How to Raise Private Money Anytime, Anywhere. Even Over Chicken Wings!

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This isn’t any sort of ground-breaking new real estate principle, but always be ready to talk about your business and private money! I’ve read other articles on BiggerPockets talking about this same principle, and with a recent experience of mine, you can throw me into the category of “believer”.

The point of this article is to offer encouragement that these sort of things “do” happen in the real world, and not just in someone else’s life experience. Before my chicken wing dinner, I was in the boat of, “wow, that’s awesome! Does that really happen though? Could it happen to me?”, so I’m here to report, that not only can it happen at any time, you need to be ready for it!

Whether you are getting started or a veteran, private money is the life blood to any real estate business (notice I used the word “business”. If you do it as a side hobby or just for a small amount of financial diversification, then you have much less need for it). You need to always have your elevator pitch ready, and understand your model enough to answer questions confidentially.

The Scenario:

Every Tuesday night during the Summer I play softball with a group of guys. Not too long ago, after one of the games, a couple guys asked if I wanted to go grab some chicken wings. Private money was about as far off my mind as possible. I was too busying thinking about what I did wrong with my last swing, but even more-so by what flavor of sauce was I going to get on my wings?!?!?!

One of the guys I was with is moving (job promotion at work) and looking is looking to sell his current residence. That brought up the general topic of real estate, and then it happened…

The Conversation:

“Hey Clay, how’s your real estate thing going?”

This is the time you need to be locked and loaded with your elevator speech (or in this case, your chicken wing speech). There are some great articles around BiggerPockets on elevator speeches, so I won’t go into much detail, but in a nutshell, it is a 60-90 second summary of your business, what you’re doing, and what you’re looking to do. I personally don’t have anything memorized as I do not want to come across as a robot, but I do have a very focused group of topics I know I want to cover.

“It’s going well. I have quite a few projects now finished and sold on land contract due to the huge demand for these types of deals. I’m now looking to expand by raising private funds from individuals.”

This was my elevator speech summarized. He (and the other guys at the table) all threw some questions my way about land contracts, how private funds work, and other various aspects. All good questions, but all questions I was able to answer with confidence.

Things ended with me telling the guy I would bring him my private money packet next week to the game. I told him he could look it over, and then the following week we’d grab some chicken wings again and talk it over. Remember, you don’t want to be pushy, but at the same time, if you sense interest, you want to make sure you strike while the iron is hot.

The Aftermath:

A week later at our next softball game, I handed him the packet and we tentatively made plans to talk it over. The guy is a very intelligent, so I had high confidence that after he went through my packet, he’d be even more interested. Sure enough, he “got it” and told me he was interested. The funny thing is, he texted me a few days later. So much for our “meeting in a week”.

He will be investing approximately $65,000 with me, so I have to say, that was quite a beneficial chicken wing dinner!

The moral of the story…

1) Be ready at any time!

2) Know what you’re gonna say!

3) Understand your business and model well enough so you exude confidence!

Image: Karla Campos

About Author

Clay Huber

Clay (G+) is a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Huber Property Group, LLC, a real estate investment company located in Grand Rapids, MI. His company purchases distressed properties with the main exit strategy of fixing them up and reselling with owner financing, particularly, land contracts.


  1. Michael Borger on

    Great post, Clay. As an investor myself (Hawaii), I agree completely that you need to be ready at anytime, anywhere to discuss private money. After all, if you think about it as primarily an opportunity for others (fixed return, high interest rate, collateralized lien, etc.), then it’s a no-brainer to discuss the topic whether it’s Monday morning or Saturday evening as people are always looking for better ways to invest, no matter the day/time.

    With banks offering pittances and the stock market being a gamble, in my opinion, (no guarantee of future returns, no collateral, no equity, no insurance, high volatility, subject to outside shocks), investing private money with a knowledgeable investor just makes so much sense today.

    I think another thing that worked for you in this example is that you were already connecting over something else — softball. There was already a relationship started, no matter how small. And private money is so much of a relationship-driven business. After all, even though the merits of investing private capital stand on their own, trust is still a critical matter.

    I’m always ready to raise more capital for my flips here on Oahu. I do discuss the merits of private lending on my website ( ) but I really concentrate, as you effectively displayed, talking to real people in real places — the beach, Starbucks, concerts, etc.

    Well done. I look forward to more posts.

    • Nice Brandon! You’re right, whether its at a campground or eating chicken wings, this topic can at times fly at us from out of left field. We just need to make sure we have our gloves on ready to catch the fly ball!

  2. Great post Clay. I couldn’t agree more that the places and circumstances you sometimes would never anticipate being opportunities to further your business end up being the best places. A great place to do the same are REIA meetings. But not the meeting itself, its the “meeting after the meeting” in the bar at the hotel after the meeting, where the real deals get done. Ive personally found those casual get to know you environments are the best places to further your business, acquire new sources of private financing and forge partnerships. For us here on Cape cod though, its not wings, its usually over steamers and clams!

    • Good points Mike.

      The “meeting after the meeting” is a great way to look at it. Use that first meeting to ‘break the ice’, and then use the follow-ups to really ‘talk business’.

  3. Great article Mike.
    I have an elevator speach lined up for the questions – “What do you do for a living?” But I never thought to have one for that common question of “How’s that real estate thing goin?” As a flipper (non owner contract) I came up with something based on your response below –
    “It’s going really well! All of our available houses have been sold. Recently I’ve been using some of our profits to beef up our marketing efforts to find more houses at discount. I’m seeing a lot more deals coming across my desk, so now I’m looking to expand by raising private funds from individuals.”

  4. Hi good article. So how do you get into the details like the private investor packet, contracts etc?

    What type of return do you pay the investor and what type do you pay yourself? Are you equal partners or do you just pay them a ROI and you own the property?

