Tag Archive for: beginner real estate

Text: "How to Win at BRRRR"

5 Ways Beginners Win at BRRRR

Some people just win at the BRRRR method. How can beginners do it?

Cash-flowing rental properties… With little-to-no money down… That passively run themselves after fix-up… This is the stuff beginner real estate investors dream about. And it’s possible with BRRRR.

But there are a lot of ways to do BRRRR wrong that’ll wreck this beautiful dream.

How do successful investors make it work? Here are 5 ways beginners can win at BRRRR:

1. Understand the Meaning of BRRRR

BRRRR winners understand what BRRRR is – and just as importantly – what it’s not.

We aren’t just talking about the literal meaning: Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat. We’re talking about understanding the strategy behind the BRRRR method. Successful investors understand the money side of these investments.

Types of Properties that Win at BRRRR

Foundationally, BRRRR means buying undervalued properties.

These properties have a lot of rehab needed, causing them to be valued much lower than other homes in the area. These houses are problems for someone else but opportunities for you. You can fix them up and get them in your rental pool.

We often see people who want to use the BRRRR strategy, but they buy their properties at 90% or 95% of the ARV. They buy close to retail price, and once they put the time, money, and effort into fixing up the property… They can’t even really use BRRRR.

BRRRR’s Two-Loan Strategy

BRRRR means using a two-loan strategy. At the beginning of the project, closing with a hard money bridge loan. At the end of the project, refinancing a traditional loan.

Using this strategy on an undermarket purchase captures the equity of the home to use to your advantage. If you buy a property too close to its ARV, the whole system falls apart and you lose your refinancing power.


To be successful with this two-loan plan, you have to search for undermarket properties you can get for 75% or less of the ARV. With this 75% rule, you can complete a BRRRR project with little or no money out-of-pocket.

Buying undermarket and using two strategic loans is the meaning behind BRRRR that winners fully grasp. But there’s much more to it. 

What should you really look for when you buy for BRRRR?

2. Set Yourself Up for the BRRRR Method

There are two ways beginners can set themselves up for success using the BRRRR method: focusing on the numbers and putting together a team.

Numbers for Beginners

The BRRRR method is all about numbers. Beginners sometimes fail because they make a deal emotional and bid the property up. When buying properties, you have to stick to the math.

Your North Star for BRRRR investments is the 75% rule – the best properties only cost 75% of the after repair value.

The reason for the 75% rule is because that’s the number banks will rate-and-term refinance a conventional loan for. When you can do this type of refinance, you can finish up the deal without putting any of your own money in.

It’s smart to shop around for banks for your refinance loan, though. Some banks may allow you to buy up to 85% of the ARV, under certain conditions.

Get a Team Together

So you need good, low-priced properties. And the best way to find them is to build a good team. Especially as a beginner, you’ll need to know several of these kinds of people:

Realtors and Wholesalers

Knowing wholesalers and realtors can help you locate better properties and close with better deals.


You’ll need private lenders for bridge loans and another lender for the long-term refinanced loan. Having relationships with lenders ahead of time speeds up a closing and can earn you a lower price.


Ideally, from closing to refinance, BRRRRs are completed in 90 days. This means you’ll need contractors at-the-ready who can work efficiently and reliably to fix up your properties.

Property Managers

If you want your BRRRRs to be passive after the refinance, find a good property manager. A common beginner’s mistake is to take the first tenant who shows an interest – without any background checks or other renting requirements. 

A good property manager can both find you better tenants and manage them for you. Many investors overlook this member of their team, but it can truly make or break your BRRRR experience.

Knowing several people from each of these categories gives you options to customize for each of your deals. Putting together a good and broad team will make the BRRRR method much easier and smoother — especially for a beginner.

3. Know What Makes a Good BRRRR Property

A good BRRRR property follows the 75% rule. But that’s not the only criteria you should follow. What else makes a good BRRRR property?

What to Look for in a BRRRR Property

Here are the factors successful BRRRR investors consider in their properties.

Single-family properties

For multi-family or commercial tenants, lenders have different requirements. They often need you to hold your loan for 12 months after purchase (or even 12 after tenants move in). That timeline doesn’t work well with the BRRRR method. You’ll have a much easier time with single-family homes.

Rent prices

“Knowing your numbers” also means knowing the rent prices in the area of a property. Cash won’t flow on your investment if you’re unable to charge enough rent.

