Real estate investors know that having an investor-friendly lender makes all the difference. For those starting out in real estate investing, you may be surprised to hear that not all lenders are open to working with investors.
Real estate financing plays a significant role in the success of a rental property. Loan terms like mortgage payments, interest rates, or even down payments for a property can make or break you financially.
What does it mean to have an investor-friendly lender on your side, and where do you find one?
What Is an Investor-Friendly Lender?
An investor-friendly lender is familiar with the real estate market and focuses on a property’s potential, rather than honing in on the current market value.
Let’s say you’re just venturing into real estate investing. You go to a bank and explain that you want to buy a property, specifically in commercial real estate. To your surprise, the bank shuts you down. Your confidence is shot, and you think every lender will say no to your potential investments.
It’s time to find an investor-friendly lender. A conventional lender, usually a big bank like Wells Fargo or Chase, is typically unwilling to give you money for an investment like a rental property because it’s more of a risk to them. Instead, they tend to focus on financing primary residences.
A private money lender is one example of a more investor-friendly lender because they consider a property’s future value and provide a loan against it, compared to more conventional lenders. Also, private lenders, or smaller lenders and their loan programs, tend to be under less of a microscope, meaning investors typically have fewer hoops to jump through.
If a private money lender doesn’t work out for you and you need something quick without all the hustle and bustle of conventional loans, try a portfolio lender. Consider a portfolio mortgage lender if you want to bypass all the super-strict borrower requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A portfolio loan allows the investor to purchase multiple properties as well.
An investment property loan is very different from a conventional loan. Banks, especially local banks, love lending to those looking to finance a primary residence.
The Best Ways to Find an Investor-Friendly Lender
Finding an investor-friendly lender that works for you is essential. Your relationship with your lender is crucial for any potential properties you want to invest in. Here are some ways to find an investor-friendly lender.
Technology is inevitable, and every day, more tools are being added to the real estate tech stack to help organize and simplify your next investment. Lender Finder from BiggerPockets allows you to enter details like the property’s location, possibly even an address if you have one, what you want to purchase the property for, and so much more.
Once the details are entered, the tool will search its database for investor-friendly lenders for you to reach out to. There is also an option to request that the lender contact you for more details. You can find a lender within minutes using Lender Finder.
Posts from BiggerPockets members within the forums ask for advice on local lenders and even basics like what interest rate to look for, the best investment property loans to get, the minimum down payment terms, and more.
An experienced investor in your area can usually guide you in the right direction for a lender near you, as well as one that will best fit what you want to do. For example, do you have a rental property in mind? Get advice on which lenders to look for in your rental property’s location. Interested in commercial property? Find a commercial lender that best suits your needs.
From your local real estate group to something on Meetup.com, it’s crucial to network locally with people in the real estate industry. Interested in learning more about rental property loans? Find a local investor who owns multiple rental properties and can tell you the ins and outs of financing and owning a rental property.
After being gung ho on networking this year, I can tell you that the real estate industry and the connections within the industry are intertwined. Real estate agents, for example, have a ton of connections, from financing to insurance to property leads, so an agent tends to be an all-in-one connection.
I’ve also met mortgage brokers at local events who, despite being unable to finance your deal, can link you up with a lender who can. Maybe at a networking event, you meet other local investors who can refer you a contractor they love to work with or even recommend a local investor-friendly lender that would love to finance your next potential deal.
Picking up the phone can create a more personable connection than sending a text or an email. It allows both parties to get to know each other in a way that no 25-text thread ever could.
So, where do you start, and who do you even cold call? If you’re not one to be out and about and picking up the phone feels more comfortable, call local real estate investors currently killing it in your area. An experienced real estate investor will quickly have a list of investor-friendly lenders you should or should not contact.
When cold calling, don’t be afraid to chat with multiple lenders or mortgage brokers because each one will have different terms. Be sure to ask a potential lender how many loans you can have at once, the loan minimum for a property, and what kind of loans they specialize in, be it rehab loans, portfolio loans, or something else. Remember, the type of property, whether residential or commercial real estate, plays a significant role in the kind of financing you get.
Social media is no longer just a place to post pictures of friends or family—it’s perfect for networking too, especially when looking for investor-friendly lenders. For example, an investor could easily request lender recommendations from local investors.
There are 4.8 billion social media users worldwide, representing 59.9% of the global population and 92.7% of all internet users. Imagine all the research opportunities there to find a lender that best works for you.
Aside from research on a social platform or chatting with the local REI group, Google is officially its own beast. And as you know, it offers an exponential, sometimes overwhelming amount of information.
When looking for a lender, read any Google reviews associated with the lender’s business or name. Google reviews are a great way to gain insight into people’s thoughts without actually having a conversation.
If the lender has a website, you can search the different loan programs and the type of investment, like a rental property, on which the lender offers terms. Also, remember that the loan minimum depends on the property type.
Benefits of Working With an Investor-Friendly Lender
An investor-friendly lender has so much to offer to real estate investors. Let’s dive into the benefits of working with a lender who’s just as into real estate investing as you are.
Applying for a loan isn’t simple, but when looking for an investment property loan, it’s essential to consider the hoops you’ll have to jump through to get the loan in the first place. Many real estate deals are time-sensitive, so it’s essential to find a lender that doesn’t have a lengthy approval process.
An investor-friendly lender doesn’t have the super-strict loan guidelines of conventional loans. These lenders also tend to be just as optimistic about an investment as the investor. What more could you ask for?
Investor-friendly lenders understand that the speed and approval of funds makes all the difference for real estate investors. These lenders are typically private investors, hard money lenders, sometimes portfolio lenders, or even private lenders.
Time is of the essence for many real estate investors when buying property, especially if it’s an immediate cash flow property. An investor-friendly lender can make quick decisions on investment properties and provide the necessary funding within an acceptable time frame.
Investor-friendly lenders seem to appreciate and acknowledge a real estate investor’s time by being overly accessible, whether handling documentation online so that their real estate investor client doesn’t have to make an extra trip or being readily available.
These lenders nurture a client relationship and are overtly optimistic about their client’s investing future. Plus, their loan programs offer a more customized approach to financing something like a flip or a rental property.
Need a lower down payment or more leniency on cash flow? An investor-friendly lender works with you to customize a loan deal that will be best where you are financially now and not drain you entirely from where you want to be.
You may need a lower minimum down payment to dedicate more cash to your investment. The nice thing about lenders on your side is that they work with you, not against you. Sure, it may mean higher interest rates for now, but if you get something like a rental property going that starts raking in reasonable cash flow, those loan terms will be old news.
Ready to Connect With an Investor-Friendly Lender?
Whether investing in rental properties or commercial real estate, connecting with investor-friendly lenders makes all the difference when running a real estate business. Investment property loans, especially for a newbie investor, might be confusing. If the end goal is to invest in multiple properties within the next few years, it’s essential to create a dynamic professional relationship with a lender.
It’s essential to have a lender who offers the right loan programs, understands your needs, and works within them to give you the best possible outcome. Is a portfolio loan the best financing for your next investment? Having these conversations with a finance professional you trust is important. Before teaming up with a lender, real estate investors must do their due diligence. Each lender will have something different to offer, so choose a lender whose loan terms work best for you.
Ready to succeed in real estate investing? Create a free BiggerPockets account to learn about investment strategies; ask questions and get answers from our community of +2 million members; connect with investor-friendly agents; and so much more.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.