Private Money Loans for Investing

Is Private Mortgage Note Investing Safe?

Private mortgage notes are very safe investments. In addition to the mortgage lien, these properties are also backed by title and hazard policies. If the property burns down, or if there is a problem with the title, then the investor recoups their money through these policies.


Finding Private Mortgage Notes

There are firms that deal with private mortgage note investing, and match lenders with borrowers. These firms will thoroughly investigate the potential borrower, ensuring that the situation lends itself well to private lending. These firms generally have a lot of experience in the local real estate market and can readily determine if a potential investment is viable. Therefore investing your money through one of these firms is the safest way to invest in private mortgage notes.


Private Mortgage Note Yields

Yields for private mortgage notes are much higher than traditional investing. Return rates of 10 to 15% or higher are typical. The more risk you are willing to accept, the higher the return. Generally, if you want to be listed in the first position on the Deed, you will yield between 10 to 14% on your investment, if you are willing to be listed in second position then your yield will be greater than 15%. You should fully understand the circumstances of a particular investment before determining the amount of risk you are willing to accept.


Private Mortgage Notes vs Stock Market

Many find that private note investing is more predictable and fun than stock market investing. The terms are set at the beginning of the loan, so you will know your rate of return from the beginning. No need to constantly monitor stock prices. Investors also enjoy the idea of being the bank, helping others achieve their success in real estate. If you are looking to diversify your investments and are looking for high yield with low risk, then private mortgage note investing is a good choice for you.

If you are interested in exploring the options of hard money notes as an investment option, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form and one of our trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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California Hard Money Purchase Loans – Owner Occupied Vs. Investment

Options to Bank Home Financing

I get a lot of questions about hard money purchase loans for residential properties in California. With many people not able to secure bank financing for one reason or another, hard money loans have become an alternative for even those who have may have been able to obtain bank financing in the past. There is a big difference, however, between hard money lending for consumer purposes and for investment purposes.


Bank Lending Practices Have Changed

It is no secret that there has been an inundation of mortgage regulations over the past few years. We are not done with the new regulations either, they are still being written and phased in. While these regulations were meant to curb subprime lending and irresponsible lending practices by institutions, they do also apply to hard money loans. Many potential borrowers who call looking for financing on their purchase are unaware of these changes and believe that hard money lending is not subject to the same regulations as bank money. One of the top issues people have with the banks that they believe hard money can avoid is the documentation of income.


Income Documentation

For consumer lending on residential property of 1-4 units income documentation is mandatory. We must be able to fully document income for the borrower and ensure that their debt to income ratios are in line. This is different than hard money lending used to be for these types of loans. In the past, the main requirement was lend-able equity in the property. That is still a main part of hard money underwriting, but income must also be documented and debt to income ratios calculated.

While income must be documented, we do have flexibility with regards to how it needs to be documented. Of course pay stubs, W-2’s, tax returns, etc. are all acceptable, but we can also document this income with bank statements or other third party documentation that shows a borrowers income.


Hard Money Loans Fees Passed To Borrower

Another issue that we have with these types of consumer loans is the cap on fees and rates. For bank money these caps may not cause much of an impact, but with hard money all the fees are passed through to the borrower. In addition, the funding source is typically an end investor looking for a return on his/her money greater than they can get elsewhere. Due to these and other aspects of hard money, making these type of consumer loans for small balance loans is difficult at best.

For those looking for hard money for non-consumer purposes, some of these issues do not apply. In this scenario it is the equity in the property that is the underwriting criteria for investment or commercial properties.

If you are interested in exploring the options of hard money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of our trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Financing with Hard Money Loans

Traditional Loans vs. Hard Money Loans

If you are in a position where you cannot qualify for a traditional business loan but you need money to complete a project or for another reason, a hard money loan may be a route you can take. Hard money loans are non-traditional, alternative sources to conventional bank financing. They are used when you can’t qualify for financing using traditional sources of financing or you need money quickly and you can’t wait for regular commercial financing.


