Choosing the right hard money lender for your investment project can be tricky. In my 28-year career in real estate and investing, I have had to source hard money financing for everything from simple fix-and-flip properties to multi-million-dollar apartment building rehabs. 

In this article, I’ll cover the basics of hard money loans, how to choose the hard money lender that’s right for you, how to get approved for financing, and much more. Let’s start with my top picks for hard money lenders.

The Best Hard Money Lenders for 2023

Hard Money LenderBest For
KiaviBest overall
RCN CapitalBest hard money lender for fix & flips
Lima One CapitalBest for new investors
GroundfloorLowest interest rates
DoHardMoneyBest hard money lender that doesn’t require a down payment

Kiavi: Best Overall Hard Money Lender

Logo for hard money lender Kiavi

Why I Recommend Kiavi

Finding hard money financing for long-term, buy-and-hold properties can be challenging. The good news is that Kiavi specializes in just that: hard money loans for rental properties. This is why I chose Kiavi as the best hard money lender for investment properties on this list. 

Kiavi uses the anticipated rental income from the property to help you qualify for the mortgage. This unique feature allows even a low-income or self-employed borrower to build an investment portfolio.

Kiavi offers loans on single-family homes, duplexes, and multifamily properties of up to four units. The loan term is 30 years with a three-year prepayment penalty.

With adjustable rates starting at 3.875% with a 5/1 or 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), they even have an interest-only option. The difference there is that a 5/1 ARM has a fixed rate for the first five years, after which your rate can adjust up to 1% each year. A 7/1 is the same thing, but you’re locked in for seven years.

Interest Rate:9% and up + APR
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV):90% LTV
Upfront Fees:None
Credit Requirement:660 FICO, no hard credit pull
Investing ExperienceA past mortgage is required
Maximum Loan Amount:$2 million
Prepayment Penalty:None after 4 years
Property Types:Single-family homes, attached and detached planned unit developments (PUD), and 2-4 unit rentals
Visit Kiavi

RCN Capital: Best Hard Money Lender for Fix & Flips

RCN Capital Logo

Why I Recommend RCN

If you’re looking for a hard money lender that can offer low down payment financing, competitive interest rates, and 100% financing of the renovation costs and fees for your next fix and flip, then look no further than RCN Capital.

RCN Capital’s After Repair Value Loans will provide financing for up to 85% of the purchase price of your fix-and-flip property, plus 100% of the renovation costs up to 67.5% of the property’s after repair value (ARV).

With rates starting at 10.24% for interest-only loans taken out by experienced investors, and up to a 12-month term, this loan is available for all property types, including condos, townhouses, single-family and multifamily homes, and mixed-use properties.

RCN Capital Rates & Terms (2023)

Interest Rate:10.24%-10.99% (depends on investing experience)
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV):Up to 85% of purchase price +100% of renovation cost (not to exceed 67.5% of ARV)
Upfront Fees:2% to 5% of the loan amount
Credit Requirement:620 minimum credit score
Investing ExperienceInvestors must already have 2 flips or 2 rentals under their belts
Maximum Loan Amount:$7.5 million (up to $10 million for 5+ units and mixed-use)
Prepayment Penalty:None
Property Types:Condo, townhouse, single-family, duplex, multi-unit, mixed-use. No owner-occupied
Visit RCN Capital

Lima One: Best Hard Money Lender for New Investors

Lima One Capital Logo

Why I Recommend Lima One

Lima One Capital offers fix-and-flip loans for real estate investors with no flipping experience. They do require inexperienced borrowers to have a minimum credit score of 660 and the financed property can’t have significant rehab needs, such as structural damage repair.

With rates starting at 7.5% for fix-and-flip loans, they don’t have the lowest interest rates or fees on our list of hard money lenders. Additionally, their maximum loan amount is limited to 70% of the ARV, which means that you may need to be prepared to pay for a larger proportion of the repairs out of pocket.

