The real estate market is an exciting realm for investment. This is true whether you’re a buyer looking for a commercial property, a young family looking to own a home for the first time, or a real estate investor looking to flip a property. Buying an investment property feels like power, and that’s something that will send shivers down anyone’s spine.

So, how can you get into the real estate game? Well, the first thing you need is money. For most investors, especially first-time investors, that means finding a lender to support their pursuits. The problem is, of course, that many traditional lenders require a mountain of paperwork, not to mention an impeccable credit score and glowing bank statements. What if you don’t have all that, as many borrowers don’t?

If you’re adamant about meeting your financial goals but don’t have all your ducks in a row quite yet, it’s a good idea to think about working with a hard money lender to buy the investment property you have your eye on. Hard money is in your bank account a whole lot faster than money from a traditional lender would be, which means that you can be buying and selling properties more quickly. Let’s take a look at how to find the hard money lender for your real estate project if you’re working on new construction on the West Coast — in Oregon or even Southern California.

What is a hard money loan, anyway?

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A hard money loan may sound complicated, but it’s actually not that hard to understand. Basically, a hard money lender is a lender who is using private money to invest in your project. If you were to be a borrower working with a traditional financial institution, the loan amount would be backed by your credit score and history. Those numbers prove how likely you are to pay back the loan amount in the allotted time. On the other hand, a private lender backs their investment with a physical asset—usually a property you already own. So, for example, a hard money lender in Oregon might want to use a commercial property you own as collateral for the loan amount you’re taking out.

Of course, there are risks to this. Private loans are designed to be short-term loans, and if you don’t pay them back in time, you may lose the commercial property you used as collateral. That’s why hard money is a powerful but volatile tool in the real estate space. On the one hand, you get fast funds. On the other hand, you need to be sure that you can pull off the new construction or renovation you have planned so that you can pay off that hard money in time. It’s always worthwhile to work with a local lender. As opposed to working with conventional lenders, who may be anywhere, a local hard money lender will be more invested in boosting their community. If you’re in Oregon—search online for hard money in Eugene. If you’re in New York State, search for hard money in Poughkeepsie. You’ll be more successful.

Do I need insurance for a hard money loan?

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In a word, yes. It would help if you always had some insurance on a loan you’re taking out. You should also have insurance for a construction site you’re running if you’re starting new construction and insurance on company cars—even if you’re running a small business. If someone gets injured in a company SUV, you may be liable for their medical expenses unless you have auto insurance on that car. Treat your real estate ventures just like the small business they are, and make sure that you’re an insurance policyholder. That being said, there are plenty of scammers in the insurance industry, so you should trust legitimate insurance companies, like Trust Co Insurance Tales, when shopping for an insurance policy for your large small business.

How else can I be savvy when it comes to investing?

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Residential and commercial properties aren’t the only avenue for meeting your financial goals. You can use hard money as a tool to buy and sell vehicles, too. You may be thinking that buying a bunch of SUVs or motorcycles is expensive and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be complex if you use the right tools. Did you know that by doing a quick Google search for “car auction near me,” you can find an auto auction that will help you buy new vehicles from the comfort of your own home?

The surprise you feel when you see the wholesale prices on an auction site will be priceless. An auto auction site makes the buying part easy and inexpensive, and then once you’ve given the cars a little rehab, you can sell them for a huge increase. You’ll probably end up making money in your first year, which is more than you can say for a lot of small business ventures.

Private lending is a great tool for achieving financial goals. Be smart about choosing your projects, and look for a local lender. Then find the right contractors for your project. Soon, you’ll be rolling in the profits from your exciting new adventure.