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The Ultimate Guide to Hard Money Loans

Ultimate Guide to Hard Money Loans: Navigating Short-Term Financing

Welcome to the world of hard money loans, where real estate investors can secure quick financing based on the value of their property rather than their credit score. This guide will take you through the ins and outs of hard money loans, explaining their purpose, mechanics, and how to navigate their risks and rewards.

Key Takeaways

  • Decipher the complexities of hard money loans, including higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms.

  • Understand loan conditions and collateral requirements to secure capital quickly.

  • Research lenders, calculate costs, consider legal regulations & leverage investment for maximum potential success.

Table of Contents

Do you want to skip around? Click the orange tab on the left to see the full Table of Contents. Click on the topic you want to read and it will take you to that part of this guide.

The Investor's Edge Funding Options:

At The Investor's Edge, we pride ourselves on offering complete house-flipping funding options in addition to our hard money loans. Some of our real estate lending options for beginners and experts include:

  • Up to 100% funding
  • Low cash-to-close fix and flip loans
  • Traditional residential rehab loan
  • New construction loans for 13 months, 19 months, or 24 months
  • Long Term Rental DSCR Loans that are based on the rental income

Due to changing regional real estate market conditions and state laws, The Investor's Edge offers custom terms for each region in the United States. For this reason, we offer a free consultation to get the specific information you need for where you're located.

Deciphering Hard Money Loans

Deciphering Hard Money Loans

A hard money loan is:

  • A short-term, asset-backed loan

  • Often used by real estate investors looking for fast access to capital

  • Provided by individual investors or private companies

  • Prioritizes the value of your property over your credit score

While they can be a lifeline for investors needing quick cash flow, hard money loans also come with their share of risks. The potential for default can lead to additional fees and possibly losing the house as collateral for the loan. However, the fast funding timeframe compared to traditional mortgages can make them a lucrative option for real estate who need to close on a deal fast.

Member Highlight: Ptolemy has 20 years experience as a teacher, but wanted to start supplementing his teacher salary with some real estate deals using hard money loans. He chose The Investor's Edge for his first deal because we work with 1st time flippers and walk them through the entire process including up to 100% financing with a hard money loan. He is expecting to make around $80,000 to $100,000 in profit on this flip. He wants to do more flips to upgrade his lifestyle for himself, his wife, and his kids. Watch his experience now.


The Mechanics of Hard Money Loan Operations

The Mechanics of Hard Money Loan Operations

Hard money loans are unique in their mechanics and operations, making many wonder how Hard Money Loans work. They offer a faster application process, specific terms and conditions, and a distinct emphasis on collateral valuation (the value of the property) rather than your credit score.

In contrast to a traditional loan, hard money lenders tend to focus on these aspects to ensure a secure investment for themselves and their clients.

These aspects will be discussed more in depth below.

Application Process and Speed

The application process for a hard money loan is relatively simple and swift. At the Investor's Edge, it begins with a conversation with one of our investment associates to see if we would be a good fit to fund your property. If so, you would become a member and submit your property application to our loans team. Then we would do a property evaluation, a virtual walkthrough of the property, and secure a renovation estimate from a licensed general contractor. This streamlined process allows for faster access to capital, with closing times typically taking around 15 business days.

This quick turnaround is a stark contrast to traditional financing at your local bank, where the application process can be more rigorous and time-consuming, not to mention they are lending based on your credit score and history versus lending based on the value of the property and the deal. For real estate investors with time-sensitive deals, this speed can make all the difference in securing financing for your deal.

Understanding Loan Terms and Conditions

Hard money loans operate differently from traditional loans in terms of loan terms and conditions. Here are the key differences:

  1. The loan amount is determined by the ARV, After Repair Value, of the property. This means you will get financing for both the purchase price and the rehab costs. Traditional banks will only lend on the current value of the house. 

  2. A hard money loan is typically only a 5 to 9 month loan. Most hard money lenders will have you pay the monthly interest, but at The Investor's Edge we put the interest into the loan so you won't have any interest payments while rehabbing the house. If you go past the loan term, then monthly interest payments and fees would be paid by the borrower.

