In our recent webinar, the Portfolio Buy-to-Let team gave an overview of our Portfolio Buy-to-Let loan and answered questions from an interactive audience.

In our new, Covid-secure world, the way we do business has changed, but we haven’t. Getting to know our clients and building strong and hopefully long-lasting relationships is still part of our DNA, it’s just a little bit tougher on a Teams call. So, we’re taking the opportunity to introduce, or in some cases, reintroduce, our Commercial Lending team to you. 

In part one of our ‘Introducing…’ series, we talk to relationship manager, Jill Woodward, to find out what motivates her and how she can help you. 

Jill is a relationship manager for the Commercial Lending department and, in late 2020, she joined our specialist Portfolio Buy-to-Let team. Here, Jill explains what led her into financial services and how she can help you: 

How did you start out in finance? 

I started out in branch banking with Bank of Scotland. After completing my Chartered Banker qualification, I worked for the Credit Sanctioning department in Glasgow Chief Office, which provided a great grounding in a variety of lending situations. I dealt with all sorts, from salmon farming to fishing, quite different to what I’m doing today! After a spell there, I moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I joined the Mergers and Acquisitions team. I came to Wales in 2002 and became a member of the Real Estate team at HBOS, which is where I really became interested in property development and investment.  

How did you start your career in Hodge? 

I joined Hodge in August 2019 after nearly seven years in a similar role at the Principality Building Society. I felt ready for a new challenge, and Hodge’s growth plans provided the perfect platform to utilise my skills and experience. 

What does a normal day at Hodge look like for you? 

We’re a small team of six very different, but like-minded individuals, with a unique balance of skills and experience. We work in a very collegiate way, where peer review is an integral part of how we operate; everyone is keen to contribute and support one another. Honesty and transparency are key, and there are very few subjects, if any, that are off limits! 

As a relationship manager, I really enjoy the fact no two days look the same, it’s great getting to know new clients and building lasting relationships with existing ones. In the Buy-to-Let team, I largely focus on three key areas: 

  1. Managing the team and workflow on a day-to-day basis 
  1. Transaction management and deal execution – making sure that once we have agreed to make a facility available, all the processes are completed, and the loan is drawn 
  1. Business development and broker liaison – we deal with quite literally hundreds of brokers and it’s my role to ensure they’re all kept up to speed with what we can offer their clients. 

What’s your advice for anyone hoping to embark on a career in banking today? 

The world of banking and finance is now much more disparate, with challenger banks and numerous fintech platforms creating wider opportunities. The days of starting your career in branch banking are pretty much consigned to history, so focus on what interests you. 

Be prepared to be flexible, both in terms of role and geographic location; be selective in the challenges and opportunities you accept – you don’t have to say yes to everything! 

Finally, don’t rush your career – take time to learn your subject in-depth, and enjoy the journey. After all, you’ll potentially be working for a greater number of years than any previous generation, so don’t be in a hurry to “peak” too early in life. Accept that sometimes a sideways move is the right thing to do to keep a sense of proportion between career and personal life. Be discerning – building a network of people on LinkedIn is relatively easy, but it’s important to focus on who can offer real support and sound advice that’ll benefit you in your chosen career. 

Finally, what’s your top tip for working from home? 

Be disciplined but retain flexibility – shape your day to suit the business needs of colleagues and clients, making sure you carve out appropriate “me” time; take a proper lunch break, and enjoy the freedom that this opportunity gives us all, be it a morning run, lunchtime swim, or afternoon walk. 

According to new research by Hodge, portfolio buy-to-let landlords are responding to a changing market and are starting to seriously consider the green credentials of homes, along with rental yield and opportunity for capital growth, when making investment decisions. 

Our research asked landlords, investors, and brokers what their top priorities were when purchasing properties, and found that, for 82% of respondents, environmental friendliness and energy efficiency were up there with rental yield in the top three considerations. 

Andy Button, Head of Investment Finance, said: “The buy-to-let market is particularly buoyant right now with demand continuing to grow throughout the pandemic, and it’s interesting to see how the priorities for landlords are changing when looking to add to their portfolio. 

“While rental yield and potential for capital growth are, of course, top priorities our research reflects a change in mood of the market, where sustainability and green credentials are becoming ever more important.” 

“According to a recent Savills report, 26% of people considered the environment the most important issue facing the country and, according to Opinium research, 78% of the public believe they have a personal responsibility to deal with the climate crisis – many of these people will be renters. Therefore to stay competitive landlords can’t ignore tenant preference; they, along with developers and estate agents, are having to provide choice in sustainable housing options.” 

