The Ultimate Private Lending Guide: How to Get Started

Investing in real estate is one of the smartest ways to build wealth. With the right knowledge and foundation, it can be highly lucrative. But what can investors do with the money they make? While...

Investing in real estate is one of the smartest ways to build wealth. With the right knowledge and foundation, it can be highly lucrative. But what can investors do with the money they make? While reinvesting into another property is an option, there is an alternative worth considering: private money lending.

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What is Private Money Lending?

Private money lending is when individuals lend their own capital to other investors or professionally managed real estate funds, securing the loan with a mortgage against real estate. It serves as an alternative to traditional lending institutions like big banks.

As investors gain experience, they strive to aim higher. Leaving money in a savings account isn't the best way to protect and grow assets. Private money lending allows you to secure a loan with real estate worth much more than the loan, making it less risky than owning real estate. Familiarize yourself with the best real estate financing options available to investors.

In the past, real estate financing typically came from banks, government agencies, insurance companies, and pension funds. However, strict requirements and long timelines led to the development of alternative lending sources. Private money lending quickly became a critical component of the real estate investment industry, making it more possible for the average investor to have a sustainable career.

Private money lending offers several benefits for lenders. It mitigates risk, establishes wealth, and provides alternative financing options for real estate. However, it's not a path for everyone. Assess your ability to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities before considering private money lending.

Who Should Consider Private Money Lending?

Private money lending may be suitable for you if:

  • You are a real estate investor looking to expand your portfolio.
  • You have surplus cash, a sizable retirement savings account, or a passive income investment.
  • You are a professional with a high income.
  • You are a lottery winner or a tech entrepreneur with a successful start-up.
  • You want to help out a friend or family member.

Still unsure? Let's address any questions or concerns you may have about pursuing a private money lending business.

Private Lending Companies

With the increasing popularity of private loans, private lending companies have emerged. Many private lending companies are groups of investors who pool their capital to finance more deals and increase profits. These companies operate virtually and can be another way to finance your next deal.

The Anatomy of a Private Money Loan

A private money loan requires three elements: a borrower, a lender, and a lot of paperwork. Private money loans provide an opportunity to invest in real estate with no money of your own. While they serve the same purpose as traditional lending institutions, there are key differences. Private money loans typically have higher interest rates but are more available in cases where traditional banks would pass.

How to Become a Private Money Lender

Private money lending offers several benefits for everyone involved. Over time, many investors expand into private money lending due to these benefits. However, there are rules and regulations to follow, including usury laws. It's crucial to be an expert or work with one to ensure all paperwork is in order and to avoid scams. If you have the knack for figuring things out on your own, private money lending might be for you. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Establish your business and obtain the required insurance.
  2. Meet with a lawyer to create your company structure.
  3. Identify your preferred lending focus.
  4. Join a peer-to-peer lending platform or network to find possible investments.
  5. Evaluate potential clients by calculating potential returns and risk levels.
  6. Start your business in private money lending.

Private Money Lending: How to Identify Borrowers

Private money lending is vital for real estate investors who need funds. Money is the lifeblood of an investor, and private money loans provide options to grow their business. With private money lending, you will encounter different types of borrowers:

  • Rehab/Sell: Investors who purchase and renovate properties to sell for a profit.
  • Rehab/Rent: Investors who buy properties, renovate them, and rent them out for cash flow.
  • Builders/Developers: Investors who purchase vacant land to develop for residential or commercial use.
  • Commercial Investors: Investors who use private money as a bridge loan for commercial properties.

Money Lending: How to Get Paid

Private money lending offers flexibility to both borrowers and lenders. Unlike traditional loans, private loans allow lenders to negotiate how and when they will be paid back. This flexibility opens up several perks not traditionally offered to investors. Here are a few ways private money lenders can generate income:

  • Joint Ventures: Negotiate a percentage of the final profits with borrowers.
  • Exit Fees: Require borrowers to pay a predetermined amount at the end of the loan term.
  • Interest Payments: Set an interest rate and wait for the money to arrive.
  • Points: Charge fees based on a percentage of the loan amount.

Tips From the Pros

Before becoming a private money lender, consider these tips:

  • Start small and establish clear guidelines.
  • Seek legal counsel to navigate the negotiation and review of contracts.
  • Focus on local opportunities for better communication and future investment options.
  • Maintain transparency and stay true to your mission and values.
  • Stay informed about market trends and financial news.
  • Learn about different deal types to evaluate potential investments.

Decide on Loan Terms

As the lender, you have the power to decide on the loan terms. This includes determining the interest rate, loan term, closing costs, and down payment. Each deal is unique, so carefully consider each investor and property to decide the best loan terms.

Regulation of Private Money Lending

Private money lenders must comply with state and federal regulations. These regulations aim to limit the number of loans a private citizen can provide without a banking license. Ensure you are aware of your state's requirements to avoid breaking regulations.

What is Hard Money Lending?

Hard money lending is another alternative to traditional lending sources. Borrowers use their investments, typically properties, as collateral for the loan. Hard money loans typically have higher interest fees than traditional loans but provide increased access to capital and a more lenient approval process. It is often used by investors with low credit and high equity in a property or property owners at risk of foreclosure.

How to Become a Hard Money Lender

Becoming a hard money lender can be a unique opportunity for investors with extra capital. However, it's crucial to conduct due diligence and premeditate potential risks. Follow these steps to become a hard money lender:

  1. Name your business and create the company structure.
  2. Establish an online presence for your business.
  3. Seek legal counseling on creating a limited liability company.
  4. Investigate potential investment opportunities.
  5. Make a business plan and draft loan criteria.
  6. Project future financial outcomes.
  7. Launch your hard money lending business.

Pros of Hard Money Lending

Hard money lending allows investors to stay active in real estate without directly owning a property. It offers control and the ability to choose who to work with and on what terms. It's an attractive opportunity for those without the time and resources to acquire a property.

Cons of Hard Money Lending

The main challenge in hard money lending is acquiring enough capital to get started. There is also inherent risk in choosing who to work with outside the traditional loan application process. Hard money lenders must conduct thorough research and trust their instincts when evaluating potential borrowers.

Continue Reading Our Private Money Lending Guide Series

If private money lending sounds appealing, dive deeper into our guide series for more information. Part 2 covers the specifics of private loans. Part 3 focuses on attracting investors as a private money lender. Part 4 explains the differences between private and hard money lending.


Private money lending offers an attractive opportunity for both lenders and borrowers. It provides faster approval, increased access to funding, and unique investment opportunities. Whether you are an investor looking to expand your portfolio or someone with surplus cash, private money lending can help expand your financial portfolio and build wealth.

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