Interview for Revista Patronatului Roman

Vicentiu Vlad

November 16, 2023

Image of article Interview for Revista Patronatului Roman

In the financial world, a new approach to real estate investments has started to gain attention: real estate crowdlending. With an innovative concept and significant benefits for both developers and investors, this method of financing real estate projects is increasingly present in the Romanian market. To better understand this concept and discover the latest developments in this field, I had the pleasure of discussing it with Vicentiu Vlad, CEO of the Stock.estate platform, the first authorized crowdlending platform in Romania.

What inspired you to bring the crowdlending concept to Romania, and what are the main advantages of this type of investment for interested individuals?

As an active real estate investor, I recognized a gap in terms of financing real estate projects in Romania. Our country's real estate market is vibrant and, in my opinion, requires alternative forms of financing to reach its true potential. Therefore, I decided to introduce the concept of real estate crowdlending to Romania through the Stock.estate platform, the first of its kind authorized in the country.

The advantages offered by crowdlending are substantial for both developers and investors. For developers, the main advantage is that it allows them access to funding in a simpler way compared to traditional channels. Additionally, their projects benefit from increased visibility by exposure to a wide audience of potential investors on our platform.

As for investors, crowdlending offers the opportunity to achieve attractive returns, much higher compared to other traditional investment instruments. Through our platform, investors become co-investors in promising real estate projects, thus having the opportunity to enjoy economic benefits similar to those of a real estate developer.

At Stock.estate, we strive to create a win-win environment where developers can obtain the funding they need to complete their projects, while investors can diversify their portfolios with real estate investments, enjoying attractive returns. It's a modern approach that addresses the current needs of the Romanian market and brings a fresh perspective to how real estate projects are financed.

"Currently, two large-scale real estate projects are active on our crowdlending platform."

Can you provide concrete examples of projects currently on your crowdlending platform?

Currently, on our crowdlending platform https://www.stock.estate/ro, two large-scale real estate projects are active: Grand Chalet in Poiana Brașov and The Lake Home in Sibiu.

Grand Chalet is a premium holiday complex in the early stages of development, offering investors the opportunity to contribute to its financing through a senior construction loan. The total loan amount is 100,000 EUR for a duration of 24 months, with an annual interest rate of 16.00%. The funds raised will be allocated to the construction of the buildings. At the moment, the project is already 60% completed. Grand Chalet stands out with a modern and sustainable approach, combining elegant design with a deep commitment to environmental protection. The development includes 98 vacation apartments in 7 separate villas, set against the picturesque backdrop of Poiana Brașov.

On the other hand, The Lake Home is a luxury residential complex in Sibiu, also in its early stages. The project is seeking total funding of 100,000 EUR for a period of 24 months, with an annual interest rate of 13.00%. The complex, spanning 53,000 square meters, is located near Lake Binder and promises a refined and elegant lifestyle. The Lake Home community is already growing, with the first building fully constructed and sold, receiving positive feedback from new residents.

Both projects reflect our vision of offering solid investment opportunities in premium real estate projects, with a focus on innovative design and sustainability. At the same time, through the Stock.estate platform, we facilitate access to funding for real estate developers and help bring these impressive projects to fruition, adding value to local communities.

What stage have these projects reached?

In the first week since the campaign's opening, the Grand Chalet project in Poiana Brașov has reached 34% of its funding goal, while The Lake Home project in Sibiu has reached 20% of its goal. These percentages reflect the initial response from investors and represent a step in the right direction towards achieving long-term funding goals for both projects. Moving forward, we will focus our efforts on attracting more funds and advancing the projects according to plan.

What other projects do you have in progress, which will soon appear on the platform?

We have 6-7 diverse projects in the pipeline, each with different purposes, returns, and a diverse geographical distribution. However, we are focused on organic growth and plan to promote these projects in the coming months once we observe a higher level of engagement from investors on our platform. Our strategy is to introduce new projects gradually to ensure that each project receives the attention and support needed to achieve funding goals. We want investors to have the opportunity to explore and evaluate each project in detail, making informed choices and contributing to the ongoing success of both our platform and the projects we host.