What is a Hard Money Loan?

A hard money loan is a risk asset-based loan used by individuals or businesses that cannot qualify for other types of loans to finance their capital needs. If a situation comes up in which an entity needs money they can turn to hard money loans for their needs. Hard money loans are placed with private investors or mortgage companies


How Do You Qualify for a Hard Money Loan?

Hard money loans are not solely based on the creditworthiness of the borrower. Instead, they are based on the collateral you can offer to the lender. Your credit score is usually secondary to the collateral. Usually the entire value of the collateral is not used. Instead, a loan to value ratio is calculated for the hard money loan. The loan to value ratio is a percentage of the property’s value. If the collateral you offer for the loan is not enough to secure the loan, you may have to offer up other real estate assets to secure the loan.


What is a Loan to Value Ratio?

A loan to value ratio for a hard money loan is calculated as the loan amount divided by the value of the property. The higher the ratio, the more difficult it is to get a loan. Usually, hard money lenders loan only about 70% of the value of the property. The loan to value ratio is a measure of risk for lenders.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that John Doe wants to take advantage of a project that costs $700,000. He needs to borrow $350,000 in order to invest in this project, but can’t get the money from any traditional lender. He approaches a hard money lender who calculates their loan to value ratio. Their ratio is $350,000/$700,000 = 50%.


What is the Interest Rate and Other Terms on a Hard Money Loan?

Interest rates are higher on hard money loans than they are on traditional loans. The reason is that hard money loans are riskier than traditional loans. The other terms on a hard money loan are also less favorable than on traditional loans.

Interest rates may start at around 8% and go all the way up to 12%. Borrowers also usually have to pay 2% – 5% in points. 70% loan to value is usually the maximum loan to value ratio a hard money lender will accept. A balloon payment may be required somewhere along the way. The term of the loan is usually short – as short as 1-5 years.

Who Are Hard Money Lenders?

Hard money lenders are individuals or companies that have funds available for investment. To be a hard money lender, they have to be flexible and able to move quickly to take advantage of lending opportunities in the marketplace. They are not restricted to the rigid criteria of traditional business loans and traditional business sources.

Although you may have to go through several hard money lenders to find one that suits your needs, all you have to do is a simple search on the Internet to find hundreds of companies that engage in hard money lending. If you are interested in exploring the options of hard money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of our trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Top Hard Money Lender Qualities

What To Look For in A Hard Money Lender

While it may seem, to the inexperienced, that hard money lenders operate in a “no man’s land,” the reality is, the top hard money lenders have certain key characteristics in common. If you do decide to retain the services of a hard money lender, here are some of their best practices that you should be on the lookout for:

Excellent Reputation:

If you are looking for a hard lender because you have been rejected by a bank, then you might be tempted to run to the first hard lender you can find to get your loan quickly. But do your due diligence first. Some hard lenders are genuinely interested in helping you finance your real estate project, but others are little more than loan sharks. Ask yourself some of the following questions as you are assessing potential lenders:

  • Does the lender have someone that you can meet with and contact? Some hard money lenders operate in all 50 states, but you might consider finding one who operates in your state. The most reputable hard money lenders will want to see the property you are planning to purchase firsthand.
  • Does this lender have a legitimate web site? Many hard money lenders have web sites that are designed to gather your information before passing it along to a third party. Avoid these kinds of sites.
  • Is the lender in good standing with its investors? Does the lender have any pending lawsuits from its investors over bad loans or foreclosed properties? If it does, this can be a red flag as to the financial health of the lender.

Seasoned Investing Knowledge:

Most hard money lenders are not the mindless paper-shufflers that you find at a traditional lending institution that need to get acceptance for every decision that they make. Instead, they are seasoned investors who have been to this particular rodeo more than once and can quickly and efficiently vet a deal that is worthy because of:


Most hard money lenders have been in the real estate game for most of their adult life. They understand that many property deals do not fall into the neat categories set by the traditional lending institutions in the industry. Their vast experience, however, allows them to evaluate a deal on its merits, rather than on some arbitrary criteria set up by a lending committee.


