Financing the purchase of a country house with land and outbuildings can often be a challenge. In this case, fraught with difficulties and hold-ups, David West showed how the experience, tenacity and persistence of our R&BS consultants gets complicated cases over the line.
Jackie Taylor is a successful business women running an established property letting business. As well as her property interests, Jackie has a smallholding and breeds the critically endangered Suffolk Punch horses.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose to buy a manor house, situated in the same Norfolk village as her existing home. She wanted to buy it to continue to follow her passion in horses and breeding, to expand the existing livery enterprise and to establish a holiday let enterprise.
The challenge of the property and business
Jackie is very experienced in sourcing buy-to-let funding for her property business and was confident of securing the funding from one of the lenders she uses. However, because of the type of property and the livery business, there was no appetite among her usual lenders. So, she turned to David West at R&BS for help. She had worked with David for a property purchase before and had been impressed by his service.
“As most lenders couldn’t help, I recognised that I needed specialist help from someone who understood this type of property and the enterprises I wanted to run. I also wanted someone with lots of experience and who was good with people, as we could see it wasn’t going to be an easy process.”
The property consists of 17 stables, 15 acres of grassland, a riding arena, the 7-bed manor house, a cottage, and a range of buildings with potential to be conveted into alternative use. The cottage is let on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) basis, and there were already 6 full livery clients.
Jackie initially had funding agreed for the house purchase, and separate funding for the livery business had been arranged with a high street lender. However, when it came to the fine detail the lender’s security policy would not split the title deed of the stables and house which prevented any lending.
The previous owner didn’t run the livery as a separate business and there was no way of extrapolating their figures. Traditional lenders would not look at the business as, because there were no established profitability figures, it was deemed a start up. This was despite Jackie already having a very experienced yard manager, 10 new clients on a waiting list and a strong demand for livery in the area.
Two days to mortgage approval – but two years to resolve other problems!
David proved, by way of a realistic cash flow forecast, that the livery would be very successful. And, as his experience and knowledge is trusted by lenders, his forecasts and lending application were accepted by an alternative lender. The mortgage was approved within two days from the application being submitted.
David requested an interest-only facility for a maximum of 5 years, with a view to refinance the deal once the holiday let business had been established and the records could demonstrate affordability over the longer term.
However, once funding was agreed the sale was not plain sailing. Multiple major and minor issues unrelated to the funding arose due to an awkward vendor and their unhelpful solicitor. The selling agent was also not experienced in properties of this type and the whole sales process proved very challenging.
David said it was one of the most difficult deals he has ever had to keep glued together, and a lesser broker may well have not continued with the case. But, David’s persistence, tenacity and regular communication with Jackie kept her confidence high – any lesser purchaser may well have pulled out too! With David’s help, and a good team effort from Jackie, her solicitor and the lender, the case was kept on track and after a long two years finally completed.
“David was brilliant. He stayed cool, calm and collected throughout the long process which was made very difficult by the vendor. Without David’s help and without him finding me a specialist lender, I am certain my purchase would not have gone ahead.”
Even the lender appreciated David’s hard work, and said:
“It’s always good when a deal completes, especially a tricky one like this that could have gone either way! Thank you David for doing a great job and keeping us all informed.”
If you are struggling to find a lender - or, indeed, a broker - who can help you finance your farm, country house or rural or equestrian business plans, get it touch with us. Our team of consultants will have seen many cases like yours, and can guide you through the process.