There are tons of loans available for real-estate investors. One type of loan commonly used by investors is the Hard Money loan. These loans allow investors to buy and fix investment property. If used correctly it can definitely put money in your pocket right away. But, be aware because there are some pitfalls you will need to avoid in order to be successful. Below explains how a Hard Money works and what to look out for.
1. Scope of Work- for these specific types of loans lenders will require the investor to provide a scope of work worksheet. Every repair you plan to make needs to be written down on this sheet. The scope of work worksheet is what the Hard Money lender will use as a guide, in order to pay for the project. If repairs are done that are not on the worksheet, then you may have trouble getting reimbursed by the Hard Money lender. The lender will want to see everything written down to be sure everyone is on the same page. Lenders will normally allow investors to change the scope of work in the middle of the project if able and necessary.
2.Requirements- Most Hard Money lenders now want 20% down from the investor on all projects. The lender will also want to see reserve money sitting in a bank somewhere. The investor’s monthly income will play a big role with the lender in approving the loan. Credit score is a factor, but they do not require a stellar score to be approved for a loan. The last Hard Money lender I used did not even pull my FICA score, they just wanted to see a copy of my credit report-which I was able to order for free. There will be requirements for loan to value, but each lender will have their own set of guidelines.
3. Over estimating repairs- Repairs on an investment property is always just an estimate. When rehabbing property nothing ever goes as planned. Over-estimate the repair that needs to be done to cover yourself if any repairs are added later in the rehab. If you did a good job with the initial inspection, and no additional repairs were needed then you can return the money or keep it. If you decide to keep it do not spend the extra funds. Keep the extra money as additional reserve.
4. Process- The process of receiving money for repairs is called a draw. After your contractor finishes a percentage of the work you will call your Hard Money lender, and tell them that you are ready for an inspection. The lender will send an inspector out to verify the work has been done and completed within code guidelines. Once the inspector gives the lender an o.k., the lender will release the funds that equal to the amount stated for the cost of work. For example, if you listed carpet repair $1500, paint $1200, and new light fixtures $100; when the inspector checks all the items off: the lender will cut you a check for $2800. Now you can understand why it is important to have all repairs and cost listed on the worksheet. If the repairs are not listed then they will not pay you. Normally the lender will give you 3 to 7 inspection dates depending on how large the project is. Unless you can convince the contractor to start working without putting money down, you will have to put the money up to get things started. Expect to get reimbursed from the Hard Money lender through your draw checks.
5. Refinancing- This is the most important part in rehabbing property using a Hard Money lender. Hard Money loans are short term loans with high interest rates. These interest only loans will have an interest rate of somewhere around 15%. That may seem high, but these types of lenders understand how important it is to make their money and get out. We need these companies in order to rehab properties if we cannot fund our own projects. Hard Money lenders realize the risk they are taking, so lenders ask themselves “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me). They compensated with a high interest rate for the risk they take. Hard Money lenders expect you to either sale the property quick for a profit, or refinance into a long term loan and rent it out to a tenant. Whatever your exit strategy is, be sure to do it quick. Hard Money loans are normally due in full 6-12 months after origination.
Hard Money lenders have allowed many investors to make money in real-estate. These types of lenders are more flexible when compared to traditional ones. They allow investors to make things happen when no other lenders want to take the chance on them. Their guidelines are loser and allow an investor to spread his wings. These types of loans are expensive, but they can allow more deals to be done due to the amount of money they have access to.