Loan types available
Website and investment product features
What is Somo? How does it work?
Somo is a P2P investment site that focuses on providing short term (‘bridge’) loans secured on British real estate. Interest rates are high – typically around 10%. Somo was previously known as Bridgecrowd – it changed its branding towards the end of 2020. Somo loans are either 1st lien or 2nd lien (where another borrower has a priority charge on the property). LTVs are similar to other sites offering these types of loans – usually between 50-70%.
The borrowers using Somo fall into three groups. Firstly, there are small property investors who need to raise funds quickly to fund an additional property purchase. Secondly, there are borrowers seeking to do a quick, light refurbishment and to then sell the property again. The final category is business owners borrowing against the value of their house to raise funds for their business.
Somo is a simple platform to use. The site provides all the key information you would expect such as an independent valuation of the collateral, some information about the borrower, how the loan is structured, and some commentary. Investors can self-select loans or set up an auto-invest. We would not recommend using auto-invest for Somo loans as we think each loan should be reviewed before purchasing. The demand for loans is high and purchase orders need to be placed quickly when new loans are listed.
There are two elements that make Somo different from others. Firstly, it allows a ‘lead’ investor to open and operate sub-accounts in the names of other family members. We think this is a great feature as it can be very helpful for tax planning purposes. Secondly, when a loan is listed, Somo investors place orders, and Somo then manually allocates the loan to different investors. While this can lead to up to 24 hours delay in receiving confirmation of the investment, it is designed to ensure that as many investors as possible have an opportunity to invest in each loan.
We think the returns offered by Somo are excellent relative to risk levels. The interest rates tend to be in the 10-12% region. We think is attractive for secured loans. LTVs can vary but are usually between 50-70%. Sometimes very low LTV loans appear, which will be attractive to cautious investors.
You can find the lending statistics and most recent performance here. Any investor in Somo loans needs to understand that the risk that a loan will not be repaid by the maturity date is relatively high – this happens around 25% of the time. However the low LTVs and Somo’s litigation protocols means that investors have never suffered a loss on any loan to date, which we think is an outstanding lending track record. So investors can have confidence that there is a high likelihood that they will recover their investment, the timing can be uncertain.
This means that Somo is not suitable for investors that know that they will need to withdraw the funds again soon after the loan maturity date. Once a loan has gone beyond the maturity date it cannot be sold on the secondary market and the investor needs to wait for the loan to be repaid or the collateral recovered.
Our most preferred loans are those secured on mid-range residential properties that are being renovated. Our least preferred loans on Somo are those secured against old, lower quality commercial assets.
We think that Somo is an excellent platform. The returns available compare very favourably against other platforms – often 3-6% pa higher returns for loans with the same risk profile. Its £5,000 minimum investment in each loan makes it an option though only for investors with larger sums to invest.
We love the way that the site allows investors to set up multiple sub-accounts in the names of different family members. This can be very efficient when a family member needs to assist in the allocation of investments for their spouses / other family members due to tax planning or other reasons.
It is not the largest or most sophisticated platform operating currently. What Somo lacks in frills, it more than makes up for in providing detailed documentation, sensible loan structuring, and strong returns. No Somo investor has had a loss yet on any loan sold on the platform.
Loan availability has been improving. Loans no longer sell out within seconds. This makes it a much more attractive and easy to use platform than it was 12 months ago. This growth has also led to the company operating Somo to become profitable, which is good news for both Somo and its investors.
For P2P investors looking to invest large sums into British loans, Somo is one of the very best options right now.
If you are interested in opening a Somo account, we can provide you with an exclusive £100 cashback bonus. For more details on this offer, click here. It’s one of the largest bonuses available on our site currently, from one of the best platforms. This offer is not available directly from Somo, and terms and conditions apply. It won’t change your life, but it might be worth the 10 seconds it takes to set up.
Kuflink offers British bridge loans and developer loans. It is one of the most similar sites to Bridgecrowd, but caters to investors with smaller sums to invest.
CrowdProperty provides finance to smaller British developers. The team have built a very good lending track record so far, based on having strong real estate expertise. Growing strongly
Proplend is one of the smaller UK sites. Investors have the opportunity to choose from 3 different risk / LTV levels, which we think is a good idea.
Assetz Capital is one of the largest British P2P investment sites. Investors can manually select secured loans, or can choose pooled, diversified investments.
Blend Network offers the highest returns available in the UK for secured loans. It does this by finding niches where there is little competition from the major banks currently. A new site but we think it has good prospects
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