Andy added: “It’s clear that sustainability will feature more and more in new build development design, and more stringent compliance to EPC, and an investment strategy more closely aligned to sustainability could actually improve cash flows in the longer term, as tenants might be prepared to pay higher rents, in exchange for lower utility costs. 

“Our research suggests that investors are very much alive to the longer term benefits that having sustainability credentials in a portfolio can afford.” 

We’ve developed our Portfolio Buy-to-Let product for landlords with four or more properties, who want to stay organised with one loan to cover them all. It offers mortgages of up to £5million for between four and 15 properties and will also loan to those buying multi-unit blocks.  We also offer a Specialised Residential Investment loan, up to £10million, for larger investors with over 15 properties/units, and includes specialist property types, like multi-unit blocks and Houses of Multiple Occupancy. 

We’ve written a guide on how to make your property more environmentally friendly – 5 ways to make your property more environmentally friendly – which you, or your clients, might find useful.  

Hodge has recently completed a deal to fund 22 new build properties on a former brown-field site near historic market town in South West England.  

Working with Clayewater Homes, a registered Help-to-Buy developer, Hodge has agreed to fund a development of 22 new build properties on a former brownfield site near Torrington, Devon. The homes will be directly opposite local amenities, such as a swimming pool and football club, as well as shops, supermarkets, banks, and several pubs. 

Formerly a haulage yard with a workshop and storage sheds, the redeveloped site will offer a range of family homes, priced to suit first time buyers, young families, and those looking for the next step or to relocate to the country.  

An experienced developer, Clayewater Homes also has its own timber frame manufacturing operation, which they use for all developments – including this one, which will see the development of family homes built with timber frames.  

Speaking about the deal, Greg Prescott, Senior Development Finance Manager at Hodge, said, ‘It’s always a pleasure working with experienced housebuilders like Clayewater Homes – particularly when the homes being built will help first time buyers to get on the property ladder, and make use of brownfield sites in need of redevelopment. We’re looking forward to being involved in this project and watching the development progress.’ 

Brian Webber, of Clayewater Homes, said, ‘Hodge has been a great lending partner, really helping us to get this development off the ground. We have worked with Greg before, and always found him to be personable and easy to work with. We hope to continue working with Hodge in future.’  

FInd out more about our Development Finance work and how our expert team could help you.

We’ve refreshed our Portfolio Buy to Let (PBTL) proposition, with the relaunch of our standard PBTL product and a new Specialised Residential Investment proposition. This builds on our recent innovation in the PBTL space over the past 18 months, aligning the proposition with Hodge’s established track record of success in more complex investment property finance.  

The Specialised Residential Investment product is aimed at landlords with larger portfolios or those with specialised assets, such as houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) or multi-unit freehold blocks (MUFBs).  

This new proposition will allow us to support to landlords with debt requirements ranging from £500,000 to £10million.  

Our flexible PBTL and Specialised Residential Investment products provide landlords with one loan, secured by multiple properties. This means landlords can add properties to the loan as their portfolio grows, or potentially recycle equity within their portfolio as assets are traded. Both products are available to Ltd company, LLP, or individual borrowers. 

Our standard PBTL product is for landlords with debt requirements of up to £5million or fifteen properties, with rates from 3.55%.  

We’ve designed our new Specialised Residential Investment product for landlords with larger portfolios or those with specialised assets, like HMOs, MUBs, or development refinance, with a maximum loan size of £10million. There’s no cap on the number of properties owned and rates for this product start from 3.75%. 

Mike Clifford, Head of Buy To Let at Hodge, said: “We’ve been very successful with our flexible PBTL product, but felt that to better serve landlords across the spectrum we needed a specialist product that can adequately cater for those with complex needs. Particularly those larger landlords who have a portfolio that require specialist underwriting capabilities. 

“Hodge’s offering is about flexibility and finding solutions that work for our customers and brokers, that’s why we underwrite and manage all our or loans on a portfolio, rather than individual asset basis.” 

Mike added: “We realise that not all property portfolios are the same and work with brokers and landlords to help them achieve their strategic aims with these loans. We believe by introducing products such as this, we can better support investors, allowing them to focus on managing their portfolios.” 

You can find out more details in our flyer, here, or get more information on our Portfolio Buy-to-Let offering.

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