The hard money lending industry is a reputable one that recognizes the value of secure business transactions. For this reason, hard money deals are structured along the lines of traditional mortgages. That is, appraisals and inspections are done, escrow accounts are established, and standard written contracts are utilized. The whole point of the process being to protect the interest of both the borrower and the lender.

If you are interested in exploring the options of hard money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of our trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.


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Understanding Mortgage Points

What Are Mortgage Points?

“Mortgage points”, also known as loan origination points, mortgage loan points or mortgage discount points, are fairly simply to understand. When it comes down to it, a mortgage point is just a fancy way of saying a percentage point of the loan amount.

Essentially, when a mortgage broker or mortgage lender says they’re charging you one point, they simply mean 1% of your loan amount. So if your loan amount is $400,000, one mortgage point would be equal to $4,000. If they charge two points, the cost would be $8,000. And so on.

A mortgage point can vary greatly based on the loan amount, so not all mortgage points are created equal investors.


Types of Mortgage Points

A mortgage broker or bank may charge mortgage points simply for doing the loan, known as the loan origination fee. This fee may be in addition to other closing costs, or a lump fee that covers all your closing costs and their commission.

Alternatively, you may be charged mortgage discount points, which are a form of pre-paid interest in exchange for a lower interest rate. These types of mortgage points are tax deductible.

If you aren’t being charged mortgage points (no cost refi), it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better deal. All it means is that the mortgage broker or lender is charging you on the back-end of the deal. There is no free lunch.

In other words, the lender is paying the broker a certain percent for a rate higher than what the par rate, or market rate would be.

So if your particular loan scenario had a par rate of say 6%, but the mortgage broker could earn two points on the “back” if he/she convinced you to take a rate of 6.75%, that would be the broker’s yield-spread-premium (YSP), or commission.


How Loan Brokers Earn Commissions

This is a common way for a broker to earn a commission without charging the borrower directly. However, the borrower still pays the price by taking a higher mortgage rate than necessary, which equates to a lot more interest paid throughout the life of the loan.

If you are interested in exploring the options of private money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Understanding Credit Scores

What Is a Good Credit Score Range?


Ever wonder what is a good credit score, and why this little three-digit number is so crucial to your financial well-being? Can it really affect your everyday life? And what kind of control do you have over it?

In a special guide to credit score ranges, Saundra Latham helps us tackle and find the answer to many of these questions asked above. Let’s take a look at what your credit score means, what’s considered a good score and what’s a bad one, how your credit score can help or hurt you, how to improve your credit score, and how to get free reports.


What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a single number that represents how trustworthy you are from the perspective of someone who would lend you money. If you haven’t proven yourself trustworthy, your credit score will be low; on the other hand, if you repeatedly show yourself trustworthy, by paying bills on time, every time, your credit score will be high.


Credit Score Ranges at a Glance

The two most commonly used credit scores are those issued by Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) and Vantage Score, and each uses a range of 300-850. If you recently got a peek at one of your credit scores, and you’re simply wondering whether it’s a good one or not, here’s a quick look at what’s considered an excellent, good, fair, and poor credit score, according to consumer credit expert John Ulzheimer:

Bad Credit: 300-650

“A score of 650 is generally used as the dividing line between prime and subprime,” Ulzheimer says, referring to the point at which lenders consider you a much greater risk. A score below 650 means you’ll have a harder time qualifying for loans or credit cards, and may have to pay much higher interest rates when you do.


Fair Credit: 651-700

The average American’s FICO score was 695 in 2015, an all-time high. “A score of 700 gets you to about the 50th percentile nationally,” Ulzheimer says.


Good Credit: 701-759

If your credit falls within this range, Ulzheimer says, you’re likely to get approved for whatever you’re applying for. But, he adds, “There’s no guarantee you’re going to get the best deal the lender has to offer.”