Desirable Areas

Find properties people want to live in. If you wouldn’t want to spend time there, good renters probably won’t either.

Vacation Rentals

If you’re doing vacation rentals, do the research on:

  • What areas people want to visit
  • What the rates are in the area
  • What third-party booking sites would be most profitable
  • What fix up levels you’ll need
  • Whether there are good hosts or property managers in the area.

Don’t Rush into Bad BRRRR Properties

Beginners fail at BRRRR when they don’t choose properties wisely. Don’t just buy property to buy property. You can own ten bad rentals and make no money. BRRRR should be a system that builds cash flow.

We see people do one or two BRRRRs then stop because it’s not what they expected. They put too much money in, or the area isn’t good, or their renters aren’t paying, or the rent isn’t enough to generate cash flow. 

Those issues aren’t BRRRR’s fault. A prepared investor, beginner or experienced, can always succeed with BRRRR properties.

4. Know the Numbers of a BRRRR Deal – An Example

We always talk about “knowing your numbers.” But what exactly do we mean? Here’s an example of an ideal BRRRR property using the 75% rule.

Example Breakdown of a BRRRR Deal

After repair value (ARV) is the number the house should sell for once it’s all fixed up and on the market. This number is often dictated by what similar properties in the area are going for.

To get the best long-term rates, you refinance your second, permanent loan. In order for it to cover everything (i.e., you don’t have to put any money down), all your costs must be 75% or less of the ARV.


Let’s say, for example, other properties in the area are selling for $200,000, so that’s your ARV. You want to spend 75% less than that, so we’ll do:

$200,000 X .75 = $150,000

When the ARV is $200,000, all costs of the job should only be $150,000 or less. This includes the closing price, carry costs, rehab costs, and any loan costs.

5. Know Good Lenders for BRRRR

People who win at BRRRR understand the two most important aspects of the process: getting properties undermarket, and organizing their lenders early on.

Lenders are an important member of your investment team. Here’s how to get them ready for your BRRRR investments.

BRRRR Lender Options

You’ll have a hard money or private money lender up-front. Then, in the second half of the project, you’ll have a more conventional lender with a traditional loan.

This traditional loan is usually 30-year with fixed rates, but comes with some constraints. You’re limited to ten properties with this kind of loan (including your own home). There’s also usually a limit on loan-to-value ratio, and conventional loans won’t let you put a loan in an LLC’s name.

Another option for this second loan is DSCR no-income loans. DSCR loans come in a variety of options: five- or seven-year ARMs, standard 30-year fixed mortgages, and more. Successful BRRRR investors know all their options for refinancing.

Set Your Lenders Up Ahead of Time

People who win at BRRRR set up all their lenders before they jump into a deal.

The amount loaned for the purchase and for rehab can very a lot from lender to lender. Good investors will always know how much their hard money lenders will give them. 

Hard Money Mike, for example, does a lot of 100% loans if the cost is 75% less than ARV because we know the investor can easily refinance out. We know we can set them up with a rate-and-term refinance, and they’ll have no money out-of-pocket.

BRRRR winners don’t get into a property, get it fixed up, and then figure out the long-term loan. Winners figure out first whether they can get the cash out they need, and how.

Smart BRRRR investors have a pool of lenders they work with. They know what each lender can offer, and which will best fit their current strategy, ability, and deal.

You Can Win at BRRRR

Winners start as beginners.

This is a business. This is a way for you to make a living in real estate. Those who take the time to learn and get their team set up – those are the winners.

For help in setting up your team, going over your numbers, and getting your financing in order, reach out to us at HardMoneyMike.com.

You can also watch our videos on BRRRR strategies here.

Happy Investing.

Text: "Start Investing Real Estate Today!"

How to Start Investing in Real Estate: Beginner’s Guide to Private Money

Where do you start with private money in real estate investing?

There are two pillars to successful real estate investing.

First, finding good, undermarket properties. And second, having the leverage to actually purchase those properties.

Private lending is the key to unlock that money side of investing. But when you’re just starting out, how do you get involved? 

How much money should you start with? How do you find the right loans for your situation?

Well, here’s your starting point:

How Much Money Do I Need to Start Investing in Real Estate?

How much money should you have if you want to start investing? It all depends on the deal.

No Money Down Investments

We regularly help people start with no money for a project. 

