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What is a Hard Money loan?

A hard money loan is a specific type of asset-based loan financing through which a borrower receives funds secured by the value of a parcel of real estate. Hard money loans are typically issued by private investors or companies.

What's the difference between a a bridge loan & a hard money loan?

Hard money is similar to a bridge loan, which usually has similar criteria for lending as well as cost to the borrowers. The primary difference is that a bridge loan often refers to a commercial property or investment property that may be in transition and does not yet qualify for traditional financing, whereas hard money often refers to not only an asset-based loan with a high interest rate, but possibly a distressed financial situation, such as arrears on the existing mortgage, or where bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings are occurring.

What are the terms?

Interest rates vary across the size, risk, duration, and liquidity of  the investment.

Interest rates are typically higher than conventional commercial or residential property loans because of the higher risk taken by the lender. Most hard money loans are used for projects lasting from a few months to a few years.

How are they structured?

Hard money lenders structure loans based on a percentage of the quick-sale value of the subject property. This is called the loan-to-value or LTV ratio and typically hovers between 60 and 70% of the market value of the property. For the purpose of determining an LTV, the word “value” is defined as “today’s purchase price.” This is the amount a lender could reasonably expect to realize from the sale of the property in the event that the loan defaults and the property must be sold in a one- to four-month timeframe. This value differs from a market value appraisal, which assumes an arms-length transaction in which neither buyer nor seller is acting under duress.

Below is an example of how a commercial real estate purchase might be structured by a hard money lender:

65% Hard money (Conforming loan)

20% Borrower equity (cash or additional collateralized real estate)

15% Seller carryback loan or other subordinated (mezzanine) loan

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