Knowing what hard money lenders look for is key to winning the real estate investment game.
Real estate investing is all about creating wealth and income by leveraging other people’s money.
Hard money loans (also sometimes called private money loans) are a crucial part of that money.
What is a Hard Money Loan?
A hard money loan is a loan based mainly on the property or the investment that you’re working on. It’s less focused on the investors themselves, as hard money lenders tend to look more at the property and LTVs (loan to value).
Hard money lenders look for great deals. If a project is a good deal for you, you’ll likely find lenders willing to back you up.
Another benefit of a hard money loan is its flexibility. Hard money lenders allow higher loan to values and, depending on the property, sometimes will lend up to 100% of the total cost.
This is super important for new investors who need money to get started.
When to use a Hard Money Loan?
There are all sorts of loan options out there, but hard money is particularly useful in a few scenarios:
- Closing quickly: Hard money loans are a lot faster to come by than traditional bank loans.
- Unique Projects: Private lenders aren’t bound by the same restrictions as large firms.
- Higher Loan to Value: If your deal needs a higher LTV, hard money can be the best deal.
- Credit Score Trouble: Hard money lenders are more concerned with the value of the property than your personal credit score. You can also use a hard money loan as a usage loan to raise your credit score.
How to Find the Perfect Hard Money Lender
Since hard money lenders are often smaller, private individuals or companies, it can take some work to find the right fit for you.
If you’re starting with a Google search, know that local lenders likely won’t appear on the first page with the paid promotions from large banks. Click through a few pages of results to find what you’re actually looking for.
1. Look For Local Hard Money Lenders
Hard money lenders gravitate towards local markets in smaller communities. You can check out our location pages to learn more about resources we’re connected to in your local area.
Finding local real estate investment groups can be a good way to start making connections.
Also, engaging with online forums like ones on BiggerPockets can help you find other investors and lenders in your area.
Local connection goes a long way in the hard money game, and you’ll need to take time to network in your area.
2. Create Relationships
Private money lenders are often very relational.
Because of this, you’ll need to take time to call and talk to them. Make sure they know that you know what you’re doing.
Learn the language to help build their confidence in you and your project.
Additionally, some lenders may even ask to see the property you’re asking them to invest in. Making sure you give them all the information they ask for is critical in your relationship with them.
Similarly, just like they’re trying to determine whether you’re the right fit for them, you should also look at multiple lenders. The relationship between lenders and investors is a two-way street, and it’s important both of you feel confident about the deal.
3. Make Them Feel Comfortable
Remember that hard money lenders are typically individuals or small companies. Each loan is important to them.
Let them see your numbers. Let them see an example deal. Even if you’re just starting out, show them an example of potential loan to values, and be prepared to show your work.
The more you know about your contractors, purchase price, rehab costs, etc., the more you’ll ease their concerns.
Although it takes time to prepare this information, it can make a huge difference. This is your business, and doing that preparation shows your lenders that you’re competent at your part of the job.
4. Make it Easy for Your Lenders
Finally, don’t make your lender chase you down to follow up. Have everything ready before they ask and pass it along early in the process.
Prepare a package ahead of time that has all the necessary information enclosed to the best of your ability:
- ARV info
- Scope and timeline of work
- Team members
- Insurance agent
- Title info
The easier you make it for your lender, the more likely they’ll offer you a great deal.
Show them that you know exactly what and how to break down a property and that the equity is there. This lets them know their loan is protected by a solid property with a good plan for generating income.
Hard money lending is all about relationships. If you build a good relationship, you’re far more likely to find the lenders you need.
We have a few tools that can help you shop around for the perfect hard money loan. The first is our location pages. You can use these to find resources in your area.
The other tool we recommend is our free Loan Cost Optimizer download. It’s easy to use, and it can help you compare different lenders to find the best deals.
If you’re interested in a hard money loan or have questions about how to find lenders in your area, feel free to reach out to us at Info@HardMoneyMike.com.