BRRRR rental properties work great for this. Investors can invest in them without putting any money into the property purchase or the flip.

Another way we frequently see people succeed with zero down is when they have really, really good deals. It’s a rare find, but if you do come across a property for sale for 60% or lower of the ARV, you can get 100% financing. Smaller, local hard money lenders will jump at the opportunity for such a great deal.

How Much Money Should I Normally Expect to Bring In?

Traditionally, when you’re starting out investing, you’ll use either hard money loans or a bank finance. It depends on your credit score and the amount of money you’re able to bring into a deal. 

When you’re going into these loans, it’s good to expect to pay between 10% to 20% of the total cost of the project out-of-pocket. This includes 10% to 20% of the property purchase and 10% to 20% of the fix-up costs.

As an example, say you have a $100,000 purchase that will require a $50,000 rehab budget. If you’re bringing in 20%, you’ll need $20,000 as down payment for the house, plus $10,000 to cover construction – so $30,000 total out-of-pocket to start.

What Will My Financing Depend On?

How much you as a new investor will need to bring into a deal will depend on several factors:

  • The kind of deal you find
  • Your qualifications – with or without real estate experience
  • Your income
  • Your savings
  • Your credit score

Hard money lenders tend to lend based on your deal. Banks tend to lend based on you. A higher credit score will give you better chances at bank loans. And banks love lending to those who don’t need money. So if you already have a lot of savings and income, you can get 100% financing. But the more you put in, the cheaper it’ll be.

Overall, you can get involved in real estate investing with no money, especially for rental projects. But if you really want to get a running start, you’ll need some money for your investments.

Where Can I Find Private Money Lenders?

We’re mostly focusing on private money lenders for beginner investors because that’s where you’ll naturally have to start.

The timeline of financing options for most investment careers goes:

Private Lending  →  Bank Financing  →  Cash

You’ll start with relying on private lenders and hard money. But you’ll be working your way toward less expensive methods of financing. As you gain experience, credit, and money, it gets easier to move toward cash and lower interest loans in your investment business.

So, people at the beginning of their real estate investment careers hard money lenders… But if you’re just starting out, you’re probably not sure where to find them.

Here are the basics for finding private money lenders:

1) Google

A simple Google search can help you find private lenders near you.

The majority of hard money lenders will be local investors or small companies lending in your area only. Google is a simple, reliable way to see who’s out there lending locally.

Read the Google reviews. You’ll feel more confident moving forward with a lender if you can see people who vouch for the company.

2) Ask Local Investors Online

Use resources like biggerpockets.com, connectedinvestors.com, or other online forums to learn from people in your area. See who they use, why they use them, and what some general costs are.

3) Meet-ups and Live Events

Talk to people in person. Chat with other investors to hear about their experiences with local lenders. Many events will give you the chance to meet those local lenders and get to know what they offer.

You’ll need a pool of options for money, so it’s good to know many companies and private individuals.

Communicate with banks, too. Even if you can’t get a bank loan right now, that’s the next step you’re working toward in your career. It’s never too early to build those connections.

Are Hard Money Lenders Safe?

A major question from people who are starting real estate investing is: Are hard money lenders safe? Are they just loan sharks who will take all the profits from my project?

Private Lending Business Model

Hard money is not built to be against you. Private lenders intend to: lend money, get it back, and get their interest. They only want a return on their investment; they don’t want to bleed you dry.

Granted, there is a potential for lenders to take advantage of you, and there are a small percentage of lenders like that out there.

Hard money lending is no different than any other business – there are good people in it and bad people. It’s your responsibility as an investor to be sure you’re working with good, safe people.

Finding Good, Safe Lenders

Just like anything else, it’s wise to shop around. The best ways to find good hard money lenders are:

  • Personal Experience
  • Asking about other people’s experience
  • Checking online reviews

You’ll be able to tell right away from other people’s experiences whether a lender is safe or not. You can even ask lenders for references of people who have closed with them in the past.

Doing your research should save you the trouble of trial and error with your local lenders.

Broaden Your Pool of Lenders

To successfully start in real estate investing, you’ll need to get a good list of lenders. Don’t be connected just to one. You’ll need them for different reasons, different deals, and different loans.

It’s good to have a lot of money options – something quick, something long-term, something with a lower rate, etc.

If you focus on building your base of lenders, you’ll feel safe. Spread your reliance over multiple lenders to be more confident in your real estate investing career.

