Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
If you’re struggling to qualify for a conventional home loan, working with a private mortgage lender might be a good option. These lenders are not affiliated with a traditional financial institution like a bank or credit union, which means they have the freedom to offer more flexible loan terms with less stringent requirements.
If you’re wondering if you should work with a private mortgage lender, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Private Mortgage Lender?
A private mortgage lender is a private entity, such as a friend, family member, or business, who provides funds for a home loan and makes a profit on the investment by charging interest. Unlike traditional mortgage lenders who follow borrowing guidelines set by the federal government or government-sponsored entities, private mortgage lenders determine their own lending criteria and underwriting process.
For example, a private lender may base loan approval and interest rate on the borrower’s down payment and collateral rather than credit history, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and loan status. jobs needed to qualify for a typical mortgage. This might make it easier to get the loan approved, but it’s also more risky for both parties involved.
It’s also important to keep in mind that private lenders aren’t federally regulated the same way banks and traditional credit unions are, so you lose some protections, but not all. Private lenders often have to register with the state authority where they operate.
If you get a mortgage from a private lender, the home loan works like a standard mortgage, which means you’ll sign an agreement to repay the loan, plus interest, within a certain time frame. You will also likely provide a down payment. The private lender may perform their own underwriting process, such as checking your financial situation and performing a title search. And like a traditional home loan, the home you buy will serve as collateral and can be seized if you fail to make your payments.
Who Should Consider Private Mortgage Lenders?
There are a few types of borrowers who could benefit from working with a private mortgage lender.
Borrowers who do not meet the usual requirements
Some borrowers may find it difficult to meet the requirements typically set by traditional lenders. For example, if you are self-employed or do not have the necessary documents or work history required by a traditional lender. If you have bad credit or haven’t yet established a credit history, it may be difficult to meet the credit requirements for a conventional loan.
Since private lenders create their own eligibility criteria, these types of borrowers may have an easier time qualifying for a mortgage.
Real estate investors
During the underwriting process, a traditional lender will review the property to ensure they are making a good investment and will be able to resell the property to recoup their losses if the borrower defaults. If you are an investor looking to flip properties in poor condition, you may struggle to meet the lender’s requirements.
Instead, you might consider a mortgage from a private lender with less stringent qualifications.
In some cases, you might just be able to take advantage of better loan terms from a private party than you would get from a traditional lender. For example, a friend or family member may offer a lower interest rate and longer loan term.
Keep in mind that the private lender will need to make sure they follow IRS rules. If the interest rate is lower than the “applicable federal rate” – the minimum rate allowed by the IRS for private loans – there could be tax implications.
How to find a private mortgage lender
The best private mortgage lenders are those that offer the type of loan you need along with flexible qualifications. For example, a friend or family member could act as a private mortgage lender, or you could find local or national companies that specialize in providing these types of loans.
Friends or family members
If a friend or family member has cash on hand, getting a mortgage from them could help you buy a home if you don’t qualify elsewhere. However, it could also impact your relationship, especially if you miss your payments and put that person in a difficult position where they have to enforce a payment schedule or suffer a loss.
Be sure to state the terms of the loan clearly and treat it as a business transaction to avoid awkward situations later. It’s also a good idea to have the mortgage contract drafted by a lawyer or real estate professional to make sure you and the lender are following local laws and agreeing on a realistic plan. They can also research tax implications and help you complete the necessary paperwork, including:
- A promissory note (or mortgage note): This shows that you agree to repay the loan on its due date. This should include the loan balance, monthly payment, repayment term, interest rate, amortization schedule, and any charges that may apply, such as late payments or loan default. .
- A deed of trust (or mortgage): This states that the lender owns the property and holds title until the borrower repays the loan in full. This is a contract that places a lien on the property, which means the lender can foreclose on your home in the event of default.
Companies that offer private mortgages
Companies that offer private mortgages may specialize in different types of borrowers, such as investors, business entities, or individuals buying or building a new home. Home loans from these lenders are usually non-standard mortgages, which can come with high loan amounts and long repayment terms.
If you want to work with one of these companies, consider asking family and friends for recommendations. You can also contact a real estate agent or other industry professionals for suggestions. When shopping around and comparing your options from different lenders, be sure to check company websites, online reviews, and any complaints a company has received through resources such as the Better Business Bureau.
You’ll want a lender that has a track record of positive reviews and offers low interest rates, easy application, fast closing times, and the loan terms you need. Ask the lender to provide you with a quote for the interest rate, loan term, fees, and closing costs so you know all the details before you apply.
Private Mortgage Lenders vs. Traditional Mortgage Lenders
If you are considering a private mortgage lender rather than a traditional mortgage lender, there are several important points to keep in mind.
Alternatives to a private mortgage
Although it’s easier to qualify for a private mortgage, it also comes with risks. For example, if you get one of these loans from a friend or family member, you could damage your relationship if you can’t keep up with your payments.
If a private mortgage isn’t right for you, but you can’t qualify for a conventional loan, here are some alternatives to consider:
Ultimately, if you’re having trouble qualifying for a mortgage, it might be wise to put off applying for a mortgage while you focus on the issues that are causing trouble. For example, you could work on building up a less than stellar credit score by paying all your bills on time. Or if you can’t afford a down payment, research the down payment assistance programs you may be eligible for.
Faster and easier mortgages
Check your rates today with Better Mortgage.