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A crowdfunded foot onto the property ladder

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A crowdfunded foot onto the property ladder

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Young people around the western world are struggling to cope with life after the credit crunch.  Youth unemployment is incredibly high, which combined with rising student debt and persistently high house prices have ensured the prospect of home ownership is but a pipe dream for many.

Crowdfunding sites such as Piglt have attempted to help with the student finance side of things, whilst new ventures such as Collaborizm and Thought Basin are working to give young people a leg-up in the job market.

The House Crowd might be offering a similar thing for getting onto the property ladder.  Kind of anyway.  They’re a crowdfunding site aimed squarely at the property sector here in the UK.

The ethos behind the site is a simple one.  Members join up to an investor group, through which they are sent information about potential investments.  These investments are typically houses that are bought cheaply (relatively), renovated and then either rented out or sold on.  All of this is done via a unique limited company for each property.  It is essentially this company that members are asked to invest in.
Properties are typically bought for around £60,000, with individuals investing an average of around £3,000 each.  There are two models people can invest in.
Option 1 offers them 6% return each year (based on the rental income from the property), plus 50% of the profit made when the property is sold.
Option 2 waives any right to a share of sale profits, but instead offers 7.5% return each year.
If you wish to sell your stake before the property itself is sold, you can do so either via the House Crowd, or via a third party buyer, if you can find one yourself that is.How much due diligence do you do, and how much do you encourage your investors to do, before investing in a property?

We know the markets we operate in extremely well. We know exactly what price we should be paying for property and surveys are always undertaken to identify any potential structural issues. The investors place their trust in us to select suitable properties. Given we have about 20 investors for each project and we have to move quickly to secure the best deals, it is simply not feasible for them to be involved in any way in the selection process.

Thus far the site has attracted nearly 2,000 investors, who between them have invested close to £2 million in property ventures around the UK.  The dividends have already started to roll in for early investors, with just over £18,000 paid out thus far.

It’s certainly an interesting approach, and whilst it’s not investing in property in the traditional living in sense, nor even in the building up your credit rating way, it does represent an opportunity for people to join the property market with a relatively small lump sum.

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