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The Pluses and Minuses of Hard Money Loans

download (78)Hard money loans are an alternative form of getting money that many people are unaware of. When you need a loan in a hurry and are shunned by your bank or credit union because of your low credit or for other reasons, hard money lenders may lend you the required sum for as long as 10 years (or longer depending on circumstances). They look at your assets not your credit; therefore hard money lenders may be an alternative to consider. Here are some pluses and minuses of hard money loans

Pluses of Hard Money Loans

1. Rapid Process – Banks take 60 days at least to consummate the process. The typical hard money lender will hand you the loan within 1-2 days. Local lenders who know you may even give you the funds that same day. This works out particularly well for you if you need the money for some fast purchases, for emergency need, or for other situations such as when you want to move on with construction in order to sell your property. It also helps you impress the buyer when you want to jump in front of a bidding queue to land a certain property.

2. Less paperwork – Banks and traditional lending institutions tend to haul you through a grueling underwriting process that involves signing lengthy and complex forms and then waiting at least a month to see if you’ve been approved. Hard money lenders waive that. Each has his, or her, own system, and each deals with borrowers individually. Borrowers, therefore, tend to sign only a few forms. Lenders will ask you a few questions, and may look into your credit history. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 states that lenders have to make sure that borrowers can pay; that they are not charged humongous rates of interest; and that they are charged no more than two pre-payments (depending on circumstances). Lenders evaluate each application differently and make their conclusions based on your property value rather than on your credit. So even if you have bad credit, you may be able to get your hands on a hard money loan. The lender focuses more on the value of your property than on your credit.

3. Flexible Terms – Banks may demand regular payments. The lender goes soft with you and often provides you with flexible loan repayment terms. (Again, this depends on the specific lender). So, if times are tough you can get by with only paying interest each month or with only paying the balloon repayment at the end. This makes it easier for you in the long run instead of causing you to make a hefty payment each month.

Minuses of Hard Money Loans

1. High Interest – Hard money lenders charge triple the amount of banks – and sometimes even more than that. Lenders can sometimes be capricious in their interest amounts, so it is important to shop around. Some lenders may offer comparatively reasonable rates, but we suggest that you negotiate since lenders know that they are your last resource and they may charge accordingly. Some of the states’ usury laws, such as those of Tennessee and New Jersey, prohibit hard money lenders from invoking excessive interest. Residential borrowers have recourse to further protection under Consumer regulations and the Dodd-Frank Act. If you’re a commercial borrower, you need to be more wary since loan terms are more aggressive and you receive less protection.

2. Low loan-to-value ratios – The loan-to-value ratio is how lenders determine how much money you’re going to get. For example, with a loan-to-value ratio of 70%, the lender will give you $70,000 for a $100,000 piece of property. Lenders usually give only 60% or 50% of your required amount which means that you’ll have to dig up the rest from somewhere else.

3. Hard to locate – An honest and efficient lender may be hard to locate. You can find hordes of money lenders online but each lends only to one or several states and are certified to lend to the states that they deal with. You may have few or none of the lenders that you prefer (or that will service your type of loan) in your region and you may have to travel to get the services that you want. In all cases, make sure that the lender carries licensing from the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) and through her regulatory state agency.

In short…

Hard money loans may be wonderful for you when you need them in a crunch and can’t get the money from anywhere else. They have relaxed approval standards, are fast to get, and involve meager paperwork. On the other hand, they have a low loan-to-value ratio and a high interest rate. If you have good credit, you may be better off with the traditional loan. Consider hard money only if you have a short term pressing need with few or no alternatives.

Yanni Raz is a hard money lender and trust deed investing specialist from Los Angeles California. Yanni write related blogs to educate potential real estate investors. “Before investing your money in any deal, read my articles”