Dyan Letts is a Senior Underwriter at Avamore Capital.
In this edition, Then and Now Series – An Underwriter’s Perspective, Dyan answers questions on the challenges and experiences that she has faced as an underwriter over the past few years.
What has been one of the most challenging obstacles you have encountered in legals?
On a day to day basis, I find that legal fee quotes can be a challenging topic. I cannot stress how important it is to have good lawyers – spending a little extra money at the start of a scheme can save thousands on exit, particularly if the market takes a turn.
One of the most difficult legal cases I dealt with, however, was in my previous role. It was a warehouse development in Yorkshire. It was a lovely property but with multiple lenders, borrowing vehicles and different funders for various floors of one building – it was a complicated deal to complete.
What did you learn from this situation?
Fortunately, we were working with a repeat borrower who had a good quality client and was easy to deal with. Both the client and the borrower were of proven sophistication. Therefore, I was able to take a more commercial position than perhaps otherwise. As always, with these matters, communication is key, and it was helpful that we had exceptional advice. In fact, the client went from complaining about legal fees to actually requesting that we used this particular lawyer on future deals!
How would you compare your first and last completion?
My first completion was almost too long ago to remember. However, whilst the products and property types have changed over the years, the basic underwriting principles have not: attention to detail, ensuring compliance with lending criteria, checking planning, costs, access, construction method, client experience, risk, title, insurance, likely exit, communication and a great deal of patience.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to a new underwriter?
The advice I would give would be to check everything and never make any assumptions. Also, I would ensure you are working with appropriate professionals and ask lots of questions.
Being an underwriter involves factoring in a lot of different things at once. What tips would you share to stay organised and on top of things?
Make lots of lists and have a good team working with you!
Thank you for reading this Then & Now Series – An Underwriter’s Perspective.