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Choosing the Right Development Finance Product

Choosing the Right Development Finance Product

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When we talk about development finance, we're talking about a massive range of projects and funding providers. From large-scale commercial developments to residential new builds, and individual refurbishments through to rental market renovations.

There are, therefore, lots of different development finance products on the market. The ideal product for you will depend entirely on what work you're planning, what sort of property it is, and how much you need to borrow.

Let's run through the most common products, whom they're suited to, and what costs you can expect to pay.

For further advice about selecting the most appropriate development finance, or applying to the right lenders who specialise in your sort of construction project, give us a call! The Revolution Brokers development finance team is available on 0330 304 3040 or send us an email at and let us know when you'd like to talk.

100% Development Finance / Joint Venture Development Finance

First, let's look at 100% development finance. Of course, the 100% means that the lender is putting up all of the cash needed to develop the property - and so you'll share the profits with them.

In most cases, you will each have a 50% profit share - although that can vary depending on interest charges.

Most developers won't make any repayments during the loan term, and the interest will be rolled up with the capital balance and need to be repaid in full. This type of development finance includes, usually, 100% of both the initial purchase costs and the development costs.

What are the Lender Criteria for Joint Venture Development Finance Loans?

This type of development finance is aimed at experienced developers. You'd need an exceptional proposition to borrow 100% of a development budget if you've no track record of successful projects.

Lenders prefer to see either planning permission, or at least outline planning permission. Projects without planning are too high-risk for this type of loan.

Profit margins are also crucial, as a funding provider needs to be making a sufficient profit to mitigate the risk they are taking. Joint venture developments start at projects with a GDV (projected project valuation when complete) of at least £1 million.

If the profit margin is at least 30%, a lender is more likely to consider it.

You'll also very likely be asked for a personal guarantee, as an assurance that the provider will recoup the loan even in the worst-case scenario. This can often be capped at a particular value.

Can I Get Joint Venture Development Finance Without Splitting the Profits?

It is possible, but you'll usually need a significant level of security since you're applying for lending with zero deposit.

Most developers in this situation would need to offer other properties as security.

If you can't offer sufficient security, you'd need to provide a profit share.

How Do I Qualify for 100% Development Finance?

The primary criteria are that:

  • ·You have prior experience of property development and at least one project under your belt of a similar size.
  • ·You can demonstrate a good profit margin, at least 20% but ideally over 30%.
  • ·You have planning permission for your planned development work.
  • ·You are applying for funding for a project with a GDV of £1 million-plus.

How Does 100% Development Finance Work?

In most cases, the property is placed under the ownership of a specific type of limited company called a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).

The funding provider owns the company, although you have a guarantee that assures your stake.

Why Choose 100% Development Finance Borrowing?

The big plus is that you can develop a property without needing a deposit, or to release other capital to raise the funds you need.

Developers use this option to take on developments faster and thus raise the profits they are making.

Using an SPV in joint control with the lender to manage the ownership of the property also means you lower your legal fees.

What are the Assessment Criteria for Joint Venture Development Finance?

Lenders will need to understand what the risk level is and consult their underwriters before they can make an offer.

The critical criteria are:

  • ·Your experience as a developer.
  • ·How much profit is projected. Lenders will want to see at least a 30% profit margin, but also a significant value, with projects starting at £1 million GDV.
  • ·The exit strategy - how you expect to repay the loan. This becomes critical with large scale builds, as you'll need to demonstrate demand, and be confident that the units will be sold relatively quickly to pay back the borrowing.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for 100% Development Finance?

Usually, you will need the below information:

  • A CV showing your development experience.
  • The schedule of work and expected costs.
  • Copies of the planning permission.
  • Valuations or estimates of the eventual sale value.

How Can I Improve the Chance of my 100% Development Finance Application Being Approved?

The best thing you can do is to provide detailed, thorough information that shows the lender that you're a less risky applicant.

That could mean researching local property prices, planning the work carefully, and identifying ways to make the project more appealing from a profitability perspective.

Commercial Development Finance

Our next category is commercial development finance; aimed at businesses and developers looking to construct commercial premises.

Residential projects tend to be less risky, and so you'll need to work with an experienced broker to source competitive lending.