What Are Private Lender Interest Rates?

You know you’ll have to buy the property, cover fix-up costs, and pay back the cost of the loan. But if you’re new to real estate investing, you also need to know what other costs will come with your loan. Like interest rates.

The biggest cost on your mind is probably: What interest rates do hard money lenders charge?

What’s a Typical Hard Money Interest Rate?

The rate depends on several factors, and interest rates will vary lender to lender.

Now, in July 2022, inflation is hitting, and the federal interest rates are rising. With these recent changes, you’ll find rates are between 9% and 11%. But just six months ago, interest rate averages where two percentage points less.

Always check on your local lenders’ rates. Especially at a time like this, they can change relatively quickly.

How Interest Works on a Hard Money Loan

We’ve had people come to us discouraged about interest rates – just because they misunderstood how interest works. 

For example, let’s say you need a loan for $800,000, but you only need it for three months. The lender gives you a 9% interest rate. Will you have to pay 9% of $800,000 for those three months? No, that’s not how interest works in hard money.

That percentage they give you is an annual rate. So in this case, you’d be paying that 9% in monthly chunks over the course of the year. If you only need that loan for three months, you’ll be paying closer to $18,000 in interest – much better than around $72,000, 9% of the full total.

Always make sure to shop around for the best deal. The more money you can put in, the lower your interest rate.

How Important Are Interest Rates?

Typically in real estate investing, it’s not just about the interest rate. It’s about how fast you can close.

We see speed make the difference for our clients all the time. Often, if someone can close a week or two earlier than other buyers, they get a better deal. 

In that case, interest rates become a non-factor. The bargain you can get on closing fast on a property can more than makes up for the interest charges.

Banks’ interest rates are generally 2% to 5% lower than private lenders. So if you can go to banks, you probably should for the better rate. But if you’re new to real estate investing, bank loans are typically out of reach, so hard money is the best way to start investing.

How Much Do Private Money Lenders Charge Overall?

Interest rates are just one of the costs to be aware of with hard money. With private lenders, there are two major costs to consider:

  • Interest rates
  • Fees and other charges

You’ll have to consider these two factors at the same time. Every lender is different. 

One company might offer a 14% interest rate but have low fees. Another may only charge 9.5% interest but their fees are much higher.

How do you calculate which loan will be the better deal for you? A simple way is to use this free loan optimizer tool. You can add in all the information from each lender, and this tool will help tell you which loan saves you the most money.

What Are the Other Costs Associated with Hard Money?

Fees can vary widely in the hard money world. There’s no standard; it’s up to each lender what they charge.

Origination Charge

The most common fee you’ll see is the origination charge. This is to guarantee profit for your lender or salesperson.

An origination fee is calculated as a percentage of the loan amount. It varies between 1 and 4 points. (A “point” is a “percentage.” So if you hear a lender say they charge 2 points for a fee, that’s 2%).

Other Fees

Some lenders have none of these fees, some have nearly all of them:

  • Processing charges
  • Underwriting fees
  • Appraisal charge
  • Legal fees
  • Title fees
  • Charges to set up an escrow
  • Charges to take draws on an escrow
  • And more.

The amounts vary widely. Some of these charges are a flat rate, and some are based on a percentage of the loan. One lender might have eight or nine of these fees, another may have just one or two.

How Do You Know Which Loan Is Best When You First Start Investing in Real Estate?

At the end of the day, you’ll have to find out what’s best for you. 

Don’t get too hung up on interest. Some people see lenders charge 10% when banks are charging 6%, and they assume it’s some sort of rip-off. Then they never use hard money, and their investment career suffers.

There’s no such thing as a loan that you don’t have to pay for. Every lender will have between one and eight additional costs besides simply paying the money back.

Sometimes people who start investing in real estate zoom in on a low interest rate from a private lender, then miss the bigger picture of fees and the length of the loan.

You’re responsible for the success of your loan. Most consumer loans will give you a detailed sheet with all the charges. Private lenders will give you that information, but it may not be in a nice little form.

This loan optimizer tool can help you understand which lender will offer the better deal for you.

Understanding these costs and loans will make or break your real estate deals. This side of investing where you’re spending money is the same side where you make money. 

Hard Money Mike Can Help You Start Investing in Real Estate

It’s a knack to find great properties, but it’s impossible to start investing in real estate if you can’t get the money to fuel those purchases.

