Tag Archive for: #hard money lender

How to Calculate Your Hard Money Loan Amount

What does your lender take into consideration to calculate your hard money loan? Here’s what you need to know.

How much could you get in a hard money loan?

At least 50% of your success as a real estate investor will come from using and understanding leverage well. Simply knowing your numbers gets you ahead of the curve.

You need to be able to figure out a ballpark number of what a lender will give you for your property. Let’s go over how to calculate your hard money loan, what costs you’ll need to know about, and run through some examples.

Calculate a Hard Money Loan: Maximum LTV

There are two main calculations for a hard money loan.

The first is: What is the maximum loan value a lender will offer?

Every hard money lender has a maximum loan ability. This maximum is based on the property’s after-repair value or ARV.

ARV is what the property will be worth at the appraisal when you sell or refinance. This is the number the property could go for on the open market after you’ve done all your renovations.

LTV vs ARV

Traditional lenders use “loan-to-value,” which means they base their loans on the cost of the property. 

But hard money is designed for real estate investing, so they lend with the assumption that your property is value-add. It’s a property that needs work, and when you put in the work, the home will be worth more in the future.

The after-repair value is what hard money lenders base their loan on. Most lenders will lend somewhere between 70-75% of the ARV. However, the actual loan-to-ARV percentage you get depends on factors like experience, credit, etc.

Most hard money lenders will only approve a loan for an amount you can actually afford. These lenders want two things:

  1. To get their money back.
  2. For you to make money.

75% ARV is the average amount they can lend safely. This amount estimates that you’ll be able to both pay all your costs and still make a little profit for yourself.

Max LTV for Hard Money Example

Let’s look at an example. We’ll keep it as simple as possible and say our ARV is $100,000. This loan amount is likely unrealistic depending on your market, but this calculation works the same with any number.

If $100,000 is our ARV, that means it’s the absolute maximum any hard money lender could loan you. In rare situations, a hard money lender may loan you up to 100% of your ARV.

More common, however, is that you get 75% of your ARV. To figure out this number, you just multiply your ARV by .75:

ARV  ×  % of ARV  =  Loan Amount

$100,000  ×  .75  =  $75,000

$75,000 is the realistic maximum loan you can expect from a hard money lender for a property with an ARV of $100k.

Calculating the loan-to-ARV for a hard money loan is only the first calculation, though…

Calculate a Hard Money Loan: Maximum Actual Loan 

If the first question is what is the maximum loan amount you can get, then the second question is: What’s the actual amount they’ll lend?

You might hear a hard money lender say they’ll lend up to “80/100” or “90/100” – let’s go over what that means.

How to Figure Out Actual Loan

You’ll notice there are two numbers with a slash in between.

The first number is the loan-to-cost (not ARV). For example, if it’s 90/100, that means they’ll lend up to 90% of what you bought the property for. 

The second number is the rehab cost. In the 90/100 example, the lender would give you 100% of the costs needed to fix up the property.

So in this case, they’ll offer you a loan that covers up to 90% of the purchase price and 100% of the rehab costs.

But remember: there’s still the overall maximum loan of $75,000 that we can’t go over.

Calculate Your Costs for a Hard Money Loan

So say a lender tells you they can loan 90/100 and 75% of the ARV, and your ARV is $100,000. That means they’ll give you 90% of the purchase cost + all the construction costs, but that total number can’t be more than $75,000.

Let’s break this down with some simple examples.

Don’t Forget Closing Costs

We’ll say we’re buying a property for $60,000, and it will take $20,000 to fix up.

There’s one more number many real estate investors fail to include here: closing costs. This number includes:

  • What you pay the title company, escrow attorney, or whoever performs the closing.
  • Lender origination fees.
  • Title costs.
  • Insurance.
  • Anything else that goes into the closing of a transaction.

Your closing costs will be dependent on your purchase price. For our $60k property, closing costs will be somewhere between $1,800 and $3,000. We’ll go with $3,000 for our example.

90/100 Hard Money Loan Example

Here are the numbers broken down for our current example. How do they work out for a 90/100 loan?

Purchase Price:  $60k

Rehab Costs:  $20k

Closing Costs:  $3k

Total:  $83k

Now, if the lender offers 90% of the purchase price, they’d cover $54,000 on this property. That leaves $6,000 (aka, 10%) you’ll have to cover.

They’ll also pay for 100% of the $20,000 construction costs. So as long as you stay in-budget, there will be no out-of-pocket costs there.

A hard money loan covers no closing costs. You’ll need to fund all $3,000 there.

Here’s what we’re left with:

Loan Covers:  $74,000

You Cover:  $9,000

Now you know going in that you’d need $9,000 to make this deal work. 

You can also see that the $74,000 is less than the max LTV of 75% (or $75,000 on this case). But what if our rehab costs were actual going to be $25,000 instead of $20k?

This would push our loan coverage up to $79k. The loan would still only cover $75k, so you’d be stuck with an extra $4,000, totaling your out-of-pocket cost for this property to $13,000.

80/90 Example

To really drive this home, let’s go through the exact same example but with an 80/90 loan.

If the purchase price is still $60k, they’ll give you 80%, so:

$60,000  ×  .80  =  $48,000

Rehab costs are still at $20k, so now the loan would cover:

$20,000  ×  .90  =  $18,000

The total loan amount would be:

$48k  +  $18k  =  $66,000

Your total costs would be:

Purchase:  $12,000

Rehab:  $2,000

Closing:  $3,000

Total: $17,000

For a 80/90 loan, you’ll need to bring in $8,000 more than you would a 90/100 loan.

Other Factors in Calculating a Hard Money Loan

This is a very basic way to calculate your hard money loan. Keep in mind these numbers will shift a bit depending on your qualifications, experience, and credit score.

But even a ballpark number keeps you prepared. And the better prepared you are money-wise, the better terms you can get.

Additional Costs on Your Property

The costs of real estate investing can add up. This is why it’s important to know before closing on a loan – or even before approaching a lender – what you can truly afford.

One more cost that’s easy to lose sight of in the midst of leverage is the carry costs once you actually own the property.

You’ll be paying interest and principal every month, plus the accumulation of taxes, insurance, and potentially HOA costs. These are all amounts that will be coming either out of your pocket or from gap funding sources. 