Here are the steps to securing a commercial property development loan:

  1. 1.Work out all the costs, budgets and expected profits.
  2. 2.Contact the Revolution team on 0330 304 3040 for independent advice about the best strategy to proceed with your application.
  3. 3.Our experts will indicate costs, rates and terms, and send that to you in writing to review.
  4. 4.If you'd like to proceed, we'll work with you to collate all the required documentation and submit that to the lender with our report.
  5. 5.The lender will usually then request a site visit and meeting to get to understand the project better and ask any questions.
  6. 6.The next stage is for the lender to go through the underwriting process, and come back with a formal offer.
  7. 7.Next, the property will need to be valued by a surveyor, including projected development costs.
  8. 8.Finally, the paperwork is passed on to solicitors, signatures collected, and any outstanding documentation provided.

Is There a Maximum I Can Borrow on Commercial Development Finance?

There isn't any cap, as such, but the lender will consider how much the site is worth, how much the development is going to cost, and how much it will be worth on completion. These figures all help arrive at a maximum lending offer.

In most cases, providers will lend up to 55-65% of the purchase cost, and up to 60-65% of the total GDV - i.e. what the project will be worth once the development has finished.

The monthly interest is typically rolled up into the loan. That means you don't need to make repayments until the development is complete, and will repay the full balance once the property is sold or refinanced.

What Property Types Can I Get Commercial Development Finance For?

Revolution Brokers works with a vast network of lenders, providing commercial development finance for any number of property types. These include:

  • Commercial builds, including office blocks and industrial properties.
  • Developing land into a commercial property.
  • Renovating or refurbishing premises.
  • Conversions from commercial to residential or visa versa.
  • Building on agricultural land.

Mezzanine Finance

Our next product is mezzanine development finance; this is a bridging loan that covers the difference between the deposit you can put down, and the maximum your lender can offer.

Mezzanine lenders usually take a second charge over the property to secure their lending.

Developers use mezzanine finance to be able to take on large-scale developments and maximise their investment returns, without needing to release capital to raise a larger deposit.

What are the Criteria for Mezzanine Development Finance?

The typical criteria are as below:

  • ·Maximum of 90% loan to cost ratio.
  • ·Short-term lending from six months, up to two years.
  • ·Experience in similar property developments.
  • ·Planning permission secured.

How Much Can I Borrow Through Property Development Mezzanine Finance?

Revolution Brokers lenders usually start at loans of £250,000, without any particular limit. Most lenders will offer up to 90% of the project costs, provided all criteria are met.

What are the Interest Costs of Mezzanine Finance in Property Development?

Costs depend very much on the individual project, and the Revolution team provides bespoke advice and negotiations to every mezzanine funding client.

Interest can be anything from 1% per month and upwards. There are significant risks to offering mezzanine finance, and so the lender will consider the following factors before they make an offer:

  • What deposit you have available.
  • The viability of the eventual sale.
  • Where your development is based.
  • How much you need to borrow.

Is Mezzanine Finance a High-Risk Product?

It can be - you need to understand that you're borrowing from multiple lenders against the same development project, and each loan will carry interest charges.

Mezzanine finance applicants are personally liable, even if you're applying through a business. As such, if the development falls through or the property doesn't sell, you could be risking personal assets.

If you apply through a company, you will be asked for a personal guarantee as security and a risk-aversion measure.

Regulated Development Finance

Now we'll consider regulated development finance; where you're looking for lending to build or renovate your own residential property.

The regulated part of the product refers to the proportion of the property that is being used as a home; if that is over 40%, it becomes a regulated product.

This type of finance is most relevant when a person buys a plot of land to build a property, or wants to develop a new residence in an existing garden space.

What are the Benefits of Regulated Development Finance?

There are lots of reasons you might decide to build your own property - and the benefits of regulated development finance, as well as the critical lending criteria, are below:


  • ·Borrowing capital to build your own bespoke home.
  • ·Highly competitive interest rates.
  • ·Loans start at £50,000 with no upper limit.
  • ·You do not require previous experience.
  • ·Lending can last up to two years.
  • ·There are no monthly repayments, with interest rolled up with the capital.
  • ·You can borrow up to 100% of the costs of the building project.


