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Hard Money Tips: Opportunity Found in Distressed Properties


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It is worth noting that not all distressed properties pose the same profit opportunity, which is why we’ve created this guide in an effort to better educate about what to look for, how to secure funding, and most importantly, how to generate a healthy return on the transaction.

Identifying the Perfect Distressed Property to “Pounce”

A property is “distressed” when it is being listed by the financing institution or is currently under an order of sale due to foreclosure.  In these instances, the property is usually “priced to move”, as the bank has little to no interest in hanging onto the property any longer than necessary.

Unfortunately, the same dynamic that leads to these opportunities also makes it incredibly difficult to find the financing to purchase the property, putting real estate investors in a dilemma.  With banks refusing to offer up capital, how can they expect these properties to move?  This funding gap has created a growing hard money lending industry that has taken the industry by storm.

Hard Money Lending Basics

Hard money lending offers those who have capital a wonderful investment opportunity, while providing those without capital the opportunity to turn healthy profits in distressed properties.  There are several different perspectives on the hard money industry, so let’s run down a few key components to help you determine whether or not investing in such endeavors is right for you:

(1)   Valuation and the Loan

Hard money loans are contingent on the appraisal of the property.  Because the lending institution will only offer around 70% of the total valuation, a borrower will want to be certain that the appraisal is accurate.  This hedges the lender’s bet on the high-risk nature of the loan, as the property is then placed as collateral against the loan itself.  Should the borrower default, the property is then turned over to the lender as repayment.

(2)   Protecting Yourself as the Borrower

Those interested in acquiring and “flipping” locations using hard money should be well-informed in the various nuances associated with the property’s value and the conditions of the loan.  One must be certain that they have property appraised the amount of WORK necessary to restore the property, if necessary, as these types of “surprises” can often lead to a financial nightmare.  Fortunately, however, the lender doesn’t want the property either, so they will likely be quite diligent in making sure that your proposal for profit is a sound investment – it just never hurts to get another opinion on the work required!

(3)   Convenience vs. Interest Rates

Distressed properties provide great opportunities, as we previously mentioned, but in order to capitalize, time is of the essence.  One of the biggest necessities is the ability to secure funding quickly.  Hard money lenders will usually have the ability to setup an appraisal and provide funding in a matter of days, whereas standard banks can take weeks!  This, alone, can ensure that your eye for property potential isn’t thwarted by another investor that has deep pockets…

There is a price to pay for this convenience, however – hard money loans often carry higher interest rates than the standard bank alternatives.  This should come as no surprise, as the risk is far greater for hard money lenders, given the propensity for “speedy” approvals.

Distressed = Discounted!

Distressed properties often come at a steep discount, as the lenders are simply trying to unload them and recoup their initial investment.  Those that understand how hard money lenders can assist in securing quick capital can take advantage of newly found opportunities, improving the ever-important bottom line.

Today’s real estate climate may have warmed a little, but don’t buy into the notion that things have recovered.  Banks are still sitting on countless properties, and are actively seeking investors to take them off of their hands.  Those profits could be yours – you just need to understand the hard money sector!

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