We’ve done tens of thousands of transactions, billions of dollars in loans, in every kind of market, with any kind of deal. 

We don’t just lend our own loans. We help investors understand hard money, get help with bank loans, and be educated on the money side of real estate investment.

If you still feel unsure about the next steps to make your dream of real estate financial freedom a reality, reach out to us with your questions.

The people who understand the money side of investing are the ones who become more profitable, faster. Let’s make you one of those people.

Happy Investing.

Text: "How a Hard Money Loan Works"

How Does A Hard Money Loan Work? 

What do hard money lenders look at? There are two main factors you need to know.

Becoming hard money proficient will put you miles ahead as an investor.

Before you run to any lender with a deal, you’ll need to know… How does a hard money loan work? There are two key terms you’ll need to understand: loan-to-value ratio and, more importantly for fix-and-flips, after repair value.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

The first important number a lender takes into account is the cost of the property. The second is the amount of the loan. Loan-to-value ratio is the ratio of the loan and the cost.

Let’s say you have a property with a current appraisal of $200,000. Then you get a loan for $100,000. The loan is half of the value of the home, so your loan-to-value is 50%.

After Repair Value (ARV)

ARV, after repair value, is another important factor hard money lenders consider. The properties targeted by real estate investors are undervalued. They need repair-work done to be brought up to the standards of the surrounding community.

So, lenders look at not only the current value of the house, but also the future value of the house, after it’s all fixed up.

Many hard money loans are based on after repair value rather than loan-to-value. Your lender might offer you up to 75% – not of what you’re buying it for, but what you could sell it for by the end.

What Does A Hard Money Loan Using ARV Cover?

A key factor to ARV is that lenders will lend not only for the initial purchase, but for the fix-up costs too.

Many lenders will put money aside in escrows to use throughout the project to pay contractors and cover other renovation costs.

If your loan considers ARV, it’s possible for you, with ZERO money down, to:

  • Buy a property.
  • Fix it up.
  • Either sell it (fix-and-flip) or refinance it (BRRRR).

After selling or refinancing, you use that money to pay the loan back.

Hard money is designed to build value into real estate. Understanding the role of the after repair value will help you immensely in your hard money investments.

Read the full article on hard money for beginners here.

Watch the full video here:

Text: "Making Money in Real Estate in 2022." Mike Bonn with dollar bills in the background.

How to Make Money Real Estate Investing in 2022

You’re here to make money. How do you make money real estate investing in 2022?

The real estate market has changed. The economy has changed. The money side of flipping has changed. If you’re a newer real estate investor, you might be feeling hesitant right now.

We’ve been through over twenty years of markets. We’ve seen many markets that look similar to ours in 2022.

Take our word for it: here’s what will make you money this year in your real estate investment career.

4 Real Estate Basics That Can Make You Money in 2022

The best real estate investments are the evergreen basics. Here are 4 consistent ways of creating cashflow — if you do it right based on your market.

1) Flips

Buying, fixing, and then selling properties is a common investment strategy. But to make money on fix-and-flips in 2022, you’ll have to focus carefully on the numbers. Flips make money in one lump sum, not in a steady cash flow over time. So in tougher markets, it’s important to make that large sum count.

This year especially, we recommend staying in the medium to lower price range for your flips. We’re still seeing people selling well in the medium price range. Larger properties, however, are feeling a lot of pressure in this market.

For flips, focus on the numbers and stick to medium price ranges. (More on this later in the article).


Buying and fixing up rental properties is another of the best real estate investments. But BRRRR is taking a bit of a hit right now due to interest rates. Interest rates have more than doubled since the beginning of 2022, which will seriously impact your cash flow.

You can still make money from BRRRR properties this year, but you’ll have to be extra careful with numbers. Know your credit score, know your interest rates, and know the rent prices for your area.

3) Subject Tos

A “subject to” is when you buy someone’s property, take over their mortgage, and make all payments, but you don’t assume the loan. The property is in your name and you have ownership, but it stays financed by the seller. 

Subject tos will be great opportunities in 2022. You can walk into a property where the rate on the mortgage is still 2.5% – 3%, potentially with renters in place. This will bring a much higher cash flow than if you started from scratch on the open market, where interest rates are almost double that.

