BulkEstate features only real-estate projects. Interest rates typically vary from 14% to 17% (recent projects were more speculative than early ones); interests are usually repaid in full at the end of the loan, at the same time as the capital.
My opinion on BulkEstate
I used to prefer CrowdEstate over BulkEstate, thanks to the superior interface and much larger loans volume. However, after more than two years on both platforms, I can’t help but notice that the performance of my BulkEstate portfolio is much higher.
Moreover, BulkEstate’s track record is basically spotless, while CrowdEstate is struggling with late or defaulted business loans.
Overall, the platform’s projects offer a good risk/reward ratio for investors who want slightly more speculative loans than at EstateGuru.
BulkEstate’s pros & cons
- Great returns
- Limited amount of projects
- Very few loans offer monthly interests repayments
Overview of BulkEstate’s loans
Interest rates are usually between 11% and 15% for durations around one year. Several projects offer a bonus to investors who invest a large amount (for example 2% for an amount larger than € 25,000 and 1% for an amount larger than € 10,000).
All financed projects are located in Latvia, most of them in Riga.
One important point is that both principal and accrued interests are usually repaid at the loan repayment date. Indeed, there’s no monthly interest repayment for most of them – although several loans with monthly repayments were introduced in late 2019 -.
The LTV (loan-to-value ratio) is usually around 60%. The loans are secured by first-rank mortgage, which makes them rather safe. In addition, the valuation of the property is provided by an independent firm; for example, for the recent project “Kr. Valdemāra Apartment No.34a”, it was appraised by Ober Haus, a large real-estate company.
The minimum investment is 50€, which is higher than for personal loans but rather common in real-estate financing.
There are usually 2 or 3 new investment opportunities each month, with a large amount to invest in. However, they tend to get filled rather quickly.
BulkEstate‘s loans aren’t covered by a buyback guarantee.
Platform’s transparency and reliability
In terms of transparency, one positive aspect is that the team is introduced on the BulkEstate‘s website. Other than that, very little information is provided about the platform.
The projects descriptions are overall very basic compared to those are CrowdEstate or EstateGuru. However, I appreciate the fact that investors can ask questions in the forum regarding their investments; the replies are usually very informative.
What’s also missing is public statistics regarding the loans portfolio. The platform doesn’t even disclose the overall loans volume ! Similarly, it’s quite hard to follow the projects’ life. Indeed, late loans aren’t displayed in your portfolio’s summary.
One very positive aspect is that the platform’s selection of projects seems rather solid. Until now, I’ve had zero default and only one late capital reimbursement – a 3 months delay was incurred by the borrower’s death -. In contrast, a large part of my CrowdEstate portfolio is late or defaulted ! Overall, out of 85 funded projects, nearly 50 were already repaid.
In June 2020, a delay regarding the capital reimbursement for several projects was notified before the expected repayment date. In total, 4 loans were granted to the same borrower, for a property named Aleksandra Apartments. I really appreciated BulkEstate’s proactive approach : it’s always great to be notified ahead of time ! The platform seems to be ready to start the legal action if necessary; we’ll see how it turns out.
Lastly, in late 2019, anonymous Twitter account Roasted PeerDuck listed BulkEstate among his top 5 suspicious platform, right with Kuetzal, Fast Invest, Envestio and Grupeer. However, he has since changed his mind as he tweeted in April 2020 that the platform got “promoted to normal”, which makes me feel much more confident.
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on BulkEstate
Coronavirus ? Which coronavirus ?
There’s been zero communication from BulkEstate regarding their management of their crisis, or its impact on the platform. The only visible impact was the huge reduction of amount for one very large loan. Indeed, the amount funded for the “Vikingi” project got slashed from € 2,250,000 to € 435,000 ! More funding rounds are expected to be available once the situation improves, though.
Regarding existing investments, it looks like the crisis had little impact until now. Indeed, as very few loans pay interests monthly, most investors won’t notice any change. I received interests on time for my only project with monthly repayments. Even better, the capital for my only late loan also got reimbursed in late May ! Overall, the impact of the coronavirus disease on my BulkEstate portfolio is really minimal.
There’s currently no secondary market. BulkEstate is supposedly working on it, but didn’t provide any timeline.
Manual investing at BulkEstate
The website provides a basic description provided for each project; compared to CrowdEstate, BulkEstate could provide further details. The SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Threat/Opportunities) matrix, repayment schedule, company rating and risk profile comparison found at CrowdEstate would be welcome additions !
Projects are usually announced a few days before they open on the platform, which gives just enough time to transfer funds. For a long time, it was easy to invest manually; however, now it requires to be in front of the computes when the project opens. Indeed, now that the platform has a rather large investors base, most projects sell out in a few hours.
