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. If you’re not sure why and when you should consider a hard money loan, jump down to our primer to learn more. But if you’re ready to find the right partner for your project, let’s dive in.

The Best Hard Money Lenders

Hard Money LenderBest For
KiaviBest overall for all loan products
RCN CapitalBest hard money lender for fix & flips
Lima One CapitalBest for new investors
GroundfloorLowest interest rates
The Investor’s EdgeBest hard money lender that doesn’t require a down payment
New SilverBest for streamlined loan application and approval

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. 

Their rental loans are more similar to conventional than fix-and-flip funding. For rental loans, Kiavi uses the anticipated rental income from the property to help you qualify for the mortgage. This allows even a low-income or self-employed borrower to build an investment portfolio. Rental loans look like traditional loans and are available for single-family homes, duplexes, and multifamily properties of up to four units. Rental loans are cheaper than fix-and-flip loans, with interest rates starting at 7.5% and a loan term of 10 to 30 years, including a three-year prepayment penalty.

Like the hard money lenders on this list, Kiavi also offers a fix-and-flip loan with a 12- to 24-month term starting at 10% (interest only). You will need a minimum credit score of 650 and to be prepared to pay between 2 and 3 points as an origination fee. This is typical for most hard money fix-and-flip loans.

Be aware that the high interest rate market is causing lenders to constantly update their loan products.

Kiavi Rates & Terms: Fix & Flip (2023)

Interest Rate10% to 12% interest only
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)90 % LTC (loan-to-cost)
Up to 100% of rehab costs
75% ARV (after-repair value)
Upfront FeesNo upfront fees, but there is a 2% to 3% origination fee
Term12 to 24 months
Credit Requirement650 FICO, no hard credit pull
Investing ExperiencePast mortgage required
Min & Max Loan Amount$75,000 - $2.5 million
Prepayment PenaltyYes
Property TypesSingle-family homes, attached and detached planned unit developments (PUD), and 2-4 unit rentals
Markets32 states
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 will provide financing for up to 90% 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 Rate10.24%-10.99% (depending on investing experience)
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)Up to 90% of purchase price +100% of renovation cost (not to exceed 67.5% of ARV)
Term12 to 18 months
Upfront Fees2% to 5% of the loan amount
Credit Requirement620 minimum credit score
Investing ExperienceBetter terms for experienced investors; investors 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 PenaltyNone
Property TypesCondo, 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. Also the financed property can’t have significant rehab needs, such as structural damage repair.

Starting at 9.6% 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 75% of the ARV, which means that you may need to pay for a larger proportion of the repairs out of pocket.

Where Lima One stands out is its willingness to fund and provide in-house construction management support for new investors and its blanket loan coverage for experienced investors.

Lima One Capital Rates & Terms:  Fix & Flip (2023)

Interest Rate9.6% to 12% interest only
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)92.5% of LTC
75% ARV
Term13 to 24 months
Upfront Fees1% to 2.25% of the loan amount
Credit Requirement620 minimum credit score (660 for inexperienced borrowers); both non-recourse & soft credit pulls available
Investing ExperienceNone required
Maximum Loan Amount$3 million
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Property TypesTownhouse, 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 finances for your purchase. Accredited investors compete to fund your projects, allowing you 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: Fix & Flip (2023)

Interest RateStarting at 7.5%
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)80% to 100% of LTC
70% of ARV
Upfront Fees$495 evaluation fee, 2.75% to 4% origination fee (can be financed), $1,200 doc prep fee
Credit Requirement640 minimum credit score
Investing ExperienceNo minimum transaction experience required
Maximum Loan Amount$75,000 to $750,000
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Property TypesNew construction, condo, townhome, single-family, multi-units up to 4
Visit Groundfloor

The Investor’s Edge: Best Hard Money Lender With No Down Payment

The Investors Edge logo

Why I Recommend The Investor’s Edge

Fix-and-flip financing that covers 100% of your outlay is hard to find. The Investor’s Edge 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—The Investor’s Edge will finance repairs up to 75% of the property’s ARV. 

Another great term is that The Investor’s Edge will waive monthly loan payments and roll them into the final payoff figure. This is a huge advantage for managing cash flow as you fund rehab costs on a project.

What’s the catch? Well, The Investor’s Edge tends to be conservative in terms of maximum loan amount and is more expensive than other hard money lenders. This is why I’d recommend this lender for an investor’s first couple of projects. Those with more experience under their belts may qualify for better rates and terms. 

