Ian Boden (pcitured) is sales director at LendInvest
Two years ago, we recognised that the various regulatory changes for buy-to-let property landlords would create a shift in the market.
A shift that appealed to our niche and expertise as a business: the professionalisation of property investors.
There’s no doubt that it’s been an interesting time for landlords and lenders alike, and as we pass another anniversary for the launch of our product, it’s useful to look back at how the market has changed, what it’s learned and how it can put those lessons into practice in the future.
Know your customer, know your market
LendInvest started life as a bridging lender for property professionals, and those short-term property loans remain the foundation of the business.
However, our roadmap always included moving into long-term loans, and as the buy-to-let market has evolved in recent years, the timing was right for us to extend our offering to this sector of property professionals.
After all, a substantial number of bridging borrowers, as professional property investors, are landlords anyway ‒ we already had plenty of experience dealing with those borrowers and their brokers in this market, which we could put to use in buy to let.
And while that’s true to a point, the fact is that there are still significant differences between the two areas of lending and being complacent about those differences can lead to disaster.
Most notably, the motivation of a property investor looking to bridge a deal to; then sell on the property, versus the motivation of a property investor who is looking to hold a property for a longer term.
Knowing the customer, what they wish to achieve and how they operate, is the foundation of success in any new product area.
In-house expertise as a foundation, not an afterthought
When diversifying into a new area of mortgage lending, the in-house expertise should be there in the primary stages of product development to shape the key components of the product itself.
With myself and our head of credit, industry veteran Roy Armitage at the helm, backed by a team of professionals, from underwriters to BDMs, who truly understand what makes the buy-to-let market tick, it’s an approach that certainly paid off well for us.
We are still investing heavily in recruiting experienced heads too, with Gene Clohessy joining the team as director of mortgage underwriting, bringing the best part of two decades of experience.
Whilst we are undoubtedly invested in disrupting the mortgage process with technology, it’s the people behind those tech processes that make all the difference.