Commercial Expert Ltd has completed a significant finance deal for a former lawyer embarking on a luxury B&B venture in the Scottish Highlands.

The client, Esther Botha who owns The Viewmont in Kingussie mortgage-free, required the six-figure funding to transform the property into a luxury boutique B&B.

Despite having cash in the bank and a well-structured and strong business plan, the former lawyer had struggled to find commercial finance with a fair rate of interest.

She was about to accept a less favourable deal when she was introduced to Inverness-based Ken Macrae, who is an appointed representative at commercial finance brokerage Commercial Expert Ltd.


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Having met within two working days of initial contact and the case being submitted that day, within 24 hours Tracey Barnes of Commercial Expert Ltd had sourced a development loan from Folk2Folk finance and sent the terms of the offer.

Not only was the agreement made with exceptional speed, but the interest rate secured was also less than half the previous offer – 0.67% a month compared to 1.5% per month.

What’s more, a month later after prompt legal work by solicitor Ross Linn of Stronach’s in Inverness, the funds were paid out.

Esther commented: “As someone new to the hospitality business and with no immediate income history from the last three years, the difficulties of arranging commercial finance almost spelled disaster.

“I tried to persuade myself that an unmortgaged property and cash in the bank would be comfortable enough for high street lenders, but it wasn’t.

“Many hours, if not days, went into fine-tuning my business plan and cash flow forecasts. That was still not good enough for most lenders, not even my bank of the last 25+ years.

“I was at the point of accepting a facility which came with rather high costs and interest rates. At that stage I was thankful that somebody even considered me and my business a viable investment!

“That all changed when I was introduced to Ken who championed my cause and found me the best deal I could have hoped for. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Ken Macrae added: “Hospitality businesses have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic and some lenders are reluctant when it comes to loans for new ventures in this sector.

“But it’s great that when Esther came to us, we were able to find a very competitive offer and conclude the loan with amazing speed.

“Esther’s business plan was detailed and thorough and Tracey knew just the lender to support a venture like this.

“As a result, Esther secured exactly the amount she wanted and plans to open her business to the timescales she set and remains firmly on target.”

Esther aims to reopen The Viewmount in January 2022 and without the crucial loan facility, this wouldn’t have been possible.

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