We are seeking to use Private Money Lenders to fund our individual fix and flips (Project Funding). We don't know the Lender personally, and desire to check to see if they are legitimate before we move forward.
What "due diligence" should we perform to confirm the integrity of the Lender?
What other measures should we take to protect ourselves, our company, and our project property?
Ask the private lender who they have used before as a closing attorney, then call that person to find out how many times they have worked together.
You should use your own closing attorney to draw up the promissory note that explains all the lending terms.
This is a very astute and oft overlooked question, @Mark Eichlin . Most borrowers have little to go on and just hope and pray their lender can and will perform, and do it fairly. It doesn't have to be that way.
Checking each other out is a two way street, and often only focused on by the lender. There are many lenders that rely on paper alone (i.e. a borrower's personal documentation, property appraisal, title report, etc). Here, the borrower and lender might never meet. This is especially true for out of town lenders, which I would avoid if you can. Lending is a relationship-based business and that won't develop over the phone, email, or heaven forbid, by applying for a loan on a website. These almost never give the borrower an opportunity to get to know anything about a lender.
You can ask colleagues who have worked with them to get a sense of a lenders reputation, but this is not usually specific enough. We insist on personally meeting all borrowers, not only to get to know them, but so they are comfortable with us as well to sense each other's integrity. This generates a much closer, trusting, personal relationship and a sense of loyalty to one another (assuming, of course, that you hit it off).
Our meeting might include a visit to a few of their ongoing or potential properties and is almost always followed by lunch or dinner. Sometimes it's only just to eat. You might suggest this to your potential lender and come ready with a list of questions.
While you might have had a phone discussion to get your initial questions asked, here's a semi-random list the questions we're often asked, which I'm sure is incomplete:
Considering what a lender will ask of you, I consider none of this invasive or offensive. If a borrower doesn't ask, we'll volunteer the info. There should be no surprises at closing or even when you present a deal.
For more details, ask the lender what name they lend under (i.e. the trustee or mortgagee on their docs). Many title companies will allow you free access to their site where you can do a search for documents recorded under this name. Here you'll find who they do business with, how active they are, what their mortgage or deed of trust looks like, extensions, modifications, and any foreclosures they've initiated.
In the end, you never really know who your dealing with until you've done a few deals. Plus, once the loan is made, there's no way to know how flexible a lender is until you have a problem, and by then it can be too late. It's always trust, but verified.
Good luck, Mark.
Updated over 3 years ago
Oops. I had Trustee on the brain. Sorry. I meant Beneficiary. This is the lender on a Deed of Trust.
Excellent replies, Gentlemen!
Thank you for taking time to respond.
The information is both useful and appreciated.
make sure lender don't charge you upfront fees. I had bad experience with upfront fees. If they can give you funding there shouldn't be upfront fees.
Does anyone have any experience with Randall Holder a private lender in Flower Mound, Texas?
His company is Global Finding, LLC
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