Private Mortgage Loans are loans secured by real estate made by a private lender instead of a bank, lending institution or government agency. Private mortgage loans are short-term (ranging from six months to three years) hard money or asset based loans made to the professional real estate investor for the purchase, rehabilitation or equity cash out of real property.
This means that the decision to lend is based on the equity and value of the property being put up as collateral, not on the borrower's credit. The security for the loan is enhanced because the loan represents a maximum of 65% – 70% of the appraised value of the income producing property. On non-income producing property (raw land, lots, construction money) a maximum of 55% loan to value is lent.
Investors can expect to pay interest rates of 12% to 14% on first liens and 16% to 18% on second liens in this current low interest rate environment. Historically first lien yield of six points over prime has been obtainable.
Why Real Estate Investors Use Private Money Loans
Why are real estate investors willing to pay high rates to borrow private money?
When interest rates of 14% to 18% are added to four-to-eight points, the real estate investor/borrower is paying 20% plus annually for the money borrowed. Its obvious why this is a good deal for the private mortgage lender, but why should real estate investors be willing to pay these high rates when conventional mortgage money costs 7% to 10%? There are many reasons, but all fall into four categories.
The real estate investor/borrower and/or the real property does not qualify for an institutional mortgage loan. This can be anything from low borrower credit scores or too much borrower debt, to the borrower's properties not producing a sufficient enough income. Further, the property itself may not support the type of loan the borrower wants. Many institutional lenders will not loan amounts under $500,000; many will not lend second lien money even if there is significant equity in the property. If major repairs or rehabilitation is necessary, institutional lenders will not be interested unless the project is very large and the borrower has an extensive track record.
In these cases the private mortgage lender may be the only resource available for the real estate investor/borrower. Institutional lenders are concerned with both the appraised value of the property and borrower and property credit. Private mortgage lenders are only concerned with the appraised value, as long as the appraised value represents a fair market price. Hence, if a property is producing or can produce sufficient income to pay the note and the value of the property will fully secure the note and provide sufficient equity, then the borrower's credit is not an issue for the private mortgage lender.
The Need For Speed
Speed of closing the transaction. Mortgage money obtained from banking or institutional sources, called conventional mortgage money, usually takes between 60 and 90 days to fund. Institutional lenders need not only obtain appraisal of the value of the property, but also require detailed examination of the borrower's credit history and current financial status, as well as financial statements and tax returns, not only for the property securing the loan but for all real property and business interests owned by the borrowing entity and the borrower himself.
Private mortgage lenders on the other hand can usually complete a transaction within seven-to-10 days. Since the property itself is the main criteria to be used to determine loan eligibility, much less information on the borrower and the borrower's other properties are required, resulting in a much quicker approval process. The private mortgage lender can make a decision within 24 hours of receiving information; institutional mortgage money must be approved by a loan committee that may only meet twice a month, and that may send the loan request back to the loan officer for more information, necessitating a further two week delay until the committee meets again.
Borrowers may not want or be able to provide personal financial information or go through the hassles of the application process associated with obtaining an institutional mortgage loan. The borrower may be going through a divorce or business separation and may not want his wife, partner, government, lawyers, etc. to obtain his personal financial statement. Additionally the borrower may not have all financial information on all his real properties and businesses up to date or complete; he may have filed for an extension on his latest tax return; his accountant may be behind in preparing his financial statements. While all these would negate or at least delay his getting an institutional mortgage, it should have no effect on the borrower's ability to obtain a private mortgage loan.
The real estate investor may be able to borrow more from the private or hard moneylender and therefore have less of his own capital invested in the property. Institutional mortgage lenders lend based on the lower of the cost of the property or appraised value of the property; private mortgage lenders lend based on the appraised value only. Hence the real estate investor utilizing a private or hard money loan is not penalized for purchasing the property at a significant discount to market value. Additionally, most private mortgage lenders do not have onerous seasoning requirements to make the loan.