Mortgage brokers are coming across clients – often high-net-worth individuals – who want international bridging finance. If you haven’t done an international bridging deal before, what do you need to know as a broker, and how is this type of lending different from domestic loans?
What is international bridging finance?
International bridging means different things to different people, lenders included. To us, it means:
- Securing a short-term loan on a property located outside the UK
- The borrower wants to deploy the capital internationally
- The loan involves international structures, or the property is owned by an offshore entity
International bridging finance also encompasses cases where the borrower is a ‘foreign national.’ That might be when:
- The borrower is a UK resident but does not have British nationality
- The borrower may have no links to the UK and exclusively holds foreign property
- The borrower has no connection with the country where the asset is located except for the ownership of a property, i.e., a UK national and resident that owns a holiday home in Switzerland
- The borrower is a UK expat who resides abroad. They may want bridging finance on a UK property or a property in another location
- The borrower is a foreign entity
We can cater to all sorts of scenarios where there is an international component, whether that’s the borrower, the asset or the structures involved in the deal.
Why does Tenn offer international bridging finance?
We know that brokers are working more regularly with foreign property buyers, investors with international property portfolios and individuals who own or want to buy property through international structures. It’s challenging for brokers working with these clients to find lenders who can cater to these kinds of deals. We wanted to make it easier for brokers and borrowers to secure short-term loans against luxury property when there is an international element in the transaction.
Do you only offer international bridging finance for new property purchases?
No – we lend in lots of different scenarios. Of course, we regularly have brokers approach us because they have a client that wants to use bridging finance to create liquidity to buy a new property. The property they use as security might be international, or they might want to buy a new property aboard.
But we are also happy to lend in other scenarios. If the maths adds up the there’s a good exit plan, we are also happy to see a borrower use international bridging finance to do anything from solving a cash flow challenge to investing in an opportunity or growing a business.
Does Tenn have fixed lending criteria for international bridging finance?
No. Tenn considers each application based on its merits without borrowers or assets needing to meet standard lending criteria. We’re either looking for a fantastic international asset or a borrower with a great profile, reputation, and track record. If one (preferably both) of those elements is there, we can usually consider lending.
My client would like to structure lending through one of their international entities. Can you cater to this?
Yes. We regularly lend in deals with different types of international entities. Sometimes a loan will include both international and UK entities, and we can cater to this, too. We can lend directly to international structures or in cases where an international entity holds the asset either in the UK or abroad.
How does Tenn approach international deals, and what’s different from domestic bridging loans?
We lend upwards of £1 million against property valued at £2-£20 million. We can lend in various currencies and consider lending to borrowers located anywhere in the world. However, we only lend against prime residential real estate, no matter where it is located.
International bridging deals aren’t all that different from domestic deals from the perspective of what we’re looking for. We:
- Only lend to borrowers who are in a good financial position
- Will verify the applicant’s situation before making a lending decision
- Are looking for a fantastic asset or a borrower with a great profile, reputation, and track record
- Need to understand the complete picture: why the loan is required, how the borrower will exit, how the borrower will deploy the capital, etc.
Is exiting an international bridging loan different from exiting a domestic bridging loan?
Generally not. Exiting an international deal tends to be relatively similar to domestic deals: refinancing, disposal of the asset or raising capital to repay the loan through other liquidity events are the norm. As a lender, we’re also looking at the same things as we would in a UK-based deal which includes clear and feasible plans and so on.
What am I likely to find more complex about an international bridging finance deal as a broker?
International lending can sometimes be less straightforward than a UK deal because as a lender, we’ve got to consider different currencies, regulations, languages and so on. Still, that doesn’t need to add more complexity for you as a broker. We are used to dealing with all the elements of international lending, and we have a ready-to-go network of advisors to help us structure an international deal in a way that meets your client’s requirements. We can sometimes require more information in international deals, especially if a structure is involved. However, we’ll be able to let you know what these are upfront, and you’ll find that clients and their advisors will have them to hand quite as they’re very standard from an international structuring, KYC and compliance perspective.
Like with UK-based deals, we run into challenges if we don’t have the full details or facts from a borrower or if we’re missing information or documents. Otherwise, things can move quickly in international bridging loans.
For our part, we work closely with brokers and keep you in the loop every step of the way. If there are things you want to understand better (structures, how things work, how and why we will structure things in a certain way), we are always delighted to break things down and explain the ins and outs.
Does international bridging finance take longer to arrange than domestic deals?
Not necessarily – we get every deal completed as quickly as possible. We have arranged international bridging loans where the borrower could draw down funds in just 15 days.
Many people assume that international bridging finance takes longer because it is more ‘complicated’ than UK bridging finance lending. That will often be the case, and sometimes we encounter a challenge that wouldn’t have necessarily presented itself in a domestic deal. This might be related to how a borrower wants to structure the deal, the structures which hold assets, the borrower’s exit or elements that relate to your client as a borrower.
But there’s very little we can’t solve from a legal perspective, providing the borrower and the property is sound from an AML and compliance standpoint. We have access to global advisors and legal teams who can understand these deals (including the borrowers that make applications and the structures that are typically part of these transactions).
How do you assess international property?
Just as for UK bridging loans, we will appoint a valuer to perform a valuation of the property. Going further, we look at the same things in an international asset as we do in a UK asset: property value vs LTV, property market liquidity, the reason for borrowing, exit and so on. Liquidity in the market where the asset is located is important for us, and if the property and the lender are also satisfactory, we can usually consider lending.
Do you work with non-UK residents using bridging finance for the first time?
Yes, we can – provided we are satisfied with the borrower’s profile and the asset. If the borrower plans to refinance but they haven’t previously had a UK footprint of any kind, the fact that we have offered bridging finance can sometimes facilitate getting a longer-term mortgage or refinancing, but this will be lender dependent.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, please get in touch.