Excellent Credit: 760 and above

Ulzheimer says a score of 720 is enough to get the best published interest rates on an auto loan, but the best mortgage rates are only available to people with credit scores above 760. “So, I’d define an ‘excellent’ credit score as one that ensures the best possible deals across all lending environments, which is 760 or above,” Ulzheimer says.

Below, we’ll dig in a little deeper to understand what your credit score means, why you have several of them, how they’re calculated (and by whom), and how to improve a bad credit score.


How Your Credit Score Affects Loans

As mentioned earlier, having a good credit score can make your life easier. Now let’s take a closer look at the impact your credit score has on what loans you qualify for and how much you’ll pay. Specifically, let’s examines mortgages.


Credit Scores & Mortgages

A good credit score can make all the difference when you want to become a homeowner or use a mortgage loan to buy investment property. While loans to those with bad credit have recently been on the rise in other sectors, that’s not the case with mortgages. Lenders were burned by the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and have kept a lid on loans to subprime, or bad-credit, borrowers.

So if your credit score is high both conventional mortgages and private money loans for the right property should be easy for you to obtain. If you have less than stellar credit but have a large equity stake in your home a private money loan could be the answer for you. If you are interested in exploring the options of private money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Basics of Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Cycles & Real Estate Investment

Everything always goes in cycles. In our real estate investing world we have experienced smooth sailing for many years but now we are facing challenging times that have forced everyone to regroup and invent their approach to the investing business and return back to the basics.


Real Estate Investing Basics

  1. Focus on a simple basic approach to locating and purchasing properties through face to face contact. For years we have read books, attended seminars and followed many newly revised methods for locating, purchasing and financing properties. The Internet has opened many avenues for investors to easily search through mountains of properties without ever visiting the site or talking with a seller or agent.
  1. Locate a geographical area you want to “farm” and focus on locating properties within that area. Become an expert in that area so you are knowledgeable of property values, rental rates, schools and community amenities, the job market, etc.
  1. Many people are now knocking on the doors of for sale by owner properties and making direct contact with the owner. Returning to the basics means building a relationship with the seller and working together as a team to create mutually agreeable terms to acquire the property.
  1. Many older people may not be internet savvy. They may not advertise their properties on Craig’s List or other internet sites. Some of the best properties with high equity will have to be located the old fashioned way…farming neighborhoods in your area.
  1. What is the seller’s motivation? For many FSBO’s, the seller may not be totally motivated by money. Once we understand the seller’s motivation and identify their needs, we can then know how we can assist the seller and how we can structure the offer.
  1. People like to help people. It should be our main purpose to help the seller whether we are offering to purchase the property to rehab, wholesale, lease purchase, etc.   Many times as we develop a good relationship with the seller, they are willing to help us purchase the property by being creative in the offer with owner financing and agreeable terms.
  1. Sellers have also experienced many challenges this year. They have lost equity in properties because of declining values, financing issues and having compete against a market flooded with homes for sale. Many sellers are more willing to consider mutually agreeable terms to sell their properties.


Yes…there have been many challenges over the past years for real estate investors, but as in so many other areas, usually the simple things work the best. We are reminded that what is important is helping people first. Returning to the basics of real estate investing will create continued success as we enter into the new year.

If you are interested in exploring the options of real estate investing with private money loans, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form or our borrower form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Better Investment Returns? Use Self Directed IRA’S

Why Private Money Loans Make Sense

The current environment is not exactly favorable for financing your real estate investments, in fact it is next to impossible to borrow from traditional banks and it appears for now that it’s a trend that will go on for some time. The facts are credit is tight, real estate investing is not the first choice for where banks put their money and if you have any dings to your credit you are going to be left in the cold when it comes to financing your net venture.


When Traditional Funding Sources Have Dried Up

So what do you do when all the traditional sources for financing have dried up? Well you have to get creative and look into other ways to gain funding or just sit and wait for things to get better. Most investors I know think that now is a very good time to get a great price on investment property. Prices are lower than they have been in decades and there are plenty of short sales and foreclosures that make sense as rental properties especially at current pricing. So if you are like the kid in a candy store with plenty of stuff to buy but have empty pockets I want to show you an idea you may not have tried.