"Each potential property is subjected to a rigorous set of criteria and filters."

What criteria do you use to select projects and companies that can obtain funding through your crowdlending platform?

We place special emphasis on ensuring the quality and viability of the projects we present to our community of investors. Our meticulous property verification process is designed to identify and present the most promising real estate investment opportunities. To achieve this, each potential property undergoes a rigorous set of criteria and filters, ensuring that the selected projects are robust and have significant potential for success.

The comprehensive analysis profile we generate for each property is the foundation of our selection process. Key factors we consider include:

  1. Liquidity Index: We evaluate how easily a property can be sold, should selling become necessary or profitable.
  2. Rental Index: We analyze the potential for a property to be easily rented.
  3. Price Growth Index: We estimate the potential price appreciation of the property based on its specific location.
  4. Company Solidity: We examine the financial stability and organizational structure of the company involved in the project.
  5. Business Plan: We analyze the business plan to assess the feasibility and potential success of the real estate project.
  6. Performance History: We evaluate previous projects completed by the developer to understand their experience and competence.
  7. Market Potential: We investigate the market potential for the property, taking into account current trends and forecasts in the real estate sector.
  8. Team Competence: We assess the expertise and cohesion of the project's responsible team to ensure they have the necessary skills to complete the project.

Through this rigorous process, we strive to provide our investors with access to high-quality real estate projects that offer solid potential for returns and growth. It is essential for us to maintain a high standard of integrity and transparency in all the projects we promote, ensuring that our community can invest with confidence.

What measures do you take to ensure the security of investors and those obtaining funding through your platform?

At Stock.estate, we ensure that the investment process is transparent and secure for all participants. In this regard, we conduct a detailed economic, financial, and accounting analysis of the companies proposing projects on our platform to provide investors with all the necessary information before making an investment decision. In the documents section of each project, investors will find a datasheet with essential information about the investment, specifically designed to ensure complete transparency regarding project details and associated risks.

On the operational side, fund transfers are managed through a secure mechanism using the services of MangoPay, an authorized Electronic Money Issuer (EMI). This ensures that investor funds are held in a secure digital wallet, to which the project developer does not have access until the fundraising is successfully completed.

Additionally, we offer real estate developers the option to provide a guarantee to investors, which may consist of mortgages or bank guarantee letters. These guarantees are detailed in the project's document section and in the digitally generated platform contracts, providing investors with an additional level of comfort and security regarding their investments.

Through these measures, we strive to build a secure and transparent investment environment that promotes trust and meets the requirements of our investors while ensuring the success of the projects featured on our platform.

What advice would you offer to those looking to invest through your crowdlending platform to maximize chances of success and avoid potential risks?

For those interested in investing through our platform, we recommend an informed and prudent approach. First and foremost, it is essential to thoroughly research before making an investment decision. This involves carefully reading the information presented in the document section of each project, where we provide a detailed datasheet with essential information about the investment. This will give you a clear picture of the project's nature, associated risks, and estimated returns.

It is also advisable to diversify your portfolio by investing in multiple projects, minimizing risks, and giving you the chance to benefit from competitive returns. Diversification is a key strategy in risk management and can contribute to achieving long-term financial goals.

Regarding the security of investments, it is wise to check the guarantees offered by developers, detailed in the document section of each project and in the digitally generated platform contracts. These guarantees, such as mortgages or bank guarantee letters, can provide an additional level of security for your investment.

How does your crowdlending platform differ from other investment instruments, such as traditional bank deposits or stock investments?

Our platform brings an alternative investment model compared to traditional investment instruments, such as bank deposits or stock investments. Crowdlending facilitates direct interaction between investors and developers, creating a framework where both parties can benefit from mutually advantageous advantages.

Firstly, crowdlending offers investors the opportunity to achieve potentially higher returns compared to bank deposits. Bank deposits are often seen as safer but offer relatively low returns. In contrast, our platform allows investors to explore attractive real estate projects with competitive returns.