Using subject tos is a great way to grow a big portfolio using someone else’s financing. (You’ll see more about subject tos in 2022 later in the article).

4) Notes

Another great tactic for real estate investors this year is to use your money in deeds of trust or other private lending.

Rates have gone up, but banks still haven’t really raised CD rates. If you have some money sitting in an account, notes are a good way to get a higher return. You can lend to other investors through gap funding or a more long-term agreement. Notes are becoming big in real estate again, especially with the market in 2022.

Passive Ways to Make Money in Real Estate in 2022

Maybe you feel like you want to use 2022 as an opportunity to tap out of the active flipping game. But, you also don’t want to lose the chance for real estate cash flow. We’ve got three good passive real estate investing options for you.

1) Subject Tos with Rentals

Subject to rentals will be a pretty safe bet for passive real estate income this year. With a subject to, the loan is still under the original financier’s name. You’re just making payments, so the mortgage won’t cloud up your credit.

It’s relatively easy to add 5 – 10 properties to your rental portfolio without adding more debt to your name. If you put these rentals in with a property management company, you can still make a good amount of passive cash flow.

2) Private Notes

Deeds of trust or private lending is a reliable, secured, passive way to put money to work in real estate. With notes, you lend your money to friends or other people in the markets who are looking for funding – and you don’t have to worry about doing any of the work on the property.

Instead of making 1-2% with a bank’s CD rate, you could double or triple that by lending privately. We’ve helped thousands of people successfully lend this way, so contact us for more information.

3) REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Real Estate Investment Trusts work a bit like a mutual fund. You pool your money with a bunch of other people, and the company uses that money to buy real estate. You’re just one of many investors, and everyone earns a return on the properties. 

There are public REITs and private REITs. With public, you can trade on the open market. With private, you have a little more restriction; once you get in, you stay in.

REITs are a great option if you want to invest in real estate but want someone else to manage it. If you’re looking for passive real estate income, research REITs in your area.

Commercial Real Estate Investing in 2022

2022 may be the year you want to venture into commercial real estate. Apartments buildings with over five units, retail space, office buildings, and industrial areas all fall under commercial real estate.

How do you invest in commercial real estate?

One option for commercial real estate investing is to hold or flip just as you would any single-family home. We’ve also seen a lot of people find success with another option recently: buying bigger industrial properties, flipping them, and splitting them up into separate properties to sell.

Cap Rates in Commercial Real Estate

An important number to consider in commercial real estate is the cap rate. All commercial properties come with a cap rate, which is the return you can expect on your investment. 

For example, if you put $100,000 into a property with a 4% cap rate, you can expect a return of $4,000; this is probably an area that pays lower rent. But a $100,000 investment on an 8% cap rate will have an $8,000 return, so the property will have higher cash flow.

Generally, the higher the cap rate, the lower the value because it may be considered a riskier investment. The lower the cap rate, the higher the value because more people are more willing to put more money in. 

People take lower cap rates over higher ones because they believe a lower cap rate market is more stable. It’s like when you put money into a CD – the appeal is the stability, despite the lower rate. People who look for higher cap rates prioritize return over long-term growth or stability.

Cap rates differ city-to-city and within cities. If you’re interested in commercial properties, you can talk to a commercial broker in your area to understand local cap rates.

Two Biggest Opportunities for Real Estate Investing in 2022: Fix-and-Flips and Subject Tos

How you’ll choose to make money in 2022 will depend on you, your market, and your current financial situation. 

But we expect that the two best real estate investment methods this year will be flipping and subject tos. Here’s how you can make money using these investment strategies:

How to Flip for Profit

At the beginning of 2022, flipped homes would sell in a matter of hours, rather than weeks or months. The fix-and-flip experience will be a little different in the remainder of 2022. But flipping is still a great opportunity to make a profit in real estate.

What Properties Will Flip for Profit?

Your best bet for income in real estate flipping will be sticking to medium price point properties.

Some areas – for example, City center of Denver — are still doing great in higher price ranges. People are still selling $1 – 2 million dollar properties with no issues. But in smaller communities, there are fewer people who can afford $600,000 – $900,000 properties.

With rising interest rates, people who were looking in those higher price ranges now need to look a little lower. Medium property prices are also always competing with rent.

Even though interest rates have gone up 5 – 6%, a $150,000 – $250,000 house will still be in a competitive market with rent. As long as they can afford it, people will always steer toward buying a home rather than renting. 

