Hard Money Loans vs. Private Money Loans: What CRE Brokers Need to Know

Many investors need the required capital to invest in commercial real estate and need clarification about how to get funding or the type of funding that would best suit them. Let’s look at two options for financing you can choose from: private money vs hard money, and what CRE brokers need to know about them. 

What Is a Hard Money Loan? 

A loan with real estate as security is referred to as a hard money loan. Hard money loans are considered “last resort” or quick bridge loans. Individuals or businesses rather than banks usually provide these loans, typically used in real estate deals. 

Hard money loans have conditions primarily determined by the value of the asset being used as security rather than by the borrower’s creditworthiness. Hard money lenders are usually private individuals or businesses that find value in this potentially high-risk undertaking, as traditional lenders, such as banks, do not issue hard money loans. 

Property flippers who intend to remodel and resell the real estate used as collateral for the financing may look into hard money loans; usually, they do so within a year, if not sooner. Given that most hard money loans are for one to three years and other benefits they provide, the increased cost of a hard money loan is balanced out by the borrower’s intention to repay the loan fairly quickly. 

Due to the additional risk, the lender is taking by providing the funding, the cost of a hard money loan to the borrower is often higher than financing offered through banks or government lending programs. 

What Is a Hard Money Lender? 

A hard-money lender gives short-term loans to people who want to buy residential or commercial real estate. Additionally, land purchases are eligible for this financing. Investors use hard-money lenders to purchase investment properties swiftly. Hard-money lenders are considered private lenders and do not offer credit to customers according to traditional norms. 

A borrower employs a hard-money loan to secure more traditional financing for the property as a temporary, short-term lending solution. Hard money lenders receive funding from several sources because they are private lenders. In the same way, a traditional financial institution does, some hard-money lenders lend other people’s money. 

These small lenders offer a high rate of return to the investor and use money from private individuals to lend to investors and other borrowers who cannot be approved for traditional financing. Other hard-money lenders handle the loan administration themselves, locating borrowers looking for funding and are prepared to pay a specific interest rate. 

How Does Hard Money Lending Work? 

Here are the general steps of how hard money lending works: 

The borrower chooses a property: The borrower chooses a property they intend to buy or that they already own and intend to use as security for the loan.  

Borrower submits loan application: The borrower submits a hard money loan application to a private investor or lender. The borrower’s credit history, the property’s worth, and the borrower’s capacity to repay the loan will all be considered by the lender. 

The lender assesses the property: The lender will order a property assessment to ascertain the property’s value and ensure that the borrower’s loan application is consistent with the property’s value. 

The loan is approved or declined by the lender: The lender determines whether to approve or deny the loan based on the assessment. If the loan is authorized, the lender will provide terms, including the interest rate, points, and fees. 

Loan terms are negotiated: Following a property evaluation, the lender will speak with the borrower to discuss the loan conditions. This covers the loan’s interest rate, payback schedule, and associated costs. 

Funds are disbursed: The funds are normally paid within a few days and can be used to purchase the property or for other investment purposes by the borrower. 

What Is a Private Money Loan? 

When a wealthy person or private organization lends money to a person or business, this is known as private money lending. In the world of real estate investing, private money lending is popular. Compared to licensed lenders like banks, private money lending is much less regulated and much more flexible. 

Although private money lending is free from some restrictions that apply to other lenders, some regulations are still in place. State usury rules that set a cap on the amount of interest that can be charged must be complied with by private money lenders. Additionally, the number of loans they can grant might be constrained. 

What Is a Private Money Lender? 

A private money lender is a person or corporation that lends money to people or businesses without using conventional banking institutions, frequently for real estate investment goals. Typically, private money lenders are individuals or businesses that have acquired capital and are hoping to profit by lending it to others. 

Depending on the lender’s policies and the borrower’s demands, they can issue short-term or long-term loans, secured as well as unsecured loans. Because they are taking on greater risk by lending to clients who may not qualify for standard loans or have poor credit records, private money lenders often charge higher interest rates and fees than conventional banking.   

How Does Private Money Lending Work? 

Private money loans typically have higher interest rates than loans from licensed lenders. Usually, 15% to 20% is used. However, they could also be less than market rates if it’s a loan from a friend or relative. Private money loans often have interest-only payments for the duration of the loan, with a single sizable balloon payment due at maturity. 

Private money loans usually have short terms—just 6 to 12 months—but they may also have longer terms—up to five years. They usually have a down payment and are backed by the property in most cases. Generally, the lender will need a documented plan outlining the intended use of the funds. 

Private Money vs Hard Money 

Private money vs hard money has a gray line between them. In fact, many investors think they are the same. Despite some of their commonalities, there are several significant variances between private money vs hard money you should be aware of. Both require obtaining finance from a source other than a bank and are usually utilized in real estate investing. 

Private lending entails borrowing money from individuals with the financial resources to invest in your business (a financial institution does not back this investor). An individual investor who is fascinated by your concept and wants to participate in your investment is a fantastic example of a private money lender. This investor could be a friend, family member, or anybody else in your inner circle. 

Hard money lending exists somewhere between private money lending and traditional bank financing. Hard money lenders are semi-institutional and have their own set of established standards, even though they don’t have the usual hurdles to jump through that conventional funding does. An investor’s finance toolkit should include both types of lending. 

Do Hard Money Loans Make Sense? 

Depending on the borrower’s demands and circumstances, hard money loans make sense in some scenarios. Following are a few scenarios where a hard money loan might make sense: 

You need short-term financing 

A hard money loan can provide you with the cash you need without the fuss and paperwork of a conventional mortgage if you need money right away for remodeling so you can sell the house for a profit. 

You lack the required credit score for a conventional mortgage 

Traditional lenders usually have stringent credit standards. You might find it challenging to be approved for a loan if your credit score doesn’t meet their requirements. When evaluating your qualification for a loan, a hard money lender will consider the asset in question in addition to your credit history.  

As a result, you have a better chance of receiving financing than applying for a conventional mortgage with a spotty or minimal credit history. 

You need to close quickly, but a conventional bank can’t do it in time. 

The approval procedure at a conventional financial institution may take weeks or even months to conclude. A hard money loan, however, can be closed in a few days. A hard money loan can be a wise choice if a superb investment becomes available and you must swiftly complete the purchase. 


In summary, real estate investors in need of funding have access to distinct advantages with both hard money loans and private money loans. It’s essential to thoroughly consider your demands, financial condition, and investing goals when determining which loan type to seek. 

In the end, whichever you select between private money vs hard money, it is important to engage with a trustworthy lender that is aware of the real estate market and can offer the assistance and direction you require to be successful. Finance Lobby is the place to get the best lenders that suit your needs. 

We at Finance Lobby connect lenders and borrowers to get the ideal deals based on the borrower’s demands and the lender’s requirements. Sign up now to get the best deals. 

February 13, 2023