  • ·You will need to offer a realistic exit strategy such as a remortgage.
  • ·If you have adverse credit, you'll need to work with a specialist broker who can negotiate terms with a niche bad credit lender.

Is There a Maximum I Can Borrow Through Regulated Development Finance?

No, there's no maximum, but loans start at £50,000. The maximum depends on what the land is worth, and how much the property will be valued at when it's finished.

How Do I Pay Back Regulated Development Finance?

Most lenders do not require any regular repayments whilst the build is ongoing. Instead, the monthly interest is rolled into the loan.

When you finish the build, the total is repayable - the capital borrowed, plus the interest accrued.

What Does Regulated Development Finance Cost?

You draw down the funds in stages, at critical points in the building project. Usually, you can draw down a proportion of the facility at the beginning - to purchase the land or pay for upfront costs - and then drawdown tranches as the project progresses.

Interest rates vary depending on the project and the values involved.

The best way to secure competitive interest rates and attractive terms is to work with an experienced development finance broker who can negotiate with the lender on your behalf.

Some lenders do allow voluntary interest payments, which can bring down the total owed. However, most self-build property owners choose to remortgage at the end of the term on much cheaper rates, when the property is worth significantly more than it cost to build.

What is the Difference Between a Regulated Development Loan and a Self-Build Mortgage?

These products are similar, in that they are a way to borrow the funds needed to build a home. Usually, a self-build mortgage is cheaper. However, in many cases, this isn't a viable option, whereas regulated development finance is available.

Scenarios where development finance is more viable include:

  • Adverse credit that will expire before the end of the build. In this situation, you're unlikely to get a self-build mortgage.
  • The security scenario is complicated. For example, if you're building two properties, one to live in and one to sell, a self-build mortgage lender may be unable to help.

Self-build mortgage criteria tend to be stricter, and therefore alternative development finance can allow your construction project to go ahead through a different form of financing.

Residential Development Finance

Our final product is residential development finance. As the name suggests, this sort of loan finances a build of residential property, or the conversion of an existing building.

Residential development finance spans one property build, through to vast projects where thousands of units are planned.

What are the Lending Criteria for Residential Development Finance?

The main criteria for residential development finance include:

  • Lending up to 75% of the gross development value.
  • The security available - where there isn't a deposit.
  • Minimum loan values of £50,000 with no fixed maximum.
  • Interest rates start at 4.5% per year.
  • Developer experience is not an essential criterion.
  • Lenders exist across the UK.
  • Funding can be both regulated and unregulated.
  • Terms start at one month and extend up to three years.
  • No regular repayments are required with interest rolled up into the loan balance.
  • Applicants with adverse credit can be considered.

Can I Get Development Finance for a Mixed Used Property Development?

If you are developing a property, or several properties, where some spaces will be commercial and some residential, you will find the lending criteria very close to those for general residential development finance.

Some lenders might require pre-sale agreements on commercial units since they are harder to sell than vacant residential properties.

You can borrow from £50,000 as with other types of development finance, with the maximum depending on the costs involved.

How Much Does Residential Development Finance Cost?

The lower the risk and the larger the loan, the lower the interest rates will be. Typical interest charges start at 4.5% per annum.

This type of application can be completed in as little as six weeks, although the standard timescale is a little longer.

You can decide on your exit strategy at the point of application. Still, in nearly all cases, you will either sell the property at a profit or remortgage to pay back the development finance.

If you are selling a property - whether residential or commercial - the lender will need to see market estimates that support your projected profit and sale value.

Another newer option is to look at development exit finance. This product is used to refinance development finance through another short-term product, although with lower interest rates.

This option is ideal where sales are taking longer than expected, or where having a little breathing space will help you achieve a higher sales price.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for Residential Development Finance?

The Revolution Brokers team works with a vast network of development finance lenders. So we can recommend lending providers in nearly every scenario that will be able to consider your development financing application.

This includes private developers, partnerships, domestic and offshore businesses, and international investors.

For more information about the different development finance products; and which might be most suitable for you, give us a call on 0330 304 3040 or send an email to

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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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