Secondly, unlike stock investments, which are susceptible to market volatility and can be influenced by a multitude of external factors, investments in real estate projects through crowdlending can offer a higher degree of stability and predictability. However, it is important to note that all investments come with a certain level of risk, and real estate values can also fluctuate.

Additionally, our platform provides a high level of transparency and detailed information about each project, allowing investors to make informed choices. Investors can analyze and select the projects in which they want to invest, having access to a variety of essential information about the project, developer, and financial conditions of the investment.

Another advantage of our platform is accessibility. Crowdlending simplifies the investment process, making it more accessible to a broader range of individuals, not just institutional investors or those with substantial financial expertise.

Therefore, Stock.estate offers an attractive alternative for investors, combining the potential for competitive returns with transparency and accessibility, creating exciting investment opportunities in the real estate sector.

What is the reaction of Romanian investors to the crowdlending concept, and how does this compare to global trends in this field?

The reaction of Romanian investors to the crowdlending concept reflects a combination of curiosity and caution. There is evident interest and openness to this new investment method, but skepticism is present, often fueled by past negative experiences with other financial instruments in a continuously developing market. In Romania, as in many other emerging markets, financial education is essential to ensure that investors are well-informed and comfortable with their investment decisions.

We are aware of this reality and are committed to promoting financial education to help create a safe environment for our investors. We strive to provide a transparent and informative platform where investors can learn, evaluate opportunities, and invest in an informed manner.

Compared to global trends in crowdlending, where crowdlending platforms have gained considerable popularity and have been adopted more rapidly, in Romania, the acceptance and adaptation process may be slower. However, this situation also presents a unique opportunity to educate and build trust within the investor community, contributing to the maturation and development of the local investment market.

By providing educational resources, facilitating access to detailed information, and maintaining a high level of transparency and integrity, we aim to contribute to building trust in crowdlending as a viable and attractive investment tool in Romania. We also focus on collaborating with reputable developers and promoting solid projects to demonstrate the value and potential that crowdlending can bring to both investors and real estate developers.

What are your future plans for the crowdlending platform, and what innovations or news can you anticipate for the Romanian market?

At Stock.estate, we aim to solidify our position as a leader in the Romanian crowdlending market, continuing to offer high-quality investment opportunities and building a secure and transparent environment for investors. In the long term, we have our sights set on expanding our activity to other European markets, starting with Italy, to access a broader spectrum of investors and developers and contribute to raising awareness of our platform at the European level.

We also anticipate interesting developments in the realm of financing, with the emergence of new funding methods to complement existing alternative offerings. In this dynamic context, we commit to staying abreast of industry innovations and exploring new ways to add value to both investors and developers.

We want to ensure that our platform remains relevant, competitive, and at the forefront of innovation in real estate financing. Therefore, we will continue to invest in the financial education of our users and develop strategic partnerships that allow us to offer a diverse range of investment and funding options.

At the same time, we are dedicated to maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, providing support and resources to help investors and developers navigate efficiently through the funding options available on our platform. Thus, we aim to contribute to the sustainable development of the crowdlending market, both locally and European-wide.

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STOCKESTATE CROWDFUNDING SRL is licensed under the number PJR28FSFPR/400002, since 29.08.2023. Find us in the register of crowdfunding service providers of the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA).

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All investments involve risks, including loss of invested capital, lack of liquidity, and non-reimbursement on loans, partially or integrally. It is an appropriate investment only for investors able to assess and bear the risks presented above. Before investing, please read the risks of investments warning, and also all the clauses of the loan agreement, which will be provided to you for the campaign in question. Stock.estate Platform is not responsible for the information provided by the project developers, even if it is provided by or through Stock.estate. Stock.estate does not provide you any other advisory services. The decision to invest is entirely yours. We recommend that you consult specialized advisers if you need support in evaluating your investment decision. The messages and documentation you receive from Stock.estate or project developers have not been verified or approved by Romanian or European authorities.