More Info on Calculating Hard Money Loans

We hope this helps you as you navigate your real estate investment career. Our purpose is to make sure you use hard money correctly, knowledgably, and in the right positions.

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more real estate investing breakdowns.

If you have any questions, or a deal you’d like us to run the numbers on, we’d be happy to help. Email us at Info@HardMoneyMike.com.

Happy Investing.

Text: "When to Use Hard Money"

5 Times You Should Use Hard Money for Your Real Estate Investments

Here are 5 ways to use hard money right as a real estate investor.

Real estate investing is all about making profit.

And sometimes, to make profit, you need to use hard money loans.

When is hard money your best option in real estate investing? Let’s look at 5 situations where you should use hard money to fuel your investments.

1. Using Hard Money for Speed

The number one way hard money makes you money in real estate investing is how fast they are.

Look at a real example from one of our clients.

He was able to buy a property in Colorado at a $30,000 discount.

Five other people were bidding as high as $330,000 on the property.

But our client was able to close in less than a week, so the sellers accepted his bid of $300,000.

How Much Does a Hard Money Loan Cost?

People can get tripped up with the cost of hard money. Wouldn’t the price of the loan leave our client at a loss here? Let’s compare his hard money loan on this deal to his competitors with a bank loan.

For hard money, he spent $7,500 on origination. A bank loan would have cost $4,500.

Six months’ worth of interest on the hard money loan adds up to $15,000. The same time on a bank loan would accrue $9,900 of interest.

Appraisal underwriting, and processing fees were lower with hard money at $984 (vs $1500 with the bank.)

Overall, our client did pay a lot more for the loan itself using hard money. His hard money loan cost $23,484, and a bank loan would have cost $15,525. That’s an extra cost of $7,959 to use hard money.

Can You Save Money by Using Hard Money for Real Estate?

Despite seeming more expensive, hard money still gave this investor a discount. Why? Hard money enabled him to close fast, so he got a better deal on purchase price.

What was the total cost of hard money? The discounted price of the property ($300,000) plus the hard money loan costs equals $323,484. 

What about the bank loan? The home price of $330,000 plus bank loan costs totals $345,525.

This is a savings of $22,041. Just for closing fast with hard money rather than using the cheaper but slower bank loan.

Using hard money for speed works even when the discount is smaller.

Let’s say our client had bid only 10,000 less than the other investors. He still would’ve saved $1,191 up front on the deal.

Hard Money Savings without a Purchase Price Discount

The option of buying real estate with bank loans is often cheaper. However, in many investment situations, using a bank loan is not a viable option.

If you have to wait 4 weeks to clear your bank loan, but only 4 days for a hard money loan… that becomes the difference between closing on the property or not.

Ultimately, even if using hard money doesn’t get you the lowest price, you still save money in the long run. If the speed of a hard money loan gets you a property, you will still come out on top.

Buying then selling a profitable fix-and-flip will always make more money than never buying and never selling.

2. Use Hard Money if You Have Low Credit

Institutional lenders, private equity, and banks have credit score minimums. If you don’t have a high enough score, you don’t get a loan.

Hard money lenders, on the other hand, are typically not credit-score-driven. Yes, they’ll probably look at your credit, but they won’t base your loan on it.

Real estate investors can have low credit scores for many reasons:

  • Usage – You put your flip rehab costs on credit cards
  • Thin Credit – You have few lines of credit, or young lines of credit
  • One-time Event – You had good credit, then life happened and your score temporarily dipped.

Hard money lenders understand that these issues are not always a reflection of your ability to pay back loans. 

That’s why hard money lenders don’t worry about your credit score, just your credit.

Do you have a history of late payments? Are you defaulting? That will negatively affect you with a hard money lender. 

If you are responsible with credit, but have a score banks won’t accept, a hard money lender will be a good option.

3. Using Hard Money Because It’s Flexible

Sometimes you need an outside-of-the-box lender.

  • Unique Properties – If you have a house or area that’s unique (maybe a dome house, an old manufacturer, etc.), hard money lenders will give you more options.
  • Rural Areas – Most local banks and large hard money lenders don’t lend outside of MSAs. Traditional lenders might not cover thirty miles outside of an urban area, but many small hard money lenders will.
  • Cross Liens – Hard money lenders have more flexibility putting a cross lien on another property. This is useful if you don’t have a lot of money to put down, but do have another property with a lot of equity.
  • Gap funding – Sometimes a mortgage doesn’t quite cover all the costs of your project. Hard money can fill in those gaps.
  • Lot splits – Splitting off a lot can be a headache with a traditional lender. A hard money lender is more flexible with the time it takes to get a survey and everything else prepared. This allows you to split off a lot, sell the house, and keep the lot.

4. Using Hard Money for BRRRRs

Hard money is crucial for successful BRRRRs.

With BRRRR (rental flips), you:

  • Buy undermarket valued properties
  • With a hard money loan
  • Then rate-and-term refinance into a longer-term loan.

If you want to get into BRRRR transactions (rental properties), you have to find a hard money lender or private lender who will loan you 75-80% of the after-repair value of the property you want to buy.

If you get a hard money loan to fund the purchase price and rehab up to 75-80% ARV, you can maximize your refinance. This saves you money, time, and interest.

5. Other Times to Use Hard Money

There are many other reasons real estate investors use hard money. Here are a few:

  • Banks limit you to 2-3 loans. If you’ve maxed out those lenders, hard money can help.
  • Hard money can work as a bridge loan. It covers the down payment of your next property until your other bank-funded property sells.
  • You can keep a project off your credit. Hard money typically doesn’t show up on your credit report.
  • Investment beginners might need help with their first couple projects started before banks will lend to them.
  • Complete a started project. If you end up with a property mid-flip, many banks won’t lend for it. But a hard money lender can easily provide a gap loan to finish the rehab.
  • Hard money has the flexibility to let you come in with other funding sources. (If you want to put repair costs on a credit card, want to use an OPM lender, etc.).

How to Use Hard Money for Real Estate

Want to learn more about real estate funding? Wondering if a hard money loan might be right for your investment? 

Email us your questions anytime at Mike@HardMoneyMike.com

Or join our weekly Leverage Up call here, every Thursday from 1:15 PM to 2:15 PM (MST).

