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Timing is Key

Tim Hodges, Acquisitions Director of the Vincit Group, comments

We exchanged on our Hornchurch site at last, which took longer than expected mainly down to our lack of experience in selling a company.  Our buyer wanted to save money on tax and, therefore, we agreed to sell our SPV that owned Hornchurch.  Even with the support of our amazing solicitor the amount of paperwork involved was staggering. From loan agreements to director resignation letters, all of which makes complete sense when selling a company but it still required a steep learning curve from all involved. The timeline for this project has been 10 months which has returned a 28% margin on GDV whilst still leaving a healthy return for the buyer.  A major delay with this project was, as is quite common, planning. We were due to get a decision on the enhanced planning we put in three months earlier but because our case officer had missed our communication input he had put us at the end of the queue for the committee meeting.  

Our Surrey deal that we were due to exchange on didn’t proceed as planned.  This was very frustrating for me as I had put a lot of time and effort into this and I kept telling Harinder, our investor relations director, “next week, next week we will exchange.”

This was a subject to planning (STP) deal with an element of cash up front based on a creative agreement which I had highlighted here in previous articles.  We were actually beaten to the post by another developer who had bigger plans for a retirement project. We had looked at buying up the remaining houses but the figures didn’t stack up and clearly, we hadn’t looked at the retirement angle. I was dealing with owners who lived far apart which added to the delay and of course I didn’t envisage a retirement developer coming in and offering £400,000 more. So, this one got away but I understand it happens and move on! Maybe we should look at the retirement route…

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