How to Buy Rentals With no Money Down Using a Hard Money Refinance

Hard money is used by many investors as a short-term solution to fund real estate deals. Hard money can be used to fund fix and flips or buy rental properties until long-term financing can be put in place. I fix and flip homes as well as invest in long-term rentals, but personally do not use hard money. When you use hard money it is usually more expensive than traditional financing and I have other short-term financing in place. Hard money is still a great option for many investors, but I will also discuss other short-term financing options. There is also a way to use hard money or private money to buy rentals with no money down using a conventional loan refinance.

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Be sure to check out my complete guide to investing in long-term rentals to see how I am getting over 20% cash on cash returns on my rental properties.

What is a hard money loan?

Hard money is a type of financing used to finance properties for a very short-term like 6 months or a year. Hard money-lenders use much different terms than a traditional bank. The first thing you will notice when you finance with hard money lenders is they charge a very high interest rate. Most hard money-lenders are charging 12 to 16 percent and points for their money. Points are a percentage of the total loan and can add costs quickly when a hard money-lender is charging 2, 3 or even 4 points on a loan.

Why would investors use hard money to finance investment property?

The advantage of a hard money-lender is they may loan the entire amount of money you will need to complete a deal. Most hard money-lenders base the amount of the loan on the after repaired value or ARV. You may hear they will loan 65 or 70 percent of ARV; that is not the purchase price, that is how much the house will be worth once you fix up the home.

How is a hard money deal structured on an investment property?

Here is an example of how one hard money-lender structures a deal. You buy a home for $60,000, the ARV is $130,000 and the lender says they will go up to 70% ARV on the property. The hard money-lender will loan up to $91,000 on the house based on the ARV. The hard money-lender will need bids or estimates for repairs, and they will pay out the money for the repairs like a construction loan. They will pay 25% of the repairs needed at closing, and the other payment will come in 25% increments as the repairs are completed. The lender won’t charge you any interest or points until you sell the home and then you pay them one large payment for the loan principal, interest and points. This particular hard money-lender charges 15% interest and 4 points, but they will reduce the points paid after you do a few deals with them.

The cost to do this deal with a hard money-lender can add up very quickly. On this deal, the interest will cost you $6,825, and the points will cost you $3,640 if you use the money for 6 months. There are also hard money-lenders that will charge lower interest and points, but will want a split of your profits. I don’t use hard money-lenders myself, because of how much they charge, but for investors who have no other options it can work out well. Hard money-lenders can help you secure a property below market value when you do not have other options.

Where can you find hard money-lenders?

There are many hard money-lenders out there. Many only lend in specific states, while some lend nationwide. The best way to find a hard money-lender is to search for one in your state on any search engine. If you want a few companies to talk to, I have listed some hard money-lenders below.

North Coast Financial Only in Southern California

Fundrise Crowd Funding

Realty Shares Crowd Funding

Lima Capital

Here is a great article on how to find a hard money lender.

Private Money vs hard money on investment property

Private money is money that comes from a private person. The person loaning the money is not a bank, mortgage company, hard money-lender or portfolio lender, they are just a person. Regular people will lend money on real estate because interest rates on other secured investments are really, really low now. Have you looked at what the rate is on a CD? For a five-year CD, the average is less than 1%! You can’t even come close to keeping up with inflation with that rate. Many wealthy people are looking for a higher yield investment that is still secured. Loaning on real estate may be the perfect answer for them to increase returns and create great opportunities for investors.

How do you find private money for investment property?

The biggest problem with private money is finding the person to lend you private money! There are many websites that claim to have private money lenders they can connect you with for a small fee. In my experience those websites take your money and connect you with a hard money-lender at best. A real private money-lender wants to lend their money to someone they know and trust. They don’t want to lend money to a complete stranger who may or may not be trustworthy and do not have a clue what they are doing. I am still trying to find a source for good private lenders, but I think I am limited to one option; people I know. I use private money now from my sister who wants a better return on her son’s college money. She trusts me, knows I know how to make money and is willing to lender her money out at a very reasonable rate; 8 percent with no points. For her, this is a higher rate than she could get with a CD or other secured investment. For me it is cheaper than if I were to finance with hard money.

Here is a great site with more information on finding private money and structuring deals.

How to buy a rental property with no money down using hard money

It is possible to buy a rental property with no money down using hard money. If you were to finance with a hard money loan and finance repairs as well, you can refinance the hard money loan with no seasoning period according to Fannie guidelines. Fannie guidelines do not allow a cash out refinance without a seasoning period, but the home has a higher loan than the original purchase price, because the repairs were financed. You can get a long-term loan to replace the hard money loan without waiting a year like you would with a cash out refinance.

For example, if you buy a home for $100,000 with hard-money loaning 100% of purchase price and financing $35,000 in repairs. The total loan is now $135,000, you fix up the home and refinance using a Fannie loan, which will loan up to 75% of the new appraised value. If the appraisal comes in at $185,000 then you could finance up to $138,750, but Fannie guidelines will not allow a cash out refinance. You would be able to refinance the full $135,000 that was loaned to you by the hard-money lender. This technique can be rather expensive, because you have to pay the higher interest rate on the hard-money loan, the initial points and then the refinance costs with Fannie Mae. However you just bought a long-term rental and fixed it up with almost no out-of-pocket costs!

Using traditional banks to finance short-term loans on investment property

There are some banks who do short-term loans for investors. They are very hard to find and usually you must have a great relationship with the bank.  We use a portfolio lender to finance many of our short-term investments. They charge around 5.25% interest and 1.5 points on our loans. They will only give us 75% loan to value on our original purchase price and can complete the loan in two weeks. In the past, banks would finance 100% loan to value and fund us the same day. I am afraid those days are gone forever.

Traditional banks can offer another short-term option in the form of lines of credit. Most banks will want collateral in the form of real estate to issue a line of credit. If you have a house with equity in it, you should be able to get a line of credit from your bank. My bank charges a 5% interest rate and will go up to 90% loan to value on my personal residence or 80% on an investment property.


I use a mix of traditional banks, lines of credit and private money to fund my deals. I am lucky that I have private money available and cash to complete a lot of deals. I will usually get the bank loan for 75% of the purchase price, use private money for the rest of the down payment and my own money for repairs. Don’t be afraid to finance real estate with hard money if that is your only option.

For more information on how to buy the best rentals which will make the most money, check out my book: Build a Rental Property Empire: The no-nonsense book on finding deals, financing the right way, and managing wisely. The book is 374 pages long, comes in paperback or as an eBook and is an Amazon best seller.

Also for more information on flipping houses, including how I average over $30,000 profit on each flip, check out my bestselling book Fix and Flip Your Way to Financial Freedom on Amazon. It is available as a paperback or eBook


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