Real Estate Funding Options

There is no shortage of folks out there that have seen the value of their retirement nest egg dwindle down enough to wonder where the bottom is. The concept simply put involves finding a company, many can be found online, of your choice which specializes in Self Directed IRA’s and making your real estate investment using the company to facilitate. Most traditional companies tend to invest in traditional assets such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds.


Better Possible IRA Returns

Did you know you can invest in real estate, mortgages, leases, and other asset backed investments? With a truly self-directed plan you can invest in assets you know, understand, and effectively control. The government has increased contribution limits to allow you to take full advantage of saving for the future. This allows you to compound your assets quickly with investments you select. You can decide which retirement plans are best and what types of investment you’ll want to make in that plan. There are IRS rules prohibiting self-dealing and other limitations but in general it is fairly uncomplicated. Many of the companies out there have tons of information on their web sites to help you understand how the entire process works. There are fees involved as well so educate yourself.

Go seek out a company specializing in this type of plan and do your research as to what the limitations are, and as always consult your tax professionals before you move any cash from your existing plan. In other words protect yourself at all times. The bottom line is this, today traditional 401K plans are losing millions and it will likely be a very long time, if ever, before those losses will be recouped. This is an opportunity to take full advantage and put your money into something you know and believe in.


Are You Satisfied with Your Current IRA Plan?

Can you really say that about your existing plan? Yes you can choose which direction to put your dollars in traditional plans but you don’t typically have the luxury of choosing the actual company your investment goes to. There are plenty of companies that offer this so make sure you study as many as you can carefully. Look into this and I am almost certain you will agree that it may be one of the best ways to finance your real estate today. You may find that that when you are in charge of investment vehicle you might just have a better chance at higher returns.   And you don’t even have to go to a bank.

If you are interested in exploring the options of private money loans as an alternate IRA Investment plan, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our contact form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Taking the Confusion Out of Loan Terms

Understanding Loan Terms

When considering an investment property loan from an institutional lender, you need to consider many of the variables involved in the loan terms being offered. It’s important to understand the different loan terms that are used when speaking of both traditional mortgages from banks and also private money loans from private money lenders. We discuss some of the most prevalent loan terms used below:


Interest Rate:

The cost of borrowing money, i.e., the interest rate, is one of the most important factors. Interest rates affect monthly payments, which in turn affects how much you can afford to pay for a property. It may also affect cash flow, which affects your decision to hold or sell property.


Loan Amortization:

There are many different ways a loan can be structured as far as Simple interest and Amortized. A simple interest loan is calculated by multiplying the loan balance by the interest rate. So, for example, a $100,000 loan at 12% interest would be $1,000.00 per month. The payments here, of course, represent interest-only, so the principal amount of the loan does not change.

An amortized loan is slightly more involved. The actual mathematical formula is complex, so it requires a calculator (try mine, at – click on “calculators” from the left navigation bar). The amortization method breaks down payments over a number of years, with the payment remaining constant each month. However, the interest is calculated on the remaining balance, so the amount of each monthly payment that accounts for principal and interest changes. For the most part, the more payments you make, the more you decrease the amount of principal (the amount of the loan still left to pay) owed.


Balloon Mortgage:

A balloon is a premature end to a loan’s life. For example, a loan could call for interest-only payments for three years, then be due in full at the end of three years. Or, a loan could be amortized over 30 years, with the principal balance remaining due in five years. When the loan balloon payment becomes due, the borrower must pay the full amount or face foreclosure

