Scotland has been rightly identified as one of the property hotspots for the coming 12 months and so it was no surprise to see such a great turnout at this year’s event, with nearly a hundred professional landlords and new developers wanting the valuable insights on offer.

The Scotland Property Investment Conference (SPIC) is an annual event designed to help people get involved in the property market, with advice from experts on the best investment strategies, the pitfalls to be avoided and how best to finance a property project.

Which is where Signature Property Finance comes in. Although this event was held in Edinburgh (home to our Scotland office), which along with Glasgow attracts all the attention, there is a lot of great property outside these areas, offering some great potential to be unlocked.

Energy in the room

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel was the venue and there was a host of presenters with significant property investment experience amongst them, including my own personal journey through the highs and lows of investing in property.

It’s important everyone enters the world of property investment with their eyes wide open; there are good profits to be made, but there is little room for error and it can be an unforgiving market for the unprepared.

There were presentations covering every aspect of property investment, including buying to rent, HMO conversions, commercial multi-lets, commercial to residential conversions projects and of course form me, how to finance both the property purchase and any refurbishment works.

A lot of the focus from other presenters was on the opportunities presented by commercial property, particularly in Edinburgh and Glasgow, both cities with a vibrant and growing culture revolving around students, bars, cafés and restaurants – higher yields yes, but also more risk.

My presentation explained how those needing funds from alternative lenders like Signature Property Finance, typically to cover purchase of residential properties, could help themselves with a better understanding of the process, the timescales and the documents we need to get deals done.

This overview covered the likely scenarios, the best product for the appropriate property and the investors unique situation, along with our newly launched 3-year bridge-to-let and development funding (ground up) products, both of which we expect to prove attractive in Scotland.

Not a postcode lender

One issue that cropped up more than once, was the lack of interest from some lenders to fund the purchase and development of properties outside Edinburgh and Glasgow, or the corridor that joins the two.

It was gratifying to report on deals we have supported in Dundee and Aberdeen, to name but two, which highlighted to the investors present that what matters to us, is the strength of the deal, the experience of the developer and the properties involved, not necessarily their postcode.

This ability to judge the strength of a deal relies on local knowledge, an understanding of an area and it’s people, the likely future impacts of decisions made by local authorities etc., and that’s why we have teams on the ground across the UK.

Our office in Scotland is headed by Alan Coats, who joined us following time as an Area Director for the Bank of Scotland, where over more than 30 years he demonstrated a clear understanding of the property hotspots in Scotland and the funding needs of professional developers.

This was a good event that showed there is a lot of optimism amongst property investors in Scotland, many of whom we have started meaningful relationships with thanks to the SPIC event in Edinburgh.

I look forward to explaining the benefits of the Signature approach to more developers and investors soon, who will learn that we always do what we say we will and in this market, that’s a refreshing change, as I was told more than once at this event.