The Investor’s Edge’s 100% loans are even more restrictive. They’re 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 interest rates than other hard money lenders on this list. However, you won’t have to make monthly payments for up to five months, as the monthly payments can be deferred and rolled into the final payoff statement.

The Investor’s Edge Rates & Terms (2023)

Interest Rate12% to 18% interest only
Monthly interest payments can be rolled into final payoff statement
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)80 to 100% of LTC
75% of ARV
Upfront Fees$495 evaluation fee, 3% to 5% origination fee (can be financed), $1,200 doc prep fee
Credit RequirementNo minimum credit score
Investing ExperienceNo minimum transaction experience required (though this will impact rates)
Maximum Loan Amount$250,000 for 100% loans
$1 million for all others
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Property TypesNew construction, condo, townhome, single-family, multi-units up to 4
Visit The Investor’s Edge

New Silver: Best Tech-focused Lender for Easy Application & Approval

New SIlver logo

Why I Recommend New Silver

New Silver is a new addition to my list as they offer a full hard money loan product suite, together with a streamlined tech platform that includes an easy online application, real-time approval, and immediate term sheet. I like things to be easy.

They offer competitive interest rates, especially to repeat and experienced investors. They’re a little heavy on fees, but they’re all disclosed upfront and don’t show up as a surprise when it’s too late to change lenders. 

New Silver Rates & Terms: Fix & Flip (2023)

Interest Rate10% to 12.75% interest only
Loan-to-Value Ratio (or LTV)90% of LTC
80% of ARV
TermUp to 24 months
Upfront Fees1.875% to 3% origination fee ($3,500 minimum, can be financed), $759 underwriting fee, $1,250 legal fee, $350 doc prep fee
Credit Requirement650 minimum credit score; no hard credit pull
Investing ExperienceNo minimum transaction experience required
Maximum Loan Amount$100,000 to $5 million
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Property TypesResidential 1 to 12 units, including single-family, condo and townhomes; multi-family up to 50 units
Visit New Silver

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 Do I Know if I Need a Hard Money Lender?

There’s a reason hard money loans are a bit of a niche product. Most are more expensive than conventional loans. The average mortgage rate is usually 3% higher than a non-occupied loan and around 5% higher than an owned-occupied conventional loan. The higher interest rate may be a deal killer if you intend to hold the property long term. You may pay less in fees, however.

If, on the other hand, you only intend to hold the property short term—as is typical with most fix-and-flip projects—the higher interest rate may be insignificant to the deal. The primary advantage of a hard money loan is that most lenders are more concerned with the quality of the asset over the quality of the borrower. They focus on the deal, how the numbers pencil out, and the creditworthiness of the borrower. The loan may be approved as a non-recourse loan with just a soft credit pull on the borrower. It may also include the funds needed, over-and-above the purchase price, to rehab the property. 

Many investors I know use hard money loans when there simply isn’t time to close on a traditional loan. If you have a good relationship with your hard money lender, you can get a deal closed within a few days. 

As a borrower, you will need to weigh the higher interest rate against the easier underwriting, faster close, rehab cost drawdown, and lower fees.

It’s also worth noting that many hard money lenders have expanded their product offering beyond just fix-and-flip loans. Some hard money lenders now offer bridge loans for iBuyers, debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) loans for short-term and medium-term rentals, rental loans for BRRRR (buy, rehab, rent, refinance, and repeat) and house hackers, portfolio loans for stabilized properties targeted toward experienced investors with more than 10 properties, and even ground-up construction loans for small single-family and multifamily developers. 

Alternatives to Hard Money Lenders 

There are other ways to fund your real estate deals without using a conventional or national hard money lender. 

Local Hard Money Lenders

This guide identifies the best national hard money lenders. But you should also do your own research and identify the best hard money lenders in your area. Every main urban market has local hard money lenders, often with a long history of funding local investment property deals. Local lenders tend to have deep local market knowledge, industry contacts, and the ability to move quickly to close on loans. They can be a tremendous asset when deals get complicated, as they’ve seen and navigated just about every problem that can threaten a project.

Private Lenders

Similarly, there are often a significant number of private lenders in every major urban market. Private lenders are usually individuals who have capital available to lend on residential real estate property, subject to the security of a first mortgage deed. Most private lenders are more cautious than hard money lenders but will relax their underwriting rules for investors with whom they have a track record. You can find a list of private lenders by monitoring public property records or asking around at local investment club meetings or meetups.

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.