When a local livery yard came on the market in early 2020, Melanie Jones and Andrew Court saw it as a wonderful opportunity to realise a lifelong dream to own and run an equestrian yard. But looking for a mortgage to secure the mixed residential and commercial nature of the property proved hard for them on their own – and even harder when Coronavirus shut the nation down in March 2020.
They were advised to speak to Rob Lister at R&BS by the property’s selling agent, BTF Partnership. Rob was confident the income from the yard, combined with Melanie and Andrew’s salaries would attract a mortgage offer, but as with all such cases, the mortgage application had to be presented in the right way to the right lenders to get a competitive mortgage offer.
Putting the proposal together
The equestrian property, located in Kent, was already a successful livery yard with 36 acres of pasture, 46 acres of woodland, 24 stables, a bungalow, outdoor school, canter track, storerooms, and cross-country training fences. Melanie had, in fact, known the previous owner for several years, so had first-hand knowledge of the site.
Melanie has two horses, which she regularly competes as well as breaking and schooling other people’s horses. She will run the new yard alongside her own separate commercial business of 16 years. Andrew is the depot director of a local sustainable timber importer and supplier and will support Melanie. Their experience, salaries and incomes, including their buy-to-let portfolio, and the proceeds of the sale of their home all formed a crucial part of the information Rob put to lenders in a thorough business lending proposal.
Rob used his expertise in drafting a proposal and combined this with a business plan and forecast evidenced from their salaries and the income, both existing and potential. Providing evidence that existing tenants would stay and new tenants could be found was part of the plan put to lenders. With excellent facilities, well-drained paddocks and tracks, and plenty of good local hacking, this was easy. Combined with the storage of horse boxes, training clinics, and hiring out the facilities to individuals and local riding clubs, the yard had a number of potential income streams.
“The difficulties in finding a mortgage to support Andrew and Melanie were exacerbated by the Coronavirus outbreak, where lending applications are being scrutinised more closely and taking much longer to get approvals,” said Rob.
Support with interpreting mortgage offers and beyond
Rob put fully costed and substantiated plans, together with his business lending proposal, to seven different lenders who R&BS knew could have the appetite to lend. Rob whittled down the returning responses to the two most competitive mortgage offers. But that wasn’t the end of the process. Rob then interpreted the different lending offers, illustrating each clearly to Andrew and Melanie before a lender was chosen.
Rob also supported Andrew and Melanie through the legal and valuation process with continual communication with the lender, solicitor and valuer. The solicitor and valuer were both experienced in the rural sector and respected professionals, which always helps the process to run more smoothly.
Andrew commented; “Without Rob in the process from the start, I don’t think we would have achieved our final goal. Rob was very diligent in putting our case forward and in a calm and friendly manner, and we are very pleased with the lender rate, fees and terms he achieved for us.”