  3. As the loan term expires, the borrower will need to pay back the entire loan in one lump sum. Real Estate investors fix up and flip the house before the loan expires so they can pay it off in one lump sum. At the Investor's Edge, we don't have any pre-payment penalties. We do allow extensions of our hard money loans, but interest and fees are due during the extension of the loan.

Although you can get a hard money loan with bad credit, you can't get it if you are currently going through a bankruptcy or have any current charge-offs. We look at each situation individually and that's why we start the process with a free consultation. The interest rates for hard money loans typically begin at 12%, but because it is a 5 to 9 month loan you typically will pay less since it's not a full year.

Collateral Valuation Over Credit Evaluation

Unlike traditional loans that rely heavily on credit evaluation, hard money loans prioritize collateral valuation. In other words, the value of your property plays a significant role in securing the loan. Generally, hard money lenders finance 70% to 80% of the property’s value, requiring a substantial down payment at closing. At the Investor's Edge we offer up to 100% financing on properties up to $350,000 after repair value or 10% to 20% down for financing on properties over the $351,000 value. We have lots of options to help you fund your deal quickly.

This emphasis on the property’s potential value rather than the borrower’s credit score provides borrowers with the opportunity to flip properties without having to fully fund the project themselves. This unique aspect of hard money loans opens doors for investors who may struggle to secure traditional financing. Many traditional lenders will not lend on a property that doesn't meet FHA lending requirements, which makes a hard money loan even more appealing for a run down house you are going to fix up and flip.


Our members Joe and Chelsea are investing in real estate to create generational wealth for their family. They came to The Investor's Edge to get access to a hard money loan to be able to fix and flip this property. Watch this interview about their experience flipping a house with us.

"I think we'll come out $40,000 ahead on this one."


Comparing Hard Money to Traditional Financing

Comparing Hard Money to Traditional Financing

When compared to traditional financing, hard money loans stand out in several ways.

They offer a more expedited application process and easier access to capital, making them a preferred choice for real estate investors who need to act fast.

The emphasis on collateral valuation over credit evaluation also makes them a suitable option for borrowers with less than perfect credit scores.

However, as with anything their are both pros and cons. Hard money loans have a higher interest rate than conventional loans. This is due to the fact that they are short-term loans with only 5 to 9 months of interest versus a 30 year loan with 360 months of interest. While the average rate on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is usually less than 8%, hard money loans can have interest rates between 10% and 20%. It's all about the duration of the loan and how much a lender can collect in that timeframe.

The Ideal Candidate for Hard Money Loans

The Ideal Candidate for Hard Money Loans

So, who is the ideal candidate for a hard money loan? Property flippers are a perfect example. These investors purchase properties, renovate them, and sell them for a profit. The asset-based nature of hard money loans and the quick access to funds make them a popular choice for property flippers.

We also see people who want to fix and hold can use a hard money loan to their advantage. We typically refer to this as a BRRR, which stands for Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance. The hard money loan allows them to buy the property and have the money to fix it up. Then they refinance the property into a traditional long-term loan and pay off their hard money loan. This allows them to keep and rent out their property for recurring income with a longer-term low interest rate.

Do you fall into either of these categories? If so schedule your free consultation with us to discuss your hard money loan needs.


See what Charles had to say about his first house flip using a hard money loan from The Investor's Edge.

"This property, actually, is going to profit us $70,000, for our first flip."


Navigating the Risks and Rewards

Navigating the risk and rewards

As with any financial endeavor, hard money loans come with their share of risks and rewards. On the one hand, they offer quick access to capital, which can be a boon to investors looking to seize investment opportunities swiftly.

On the other hand, they carry potential risks such as high interest rates and short loan terms, which can be risky for borrowers who don't have experience fixing and flipping properties.

If a borrower is unable to repay the loan on time, the lender may foreclose on the property. Hence, it is imperative to consider these risks and rewards carefully before committing to a hard money loan.

That's why at The Investor's Edge, we provide you with a loan advisor and project manager. Our team of experts are here to help you keep your fix and flip moving forward and on time. We want you to be able to have a great experience, pay off your loan, and collect the profits from the deal. We specialize in helping first time fix and flippers flip their first property successfully.

