Real Estate Financing: The 4 Best Ways Savvy Investors Fund Deals

Real Estate Financing: The 4 Best Ways Savvy Investors Fund Deals

4 min read
Mindy Jensen

Mindy Jensen has been buying and selling homes for more than 20 years. Her preferred method of investing is the “live-in flip”—she buys a house, moves in, makes it beautiful, sells it after two years to take advantage of the Section 121 Capital Gains Exemption, and starts the process all over again. She is currently working on her ninth live-in flip.

Mindy is a licensed real estate agent in Colorado, author of How to Sell Your Home, and the Community Manager for BiggerPockets, where she helps new and experienced investors learn the proper ways to invest in real estate to grow their wealth. She’s also the co-host of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Mindy is passionate about financial independence and wants to help as many people reach this milestone as possible, so they can live their best lives.

As both an agent and an investor, Mindy LOVES real estate. She has taken part in syndications, private lending, and deals involving seller financing. She owns a single family rental, a short-term rental, a mobile home park, a co-working space, and her most recent purchase—a caboose!

Mindy is an alumnus of the School of Hard Knocks and will happily share her experiences with anyone who asks. When you can get her to stop talking about real estate, you can find her on her bike or adventuring in the beautiful mountains of Colorado.

Mindy has been featured on, CNBC’s Make It, 60 Second Docs, as well as podcasts like Money Nerds, The FI Show, Stacking Benjamins, and How to Be Awesome at Your Job.

Mindy is a licensed real estate agent in Colorado.

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Do you know how you are going to use real estate financing to purchase your next deal? If an awesome property became available in your favorite market, how would you pay for it? BiggerPockets is filled with ideas for creative financing, in addition to the traditional mortgage or cash routes. Successful investors have several options to fall back on, so they never lose a deal due to financing.

Real Estate Financing: 4 Ways Savvy Investors Fund Deals

Traditional Mortgage

I have always gone the traditional mortgage route. I have excellent credit, and most of my investing has been live-and-flips. A traditional mortgage has always been very easy to obtain.

Related: How to Improve Your Credit Score

But last November, my husband’s position changed from a W-2 employee to a 1099 or contract employee. We had to form an LLC, and he is technically self-employed now. He still works the same job he has been working for the last 12 years, he just gets paid slightly differently.

We had nothing on the horizon and had never been self-employed before, so it didn’t occur to us to consider different financing ideas. Then a deal popped up. So we called our mortgage guy, the one who has worked with us the last seven times. We discussed rates, and as an afterthought, I mentioned my husband’s new job.

(Cue tires screeching to a halt.)

“I can’t give you a mortgage until you have two years of tax returns with the new company.”

Wait, what? No, he still has the same job. The exact same job. He just switched from W-2 to 1099. He still does the exact same thing he has been doing for the last 12 years. (When you are a W-2 employee and you have switched jobs but are still employed in the same field, a job change isn’t viewed as a red flag.)

“I’m sorry. I can’t give you a mortgage until you have two years of tax returns with the new company.”

Deal comes to a screeching halt. I call my parents, but they are retired. No job = no mortgage.

This particular deal may not be completely dead — after the traditional mortgage was no longer an option, we began discussing seller financing.

Then another deal popped up, literally across the street from me.

The Absolute Ugliest House left on the block (I bought the previous Ugliest House on the Block two years ago to live in) had a sign planted in the front yard a couple of days ago, with a “Coming Soon” sticker slapped across it. I called the listing agent, and showings started the next day. It will be listed at a ridiculously low price, as-is because of “plumbing issues.” Ooh. I like as-is houses.

But it has only been 6 months since my husband’s job change, so I still can’t get a mortgage. My parents are still retired, so they still can’t get a mortgage.

I don’t have friends with money. I don’t have family with money. My money is tied up in the stock market, and while I am working on diversifying my holdings, this would represent a significant chunk of my portfolio that I would have to liquify. I don’t wish to meet Mr. Capital Gains Tax.

So what are my options for this new deal?

Hard Money Lenders

I could find someone to loan me the entire purchase price at a higher interest rate and for a shorter term than a traditional mortgage. This would give me time to get the tax returns I need to convert the property to a traditional mortgage.

The drawbacks of this route are:

  • Higher interest rate of the hard money loan — 8% to 14% vs. 4% for a mortgage
  • Inability to refinance the entire purchase price into a traditional mortgage due to market fluctuations

Right now, my market is ultra super red-hot. Properties under $500,000 get listed with Broker’s Remarks that say, “Showings start this date, all highest-and-best offers must be in by this date, decision will be made this date.”

Almost everything sells instantly for well over asking — all-cash offers that can close in a week, foregoing appraisals and inspections. It doesn’t seem like this market can sustain itself, and I would hate to be stuck in a hard money loan without being able to pay it off.

Portfolio Loan

Some lending institutions create mortgages for the sole purpose of selling them to larger institutions or investors. Other lenders create mortgages to keep them in-house as part of their investment portfolio, called a portfolio loan.

To qualify for a mortgage that will be resold, the borrower must meet the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines, which include that “2 years of tax returns” requirement. They do not take into consideration your savings or other investments.

A portfolio loan has different requirements determined by the lending institution. They will be keeping the loan in-house, so they decide their own criteria.

Private Lenders

A private lender is a regular person or non-bank institution with money to spare. It could be a friend, family member, or someone you are introduced to. They have money to loan and want to make more off it than just having it sit in the bank.

Private money tends to be less expensive than hard money — fewer points upfront and a lower interest rate. But private money can also be more difficult to obtain, at least in the beginning. Hard money lenders do this for a living. They can look at your numbers, make sure you have factored everything in, and look at your track record.

Private money can be easier to obtain if it is coming from friends or family who believe in you and want to help you succeed.

Related: Private Money Lenders: Who They Are & How to Find Them

So How Are YOU Going to Finance YOUR Next Property?

If you are just starting out, perhaps you haven’t even thought of this question yet. You have so many other things to do first, right? Such as:

  • Find an investor-friendly agent
  • Find the property
  • Analyze the deal
  • Get it under contract
  • Get it inspected

Many markets have either recovered or are well underway. When a hot property comes up, you need to be able to write an offer quickly. Have you thought about what happens after that? Start thinking now, so you don’t miss that next great opportunity.

Investors: What are your favorite real estate financing methods to purchase investment properties?

Be sure to leave your comments, questions and suggestions below!

Do you know how you are going to use real estate financing to purchase your next deal? If an awesome property became available in your favorite market, how would you […]