Why Real Estate Investors Use a Hard Money Loans

Real estate investors choose to use hard money loans 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 example, 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.

Hard Money Loan to Value Ratios

The loan amount the hard money lender is able to lend is determined by the ratio of loan amount divided by the value of property. This is known as the loan to value (LTV). Many hard money lenders will lend up to 65 – 75% of the current value of the property. Some lenders will lend based on the after repair value (ARV) which is the estimated value of the property after the borrower has improved the property. This creates a riskier loan from the hard money lender’s perspective, because the amount of capital put in by the lender increases and the amount of capital invested by the borrower decreases. This increased risk will cause the hard money lender to charge a higher interest rate.

There are some hard money lenders who will lend a high percentage of the ARV and will even finance the rehab costs. This may sound great from the borrower’s point of view to begin with, but these types of loans have a much higher risk involved and the interest rate and points will be MUCH higher. Expect 15 – 18% interest and 5 – 6 points when a lender funds a loan with little to no down payment from the borrower. In some cases, it may be worthwhile for the borrower to pay these exorbitant rates in order to secure the deal if they can still generate profit from the project.

Borrower Requirements for Hard Money Loans

As discussed earlier, hard money lenders are primarily concerned with the amount of equity the borrower has invested in the property that will be used as collateral. They are less concerned with the borrower’s credit rating. Issues on a borrower’s record such as a foreclosure or short sale can be overlooked if the borrower has the capital to pay the interest on the loan.

The hard money lender must also consider the borrower’s plan for the property. The borrower must present a reasonable plan that shows how they intend to ultimately pay off the loan. Usually this is improving the property and selling it or obtaining long-term financing later on.

To apply for a hard money loan click here.