Are you ready to get started on your hard money loan? If so, schedule a free consultation with us.


See what Ed had to say about getting a hard money loan from The Investor's Edge.

"We do always take one trip after a flip, no matter if it's Italy or here in the United States and we go and have a good time for two weeks...flipping homes has allowed me to provide those types of opportunities for myself and my family."


Creative Financing: Alternatives to Hard Money

Alternatives to Hard Money

While hard money loans can be a valuable tool for real estate investors, they aren’t the only option on the table. Various alternatives offer different benefits and can be worth considering depending on your specific needs and situation.

Business credit cards, personal loans, home equity lines of credit, and small business loans or lines of credit are all viable alternatives. For example, personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes and usually offer lower interest rates than credit cards. On the other hand, a personal line of credit is a type of revolving line of credit that is unsecured and typically requires a higher credit score and credit history.

Some of our members use these alternative to cover cash-to-close when their deal doesn't qualify for 100% financing.

Calculating Costs: Interest Rates and Fees Unveiled

Calculating Costs

Understanding the costs associated with hard money loans, like any other loans, is crucial. While the interest rates can vary depending on the lender, the borrower’s experience, and the specific terms of the loan, they usually range from 10% to 18%.

Apart from interest rates, other costs such as closing costs and an origination fee should also be considered. These costs can add up and should be factored into your calculations when considering a hard money loan.

These are common hard money loan costs:

  • Origination Fee
  • Broker Fee
  • Application Fee
  • Underwriting Fee
  • Document Prep Fee
  • Processing Fee
  • Funding Fee

Those are fees that are usually required up front, and then during the loan you’ll have interest and extension fees (if applicable) to pay.

However, The Investor's Edge does not require any payments during the 5-month hard loan term. This helps investors with less cash on hand to make it through the deal and pay the interest out of the profit.

Furthermore, 37% of deals we lend on require $0 cash-to-close. This means that the loan amount covers those fees listed above, and no money is required out of pocket except for earnest money, loan extensions, or any cost overruns in the rehab.

37% of our loans are 100% financed


Carolyn decided to do her first real estate deal to change her financial reality. She wanted to spend more time with her kids and give them more opportunities.

"This property, I'm actually blessed to say that I get to refinance it and I'm going to be able to pull $30,000 out just from the equity. If we wanted to sell it, our total payoff is around $85,000."


Securing a Hard Money Loan: Required Documentation and Procedures

Securing A Hard Money Loan

Securing a hard money loan involves several steps. The first is to find a reputable lender. (We hope you will give us a chance to prove ourselves)

This can be done through online research, verifying credentials, soliciting recommendations, attending local real estate events, interviewing potential lenders, and reviewing references.

Once you’ve found a lender, you’ll need to provide the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • Personal information

  • Entity documents

  • Property information

  • Construction loan documents

  • Loan application

  • Purchase contract

  • Proof of insurance

  • Loan agreement

  • Valid forms of identification

  • Deed of trust

  • Licensed general contractor bid for the rehab

From there, the lender will evaluate your application and make a decision.

If you're ready to get started, schedule your free consultation with us.


See what Zubair has to say about getting started as a real estate investor and getting a hard money loan with The Investor's Edge.

"This is actually my first investment property."


Exit Strategies: Refinancing and Loan Repayment Plans

Once you have a hard money loan, it’s important to have an exit strategy in place. One option is to refinance into a traditional mortgage or other financing options. This can be a good choice if you have improved your financial situation and can qualify for a lower interest rate. This strategy is typically used when you want to rent out your property after you finish the rehab.

Another option is to create a solid repayment plan to ensure you can meet your loan obligations and avoid default. This may involve setting aside a certain amount of your income each month towards loan repayments or using the profits from your investment property to repay the loan, all while keeping your personal finance in check.

Leveraging Your Investment: Maximizing Loan Potential

To maximize the benefits of your hard money loan, it’s important to wisely leverage your investment. This means securing the best possible terms and conditions for your loan and using the loan for profitable investment opportunities.