Lima One Capital Rates & Terms (2023)

Interest Rate:7.5% to 9.75% APR
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV):90% of the loan-to-cost (LTC) and up to 70% of the LTV for renovation costs
Upfront Fees:1% to 2.25% of the loan amount
Credit Requirement:660 minimum credit score
Investing ExperienceNone required
Maximum Loan Amount:$3 million
Prepayment Penalty:None
Property Types:Townhouse, single-family, multi-unit up to 4. No owner-occupied
Visit Lima One

Groundfloor: Best Hard Money Lender for Low Interest Rates

Groundfloor Logo

Why I Recommend Groundfloor

Groundfloor is genuinely in a league of its own when it comes to hard money lenders because they use crowdfunding to gather the money for your purchase. Accredited investors compete to fund your projects, allowing you to access to the best interest rates—often up to 2% lower than those offered by other hard money lenders.

Groundfloor also offers fix-and-flip loans for multifamily properties of one to four units in 31 U.S. states. There are no payments during the term of the loans, and they allow you to roll your loan fees into the borrowed amount.

Groundfloor Rates & Terms (2023)

Interest Rate:Starting at 6.5%
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV):80 to 100% of LTC and 75% of ARV
Upfront Fees:$495 evaluation fee, 2.75% to 4% origination fee (can be financed), $1,200 doc prep
Credit Requirement:600 minimum credit score
Investing Experience:No minimum transaction experience required
Maximum Loan Amount:$1 million
Prepayment Penalty:None
Property Types:New construction, condo, townhome, single-family, multi-units up to 4
Visit Groundfloor

DoHardMoney: Best Hard Money Lender With No Down Payment

Do Hard Money Logo

Why I Recommend DoHardMoney

Fix-and-flip financing that covers 100% of your outlay is hard to find. DoHardMoney will finance 100% of the purchase price, and in some cases, they will also lend 100% of the repair costs. The variance here depends on what your investment is worth; DoHardMoney will finance repairs up to 75% of the property’s ARV.

What’s the catch? Well… DoHardMoney’s 100% loans are limited to a maximum loan amount of $250,000, so if you’re in an expensive area, these may not work for you. The 100% loan also has higher upfront fees and higher interest rates than other hard money loans. However, you won’t have to make monthly payments for up to five months.

DoHardMoney Rates & Terms (2023)

Interest Rate:1% per month
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV):80 to 100% of LTC and 75% of ARV
Upfront Fees:$495 evaluation fee, 2.75% to 4% origination fee (can be financed), $1,200 doc prep
Credit Requirement:600 minimum credit score
Investing Experience:No minimum transaction experience required
Maximum Loan Amount:$1 million
Prepayment Penalty:None
Property Types:New construction, condo, townhome, single-family, multi-units up to 4
Visit DoHardMoney

Methodology: How I Chose The Best Hard Money Lenders of 2023

To evaluate the hard money lenders in this guide, I relied on my 28 years of real estate sales, coaching, and investing experience. I also looked at the following criteria that I think are most useful for newer real estate investors: 

  • Interest rates and fees
  • Reputation in the real estate industry
  • Whether or not they work with new investors
  • Minimum credit score required
  • Maximum loan amount and prepayment penalties

How to Choose the Right Hard Money Lender

While choosing the right hard money lender for your investment can be challenging, there are six key criteria that investors use to select the right partner for their project:

Hard Money Lending FAQs

This is a very broad topic and you may still have questions about hard money lending, including how to get a hard money loan, interest rates, and the differences between hard money lending and conventional home mortgage financing. We are here to help! Build off of the work I have done for you already—but don’t stop there. The answers below will help you ask potential lenders follow-up questions and research their terms to find the right hard money lender for you and your next real estate investment project.

Bottom Line

Hard money lenders are not for everybody, but for new and experienced investors, they can become an indispensable partner. Like any investment, there is risk involved. You can significantly reduce your risk by doing your research and acquiring as much knowledge as possible. If you have unanswered questions, please drop them in the comment section below.