Text: "Gap Funding & Hard Money How They Work Together"

Gap Funding and Hard Money – How the Real Estate Lending Options Work Together

How do gap funding and hard money go together?

As we move toward a recession, your money as a real estate investor will tighten. Lenders who used to give you 90% of the value of a property will now only offer 80% or less.

Where will you come up with that extra 20% or more? Is real estate in a recession only for those of us with hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting around?

Not at all. Lenders tightening only means that gap funding will become more important for real estate investors.

Let’s look at what gap funding is, how to apply it to your upcoming purchases, and how it integrates with a hard money loan.

What Is Gap Funding?

What does “gap funding” mean in the real estate world?

Gap Funding Definition

Gap funding is the money you bring in from another source to fill any gap left between the lender and the project costs.

If a lender offers you 70% of the LTV on a property, gap funding is how you fill in the remaining 30%. Usually gap funding is secured, although unsecured gap funding is possible. 

A “secured” loan means that the debt is backed by a piece of collateral. In a typical gap funding scenario, the loan is secured by the property being purchased.

For the most part, you won’t be able to find a gap lender at an institution like you can a bank lender. Instead, gap lenders are family members, friends, or someone you know.

OPM vs Gap Funding

You can use a couple gap funding terms interchangeably:

  • gap funding
  • gap lending
  • OPM (other people’s money)
  • real people’s money

All of these terms get at the same concept. It’s money, not from you and not from an institutional lender, that covers whatever costs of an investment property that your lender won’t fund.

OPM can cover up to 100% of a deal, but for now, we’ll be talking about it in a strictly gap funding sense. These are loans that fill in the holes of a project that a mortgage or hard money loan wouldn’t cover.

Gap Funding for Flips

During a time when lenders are offering less money up-front for investment deals, you might need more money to fill in the gaps on your fix-and-flip projects.

Here are a few phases where you might need gap funding on your project.

Down Payments

Hard money lenders require at least 10% as a down payment. This is a very common use for gap funding.

If you use gap funding for your down payment, you’ll need to find out right away whether or not your hard money lender will accept a secured gap loan on the property.

Construction Costs

Another way to use gap funding for flips is for construction costs – rehab, repair, or anything necessary to bring the house up to the ARV and onto the market. These expenses can rack up fast, and they may not be completely covered by the main loan for the flip.

Carry Costs

Some investors will only use gap funding for the carry costs during their flip. 

The lender will pay the mortgage payment, the insurance, or whatever other monthly costs are required during the project. Having a gap lender for carry costs can smooth out a fix-and-flip experience.

The Reach of Gap Funding for Fix-and-Flips

It’s possible to coordinate with your gap lenders to cover all three of these additional costs. This is a common way investors successfully finish fix-and-flips with zero money down.

You can use gap funding however you need, as long as both the hard money lender and the gap lender agree that the loan fits their criteria. 

Not all hard money lenders allow you to secure your gap loan with a lien on the property you’re closing on. And not all gap lenders will loan to you unsecured.

Gap Funding for BRRRR

Gap funding is also used for BRRRRs, and works much like fix-and-flips. The biggest differences happen at closing.

Gap Funding Process During BRRRRs

BRRRR gap funding can be used the same way as a fix and flip: down payment, construction, or carry costs.

For BRRRR though, you need to close the gap funding loan on the same day as closing. You’ll also need to be sure you close the gap funding at the title company, with your lender. So you’ll need to know in advance that your hard money lender allows gap funding with a lien on the property.

Protecting Your BRRRR Refinance While Using Gap Funding

If you close your gap loan too late or incorrectly, your long-term lender can consider your refinance cash-out, not rate-and-term. This will lower the LTV on your refinance.

It’s important to get the money for your loan back in the refinance. In a good BRRRR transaction, you walk away with a house that’s cash-flowing and little to no money out of your pocket.

How to Calculate Gap Funding

How do you calculate what you’ll need for gap funding? It depends on each project.

Calculating Gap Funding Needed for a Project

The way to figure out the gaps in your project is simple:

(Cost of Property + Rehab Costs) – Hard Money Loan Amount = Gap Funding Amount Needed

If the property costs $200,000, but your lender gives $140,000, there’s a $60,000 gap you’ll need to cover. You can:

  1. Pay the $60,000 out-of-pocket

Or

  1. Bring in a gap lender, enabling you to buy the property with 100% financing. You would likely use part of this loan for the down payment and part for construction costs.

How to Calculate Construction Costs

Most hard money lenders use the ARV (anticipated retail value) rather than LTV (loan in relation to the current sale value).

In case your loan is for LTV only and doesn’t take into account construction costs, here’s how you would calculate those costs for an undermarket home:

ARV  –  Actual Cost of Property  =  Maximum Construction Budget

It’s important for you to work these numbers and know your budget up-front. Keep in mind, it’s always better to err on the generous side with your numbers. You want to be sure you can get done on-time and within the budget allotted by your hard money and gap lenders.

Ways to Secure a Gap Loan

So when you hear the advice to “secure” your gap loan, what does that mean? How do you secure a gap loan? And why?

Securing with Two Lenders

Securing your loan involves both your hard money lender and your gap lender.

Your friend or family member is giving you a fairly large chunk of money. They’ll want to know how you’ll secure it for them. 

Securing your gap lender’s loan involves putting a lien on the property. Does your hard money lender allow this? Not all lenders will.

If Your Hard Money Lender Doesn’t Allow a Lien

If your hard money lender does not allow a lien on the property, you’ll have to secure the loan with a different property.

You could either put the lien on your own home, or you could use another rental or investment property.

If They Do Allow a Lien

If your hard money lender does allow a lien on the property to secure a gap loan, it’s best to do during closing with the mortgage and deed. This way title records it, and you have evidence for your gap funder that it’s recorded.

Many gap lenders – especially if they’re family or friends – won’t be educated enough about the real estate world to understand how to secure  their money. As the investor, it’s your responsibility to keep your lenders’ money safe.

Securing the Loan

No matter which property has the lien, you’ll have to take a few important steps to secure the gap loan. 

You’ll need a note – a promissory note between you and your gap lender – and a lien, either a mortgage or a deed of trust. And you’ll have to record all this with the county.

To make sure the loan is concerned, be sure to check all these boxes. It’s important to do this thoroughly so your lender will:

  • Get their money back
  • Feel comfortable with the deal
  • Want to lend to you again
  • Recommend you to their network

For More Help on Gap Funding and Hard Money

Gap funding and hard money are big, important concepts that work together for real estate investors.

If you’re left with questions, you can reach out to us at info@hardmoneymike.com, on Facebook, or at HardMoneyMike.com. 

We’re more than happy to answer specific questions on specific deals.

You can also check out these videos on gap funding and OPM.

Happy Investing.

Text: "Finding Hard Money Bridge Loan Lenders"

Where Do You Find a Hard Money Bridge Loan Lender?

Does every hard money lender do bridge loans? Where do you find a hard money bridge loan lender?

A lot of people use the term bridge loan interchangeably with gap funding or hard money, but a true bridge loan is slightly different. They’re shorter-term than a hard money loan, and they’re typically less expensive because of that.

Is a Bridge Loan Different from a Hard Money Loan?

A hard money loan is longer and broader than a bridge loan.

  • The average bridge loan lasts 30 to 45 days. Hard money loans can last up to a year or longer.
  • Bridge loans get you from one property to the next. Hard money focuses more on a single project.
  • Bridge loans get paid when your old property sells. Hard money loans get paid when you refinance or sell the property the loan was originally for.
  • A bridge loan is used as temporary funds to close on a house. A hard money loan can be used as a more general budget for a purchase. Many come with the option for escrows to fix up the property over time.

Typically bridge loans are used for 3 situations in real estate investing. When you:

  1. Are buying a new property and already have one listed for sale
  2. Need to cover down payment on a new property
  3. Find a great deal but your bank’s financing won’t be ready in time.

What Lender Give Bridge Loans?

To find these quick, short loans, a small local lender (like Hard Money Mike) will be your best and fastest option. Smaller hard money lenders prefer working with deals that provide good, safe returns. Bridge loans do exactly that.

A bigger hard money lender will do a bridge loan, too. But they may take up to four weeks to close, which often defeats the purpose of true bridge lending.

You can also get bridge loans from some banks. Not big, national banks, but many local banks and credit unions who work with real estate investors may do bridge loans, too. Banks usually offer the cheapest bridge loans, but can take 3 – 4 weeks or longer.

Ask around to hard money bridge loan lenders you know to learn their pricing and see if it’s worth it. You can use our free loan optimizer to find out if you can get a good deal on bridge loans near you.

Read the full article here.

Watch the video here:

Text: "3 Ways to Use Bridge Loans"

3 Ways a Hard Money Bridge Loan Makes Your Life Easier

Some lenders might talk about hard money and a bridge loan as the same – that’s okay. But it will benefit you to know the particular uses for bridge loans.

The basics of a bridge loan are that they’re used to bridge you from one project to the next. You pay the loan off when the first property sells. Using bridge loans can make your investment career smoother, faster, and more profitable.

Here are 3 ways you can use them.

1. Bridge Loans to Get from One Property to the Next

The most common use of bridge loans in the hard money space is to bridge you from one property to the next.

When you have a flipped property that’s almost complete – the work is done, it’s under contract, it’s almost sold – you might want to get started on your next project without waiting for the official close.

The problem is: How do you buy a new property without the money from selling the old one? A hard money bridge loan solves that problem.

A bridge loan allows you to use the property that’s about to be sold as collateral for a new loan for a new property. Once the first property sells, some of that money is used to pay off the bridge loan. Then you own the new property free and clear.

This way of using a bridge loan is especially useful if you have a lot of cash put into one property. You don’t have to wait to get that money back after selling to start on your next investment.

2. Bridge Loans to Cover a Down Payment on a New Property

You can use an advance of the equity on a current property as the down payment for the new property through a bridge loan.

Maybe you’re about to sell one property. And you’re able to get financing for your next one… Except you can’t cover the down payment.

In this case, you’ll probably use a bridge loan in conjunction with a hard money loan. The hard money loan covers the property cost, and the bridge loan covers the remaining down payment cost. Then that bridge loan gets paid off when you sell the old property.

3. Bridge Loans to Close Fast

Another way you could use a bridge loan is to close faster on a new property.

Maybe you plan on using more traditional financing through a bank, but the bank loan wouldn’t be ready in time. You can use a short-term bridge loan.

This loan bridges you from the closing to the refinance. A bridge lender will help you with the initial purchase. Then once your bank (or hard money) loan is completely ready – usually several weeks or a month later – that bank loan pays off the bridge loan.

Bridge Loans in the Hard Money World

Typically bridge loans are used for 3 situations in real estate investing:

  1. When you’re buying a new property and already have one listed for sale
  2. When you need to cover down payment on a new property
  3. When you find a great deal but your bank’s financing won’t be ready in time.

Read the full article here.

Watch the video here:

Text: "Hard Money Basics. Know Your Numbers!"

Hard Money Loan Basics: Numbers to Know

The ultimate beginner’s guide to basic hard money loan numbers to know (AKA, your guide to wealth in real estate investing).

There’s money in the money when it comes to real estate investing. But the numbers surrounding hard money loans can be confusing, especially for beginners.

Many investors don’t want to learn these numbers. Just by reading this guide, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Let’s go over these basic numbers to get you one step closer to being a real estate expert:

Hard Money Loans – Knowing the Basics

As a beginner investor, you need to know the basics about hard money loans.

The two most basic hard money questions you need to know the answers to are:

  1. What’s the difference between loan-to-value and ARV? 
  2. How do you calculate them?

Know the Basics: Loan-to-Value

Loan-to-Value, LTV, involves the:

  • appraised value of a property
  • as it sits right now
  • with nothing changed about it.

As a real estate investor, if a property costs $100,000 as it sits, you know you’re going to put work into it and make it worth more. But that as-is value, the $100,000, is what lenders base their loan amount on. 

Know the Basics: After Repair Value

After Repair Value (ARV) is used more by hard money lenders and the real estate investment world. Banks and traditional lenders more often use LTV.

Because in real estate investing, we’re basing our numbers on what you can do to the property. What can the value be once you fix it up? That’s the number that determines profit, so that number is more important for hard money lenders.

ARV is the target value of what the house will be worth after all your renovations. This ARV should always be higher than the current price of the house when you buy it.

Calculating ARV and LTV

Let’s say you found an undermarket property that’s selling for $100,000. If a lender says, “We’ll loan you 75%,” that could mean two things, and you’ll want to know the difference.

First, if they’re a bank, they’re likely talking about 75% of the value. In this example, that would be:

$100,000  ×  75%  =  $75,000 loan

Hard money lenders will care more about the value of the home after repairs, so they go off ARV. If they loan you 75%, that would be:

$150,000  ×  75%  =  $112,500 loan

If a loan is based on ARV, lenders might want to know – what are you doing to the property? Different renovations will affect the value of the property in different ways. What you will do and the quality of the work will affect the ARV.

Know the basics about LTV and ARV, and your hard money experience will be much smoother.

Hard Money Loan Requirements

What are the requirements for a hard money loan?

What will hard money lenders lend you, and what does it take to get it? Knowing these numbers in advance will help you stay on track to getting profitable deals.

The majority of hard money lenders will lend up to 75% of the ARV. 

So, let’s say a property will be worth $100,000 after all repairs, and a lender offers you 75% of that ARV. You’ll receive a loan for $75,000.

Is that enough? Now it’s up to you to crunch the numbers and see if you meet these hard money loan requirements. Will that $75,000 cover everything – the purchase, the rehab, etc.? And if it doesn’t – how much do you need to bring in? Can you make that work?

What Expenses Does a Hard Money Loan Cover?

A hard money loan covers:

  1. The purchase of a property.
  2. The rehab of that property.

100% financing is possible with a hard money loan, but it’s dependent on a lot of things – your credit score, investing experience, relationship with the lender, and more.

Let’s see an example of how the numbers on that $75,000 loan could work out to cover the flip 100%:

Loan:  $75,000

Purchase Price:  $50,000

Rehab: $25,000

If it’s possible to keep rehab costs at $25,000, you could get this $50,000 property 100% financed by a hard money loan, if the ARV is $100,000.

But let’s say rehab ends up costing $35,000. The total cost of the project would be $85,000, but your loan only covers $75,000. You’d have to come up with that extra $10,000 somewhere else – either from an alternative lender or from your own pocket.

Know the numbers to help you plan ahead with your hard money loan. If you know up-front that rehab will cost $35,000 on this property, you’ll know to only go through with the deal if you’re able to bring in that additional $10,000.

The 75% Rule Hard Money Loan Requirement

You can learn ahead of time whether your project can be 100% covered by a hard money loan. Just follow the 75% rule: make sure the costs of your project are under 75% of the property’s ARV.

Hard Money Loans Calculations

We’ve gone over some of the basics, but there are a few more hard money loans calculations to know.

Hard money lenders – especially national lenders – have two important numbers they go by. 

First, 75% of the ARV is the maximum they’ll lend you.

Second is a more specific breakdown of how that money will be used, usually referred to as 90/100 or 80/100.

Know the Numbers: What Is the 90/100 Number in a Hard Money Loan?

This number is usually around 90/100, but lenders can tighten down to 80/100 or lower. But what does this number mean?

The first number is the percentage of the loan that goes toward the purchase. The second number is the percentage that goes toward rehab. The higher the numbers, the less of your own money you have to put down.

In the case of 90/100, that means your loan will cover 90% of the purchase and 100% of the rehab.

But whatever that calculation is, it still has to be less than 75% of the ARV. Here’s an example

90/100 Calculation Example

Let’s use the numbers from our last example to look at a 90/100 loan. We’ll take 90% of the purchase price.

Purchase Price: $50,000

50,000  ×  90%  =  $45,000

So, $45,000 of your loan must go toward the purchase of the property. But since it costs $50,000 total, you’d have to bring in the additional $5,000.

Rehab: $25,000

25,000  ×  100%  =  $25,000

So, $25,000 of the loan will go toward rehab. That covers all of it, so you wouldn’t need to put any of your own cash into repairs.

So what would this 90/100 loan cover total?

$45,000  +  $25,000  =  $70,000

90/100 vs 75% Rule

But wait, that 90/100 loan example only gave you $70,000. The 75% rule on the same property said you could get a $75,000 loan. So which is it?

The 75% rule (hard money lenders loaning 75% of the ARV of a property) isn’t a guaranteed loan amount. It’s the maximum loan amount.

This maximum rule becomes more relevant as the deals get riskier.

Lenders don’t like risky deals because there’s a good chance you’ll lose money or only breakeven. 

Here’s how our previous example could become much riskier and the 75% rule would become more important:

Let’s say we have that same property with an ARV of $100,000. But this time, the purchase price is bigger.

Purchase Price: $60,000

Rehab: $25,000

Now, let’s apply the 90/100 principle:

60,000  ×  90%  =  $54,000 loan for purchase

25,000  ×  100%  =  $25,000 loan for rehab

Total loan amount  =  $79,000

So if a loan covered 90% of this purchase price plus all of the repair costs, the total loan would need to be $79,000.

But the 75% rule says your max loan for this property with a $100,000 ARV can only be $75,000. So, in this case, you’d get the loan for $75,000, and be stuck bringing in that extra $4,000 the loan didn’t cover.

Why the 75% Rule?

The 75% rule protects you from the other costs from your project. You’ll still have to pay for selling costs, overhead, and loan fees. Yet you’ll still want at least 10% – 15% profit.

If your loan by itself is any more than 75% of your ARV, you’d be set up to make little to no money.

Lenders want to stop you before you get started if they can see there’s a good chance you won’t make a profit. They want to encourage good deals, and discourage deals people won’t be able to follow through on.

The bottom line: remember there are two numbers. The 75% rule is the maximum amount they’ll lend you overall. The 90/100 (or 80/100, etc) tells you the amount of the loan they’ll allocate to purchase and rehab.

What If I’m Still Confused?

These hard money calculations, numbers, and requirements can be overwhelming if you’re not used to them. Luckily, you don’t have to memorize all this stuff right off the bat.

Download our deal analyzer here. With this spreadsheet, all you have to do is enter the numbers. It does the math for you to help you decide whether to pursue your deal, and how much money you’ll have to bring in if you do.

A tool like this can help you know the numbers before you go to your hard money lender. Life is easier for everyone, and more profitable for you, when you know the numbers of a hard money loan.

Calculating Hard Money Loans for BRRRR

If you’re looking at the rental side of real estate investing with BRRRR, what are the numbers you need for a hard money loan? What do you look for in a profitable flip?

BRRRR was designed to let investors get into rental flips with almost no money down. How do you do it? The 75% rule.

What does that mean, and how do we calculate it?

With BRRRR, there’s two loans involved. The first (hard money) loan is to purchase and fix up the property. And the second (bank) loan is to refinance for the long term.

To make the BRRRR process happen with no money down, you have to know ahead of time that you can keep costs under 75% of the ARV.

The Math on a BRRRR Hard Money Loan Using the 75% Rule

75% of what your property will be worth (ARV) is your cap for costs.

Let’s say you’re buying a property, and based on the neighborhood, comps, and all other appraisal considerations, the ARV is $200,000.

Using the 75% rule would give us:

200,000  ×  75%  =  $150,000

Your hard money loan could be up to $150,000. This means if all your costs for the project stay under $150,000, you don’t have to bring any money in. 

With this example, it would be doable:

Purchase Price: $125,000

Rehab: $25,000

Total cost: $150,000

If you could keep rehab costs at $25,000 for the project, all costs would be equal to the 75% ($150,000) loan we’d receive.

If we take the same example, but the purchase price was $140,000 with $25,000 of rehab costs, you’d end up putting in $15,000 of your own money. Still doable, but more expensive.

100% BRRRR Financing in the Future

As the economy turns and we begin to see more foreclosures, BRRRRs will be a great opportunity to build up a bigger real estate portfolio with no money down.

The opportunities are out there, but to do it, your costs have to be at 75% or lower. This number might tighten in the near future to 70%, but all the same rules still apply.

If you know your numbers before you buy, you can use a BRRRR hard money loan to your full advantage with zero money down.

Hard Money Calculator

A hard money calculator is another important tool to help investors know the numbers of a hard money loan.

Beginner and experienced investors alike need to know the difference between loans offered by different hard money lenders.

How Does a Hard Money Calculator Work?

Some lenders will charge higher interest rates with no points. Some will charge higher points, which are percentage points taken out for fees, but have a lower interest rate.

The numbers get complicated fast. How can you compare all this for your specific deal?

The best way to figure out these numbers is to use our loan optimizer, with a free download here

With this loan optimizer, you insert all the numbers – the loan amount, required down payment, interest rates, points, fees, etc –  from up to three different lenders. Then the calculator does all the math to show how much each loan would actually cost. 

It’s a simple way to compare lenders in your area and find the best price.

Example of a Hard Money Loan Calculator

Finding the cheapest loan for your deal can save you thousands of dollars on your project.

(Note: It’s good to shop around to find the best numbers, but don’t shop around forever! Or else you’ll never get to know a lender well enough to get preferential treatment.)

Here’s a walkthrough of how a loan optimizer might compare two lenders:

Loan Amount

Let’s say for a potential deal, you need a loan for $150,000. Both lenders we’re comparing are going to give you that full amount:

Lender A: $150,000. Lender B: $150,000

Interest Rates, Points, and Their Costs

But let’s say Lender A and Lender B have different rates (interest rate) and points (percentage taken out for fees).

Lender A: Rate 9.75%, Points 2.5. Lender B: Rate 14%, Points 0

Many beginner investors look at this and think, “Well, I don’t want a lender with so many points. I don’t want to just be paying fees.” But they fail to actually do the calculations. You’ll be surprised which loan will save you the most money. 

A loan optimizer will calculate the cost based on these rates and points:

Lender A: Daily Interest $406.25, Cost of Points $3,750.00. Lender B: Daily Interest $503.32, Cost of Points $0

As we can see, the daily interest combined with the cost of the points makes Lender B look like the cheaper option so far.

Other Fees

But there’s one more crucial cost we still need to take into consideration. 

Often, lenders who charge zero points up-front end up charging a lot of “junk fees” later. Here’s the example of Lender A and Lender B with all the extra fees highlighted:

Fees. Lender A: Processing $884, Appraisal $0, Credit $0, Escrows $0. Lender B: Processing $1,500, Appraisal $650, Credit $50, Escrows $125 per draw

The various fees charged by Lender B add up quickly, making Lender A suddenly look a lot better.

Final Costs

But let’s check with a final calculation which lender would be the cheaper choice:

Lender A: Total Cost of Funds $12,962. Lender B: Total Cost of Funds $13,408

Here’s our final calculation by our loan optimizer. By the end of the six months, we’d be paying $12,352 to Lender A, or $13,408 to Lender B.

So, Lender A, who had more points up-front, is the cheaper option – by over a thousand dollars!

Yet, if we’d judged these lenders based on our first impression of interest rate and points, we might not have gone with Lender A.

This is why it’s always important to use a loan calculating tool when shopping for hard money lenders. Know the hard money loan numbers – it can be simple! Click this link for the free download of our loan optimizer.

Know the Numbers of a Hard Money Loan

When you know the numbers, you’ll pick more profitable deals and cheaper loans.

There’s money in the money. There’s money in the numbers.

But you probably won’t become an expert in the numbers overnight.

Reach out to us at HardMoneyMike.com with questions about your deals, or with general questions about hard money numbers.

Happy Investing.

Text: "3 Ways to Boost Low Credit"

How to Boost Your Low Credit Score

It’s one thing when your low credit score is due to a lifetime of bad habits. It’s another thing entirely when a few events knock your score down. Giving a boost to a low credit score is relatively simple – anyone can do it, if they’re willing.

If your credit is just “dinged up,” there are three quick solutions to improve it.

1. Get Your Credit Balances Down

We often see investors and contractors put all renovation costs of a job on their credit cards – especially for BRRRR projects. They use more and more of their credit, which drags their score lower and lower.

This is a tempting yet dangerous pattern as a BRRRR investor. You put your money into the property from your credit card, which you expect to get back with your refinance. But if your credit score is too low, the refinance might not go as planned. With bad credit, you won’t be able to get the refinancing loan as easily or for as much money as you expected. This will make it harder to pay off the card balances you built up during the rehab.

A tip to get around this problem is to go private. If you can get a private loan that won’t show up on your credit, you can use that money to pay down your balances.

A better score will give you better rates for your long-term, credit-based financing. A lower credit score could make your loan rate a point or two higher, which could snowball into you paying an extra $50,000 to $70,000 over the life of the loan.

2. Get Authorized to Boost a Low Score

Another quick fix for a low credit score is using someone else’s good credit to help your bad credit. Find a family member or friend who has good, long established credit, and ask them to add you as an authorized user. Their good credit will show up on your report and boost your low score.

3. Pay Your Bills on Time

If you can’t keep up with your bills, that may be a sign to get rid of some of your credit cards. Some of our clients have over 20 credit cards open! Consolidate your accounts as much as possible.

But when you stop using an account, don’t close it. As long as it has a good history, an open, unused credit account will continually add a little boost to your credit.


Lenders look at credit to see how you paid people in the past as a clue to how you’ll pay them in the future. It could take you up to six months to bump up your score in the long-term. But if you don’t start now, it’ll keep getting harder to raise it. The best time to start fixing your credit is now.

Read the full article here.

Watch the video here:

Text: "Bridge Loans VS Hard Money Loans"

Bridge Loan vs Hard Money Loan: What’s the Difference?

Though similar, there are differences to know in a bridge loan vs hard money loan.

Some lenders will use “bridge loan” and “hard money loan” interchangeably. After all, they are similar concepts, and lingo varies from lender to lender. But it’s important to know the actual definitions so you understand these terms if a lender uses them this way.

When to Use a Bridge Loan

A bridge loan is a very short-term loan – even shorter than the typical hard money loan. It helps you bridge the space between one project and another.

Let’s say you’re just finishing up a flip. The house is on the market, buyers are showing interest, and now you’d like to get another property bought so you can jump right in to your next flip.

Typically, you use the money from selling one property to buy the next one. But if you want to get that next property started before the current one is sold? That’s where a bridge loan comes in.

A true bridge loan covers up that gap between projects. It gives you the money to close on a new property before the first one is completely sold.

A bridge loan lets you overlap from an old project to a new one.

How is a Bridge Loan Different from a Hard Money Loan?

A hard money loan is longer and broader than a bridge loan.

  • The average bridge loan lasts 30 to 45 days. Hard money loans can last up to a year or longer.
  • Bridge loans get you from one property to the next. Hard money focuses more on a single project.
  • You pay off bridge loans when your old property sells. You pay off Hard money loans when you refinance or sell the property the loan was originally for.
  • You use a bridge loan as temporary funds to close on a house. You use a hard money loan as a more general budget for a purchase. Many come with the option for escrows to fix up the property over time.

Certain lenders do pure bridge loans, while others lump it all under “hard money.” Keep in mind as you’re learning the real estate investment game that a bridge loan vs hard money loan serves different purposes.

Read the full article here.

Watch the full video here:

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Subject To Real Estate Investment Strategies to Build Your Portfolio

It’s a big opportunity. What are some investment strategies to make subject tos happen?

With a subject to, you buy a property subject to the seller leaving their mortgage on the property.

There are several benefits of subject tos – but how do you make it work? What are the right investment strategies to successfully get a subject to?

Subject To Strategy #1: Going Through a Proper Closing

First of all, still go through a proper closing on subject tos. You want to make sure the owner doesn’t have any other liens you don’t know about. When you take ownership, you become responsible for any existing liens on the property.

At the very least, get a title report to verify there are no liens. If you want, you can get title insurance – an extra cost but potentially worth it.

Subject To Strategy #2: Adding Your Name and Avoiding Problems with the Mortgage Company

With subject tos, some people may say you’re not allowed to take ownership and make someone else’s payments. They fear the lender may call the mortgage.

But we’ve never seen a lender ever call a mortgage in this situation.

The main reason is because the lender usually doesn’t break even with the loan until year three or four.  When a lender originates the mortgage, they buy it, so it takes at least three years of payments to get their money back.

So as long as you pay on time and don’t cause friction, the mortgage company should have no problem with you taking over. They make money every time you make a payment, so they have no reason to call it off.

Subject To Strategy #3: Negotiating with the Seller

Sometimes you’ll have to negotiate with the seller for them to go through with a subject to.

Maybe they’ll need a payment of $5,000 – $15,000 to be able to leave. Maybe they’ll include terms that they’ll only keep the mortgage on for five more years.

It’s helpful to know when a seller is in a position that they’ll want a subject to. A subject to takes place because the seller, for whatever reason, needs to sell the house but can’t. They don’t want to be stuck with the property, and they don’t want a foreclosure or missing payments to ruin their credit.

If you make their payments for around 12 months, they can usually qualify for another mortgage on another property without this one hurting them.

For more details on real estate investment strategies and setting up subject to deals, reach out to us at HardMoneyMike.com. We have plenty of experience, and we want to help you build a real estate portfolio without worrying about your credit or income.

Read the full article here.

Watch the full video here:

Text: "Grow Your Business with Bridge Loans & Gap Funding"

Why Gap Funding and Bridge Loans Will Grow Your Real Estate Business

The difference between gap funding and bridge loans – and why it matters to your real estate investments.

Gap funding, bridge loans – they sure sound similar. What’s the difference? How are each of these types of funding going to improve your business?

Both gap funding and bridge loans have the power to smooth out your real estate career and grow it to new heights.

Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Bridge Loans vs Hard Money Loans

Some lenders will use these terms interchangeably. After all, they are similar concepts, and lingo varies from lender to lender. But it’s important to know the actual definitions so you understand these terms if a lender uses them this way.

Though similar, there are differences to know in a bridge loan vs hard money loan.

What is a Bridge Loan Used For?

A bridge loan is a very short-term loan – even shorter than the typical hard money loan. It helps you bridge the space between one project and another.

Let’s say you’re just finishing up a flip. The house is on the market, buyers are showing interest, and now you’d like to get another property bought so you can jump right in to your next flip.

Typically, you use the money from selling one property to buy the next one. But if you want to get that next property started before the current one is sold? That’s where a bridge loan comes in.

A true bridge loan covers up that gap between projects. It gives you the money to close on a new property before the first one is completely sold.

A bridge loan lets you overlap from an old project to a new one.

How is a Bridge Loan Different from a Hard Money Loan?

A hard money loan is longer and broader than a bridge loan.