Opportunity to use auto-invest was added in April 2018. It’s really easy to configure it; the required inputs are maximum investment amount, minimum return and maximum term.
One drawback of BulkEstate’s auto-invest algorithm is that any change to its configuration will put you back at the end of the queue. As a result, if investors who didn’t modify it choose to invest a large amount, you may not get your share of the project. In late June 2020, two roughly similar projects were scheduled for the same day at noon. The system allocated me the requested amount for the first one, and I immediately received a confirmation. However, it didn’t invest in the second project – but I still managed to invest manually two minutes after it was available -.
I really prefer the way CrowdEstate handles this aspect, as it basically guarantees that anyone gets their share.
As a result, I recommend investors not to modify with their auto-invest settings unless it’s necessary; moreover, it won’t hurt to be in front of the computer at the right time and try to invest manually, just in case !
Website’s ease of use
BulkEstate’s registration process
Opening an EstateGuru account is rather quick, in spite of the additional KYC (know your customer) checks.
Investors first need to provide basic information about themselves. The second step is to take a picture of themselves using a webcam, as well as one of some identification. Checking the documents is supposed to take as long as two days, but in my case my account was ready after a few minutes.
Account funding and funds withdrawal
Initially, investors didn’t have the opportunity to fund their BulkEstate account; money had to be wired at time of investment. This could cause troubles if the transfer took too long, and was overall bothersome. Fortunately, an upgrade introduced the opportunity to send funds ahead of time, like most competitors allow.
However, one slightly annoying aspect remains. Before transferring money, it’s mandatory to generate an invoice on BulkEstate’s website, by inputting the transferred amount ahead of time. This is slightly inconvenient, and apart from Crowdestor, no other platform requires it.
Website’s design and ergonomics
I was initially not very satisfied with the usability of BulkEstate‘s website. However, things have improved and it’s much more pleasant to use now.
Available languages & translations quality
The quality of the website’s English translations has greatly improved; although they’re still not perfect, they’re good enough to be pleasant to read.
The investments list is rather basic, providing very little details; however, it has improved as BulkEstate added new features. For example, it’s now possible to view the payment schedule, although it actually has to be downloaded as a PDF file.
I also recently discovered that the dashboard got a nice upgrade in term of reporting. Indeed, there’s now a chart displaying the repayment schedule, roughly similar to the one provided by CrowdEstate. It’s a very handy feature, which allows to visualize future cash-flows effortlessly.
While the How investing works document isn’t detailed enough, the very extensive FAQ provides many details regarding the investing process; most investors are likely to find answers to their questions there.
There’s no live chat available. I got in touch with BulkEstate by e-mail regarding account statements for tax purposes. They answered quickly and were very helpful : in a few hours, I received the statement by e-mail.
Communication from the platform
BulkEstate won’t clutter your inbox with countless emails ! Indeed, you will only receive notification when a new investment is made through the auto-invest feature, when a project is fully funded, and in order to announce new projects.
One essential feature that’s missing is receiving a notification when capital is reimbursed. As I don’t often log in to my BulkEstate account, I regularly have the (pleasant) surprise to discover idle funds there ! There was one exception, though. Indeed, I received an e-mail from the platform in order to inform me that the late loan in my portfolio finally got reimbursed.
On the bright side, a very useful tool is the forum. Investors can ask questions regarding projects; although the platform usually takes a few days to reply, they do a great job at giving precise answers.
BulkEstate also launched a blog in late June 2020. The first article introduced the three largest properties funded through the platform. It wasn’t exactly thrilling, but I appreciated reading about the projects I invested in !
Actual performance of my BulkEstate portfolio
At the end of June 2020, the XIRR for my BulkEstate portfolio was 9,02%.
Because interests for most BulkEstate's loans only get reimbursed at the loan's repayment date, I only received them for my early projects. However, compared to my CrowdEstate portfolio, the performance of my BulkEstate portfolio is much higher.
Don't hesitate to read my most recent crowdlending portfolio review for detailed platforms performance comparison as well as historical performance.
Portfolio creation date
I created my BulkEstate portfolio in September 2017.
BulkEstate's main competitors
For a detailed comparison of the different real-estate and business crowdlending platforms, check out this article.
BulkEstate's facts & figures
As of May 2020
Who can invest at BulkEstate
Any company or any person over the age of 18 can invest in any of the active investment opportunities on the BulkEstate platform.
Please note that this review may contain affiliate links. It means that I will earn a commission if you decide to invest after clicking through the link – at no additional cost to you, of course -. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the commissions I make if you decide to invest through my links.