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What is property crowdfunding?

UOWN uses technology to help lots of people come to together to invest in expertly picked property investments. Until recently investing in property required lots of cash and expertise, but each active member of UOWN community (a UOWNer) can invest as much as they can afford and not have to worry about the day-to-day management headaches.

Property crowdfunding overview

Property prices in many areas have gotten pretty silly, and now a lot of us can’t afford to buy a whole house. Property crowdfunding platforms allow investors to pool their money so that together they can buy a house, and everyone gets a share based on how much money they contribute.

The property is then rented out and everyone gets their share of the rent, and as the house price changes the value of your shares change as well. So you can make money from rent and, if the value of the property rises, you share in the capital growth. You can get involved with any value investment to suit you, from just £1 upwards, and we handle all the day-to-day management and hassle.

We also crowdfund developments, where the investment is about building new houses and making money from the gain in value rather than the rental income. Across the industry, investments can be in both commercial and residential property.

SPVs allow lots of people to invest in a property

Here at UOWN, we hand-pick high yielding properties, some of which come from our partners The Parklane Group. In the UK, a property can only have four people on the title deed. To enable a crowd of people to own a house, we therefore form a new company (a Special Purpose Vehicle or SPV) every time we buy a property, and when you invest you become a shareholder in the SPV.

SPVs can have lots of shareholders, so this means hundreds of people can all own a share in the house. Each SPV owns a single property and is completely separate from UOWN, so if something happens to us the SPV will be unaffected - some people describe this as ‘ring-fencing the investments’. Likewise, should investors wish to sell their share of the property they can try to do so without the property itself being sold.

How property crowdfunding works: the process

Here’s a quick summary of how property crowdfunding actually works:

  1. UOWN finds a property investment.
  2. Every investment undergoes a thorough due diligence process.
  3. UOWN forms an SPV to hold the investment.
  4. Qualifying investors invest an amount that is suitable for them which means they are buying shares in the SPV.
  5. Any construction work is carried out.
  6. For Buy-to-let opportunities, the property will be rented out and investors will receive a monthly rent payment as well as a share of the capital growth if the price increases. For developments, the property will be put on the market and sales proceeds paid back to the investors based on their proportional shareholding in the SPV.
  7. For Buy-to-let opportunities, you can sell your shares at any time to another user, or increase your shareholding by purchasing shares on the resale market. For developments, you will be unable to exit until the end of the investment term.

Property crowdfunding advantages

One of the great benefits of crowdfunding property is the much lower barriers to entry (If you choose to invest with us you can start with as little as £1) and the ability to diversify and invest in a very 'hands off' manner.

  • Diversification: Research suggests that traditional property investors should hold more than one property to reduce their risk. UOWN's platform lets investors easily split their funds across different properties to achieve diversification.
  • Ease of Management: There’s nothing worse than an angry wake-up call from a resident after the boiler’s broken on a chilly February morning. Dealing with local property management companies can have its difficulties too. Investing via a property investment platform can give you peace of mind, UOWN has very low fees compared to the industry standard (10% Vs. 15% ongoing management fee.). We account for all provision and maintenance costs of our properties.
  • Management Expertise & Experience: The properties on our platform are picked by people with a lifetime of experience in property investment. For example, Parklane Properties, who manage some of our properties, are specialists in the Leeds geography when it comes to student lettings. They have over 40 years’ experience and more than 3500 student beds under management.

Property Crowdfunding Disadvantages

Whilst investing in property can be considered a safe investment due to the fact it is backed by a tangible asset, it is not without risks. These include loss of capital and income from property investment is not guaranteed. To find out more about the risks you can check out our page dedicated to explaining all the risks.

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