Securing a once in a lifetime property opportunity

“Accessing short-term funding meant we could secure the purchase of the premises for our client. They’ve been developing really strongly, and this will allow them to take it to the absolute next level.”

– Helder Dias, SJPR Accountants

Sometimes, a lucky coincidence at just the right time can present a business opportunity you simply can’t miss.

That was the case for SJPR Accountants’ client when they learned in December 2020 that the property next door to their premises was up for sale. The company, which owns a specialist grocery and butcher’s shop, had been looking to expand and this offered the perfect next step.

With an April deadline, they had to act fast. In the midst of a pandemic, and at the height of a property market frenzy caused by the stamp duty holiday, this was no easy task.

Then there were the challenges of navigating strict government regulation around residence, as SJPR specialises in working with Brazilian and Portuguese clients in London.

But by working with Capitalise and Ortus Secured Finance, SJPR was able to secure a commercial bridging loan of £265,000 for 12 months, so their client could purchase the property, move in and get their new plans underway.

A BRIDGE TO BUSINESS GROWTH

“Our vision is to see our clients grow and help them to find investment and expansion opportunities,” says Helder Dias at SJPR.

Because the property was mixed-use, with retail on the ground floor and residential flats above, it was not available for a commercial mortgage at the time.

That meant the client’s best option was a commercial bridging loan which would allow them to purchase the property, begin refurbishment and move in, before securing a mortgage to retain ownership in the long term.

This was unfamiliar territory for Helder and SJPR. Funding was a relatively new service for the firm, having worked hard throughout 2020 to secure CBILS loans for clients who were struggling in the pandemic. A short-term commercial loan was a whole new challenge, with new requirements.

That’s where Capitalise came in.

Helder got in touch with his partnership manager and was put in touch with Kipp Noble, head of lender relations.

Through the Capitalise system, Kipp was able to narrow the most appropriate lenders down to a shortlist. This was then presented to both SJPR and the client with quotes, so they could compare and discuss the best option. Eventually, they decided on the offer from us at Ortus, mainly due to our ability to lend to borrowers who are not UK nationals and so we were perfectly placed to provide the finance for SJPR’s client needed.

MAKING IT HAPPEN

At this stage in the process, it’s good to know who you’re speaking to, beyond the names on bits of paperwork.

That’s why the next step was to arrange a video call between the teams at Ortus, Capitalise, SJPR and their client, so the key people involved could meet.

“Sometimes it helps to have a conversation face to face with somebody, so you can really get a feel for what they’re about,” says Jamie Russell, the business development manager in our London office.

“We’re a people organisation, and we’re proud to have continued to lend throughout COVID when some of our competitors withdrew from the market.

“We’ve always believed in giving priority to the individual rather than the process, so it’s a great feeling to see deals that are empowering borrowers to go and achieve their dreams and ambitions.”

With everyone on the same page, it was time to gather the necessary documentation and ensure the deal went through.

That included ensuring SJPR’s client had the correct deposit, explaining their rationale for buying, and presenting an exit strategy back to Ortus.

The main challenge was to do with residence, ‘know your customer’ (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes.

Because the business was owned by non-UK nationals, a highly detailed, granular level of information was needed to meet strict regulations. This was further complicated by the fact the firm’s owners, like many London residents, were not homeowners.

Fortunately, Ortus was flexible and innovative enough to overcome those challenges and move forward with the deal, where other lenders would most likely have said it was too high-risk.

“At Ortus, we’re really lucky that we have the freedom to lend to anyone who we think is a good borrower,” says Jamie.

“At the moment, many lenders are nervous about commercial property, and you won’t find people jumping over themselves to fund retail especially. But we take a bit of a different view. For us it’s all about lending to really good people, and that’s who these guys were.”

NEW PREMISES, A NEW CHAPTER

The process certainly wasn’t without its hurdles, but through the hard work of everyone involved, the deal was completed just in time on 1 April 2021.

With their new premises secured, SJPR’s client is now getting geared up for an exciting new chapter of business growth.