Profitable investment opportunities could include real estate crowdfunding, becoming a hard money lender, and participating in online peer-to-peer hard money lending platforms. These options offer fast funding, flexible terms, and access to equity in existing properties, making them attractive options for real estate investors and private investors alike.

At The Investor's Edge we offer the ability to become a hard money lender if you're an accredited investor. If you're not an accredited investor, let us help you on your journey to get there.

The first step is to schedule your free consultation with us.

Hard Money Lending Myths Debunked

Hard money loans, like many financial products, are often misunderstood and surrounded by myths. One common myth is that hard money loans are solely for borrowers with bad credit. While it’s true that hard money lenders don’t place as much importance on credit scores as traditional lenders, they do still consider the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Another myth is that hard money loans always come with exorbitant interest rates. While the rates are generally higher than traditional loans, they can vary greatly depending on various factors, including the lender, the borrower’s experience, and the specific loan terms.

Navigating Regulations: Compliance and Legal Considerations

Navigating Regulations

Hard money loans come with their own unique set of regulations regarding compliance and legal considerations.

While hard money lenders are not subject to the same regulations as those who provide traditional, conforming loans, they still need to navigate the legal landscape carefully.

This includes understanding licensing requirements, verifying borrowers’ ability to repay the loan, and preparing for potential contract disputes.

It’s also important for lenders to be aware of the specific regulations in each state they are operating in, as these can vary widely.

At The Investor's Edge, we have our own process that we follow to stay compliant with State and Federal regulations. You're in good hands with our team backing you up.


See what Marcus had to say about getting a hard money loan to flip his first house.

"The big reason why I chose The Investor's Edge is because they work with first time investors with little to no money down"


Summary of Hard Money Loans

Summary of Hard Money Loans

To wrap things up, hard money loans present a unique financing option for real estate investors.

They offer quick access to capital, based on the value of the property, rather than the borrower’s credit score.

While they come with their own set of risks and rewards, they can open up opportunities that might not be available through traditional financing.

However, like any financial decision, it’s important to thoroughly understand what you’re getting into before you commit.

This includes understanding the costs associated with the loan, having a solid exit strategy in place, and being aware of the compliance and legal considerations involved.

With the right approach, hard money loans can be a useful tool in your investment strategy.


Frequently Asked Questions About Hard Money Loans

You might still have some questions about using a hard money loan for your real estate investing.

Here are some of the most common questions we get:

Why would someone get a hard money loan?

Real estate investors often use hard money loans for their next investment since it offers quicker funding than mortgage loans and is suitable for their specific needs. It also covers the rehab cost, which most traditional banks won't include in their financing.

What credit score is needed for a hard money loan?

Hard money loans are based on real estate equity and don't require a specific credit score, making them a viable option for those looking to take advantage of investment opportunities.

What is the average interest rate on a hard money loan?

The average interest rate on a hard money loan is typically between 12% and 20%, plus other costs such as points and origination fees of 2% to 6%.

What is a hard money loan?

A hard money loan is a type of short-term financing backed by the value of an asset, such as property, making it a popular choice for real estate investors seeking quick access to capital.

How do hard money loans differ from traditional loans?

Hard money loans are different from traditional loans in that they require a shorter application process, have higher interest rates, have different repayment terms and require more stringent underwriting criteria. They also include the rehab cost of a fix and flip deal, which is not included in a traditional loan.


We know your real estate funding goals are unique to your situation. You might already have a property in mind. You might want to know our lending criteria first so you can get up to 100% financing on your next deal. Either way, we want to get to know you and your current circumstances to provide the best real estate investing solution possible. 

For this reason, we have you fill out an application and schedule a free consultation.

Then one of our Investment Associates will call you and walk you through the program to see how we can help you reach your financial goals the fastest. 

If we feel like you're a good fit and you feel like we can help you reach your financial goals, we will move forward. If not, we'll part ways as friends.


Fill out the application for a free consultation.

Disclaimer: There is no assurance that examples of past earnings can be duplicated in the future. We cannot guarantee your future results and/or success. There are some unknown risks in business and on the internet that we cannot foresee which could reduce results you experience. We are not responsible for your actions.