I recently attended a real estate investment seminar in Las Vegas. Between speches by different "gurus" I would mingle with other investors and explain that I owned a hard money brokerage firm. Even though it has been around for almost a hundred years now, I was amazed how hard money lenders still seem to be mysterious to many investors. They either did not understand how the hard money lending industry worked or had heard that it was something they should avoid like the plague.
To put it simply, hard money loans are short term loans that are used for various real estate projects. The most common projects are house flipping, but they are also used in commercial construction and land development. Essentially, a hard money loan is often the best choice for oney that is needed on a short term basis.
Unlike conventional financing, a hard money loan is also known as a private loan originates from a private individual or institution unlike a bank. The loans are generally short term between 6 and 12 months and have a high, interest only payment generally between 10% and 14%
Another major difference between a hard money loan and a conventional loan is that a hard money loan is not based on a person's credit but instead on the value of the project after its completion. A good example is if John has a house that he wishes to rehab and sell for $ 100,000.00 a hard money lender will lend up to $ 65,000.00. This is what is known as Loan to Value or LTV. Most hard money lenders lend anywhere from 55% to 70% LTV depending upon what type of project the borrower has.
Now you are probably asking yourself what the catch is, how do these lenders make there money? Hard money lenders make there money 3 different ways. The first way they make money there is the closing costs. These are anywhere from 1 to 4 percent points of the overall loan. These points are paid when the loan is completely paid off in full. The second way they make there money is the interest only monthly payments on the loan which is anywhere from 10% to 14%. The third way they make there money is if the borrower happens to default on the loan. Being as the loan is not based on the person's credit, hard money loans are secured by the property itself. If a borrower defaults, the hard money lender now has a property or piece of land for 65% of what it is worth. However, it should be stated that this rarely occurs as most hard money lenders are not in the business of foreclosing on properties.
So should a borrower use a hard money lender? The simple answer is if a borrower has a real estate project that needs short term financing that a conventional bank will not lend on, yes.