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What Is Hard Money?

April 3rd, 2010 · 16 Comments

Hard MoneyIf you are new to real estate investing you may have heard the term “Hard Money”.  Just what exactly is hard money?  It is a short term loan with high interest designed for investors who renovate properties. These loans do not come from banks or traditional lenders. They are offered by private lenders in the business of making loans to real estate investors.

You can remember the term by thinking it’s hard to pay back because of the high interest.  However I was at a foreclosure auction of a well know Baltimore hard money lender and he said it’s call hard money because  “It is hard to collect.”

What Are the Terms for Hard Money Loans

While traditional financing is made primarily based on credit scores and the borrowers ability to pay, hard money is usually based on the value of the property.  Hard money lenders will loan for both acquisition and repairs up to approximately 60- 65% of the after repair value of the property.  A typical hard money loan would pay for the property at closing and pay for the repairs on a draw schedule.  In other words repair money would be reimbursed as the repairs are completed.

Hard money lenders typically charge 12-15% interest and 3 to 5 points.  A point is  1% of the loan.  So for example if you were borrowing $100,000 and were charged 3 points,  you would have to pay $3,000 up front.

Why Should I pay Loan Shark Rates?

You might ask “Why would I pay that much in interest when rates are so low now?”

  1. Loans are hard to get now.  You may not even be able to get a loan from traditional lenders like banks.
  2. Even in a strong lending market it is harder to find construction loans.  Most mortgage lenders only want to lend on livable properties in good condition.  We usually need loans on properties needing work as well as the money to fund the renovations.
  3. Traditional lenders take a long time to approve loans and can be unpredictable.  Hard money loans are often approved in a few days.  Sometimes the ability to act fast will get you better deals.
  4. If you have poor credit, that may not be as important to a hard money lender.  It will kill you in the eyes of a traditional lender.
  5. It is often cheaper than a “partner”.  A common scenario is to find a money partner and split 50/50. You are giving away 50% of  your profits!  A  hard money loan would cost you a lot less.

New investors often think hard money is too expensive.  It is not the cost of the money that matters, it is how much money it will make you that counts.

New  Rules for Hard Money

The tightening of credit markets has affected hard money loans too. Today a hard money lender is likely to look at your credit. They may also  expect you to have some experience in renovating properties, and have some “skin in the game.”  In other words they won’t fund the entire deal.

In the high flying days of the hot mid 2000s market, hard money lenders would fund the entire deal. Today you will have to come to the closing table with some money to put down.  In addition to money to put down as part of the price you will also need funds for closing costs.  You will still need additional funds to start the renovations.  As said above, renovation funds are on a draw schedule.  This means you pay for the first stage of the repairs and when they are completed you get reimbursed. You then use those funds to complete the next stage.

For a list of hard money lenders both local and national see this Hard Money Lender List

Happy investing,


Tags: Advanced tips · Beginner · real estate

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ZXT (1 comments.) // Apr 6, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Meaning of hard money to me is like hard earned money 🙂

    Thanks for the insight Nerd…I learned something new today.
    .-= ZXT´s last blog ..Sunday’s Babe of the Week =-.

  • 2 Ned // Apr 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    ZXT, That’s funny. Thanks fro stopping by.

  • 3 Stay Protected: Facts To Remember Before Borrowing Hard Money | Real Estate Investing News Watch Blog Aggregator // Apr 7, 2010 at 3:23 am

    […] Stay Protected: Facts To Remember Before Borrowing Hard Money Posted by: liz | Category: Hard Money, Real Estate Investing, private money […]

  • 4 Sire (53 comments.) // Apr 7, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Seems to me I would only go for hard money as a last resort. A loan at that type of interest rate would cut down on expected profits and if something was to go wrong causing any significant delay in renovations thereby extending the time of the loan, well it could cost the lender dearly.
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Interview With Maddy Cuttsworth Over PR Update =-.

  • 5 Yan (5 comments.) // Apr 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

    12% isn’t bad compared to outrageous interest charged on auto title loan. And that makes it harder, isn’t it?

    How are you, Nate? Been a while. Hope everything is well & sunny here @ Baltimore.

    .-= Yan´s last blog ..How Blogging and Dropshipping Go Hand in Hand =-.

  • 6 Ned // Apr 9, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Hey Yan,

    Welcome back. It seems we have been traveling in different circles lately. Things are good here. I hope all is well with you.

  • 7 Don (1 comments.) // Apr 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Great Job Ned, Hard Money is the same thing as a shark but it is good to have because if you buy right then the cost is a mood point, this is the problem some people are having they don’t know how to buy right I have used hard money for 18 years.

  • 8 Ned // Apr 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Don, you are right. The problem with most deals that go bad is, people don’t know how to buy right. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  • 9 Sire (53 comments.) // Apr 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Seems to me that if you’re making money and have a good rep with your local bank, why you want to pay exorbitant interest rates by borrowing hard money?
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Reality TV And How It Is Corrupting Society =-.

  • 10 Ned // Apr 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Well that is my thought Sire because I have excellent credit. But I know many people who have been very successful using hard money.

  • 11 Sire (53 comments.) // Apr 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    True, but once you’ve made enough money wouldn’t you switch to normal methods?
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Reality TV And How It Is Corrupting Society =-.

  • 12 Michelle (1 comments.) // Apr 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Great Job Ned, Hard Money is the same thing as a shark but it is good to have because if you buy right then the cost is a mood point, this is the problem some people are having they don’t know how to buy right I have used hard money for 18 years.

  • 13 Ned // Apr 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Michelle, I hope you become a regular.

  • 14 Caden (1 comments.) // Jun 30, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Nice article and very informative too. I do think so that now a days its not easy to get loan from banks

  • 15 cgabhart (1 comments.) // Aug 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    great blog. I found this on bigger pockets.
    Hard money is not good or bad it just depends on the situation.
    I would rather have a hard money loan than an investor in many situation. I actually did an analysis comparing the two below in an article I wrote.

    looking forward to checking out your blog more.
    Curtis Gabhart

  • 16 Ned // Aug 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Curtis, Good analysis on your site. It’s funny how many people will complain about hard money rates but think it’s OK to “partner” with someone when they net less.