Rent prices aren’t going anywhere but up. We may see changes in the renting sphere as congress discusses hedge funds and other big investors driving rent prices up. But for you now, rising rents could push more people to consider home ownership in the low-to-mid price range.

Flipping Expectations for 2022

When you look at your market, know that 3-bedroom, 2-bath, and garage homes will always be reliable as a seller. People will always be searching for those types of properties for their families.

You’ll find buyers in this range, but be sure to adjust your expectations. In the last market, buyers would make offers within hours or days. The reality of this upcoming market is it might take one or two months to find a buyer. Be patient, take your time, look at your area, and keep an eye out for upcoming foreclosures and other opportunities.

Subject To Real Estate Investing

A “subject to” is when you buy someone’s property subject to them leaving the mortgage on the property. You become the owner, you receive the deed or title, and you take over the loan. But it’s still the same loan, in the original owner’s name. You’re not assuming, or refinancing. They keep the loan on the property, and you just make the payments.

Should You Do a Subject To?

How is a subject to beneficial for you? The property’s existing mortgage will likely have rates close to 2.5-3% – rather than the 6% rate you’d get on a new loan. Also, in a subject to, you assume no additional debt.

Most subject tos are made for rentals, lease options, or contract for deeds. A subject to property is not a great place to flip. When people are willing to do a subject to, the reason they’re not selling the property is they can’t get the price that they want at the speed they want. So they have to get rid of the property this way to avoid wrecking their credit for future loans.

The Money Side of Subject Tos

We’ve seen clients with 50 – 200 subject to properties. Subject tos are a great way to build a portfolio without using your credit, and without maxing out your loan opportunities with lenders.

Sometimes with subject tos, you’ll have to give the owner of the mortgage some money to give over the property. There are also occasional fix-up costs, depending on the condition of the property. 

Why some people don’t want to jump into a subject to is because they don’t have the $5,000 – $15,000 start-up costs to get into it. We recommend looking into OPM as a way to cover these costs and take advantage of subject tos. 

You’re getting the cheapest possible financing on a property, so it doesn’t matter much if the loan is still at 100%. Making monthly payments continually brings the loan down. And you’re free from many other financing and closing costs.

If you get a long-term renter, or someone who wants to do a lease option and put some money down, subject tos can become a great source of cash flow.

Subject tos are going to be hot as foreclosures pick up, selling times slow, and people can’t afford to fix up their properties. They are one of the best ways to take advantage of a down market and build a large real estate portfolio.

What To Do Next?

The real estate market at the end of 2022 will look very different than it did in the beginning. But there are always options for making money in real estate – in any market.

We have plenty of experience in markets like the one we’re now entering. If you need more guidance as you navigate your real estate investment career this year, let us help.

Download our free real estate investment resources here.

Check out the information on our YouTube channel here.

And always feel free to reach out to us at hardmoneymike.com.


Happy Investing.

Text reads "What Is Hard Money." Mike Bonn stands with cartoon coins surrounding him.

The Beginner’s Guide to Hard Money Loans

Hard money basics you need to know before real estate investing.

We’ve been in the hard money loan business for 20 years. Half the calls we receive are still beginner real estate investors trying to learn the money side of investing.

If that’s you, you’ve likely applied for, heard of, or thought about using hard money lenders. But maybe you don’t fully understand the private lending world yet. How does a hard money loan work? How much interest do private lenders charge? Do hard money lenders require a minimum credit score? Should you just wait until you qualify for better bank loans?

This guide will help answer:

  • What is hard money?
  • What do hard money lenders look for?
  • How is hard money different than other loans?
  • How do you qualify for hard money?
  • Is hard money better than banks?

Becoming hard money proficient will put you miles ahead as an investor. 

Ready to nail the basics?

What is Hard Money?

Hard money is a short-term loan designed for real estate investors. Hard money lenders focus on lending money on undervalued properties in need of rehab.

Hard money loans are short term – usually around six months or a year – and are designed to help buy properties to fix up.

While “easier” than traditional bank loans, hard money loans are also more expensive due to higher interest rates. Which brings us to the most important quality of hard money loans: they’re fast.

In real estate investing, discounted properties typically require fast-closing deals. Hard money loans can help you take advantage of prices while they’re low, and: 

  • Save on the property cost to begin with
  • Get more from selling or refinancing the property.

