Meet the broker… FinSpace Group

Meet Gianluca Villella, consultant at FinSpace Group

Tell us a bit about your business?

At FinSpace, we pride ourselves on being one of the UK’s leading fin-tech specialist finance brokers, having recently won two prestigious awards, Best Bridging Broker and Best Development Broker at the Bridging & Commercial Awards 2023.

We have access to structured funding solutions for every client’s requirements and nurture relationships with the majority of the lenders in the industry to ensure the whole team stays updated on market and product changes, in order to efficiently advise on any project we are presented with.

Our tech experts have ideated a constantly evolving digital platform that allows us to approach the market from a fintech perspective, which greatly facilitates rapid packaging to ensure applications are submitted and managed with ease.

Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?

Based in the heart of the City of London, in Moorgate.

We are a stone’s throw away from many lender headquarters and operate on a national scale, for any specialist property funding needs across the UK.

What are the main issues impacting your local market?

Recent global events have significantly impacted the local economy, affecting the way potential investors and developers approach an opportunity.

Inflation has left its mark on the property market, as we see vendors lose bargaining power when trying to sell their properties, due to a lack of buyers and increased competition, resulting in a steady decrease in property prices.

Unsold properties create a surplus in stock that cannot be matched by demand due to rising interest rates that make securing a mortgage highly unattractive.

This has inevitably reduced the volume of enquiries we receive from the average customer, who is now simply on the hunt for information rather than holding an actual live requirement.

Experienced investors with access to their own cash who aren’t shy of factoring costs into their appraisals have nonetheless learned to thrive in this environment, attracted by the possibility of securing properties at a discount, where vendors aren’t willing to wait any longer in fear of further value reductions.

This is where we successfully step in, securing quick and reliable bridging or development loans with an eye for each client’s best interest.

What challenges are you facing as a broker?

Managing clients’ expectations in the current market has proven to be tricky due to the constant changes in product pricing and criteria.

Many investors account for a contingency to prevent sudden blows to project viability, and we advise each client that doesn’t, to do so, but tight profit margins need to be addressed before formalising an application process, as they can prove significantly detrimental regardless of budgeting when lenders increase pricing across all products with very short notice.

Valuers pose an additional obstacle as they price conservatively and in line with expectations in today’s market.

Projects today require an extra layer of attention to detail to account for what is no longer considered to be an unforeseen circumstance, but rather a probable one.

This either creates mutual trust between us and the client, as we navigate through the complexities of the deal together, or it can tempt them to look elsewhere with the suspicion of us not being able to source the amount they require or being too cautious.

We inevitably must advise customers on the risks involved with the investment, but we are consequently forced to accept the possibility of losing business to other less-attentive brokers.

I believe this will however filter out the non-repeat customers and create sturdier alliances with the more seasoned ones, which in turn should prove worthwhile.

What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?

We see quite a variety of opportunities both local and nationwide, to be able to assist with any residential or commercial project.

We have recently expanded into the second charge secured space and have since registered a spike of relevant enquiries.

The market fluctuates and dictates the type of leads we receive, ranging from regulated vanilla chain-break scenarios to large-scale developments.

Brokers should plan ahead and prepare for incoming business, based on political/economic occurrences that are likely to impact the market significantly, creating a stream of similar situations that need to be addressed in a timely manner.

Keeping an eye on the country’s economy is definitely of great assistance.

What could lenders do to help further your business?

I think we can all agree that pricing is an intricate matter, and each lender will have different structures and strategies that justify the way they market their products.

Lenders actually differentiate themselves when it comes to appetite and criteria, and providing expert insight into the convoluted nature of this constantly changing manual really makes the broker stand out amongst a crowd of promised cheap rates and quick solutions.

The biggest help we can receive from lenders is therefore periodic catch-ups to maintain our position on the podium, by keeping up-to-date on recent developments and synchronising our advice with the latest criteria.

What sets you apart from the competition?

Our fintech-led software and own internal marketing lead generation systems permit us to originate a substantial volume of business to be submitted to our network of strong relationships with over 130 UK lenders.

Sending in repeat business and offering excellent service allow us to have influence over the fees and structure/placement of a loan: this means working with us can greatly reduce the total cost of borrowing, or avoid the client the inconvenience of going through an application for an incorrect type of mortgage, with an unsuitable lender.

We do not charge broker fees for most of our services and always offer market-wide coverage and up-to-date consultations.

Our mission is to work alongside the borrower to ensure their projects are complete and their requirements are satisfied through expert product/lender selection, trustworthy advice and efficient case management.

How should potential borrowers contact you?

I can be reached at [email protected] or by calling the office main line on 02039501876.

All borrowers are always welcome to come by our office at 22 City Road, London EC1Y 2AJ.