EstateGuru Investment Review
Disrupting property finance to make it more transparent, flexible and accessible
EstateGuru is a cross-border peer-to-peer lending platform that facilitates investment in secured Estonian and Latvian property loans. EstateGuru set out in 2013 with an objective of ‘disrupting property finance to make it more transparent, flexible and accessible to both international property developers and borrowers who want to raise money against their property and investors looking for secured cross-border investments.’
The phrase ‘cross-border’ is important, as UK investors can invest alongside the 5,500+ people who have lent across the EstateGuru platform since its inception three years ago, receiving an historic average return of 13.4% per annum (p.a).
Here we will take you through the platform’s stats, loans, security, benefits and risks investing in this manual-loan-selection, “Euro P2P” platform.
*EstateGuru is not currently regulated by the UK FCA but is undergoing the approval process, expecting authorisation in early 2017.
EstateGuru Review Statistics
(*statistics and information correct at time of publication, December 2016)
Historic average return
Estimated loss rate 2016
Total lent funds to-date
Total investors to-date
Only companies registered and with a bank account in Estonia and/or Latvia can currently borrow through EstateGuru. As an investor, you can invest in a variety of real estate opportunities, including loans for:
- Property flipping
€20,000 to €3,000,000
Investments can range from one month to five years, with an average loan length 16 months.
As well as a robust vetting process, all loans listed on the EstateGuru platform are secured by a mortgage.
EstateGuru will assess the borrower’s credit worthiness, business plan and the mortgage appraisal report in order to ensure loan repayments can and will be made. EstateGuru has had no borrower defaults to-date – ‘borrower default’ is when a borrower cannot repay the outstanding debt under the agreed repayment schedule.
EstateGuru always includes an appraisal report from a third party. If necessary, a fourth company will be included to assess the collateral (e.g in case of a forest, a professional timber company).
*Historical performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
EstateGuru loans are secured by a mortgage. All mortgages are held by a segregated entity to EstateGuru, called EstateGuru Tagatisagent OU (EstateGuru Security Agent). Once a loan is fully invested, the borrower must visit a notary’s office and enter into a security agreement with the Security Agent that represents the investors in order to create a mortgage.
The Security Agent is a separate limited liability company; its primary purpose is to hold loan security in order to protect investors should EstateGuru become insolvent.
The average Loan-to-Value (LTV) of EstateGuru loans is 53.35%, maximum is 75%.
(LTV represents the amount that can be borrowed in relation to the value of the asset underwriting the loan.)
EstateGuru Investment Process
There are six main steps to the EstateGuru investment process.
1. Register as an investor
You can register if you are UK-based or simply if you have a European bank account. Once your account has been activated via email you will have a secured virtual investor account.
2. Deposit funds into your virtual account
You can invest from €50 and you will be required to complete Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before placing funds into your account.
This is a fairly quick and simple process – you simply need to forward a copy of your ID. Some UK platforms require
3. Select a project to invest in
You can browse investment opportunities, reviewing the loan purpose, target raise, term, rate, expiry date, security details and set the amount you wish to invest before clicking ‘Proceed’.
If you require more information, you can ‘Read more+’ where further details around the loan request and security package can be found. EstateGuru provides information about the borrower, the collateral, the project itself and even the third party appraisal report.
The financing round is normally open for five days to two weeks. You can commit funds alongside other investors until the target fundraise amount is reached. If the target amount is not reached, your funds will be returned.
If the target amount is reached, investor’ funds are released to the borrower, less the borrower fee which is payable to EstateGuru. Funds are only released once the borrower security has been granted and other drawdown conditions have been satisfied.
Your principal investment and interest will be returned by the borrower in accordance with the repayment schedule, agreed upon at the time of investment. Interest can be withdrawn or reinvested.
All repayments can be monitored via the ‘Portfolio’ page, within your personal account.
*UK investors can invest across EstateGuru. Investors from 34 countries have lent across the platform.
Investments & Returns
EstateGuru explains in its FAQ section that returns can range from 5% – 20% p.a depending on the characteristics of the loan. An historical rate of return of 13.4% p.a is displayed on the EstateGuru website.
Projects can be funded in Estonia or Latvia and currently there is one project available to fund on the EstateGuru platform.
Project – Working capital loan (Estonia)
Target raise: €154,500
Expiry date: 3 days
Interest rate: 11% p.a
Term: 18 months
LTV rate: 48%
This project is currently 65.4% funded.
Benefit vs Risk Investing
Diversified portfolio (benefit)
If you are an investor seeking exposure to opportunities in a different country, EstateGuru could be a viable option. You can construct your own portfolio of real estate investments, lending to Estonian or Latvian borrowers, earning yield in the region 13% p.a.
Unfamiliar investment environment (risk)
You may have reservations about lending across a peer-to-peer lending platform that operates under a foreign framework.
EstateGuru abides by the ‘Finance Estonia Best Practice For Crowdfunding’ legal document, created by Deloitte Legal and FinanceEstonia.EU in order to provide some protection for investors and borrowers – crowdfunding is not currently regulated by Estonian law, however a specific law is being developed as we speak.
Here is an extract from the Best Practice document:
‘FinanceEstonia and the Law Firm Deloitte Legal Estonia have created the Best Practice for the Crowdfunding industry (hereinafter the Best Practice) in order to provide the code of conduct to all the internet-based crowdfunding platforms in Estonia that have joined the Best Practice at hand. The compliance with the Best Practice does not exempt a crowdfunding platform provider from following the requirements provided by law.’
*EstateGuru is not a UK regulated peer-to-peer lending platform but has applied to the UK FCA.
EstateGuru has applied for authorisation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), anticipating launch in early 2017. The Estonian peer-to-peer lending platform has succeeded in returning high-yield to retail investors across 34 countries. Getting comfortable lending in a different country and in an unregulated environment (despite Best Practice legal processes in place) can be challenging, especially for less experienced investors.
However, if you are looking to diversify your portfolio with Eurozone real estate loans, EstateGuru could be a good option. With UK FCA authorisation on the horizon, this Euro P2P platform could pave the way for other non-UK platforms breaking into the home of peer-to-peer lending.