Q: What is a private investor and how do they differ from a hard money lender or a subprime lender?
A: A private investor is an individual who lends out their own funds to borrowers who are unable to obtain a loan from a traditional lender such as a bank. It is also possible for private investors to pool their money into a fund that lends out money on a larger scale. Private investors are often wealthy or retired individuals who want a better return on their investments than they could expect to make in the stock market or other investment vehicles.
A private investor is essentially the same thing as a hard money lender. A private lender differs from a subprime lender in that the latter still funds loan through a lending institution such as a bank, although the interest rate is higher than a traditional conforming loan.
Q: Why would a bad credit lender fund my loan when traditional banks would not?
A: Hard money lenders, sub prime and bad credit lenders are often referred to as “high risk lenders.” These lenders have a unique understanding of specific types of real estate situations and markets. As long as the lending situation fits into the lenders comfort zone, they will usually make the loan. It isn't that a bad credit lender gravitates towards overly risky loans or situations. Rather, there are additional safeguards in place for a bad credit lender. Namely, a borrower must have a 20% or higher equity stake in a property to qualify for a bad credit loan -- the loan is therefore secured by a larger property ownership portion than many traditional loans.
In addition, the bad credit lender receives a higher rate of return than a bank would with a traditional conforming loan. The greater the risk for the lender, the higher the interest rate for the borrower. If one or more traditional lending institutions deny a borrower’s loan because of credit problems or a small level of liquid assets to use as collateral, a borrower will need to apply with a subprime, hard money or bad credit lender.
Q: If I qualify for a hard money loan, is there a way to eventually work into a normal loan?
A: Of course. A bad credit loan should be a short term loan – anywhere from several months to 2 years. After a borrower has spent a year or 18 months paying off their private loan, our mortgage team will try to transition you into a subprime or alt A loan. Hopefully, this is enough time to rebuild your credit and get on a more stable footing financially.
Q: What kind of financial documentation does a borrower have to show to qualify for a bad credit loan?
A: While the type of documentation needed to secure a loan will vary from lender to lender, most require either bank statements or income tax returns. The lender will usually need to see an appraisal of the property, as well as the title to make sure that the borrower is indeed the owner and to see if there are any existing liens or legal issues with the property in question. Each bad credit lender will analyze the necessary documents and then decide whether to provide the loan.
Q: What if I have damaged or bad credit as well as a low FICO score?
A: The majority of bad credit borrowers apply for a bad credit loan due to damaged credit along with a lower than normal FICO score The whole point of hard money or private loans is to provide a loan to an individual with past, recent, or current credit issues so they can rebuild their credit and eventually refinance to a more traditional type loan.
Q: What is my FICO score and how can I find out what mine is?
A: A FICO score is a basic credit score that estimates the creditworthiness of a borrower and is used by financial institutions to determine credit limits and interest rates. FICO scores are held by the three major U.S. credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) and all vary slightly depending on the formula used to generate the score.
FICO scores range from about 300 to 850. A score above 720 is considered to be "good credit," while a score below 600 is considered to be fair to poor. Conforming lenders want to see a credit score of usually 640 and higher. High risk lenders will look at credit scores as low as 500, as long as the borrower has 25% or higher equity in a property for collateral.
Q: How do I Apply for a Bad Credit Loan?
A: Do a search on the internet for “bad credit loans” or “bad credit lenders” and will find different bad credit lenders that offer bad credit loans in various states. Then either call them and explain your situation to them or fill out their short online application to be considered for a hard money loan. Be sure to read the language of the loan documentation carefully to protect your self from predatory lending.