These savings more than cover the costs of a hard money loan for most investors.

The speed of hard money makes it valuable for newbie and seasoned investors alike. Hard money loans are made for real estate investors.

How Does A Hard Money Loan Work? 

What do hard money lenders look at? There are two main factors lenders of hard money consider.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

An important number a lender takes into account is the cost of the property. The ratio of the loan they offer and the cost is important for you to know.

Let’s say you have a property with a current appraisal of $200,000. Then you get a loan for $100,000. The loan is half of the value of the home, so your loan-to-value is 50%.

After Repair Value (ARV)

ARV, after repair value, is another important factor hard money lenders consider. The properties targeted by real estate investors are undervalued. They need work to be brought up to the standards of the surrounding community.

So, lenders look at not only the current value of the house, but also the future value of the house, after it’s all fixed up.

Many hard money loans are based on after repair value rather than loan-to-value. Your lender might offer you up to 75% – not of what you’re buying it for, but what you could sell it for by the end. 

What Does ARV Cover?

A key factor to ARV is that lenders will lend not only for the initial purchase, but for the fix-up costs. 

Many lenders will put money aside in escrows to use throughout the project to pay contractors and cover other renovation costs. 

If your loan considers ARV, it’s possible for you, with ZERO money down, to:

  • Buy a property.
  • Fix it up.
  • Either sell it (fix-and-flip) or refinance it (BRRRR).

After selling or refinancing, you use that money to pay the loan back.

Hard money is designed to build value into real estate. Understanding the role of the after repair value will help you immensely in your hard money investments.

How Is Hard Money Different from Other Loans?

Interest rates on hard money are between 2-5% higher than what you’ll find at banks. You can expect origination fees to be about twice as much. Appraisals will be close to the same.

So on paper, the rates and fees are higher, so it feels like you’re spending more. Which you are! But with hard money loans, you’re paying for:

  • Accessibility
  • Convenience
  • Flexibility
  • The opportunity to purchase properties you’d never be able to while relying on bank loans.

While hard money costs more than other loans, the potential value is also way higher. When sellers have discounted real estate, they want it sold fast. Banks can take 25-30 days to close. You can receive hard money in a matter of days.

Every week, we see hard money work to save people money.

When a recent client of ours bought a property, he saved 10% – just because he could close faster than the other five bidders. His savings on that purchase were $30,000: much more than double what he’ll spend on the loan transaction.

How Do You Qualify for a Hard Money Loan?

There are two kinds of hard money lenders. They each have different qualification requirements.

National Hard Money Lenders

National lenders lend in almost every state. They are larger organizations, backed by hedge funds and private equity.

National hard money lenders require:

  • A credit score check, and a good score.
  • Experience – at least five deals in the last three years. 
  • Properties to be in specific larger communities.

So if you’re new to investing, need to improve your credit score, or are looking at more rural properties, you may need to look into local lenders.

Local or Private Hard Money Lenders

A local, or private, lender will specialize in your state or area. Local lenders are much more likely to:

  • Not ask for a credit score.
  • Not require experience.
  • Lend for rural areas.

Local lenders are focused on the deal itself and whether it has good value.

When deciding which lender to use for hard money, always shop around to see what fits your situation now. And be aware that another lender may fit you better in the future.

Are Private Lenders Better Than Banks?

It’s impossible to say whether hard money lenders or banks are “better” for real estate. It all depends on your deal and where you are in your investment career.

When to Use Bank Loans vs Hard Money Loans

Bank loans will have lower rates and may be the better route if you:

  • Have had a successful investment business for over two years.
  • Make a lot of money at a W-2 job.
  • Have 3-4 weeks to close.

Hard money loans will be easier, faster,  and may work better if you:

  • Are newer to real estate investing.
  • Don’t have money up-front to invest.
  • Don’t want to put your own money into a deal.
  • Need to close within a week or two.

As long as a property promises income, hard money more than makes up for its higher rates with the speed and greater potential savings. Starting in hard money paves the way for you to work up to bigger funding opportunities.

Ultimately, your investment career should always have a mix of funding types. Bank loans, hard money, and OPM all have their place to work for you in real estate investing.

Where to Go from Here

Understanding money is key to successful real estate investments. When you put time into understanding money, you get control of it. With control, you can multiply your investment earnings four times over.

It doesn’t stop here. We want to help with your hard money education: