Many real estate investors overlook hard money loans as a strategy for acquiring property. That’s because these loans are typically used by desperate property owners looking for a way out of the real estate market, rather than into it. But hard money can work for anyone, and it can be particularly useful if you’re a new investor looking to build your portfolio quickly.
Hard money loans can generally be described as high interest loans available to borrowers with any credit rating, as long as they can can provide solid collateral – usually equity in real estate, such as a home. These loans are almost never issued by banks or deposit institutions, but rather by private lenders who specialize in short term lending at high interest.
Normally a home owner in need of a big loan would apply for a second mortgage, using real estate equity as collateral, but bad credit can make things difficult here. If a home owner has missed a few mortgage payments, the banks may refuse to provide more financing – hard money might be the only option in this case.
The limit for hard money loans typically hover at about 60 to 70 per cent of a property’s quick sale value, defined as the price a lender could reasonably expect to realize if the borrower defaulted on the loan, and the property was liquidated fast. The interest rate for a hard money loan is usually in the 15 to 25 per cent range.
Investors can take out hard money loans to buy a property, as long as they provide acceptable collateral – in this case it could even be the property they’re buying. The strategy here is to find a pre-foreclosure property, or any real estate with an owner prepared to sell below below market value as long as the sale is fast. If the investor can re-sell the property at full market value, before too much interest is paid on the hard money loan, he or she can make a significant profit. Hard money loans have helped many successful investors get started in real estate.