My friend, Mike, came to me a few months ago about hard money loans. He was interested in buying, renovating, and selling houses as an investor, something I’ve done successfully for decades. But, unlike many New Yorkers who enter the world of real estate investing after leaving the wolves of Wall Street behind, he was coming in without any connections to fund his first project. Because Queens had been pretty good to his family in the past, that’s where he wanted to invest. So he asked if I could recommend any hard money lenders who served Queens and give my thoughts on hard money loans in general. Here’s what I shared with Mike.
Hard Money Lenders Serving Queens, NY
If you’re new to real estate investing and you don’t have access to private lending, or if you’re looking to fund a rehab project that traditional lenders won’t touch, getting a hard money loan is not impractical. For some investors, they’re ideal for those short-term flips of single-family investment houses because they’re less of a hassle to obtain. Though qualifying criteria will vary somewhat between lenders, the loan amount, origination fee, and interest rate are based on the property itself instead of simply your credit-worthiness.
Since the purpose of using hard money is to help you, and the lender, quickly realize good returns on what you hope will be a great investment house, these numbers can be manageable. Let’s take a look at some of the more competitive lenders serving Queens and what they have to offer.
Hard Money Loans New York offers short-term mortgages for one to three years on renovations of residential investment properties. Loan amounts can be up to 75% of the purchase price, going as high as five million dollars. Their interest rates are as low as 11% and origination fees between two and six points. Hard Money Loans New York offers interest-only payments, no-prepayment penalty, and quick three-day closings.
Unfortunately, as competitive as most of these numbers are, if you have to pay 6% in origination fees upfront, in addition to a down payment of 25% or more, you might find you’re running low on out-of-pocket funds at renovation time. Plus, it’s unclear whether tax returns or credit reports are required for approval. When I called and emailed for more information, I heard only crickets. That won’t bode well when you need funds fast.
Sky Equity, LLC serves all of metropolitan New York, including Queens. They can get you an approval in two days with closing in as little as two weeks. Loan terms are six to eighteen months for non-owner occupied fix-and-flips and one to four unit properties. The loan amounts range from $100,000 to two million dollars at up to 75% of the purchase price, with interest-only payments available. You’ll pay an interest rate of 12%, but an origination fee of only two to two-and-a-half points, which is not too shabby.
While the time to close is fast, it’s not the fastest out there. Also, sometimes tax returns and FICO scores are reviewed, which could make things awkward if, for example, you went any length of time being unemployed or have a foreclosure on your record. Sky Equity additionally requires a first lien position–not unusual for hard money lenders–but if they’re only funding, say, 50% of your purchase, and you don’t have the balance for down payment, you’ll need to find a second funding source. That’s a lot of extra work, and scrutiny, to make time for when you’re competing for good deals.
Asset Based Lending specializes in fix-and-flip rehab and construction loans for single-family investment houses and multifamily buildings. Loan terms are 12 months, but there is no penalty if you pay it off early. Interest-only payments of between 9% and 12% are acceptable. Amounts are awarded up to 80% of the purchase price and 100% of rehab costs, up to two million dollars, without consideration of credit scores–pretty impressive. Even better, a 10-day close is possible.
This Hoboken, New Jersey-based lender is certainly above average and even fairs well against some of the other lenders listed here. However, the demand for a first-lien position can, again, turn problematic if a lower percentage of your project is funded. In addition, the origination fee, which can go as high as four points, may make your loan a pricey one. Finally, though 12-months is a standard loan term for hard money, if your project hits some snags and isn’t completed on time, you’ll still have to pay up.
Black Square is headquartered in Utah but serves New York City boroughs. They offer interest rates as low as 8.75% and first and second-lien positions on loans up to two million dollars. Incredibly, Black Square is also willing to grant amounts as high as 85% of the purchase price with an origination fee as low as 1.5%. As is pretty typical for hard money lenders, these loans are for non-owner occupied residential properties with the option of interest-only payments on 12-month terms.
Although no tax returns are needed for approval, you will have to have a minimum FICO score, be an LLC or corporation, verify funds available for the rehab, and pay a $750 underwriting fee. Qualifying for a high loan amount, low-interest rate, and small origination fee may help to offset some of these extra hoops to get through, it’s not enough to make this investor jump for joy.
Conventus gives loans up to 80% of the purchase price on amounts spanning $150,000 to four million dollars and takes zero to two points in origination fees. The San Francisco-based firm serves Queens, offering loans on single-family investment homes and multi-family properties. Loan terms are up to 36 months and closing can happen in five days. There is no penalty for early payoff and interest-only payments are the norm. These are some of the most attractive terms I’ve seen out there.
Nevertheless, you could still run into many of the same barriers with Conventus that you hit with other hard money lenders. The loan you get affects the funds you have and the house you buy. And, as remarkable as their numbers are on paper, this group also insists on first-lien position and your FICO score. There are simply less expensive and complicated means for funding your real estate investments.
If you’ve have a good investment opportunity on your hands, most hard money lenders will want to give you money. Some may go so far as to ask for a real estate investor credibility kit showcasing your investing background, credit profile, and portfolio of properties among other things, but not always. However, as we’ve seen, the bottom-line is that you will have to show the property is worth investing in.
A Simple Way to Get the Backing You Need
Personally, I’ve never had trouble getting funding for my investments. As an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I also don’t have trouble finding fixer upper homes for sale or determining whether they make for a good investment. I have the tools and resources I need to make my assessments, purchase judiciously, perform renovations, and sell at the best possible price. When you have all that on your side, getting the attention of hard money lenders can be easy. So my recommendation to Mike was to keep it simple and become a HomeVestors® franchisee.
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