What is a Hard Money Loan?
A hard money loan is simply a short-term loan secured by real estate. They are funded by private investors (or a fund of investors) as opposed to conventional lenders such as banks or credit unions. The terms are usually around 12 months, but the loan term can be extended to longer terms of 2-5 years. The loan requires monthly payments of only interest or interest and some principal with a balloon payment at the end of the term.
The amount the hard money lenders are able to lend to the borrower is primarily based on the value of the subject property. The property may be one the borrower already owns and wishes to use as collateral or it may be the property the borrower is acquiring.
Hard money lenders are primarily concerned with the property’s value rather than the borrower’s credit (although credit is still of some importance to the lender). Borrowers who cannot get conventional financing due to a recent foreclosure or short sale can still obtain a hard money loan if they have sufficient equity in the property that is being used as collateral. When the banks say “No”, the hard money lenders can still say “Yes”.
Property Types for Hard Money Loans
A borrower can get a hard money loan on almost any type of property – including single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, land, and industrial.
Some hard money lenders may specialize in one specific property type such as residential and not be able to do land loans, simply because they have no experience in this area. Most hard money lenders have a specific niche of loan they are most comfortable with. Ask them upfront which type of loans they are willing and able to do.
Many hard money lenders will not lend on owner-occupied residential properties due to the extra rules and regulations but there are those who are willing to wade through the paper work with the borrower. All hard money lenders will do loans in 1st position, while fewer will do 2nd position due to the increased risk for the lender.
What Types of Deals Should Hard Money Loans Be Used For?
Hard money loans are not appropriate for all deals. When purchasing a primary residence with good credit, income history, and there are no issues such as a short sale or foreclosure, conventional financing through a bank is the best way to go if the borrower still has time to go through the lengthy approval process required by a bank. Hard money is your source of financing when banks are not an option or the loan is needed in a short period of time.
Hard money loans are ideal for situations such as:
- Fix and Flips
- Land Loans
- Construction Loans
- When the Buyer has credit issues.
- When a real estate investor needs to act quickly.
Who Should Use a Hard Money Loan?
Real estate investors choose to use hard money for many different reasons. The main reason is the ability of the hard money lender to fund the loan quickly. In most situations, hard money loans can be funded within a week. Compare that to the 30 – 45 days it takes to get a bank loan funded. The application process for a hard money loan generally takes a day or two and in some cases, a loan can be approved the same day. Good luck hearing back about a loan approval from your bank within the same week!
The ability to obtain funding at a much faster rate than a bank loan is a significant advantage for a real estate investor. Especially when the real estate investor is trying to acquire a property with many competing bids, a quick close with a hard money loan will get a seller’s attention and set their offer apart from the rest of the buyers offering slow conventional financing.
Another reason a borrower may choose to use a hard money loan is that they have been rejected by the banks for a conventional loan. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Short sales, foreclosures, credit issues… they happen. Another important thing banks need to see is income history. If a potential borrower recently started a new job, the bank may deny the loan request due to insufficient income history, even if the borrower makes a healthy income. Hard money lenders are able to look past these issues as long the loan be repaid and the borrower has enough equity invested in the property.
Interest Rates and Points for Hard Money Loans
The interest rates and points charged by hard money lenders will vary from lender to lender and will also vary from region to region. For examp
hard money lenders in California generally have lower rates than other parts of the country since California has many hard money lending firms. Increased competition leads to a decrease in prices.
Hard money lenders take on more risk with their loans compared to a conventional bank loan. Due to this higher risk involved on a hard money loan, the interest rates for a hard money loan will be higher than conventional loans. Interest rates for hard money loans range from 10 – 15% depending on the specific lender and the perceived risk of the loan. Points can range anywhere from 2 – 4% of the total amount loaned. The interest rates and points may vary greatly depending on the loan to value ratio.