Hard money loans are a specific type of asset-based loans. In this type of loan, a borrower receives funds that are secured by the value of a parcel of real estate. These loans are paid back with a higher interest rate than conventional commercial or residential property loans. This type of loan is rarely, if ever, issued by a commercial bank or other deposit institution.
Hard money loans are very similar to bridge loans. Bridge loans typically have similar criteria for lending. They also have similar costs to the borrower. The primary difference between a hard money commercial loan and a bridge loan is that a bridge loan frequently refers to a commercial property or investment property that is in transition. The property may not fully qualify for traditional financing yet. Hard money commercial loans refer not only to asset-based loans with a high interest rate but also loans for a financial situation that is possible distressed. Examples of this include cases where someone is arrears on an existing mortgage or where bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings are already in process.
Hard money mortgages, both commercial and residential, are made by private investors. They typically make loans only in their local areas. The credit score of the borrower is not important because the loan is secured by the value of the collateral property. The maximum loan to value ratio is 65-70%. This means that if a piece of property is worth $100,000, the lender would give the borrower $65,000 to $70,000. This low LTV (loan-to-value) ratio gives the lender added security in the event that the borrower cannot pay and the lender has to foreclose on the property.
Commercial hard money lender programs are similar to traditional hard money loans in terms of the LTV requirements and interest rates. A commercial hard money lender is typically a strong financial institution with the deposits and abilities to make discretionary decisions on loans that are non-conforming. These borrowers do not conform to the standards of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or other residential conforming credit guidelines. Since it's a commercial property in question, the loan does not generally conform to a standard commercial loan guideline either.
Traditional commercial hard money loans are very high risk and have a higher than average default rate. Just like in a normal commercial loan, when a property owner defaults on a commercial hard money loan, he or she can potentially lose the property to foreclosure.
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