As CEO of Max Crowdfund, Managing Director of the Max Property Investment Group, and mentor at the Property Master’s Academy, Mark Lloyd has a lot of experience in the real estate world. And with a company that facilitates global investment opportunities, there is almost always a great deal on his plate. In this interview with RECrowd, he will tell more about the company’s mission: “Making real estate investments accessible to everyone” and how they achieve this by their progressive crowdfunding platform Max Crowdfund.
Can you tell us more about your mission “Making real estate investments accessible to everyone”.
We started Max Property Group in 2016 with a group of real estate professionals with years of experience in real estate financing, real estate fund structuring and project development. We wanted to make sure that we would make real estate investments accessible to everyone, that’s why we chose to make investing possible from as little as €100.
Nowadays we are a group of experienced real estate experts and motivated young professionals who strive to make real estate investment trendy and accessible to everyone.
In your opinion what changes and trends will likely occur in the Real Estate market in the future?
I believe that real estate crowdfunding will become more mainstream over the next few years. Besides, we are expecting to see a lot of cross-border investments. The market will grow exponentially over the coming years, because more investors will realize that investing your savings in real estate is more profitable than leaving it in a bank account.
With the covid-19 crisis, we’ve seen fundamental changes in the way property investors and real estate developers work. What is your key learning from 2020 regarding this market?
Due to the Covid-19 crisis we see that a lot of things can be done digital. For example, people are viewing rental properties remotely via video. Also, we see that a lot of companies are giving more webinars. The digital world is growing exponentially because of this crisis. With our fully automated platform real estate investing and financing is made possible and accessible online.
Individual investors in Europe are allowed to put small amounts of money in a deal, as low as €100. Do you see an opportunity for the industry to move upmarket with several high net worth investors funding a deal together?
Even though we are sticking to our mission to “make real estate investments accessible to everyone” we do recognize there is a large market of HNWI’s for which you could offer more “exclusive tickets”. Ideally we could combine HNWI’s and ordinary investors for same deal to fund even bigger projects internationally.
What type of real estate represents your most successful crowdfunding projects?
Since the approval of the Dutch Financial Authorities (AFM) in July of 2020, we have successfully placed the first project on our platform in October. Since then we have raised over €2.5M. The purpose of the loan must always be related to real estate, for example for development, rental, sale or for bridge- and temporary financing. The funded projects consisting of project development, buy-to-let, and buy-to-sell.
Can you tell us more about the automated investment and financing process you developed?
We decided in 2015 to start structuring property funds with a low minimum entry of €10.000. We had two funds in the Netherlands, one in Germany and one in the UK. After some time, we realized that this was time-consuming and inefficient. We had to deal with a large number of investors. In 2018, we initiated the development of the Max crowdfund platform, where the entire real estate investment process is automated.
Everything on the platform is automated, from listing projects to investing in the opportunities to providing monthly, quarterly and annual statements for the tax authorities. This is perfectly in line with the mission: ‘’To make investing in real estate simple and accessible to everyone”.
The European Union is regularly enacting new industry rules to protect the investor while spurring more investment activity. How do you see that development and do you expect to see more of them in the near future?
Right now we are looking favorably at new regulations being implemented by the European Union as regulation creates trust with investors and opens doors for new opportunities. The best example right now is the new ECSP-Regulation (European Crowdfunding Service Providers) which was published by the European Union on 20-10-2020. This regulation will allow us to provide our services Pan-European meaning that not only will we be able to acquire funding from a bigger pool of investors but we will also be able to diversify our range of investment opportunities. The new regulation will also bring other opportunities to the Max Crowdfund platform such as being able to offer a secondary market, enable auto-investing and offering equity-type deals so we can tailor even more to the needs of our investors.
How would you describe your journey as a company, and what were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
The biggest challenge we had so far is getting approval from the Dutch Financial Authority (AFM) as a platform using blockchain technology. This was very time-consuming, difficult and expensive to achieve. The blockchain technology enables our investors to be able to look at the history of transactions in certain investment opportunities. This was our biggest challenge, but on the other hand was this also our biggest success.
As a leader in the industry, who inspires you?
I have mentored hundreds of people in the property investing industry over the past 10 years. I am inspired by all of them as they follow their path to financial freedom. As a mentor, it’s great to see the people grow and chase their dreams. That inspires me to continue to do what I do every day.
Your platform runs entirely on blockchain. How will this technology radically change the real estate industry?
The blockchain technology makes a platform more transparent for users. Investing in real estate is always seen as difficult and complicated. With the blockchain technology it is more accessible for everyone, because this technology allows anyone to explore all the history and details about every transaction on the blockchain. Transparency is one of our core values as we believe that it increases the trust of our investors.
Is the real estate tech disruption the end of the property agent?
I don’t think that the real estate tech disruption will be the end of the property agent. People are always seeking for personal contact, preferably in real life. As I said before, things are going more digital because of the coronavirus, but there are some things that can’t be done digital. We will always need someone who can physically present and provide local knowledge.
You are expanding globally but you are also a Pan-European success story in the industry. How do you see RE crowdfunding doing on the continent in the years to come?
If we look at a European real estate crowdfunding map, we can see that in West-Europe there are a lot of different property crowdfunding platforms in different countries. In East- and North Europe, the property crowdfunding market isn’t as popular as in the other parts of Europe.
We expect that property crowdfunding will grow in popularity all around Europe. It will be more common to invest in crowdfunding platforms. So, I believe that the property crowdfunding market in Europe will change and grow exponentially.
Find out more about the Max Property projects and their crowdfunding opportunities by visiting https://maxpropertygroup.com/