding as planned, a developer exit loan could get you back on track. Roma Finance’s Steve Smith explains what the loans entail and how they could help you.
Whether you’re a first-time developer or highly experienced, you’ll know that property developments don’t always run smoothly.
From unforeseen delays impacting your timeline to increasing costs, it’s not always possible to complete the project and redeem your original loan on time.
But what happens when your lender can’t offer you ‘forbearance,’ and an extension? And what happens if you’re using your own money, and it simply runs out before you can complete your project.
This is when developer exit finance could save your project.
WHAT IS IT?
A developer exit loan is used when a borrower needs more funds to finish their project.
This could be because your original funder has pulled the plug on your finance before you have finished the build, or you are self-funding and have run out of money part-way through.
WHICH LENDERS OFFER IT?
You may not have heard of developer exit finance because not every property finance lender offers it.
It tends to be provided by lenders with more flexible and diverse funding lines, which allows them to support a wider range of borrower circumstances.
These loans are also usually provided by lenders with strong expertise in the development sector, rather than pure ‘bridging-only’ lenders.
That’s because the lender needs to understand how to structure more complex cases and have the development experience to assess the build and offer support to complete it.
WHO USES DEVELOPMENT EXIT LOANS?
They can be first-time developers who don’t have experience with how long builds can take. This has been more prevalent over the last few years, where we’ve seen long delays in sourcing materials and a higher number of builders being off sick through the pandemic and beyond.
However, it’s important to know that these loans are also required by very experienced developers. Sometimes things go wrong through no fault of your own – bad weather halts progress, or the cost of materials spirals after the original estimates; many other unforeseen issues can crop up.
There is also the simple benefit of switching to developer exit finance to finish off the build cheaper.
The wider factors impacting the development sector and causing potential delays include Covid, Brexit and the war in Ukraine, alongside high inflation. There are still delays in getting materials, and huge fluctuations in costs that make it difficult for even the most experienced builders and developers to estimate correctly.
WHY IS IT USED?
A developer exit loan is used to provide extra money, extra time, or both, enabling you to finish the project.
The end goal is to complete the development so you can exit the loan and still make some profit.
Whether the project has fallen off track because the original funder was too relaxed and didn’t build in a sufficient contingency, events occurred out of everyone’s control, or you’ve made a miscalculation, you can still find help.
We have seen a 50% rise in developer exit loan business in the last year. This is mainly because people have run out of their own funds but also because the original lender cannot extend the term if the project isn’t completed (sometimes their funder won’t let them).
IS IT WIND & WATERTIGHT?
If the property is wind and watertight, a developer exit loan is straightforward, with minimal risk. It works like a standard bridging loan and can be available at the same rates and terms, with up to 75% loan to value. That’s because the property has already been built and valuations at this stage are very accurate.
If the property is not wind and watertight, it’s more complicated, but some lenders can still help. This sort of case would sit within providers developer funding range and requires more bespoke underwriting and development expertise. But it’s still possible.
If you’re worried that you can’t complete your project and need to extend your borrowing, a developer exit loan could be the answer you are looking for.
It will allow you to get back on track, rescue your development project and still allow you to create wealth.
Steve Smith is sales director at Roma Finance