With interest rates uncertain in the future, many lenders are offering variable-rate financing. Known as an “ARM” loan (adjustable rate mortgage), there are dozens of variations to suit the lender’s profit motives and borrower’s needs. ARM loans have two limits (“caps”) on the rate increase. One cap regulates the limit on interest rate increases over the life of the loan; the other limits the amount the interest rate can be increased at a time. For example, if the initial rate is 6%, it may have a lifetime cap of 11% and a one-time cap of 2%. The adjustments are made monthly, every six months, once a year or every few years, depending upon the “index” the ARM loan is based. An index is an outside source that can be determined by formulas, such as:

  • “LIBOR” (London Interbank Offered Rate) – based on the interest rate at which international banks lend and borrow funds in the London Interbank market.
  • “COFI” (Cost of Funds Index) – based on the 11th District’s Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. These loans often adjust on a monthly basis, which can make bookkeeping a real headache!
  • T-Bills Index – this is based on average rates the Federal government pays on U.S. treasury bills. Also known as the Treasury Constant Maturity or “TCM”, these are the rates banks are paying on six month CDs.

If you are interested in exploring the options of private money lending or private money loans for commercial real estate investing, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our borrower form or contact form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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Why Hard Money Loans Work for Commercial Investing

Bridge Loans for Commercial Investing

A commercial or residential property hard money loan is also known as a bridge loan in commercial investing — it bridges you from a temporary situation to a more permanent situation. The goal is to be bridged from a hard money situation to a more conventional situation where you’re going to go from a very expensive interest rate payment per month to something much lower like a traditional bank loan/commercial mortgage or you plan to sell/flip the property fairly quickly.


5 Major Differences between Commercial Hard Money Lenders and Conventional Lenders

1 — Interest Rates

A conventional loan’s interest rates are lower than a hard money loan. In fact, hard money loan interest rates can be up to three times higher than a convention loan.


2 — Upfront Costs

In a conventional loan, your upfront costs can be as low as 1% of the loan amount. On the other hand, a hard money loan will charge 2-5% just to use their money.


3 — Loan Terms

A conventional loan term can be as little as five years or all the way up to 30 years. A hard money loan term is typically between 6-12 months.


4 — Borrower’s Credit

Your credit is very important to a traditional lender. Hard money lenders may check for major flaws, but because the loan is based on the equity of the property or terms of deal, you can have flaws in your credit and still qualify for a hard money loan.

5 — Closing Time

Closing time is the amount of time it takes to close a deal. A conventional loan is more time consuming because they have to underwrite the deal, order inspections, go through their legal department, get a “yes” from their loan committee, and put together their closing paperwork. This can take 30-60 days.

Hard money loans can close in as little as 7 days because the hard money company is usually owned by one or two rich individuals who are lending out their own money.


3 Most Common Commercial Hard Money Questions

  1. Does My Credit Matter?

The answer is maybe. When a hard money lender goes through the process of qualifying the deal and you, they look at the deal in three ways. They look at the property, they look at the area and then they look at you, so you’re third on the totem pole. However when looking at you, if you have bankruptcies or foreclosures, you may have some explaining to do.


  1. Do I Need to Put Money Down?

The answer is yes because there is no 100% financing for hard money loans. You will have to put between 20-40% down depending on your commercial hard money deal. This is the down payment plus the closing cost, which can be up to 5% or 6% of the loan.

The great thing about hard money lenders is that they are open to creative deals. I recently had a student purchase a 90-unit apartment for 3 million dollars with 10% down. The hard money lender required a 30% down payment so the student negotiated with the seller to carry the other 20% for three years as a second mortgage. The hard money lender was open to this deal because, their 30% down requirement was satisfied.


  1. What’s the Secret to Getting My Loan Approved?

You need to have a realistic investing exit strategy that everyone involved in the deal agrees with. Everyone involved would be yourself, your lender, the person you’re borrowing your money from, your property manager, and your mentor if you have one. Having everyone agree on an exit strategy will put you in the best position to get your loan approved and your deal closed.

If you are interested in exploring the options of hard money lending or hard money loans for commercial real estate investing, please give us a call a 707-315-1119 or fill out our borrower form or contact form and one of trained private money loan specialists will be in touch promptly to answer your questions.

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