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What are the risks of property crowdfunding?

January 8, 2018

1. Property prices could fall meaning that the value of your shares can decline.

The price of your shares are based upon the price of the property at the time of funding. For example, an investment costing £100,000 will have 100,000 shares available to purchase at £1 per share.

We have the property valued every three months by independent surveyors. We then update the value of your shares based upon this valuation. Based on the example above if the investment is re-valued at £90,000, then each of the 100,000 shares will now be worth £0.90.

What do we do to minimise this risk?

We vet properties to minimise the risk of the property price falling and maximise the chance of the price rising. We do this by providing houses that have very strong rental demand and which have a history of being rented out year on year.

2. There may be periods when the property is not rented out and you will not receive any rent.

If the property is not rented out or some of the rooms are not rented out then the amount you receive in rental income may be less than we state. If this is the case then you may not receive any monthly rental income or the rental income you receive may be less than expected.

What do we do to minimise this risk?

We work with the best letting agents we can to minimise this risk and only pick properties that have a strong rental history going back many years. By picking houses in areas with strong demand we minimise the risk that they will be empty for any extended periods.

 

3. There must be a buyer for your shares when you want to sell.

Investments in U Own are illiquid in nature, meaning that you may not be able to easily sell your shares in a given property, or you may not be able to find a buyer at all, before the end of the investment term. When you choose to list your shares for sale we will market them at the current market rate, which is calculated every quarter. There must be someone willing to purchase your shares at the market rate for you to sell them. 

What do we do to minimise this risk?

We will actively market your shares and do our best to facilitate the sale of your shares at the current market value. We aim to find a buyer within 3 weeks. However, we cannot guarantee that a buyer for your shares will be found.

 

Note: You shouldn’t invest money you will need access to immediately. UOWN works best if viewed as a long-term investment.

4. Our forecasts and past performance help with the guesswork but we are only human and can’t predict the future.

Past performance of a property is not indicative of future results, and forecasts of future results are not guaranteed.

What do we do to minimise this risk?

We base our forecasts on long term historical data to ensure that any predictions are resilient to short term changes in prices. We also ensure that all costs, insurance and taxes are accounted for with margins to ensure that a cushion is in place should something untoward happen. (More on this below)

All of these costs are based off the experience of The Parklane Group who have been letting and managing properties in Leeds for 40+ years. The Parklane Group is our primary backer and strategic partner. Despite our best efforts the true returns you receive may be higher or lower than we predict.

 

5. What if the property burns down? Floods? Is destroyed by a student party or has other general wear and tear?

 

Whilst the chances of some of these things happening is very low we must always safeguard against them. If one of the above situations were to occur it potentially could impact on the price of your shares and the ability of the property to generate rent for a short or extended period of time.

What do we do to minimise this risk?

Insurance

The insurance we have on each property covers the following:

  • Reinstatement Costs
  • Landlord Contents Cover
  • Loss of Rent

Insurance is specific to each property and the cost of insurance is deducted on a monthly basis from Gross Rent. This means the cost is handled seamlessly and the return you see each month already has this cost deducted.

Maintenance

We deduct 5% of the Gross Rent to cover maintenance and upkeep of each property.  This cost is already deducted from the return you see each month, so you will not part with any extra cash.

Vacant Property Allowance

Some properties we have on the site may not have as strong a rental history as others. For such properties we will deduct money for the properties’ standalone fund to cover any void periods.

6. If something happens to one house will my investments in other properties be affected?

Each property is owned and operated by a separate Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) This means that each property is ring fenced and if anything happens to that property it will have no effect on any of your other investments.

 

7. No coverage under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Your investment is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

8. The importance of diversification

We recommend that you diversify your portfolio by investing only a portion of your disposable income in a variety of different investments across different platforms in order to mitigate risk.

 

9. No financial advice

UOWN do not provide financial advice or recommendations. If you are not sure whether or not investing in UOWN is right for you, you should seek the advice of an independent financial advisor who is authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.