    Thanks for your article!

    • Hi Will — hope you don’t mind if I chime in on this. The return is whatever you can negotiate, but 8 to 12% fixed rate is generally considered good. Here’s the pitch — compare your opportunity versus the pittance they’re getting in a bank account or the volatility and lack of collateral in the stock market. Even at 5% it might be a no-brainer to some folks.

      Regarding your other point, ideally you’re on title and your investor has a recorded lien on the property. All things being equal, you don’t want them on title because they can interfere in your rehab plan. It’s another cook in the kitchen you don’t want! You want them to be happily and passively earning 8% on the sidelines without having to do any work on the project — most will be happy with that!

    • MIchael summed things up perfectly. I offer 8% and they are given 1st lien position on the property. They do nothing except walk to their mailbox and pick up a check (actually, they don’t even have to do this as I have the money directly deposited into their banking account).

  5. I meet so many people and read the questions here on BP about “advertising for investors” or “marketing for Private lenders.” The money comes when you are not looking for it but as you say, you have to be ready.

    • It would be nice if you knew exactly ‘when’ you’d need to be ready, but as you put it, the private money opportunities often times come when you are “not looking for it” and they pop up randomly.

  6. Hey Clay & others…

    As I’m just getting started, and currently can only pull off assignment deals, how might I structure my elevator speech for private money (my desired route is rehab & resale)? I don’t have any fixed and sold houses to use as testimonials, but I do have a great set of contractors in my circle, and a mentor or two around town and on here. I know where the deals are in my area, and how to find them…all it takes is money.

    Thanks as always for any help 🙂

    • I’d go with the typical elevator pitch that explains what you’re looking to do, and how you plan on doing it. I wouldn’t start out the pitch with “I’ve never done this before and I’m new” though, I’d leave that up to the person I’m talking with to bring up. You don’t want to mislead anyone, but at the same time, you don’t want to flaunt the fact that you’re new to the business either.

  7. I think you should be as open and honest as possible – telling people you have never done it is fine as you don’t want to mislead anyone. The downside is that who would want to lend $50,000 to a newbie who’s never flipped a house before? Double edged sword there. What I found useful in my first few deals was forming a partnership of sorts with a mentor or another seasoned real estate investor to establish some level of credibility first. I took a smaller cut but gained credibility in the process.This greatly assists your efforts when you are presenting to potential investors or private money lenders. This doesnt mean you are forming a formalized partnership in business, just one on your first deal to get you some experience so then you can go it alone in future deals.

  8. Agreed Clay, tough to give it up when youre first starting but its part of the “tuition” so to speak, to get started in this business. Plus the lessons you learn from that mentoring/partnering experience from the first flip is priceless. What you give up in profits will repay you many times over in the future for sure. It definitely did for me. Great discussion here btw.

  9. Hey Clay,

    Great post (very informative and straight forward). I truly have been enlightened to move forward with my business after reading this article. With solid success investing for corporations throughout my career I decided to move forward growing my business but with low capital, my investing business has been slow (as this is usually the #1 reason why businesses fail anyway). Finding solid profitable deals come very easy with my experience but my prior sources of capital has dried. So now my motivation and drive has been rekindled with these tactics you have shared.

    When you reference to your, ” Private Money Packet”, where you give as an educational tool; is there a template or outline that you are willing to share with me via email? I won’t keep you any longer but if you are willing that would be fantastic!

    • Clay Huber

      Mikha’el glad you found it helpful!

      The best way to go about the packet this is to just ‘google’ “Private Money Packet + real estate” and you will get all sorts of examples.

      It’ll give you a good start on molding whatever you need to put together in order to fit your particular strategy.

  10. Frank Rittershofer on

    Hello Clay,
    Great info. Thanks.. I have a question. If I’m getting names and address’ from public records of people who have lent before, how do I make my first contact with them. Any advice is appreciated

    • Clay Huber

      Glad you found the information helpful Frank!

      I have never done the direct mail route for raising private funds, so I can only speak out of theory, but my first question is, have you done any deals before?

      I would imagine the people you are contacting will want to know if you have any experience. From their point of view, you are a total stranger, so you will have a large hurdle to overcome right from the start.

      If I were you, I’d consider your personal network of friends, family, co-workers, etc. These people ‘already’ know you, so you will have less obstacles to move around.

      • Frank Rittershofer on


        Sorry, should have put in my post that yes, I have done deals before. Unfortunately, it was in another state. I just moved to north carolina from maryland. I have pics and a bio worked up for potential private money lenders. I’m looking to NOT break any SEC rules here. I used hard money in maryland and now have been introduced to private money lenders. My warm market has nothing. That why I have resorted to my secondary market.

        • Clay Huber

          Frank, that certainly will make your life a bit easier; however, for that very reason you stated, I can only offer limited advice. I’m not a lawyer, so my only recommendation would be to have a qualified lawyer look at any marketing you put together before it goes out.

          Since you do have experience, I would make that the forefront of your marketing effort, and then of course also touch base on ‘why’ you are a good choice for them. You don’t need to spend any time convincing them about private lending (since they already do it), you’ll just need to emphasis why you are a good choice.

  11. Frank Rittershofer on

    Thank you for your input. Its greatly appreciated. Hope to keep in touch with you. You sound very knowlegable and your advice is well received,
    Thanks Again

  12. Austin Hughes

    This article is exciting!
    I can’t pinpoint it, but I am inspired by something you said.
    Great conversations. Thank you all for your input.
    I was going to ask about your private money packet, but I will do what I always find myself telling my technologically challenged dad to do, and I’ll google it.
    Thanks Clay.

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