  • The average bridge loan lasts 30 to 45 days. Hard money loans can last up to a year or longer. 
  • Bridge loans get you from one property to the next. Hard money focuses more on a single project. 
  • Bridge loans are paid off when your old property sells. Hard money loans are paid off when you refinance or sell the property the loan was originally for.
  • A bridge loan is used as temporary funds to close on a house. A hard money loan can be used as a more general budget for a purchase. Many come with the option for escrows to fix up the property over time.

Certain lenders do pure bridge loans, while others lump it all under “hard money.” Keep in mind as you’re learning the real estate investment game that bridge loans vs hard money loans serve different purposes.

3 Ways to Use a Hard Money Bridge Loan

Some lenders might talk about hard money and bridge loans as the same – that’s okay. But it will benefit you to know the particular uses for bridge loans.

The basics of a bridge loan are that they’re used to bridge you from one project to the next. Then you pay the loan off when the first property sells. 

1. Bridge Loans to Get from One Property to the Next

The most common use of bridge loans in the hard money space is to bridge you from one property to the next.

When you have a flipped property that’s almost complete – the work is done, it’s under contract, it’s almost sold – you might want to get started on your next project without waiting for the official close.

The problem is: How do you buy a new property without the money from selling the old one? A hard money bridge loan solves that problem.

A bridge loan allows you to use the property that’s about to be sold as collateral for a new loan for a new property. Once the first property sells, some of that money is used to pay off the bridge loan. Then you own the new property free and clear.

This way of using a bridge loan is especially useful if you have a lot of cash put into one property. You don’t have to wait to get that money back after selling to start on your next investment.

2. Bridge Loans to Cover a Down Payment on a New Property

You can use an advance of the equity on a current property as the down payment for the new property through a bridge loan.

Maybe you’re about to sell one property. And you’re able to get financing for your next one… Except you can’t cover the down payment. 

In this case, you’ll probably use a bridge loan in conjunction with a hard money loan. The hard money loan covers the property cost, and the bridge loan covers the remaining down payment cost. Then that bridge loan gets paid off when you sell the old property. 

3. Bridge Loans to Close Fast

Another way you could use a bridge loan is to close faster on a new property.

Maybe you plan on using more traditional financing through a bank, but the bank loan wouldn’t be ready in time. You can use a short-term bridge loan.

This loan bridges you from the closing to the refinance. A bridge lender will help you with the initial purchase. Then once your bank (or hard money) loan is completely ready – usually several weeks or a month later – that bank loan pays off the bridge loan.

Bridge Loans in the Hard Money World

Typically bridge loans are used for 3 situations in real estate investing:

  1. When you’re buying a new property and already have one listed for sale
  2. When you need to cover down payment on a new property
  3. When you find a great deal but your bank’s financing won’t be ready in time.

Gap Funding for Real Estate Investors

So, bridge loans are different from hard money loans. But where does gap funding fit into the mix for real estate investors?

Bridge loans do bridge “gaps” in your investments. But “gap funding” is something different.

Gap funding is the small amounts that investors need throughout the course of a project in addition to the bigger loan. Examples of common gap funding situations are:

  • Down payments
  • Contractors and other fix-up costs
  • Carry costs before renting or selling
  • Interest, insurance, and other payments not included in the original cost of the property.

A bank or hard money lender will be funding the majority of your project. And when you don’t have other properties, you can use a lien (like you would for a bridge loan). But without another property, you need gap funding to cover the little costs that slip through the cracks of your primary financing.

Gap funding for real estate investors can be a loan that’s anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. Whatever costs your primary loan and your own cash won’t cover will need to be filled by a gap lender.

Where Do You Find a Gap Lender?

Gap lenders aren’t exactly like hard money lenders. You can’t walk into a gap lending institution and ask for a loan. So where do you find a gap lender?

Who are Gap Lenders?

There are some hard-money-style lenders out there that focus on gap funding, but they’ll charge you a 12 – 20% interest rate. The best place to find reasonable gap funding is with ordinary people.

Traditionally, gap lenders are people you meet – family, friends, people in real estate groups, or anyone with money who wants to dip a toe into real estate investing. These people have a couple tens of thousands of dollars they’d like to make a better return on.

Half the people in real estate groups want to be real estate investors, but don’t want the burden of managing an entire project. Gap funding is secured with a lien against the property, so lending is safer than investing.

Gap lenders tend to have around $50,000 to $60,000 they’d like to put toward real estate. Not enough to do a full transaction, but perfect to fill the gaps your financing will leave on your flip.

Where Can You Go to Find Gap Lenders?

Get involved in the real estate community, and keep your eyes and ears open. Go to meet-ups. Talk to people with money. 

A lot of how to find gap lenders boils down to: How do you convince them to give you money? How do you set up the lending relationship?

If you have questions on how to find and approach gap funders, you can watch these videos, use our OPM checklist, or reach out at HardMoneyMike.com.

Where Do You Find a Hard Money Bridge Loan Lender?

How about bridge lenders? Does every hard money lender do bridge loans?

A lot of people use the term bridge loan interchangeably with gap funding or hard money, but a true bridge loan is slightly different. They’re shorter-term than a hard money loan, and they’re typically less expensive because of that. 

Which Hard Money Lenders Do Bridge Loans?

To find these quick, short loans, a small local lender, like Hard Money Mike, will be your best and fastest option. Smaller hard money lenders like working with investors who provide good, safe returns. Bridge loans do exactly that.

Bigger hard money lenders do bridge loans, too. But they may take up to four weeks to close, which often defeats the purpose of true bridge lending. 

You can also get bridge loans from some banks. Not big, national banks, but many local banks and credit unions who work with real estate investors may do bridge loans, too. Banks usually offer the cheapest bridge loans, but can take 3 – 4 weeks or longer.

Ask around to lenders you know to find out their pricing and see if their bridge loans are worth it. You can use our free loan optimizer to find out if you can get a good deal on bridge loans near you.

Where to Go From Here

The best deals in real estate investment close quickly. Gap funding and bridge loans are important tools to have in your belt so you can do this.

Gap funding and bridge loans are useful for beginner and experienced investors alike. They can enable you to work on multiple projects at once and increase cash flow.

There’s money in the money. If you understand the money side of real estate, your business rises to the next level.

We can always help with your real estate investment education.

Watch more about funding advice with these videos.

Email or message us anytime at HardMoneyMike.com.

Happy Investing.