Sick of settlement letdowns?

Avoid settlement letdownsA common criticism of private lenders is the regular occurrence of settlement default, where the lender is unable to come up with funds promised. This can happen when the lender doesn’t have a steady flow of cash coming in and is unable to raise the funds necessary to finance the mortgage for the agreed amount.

Usually a private lender will need to raise funds from investors in order to fund the loan. If the lender does not have a steady flow of investor funds coming in or a pool of funding readily available there could be issues when it comes to time to settle. Unfortunately this happens far too often and can leave the borrower high and dry and the project they are borrowing funds for can fall over. Not to mention the time and money wasted on the loan application process.

How to avoid settlement default

If you want to avoid the letdown of settlement default then here’s a few things you can do:

  • Don’t fall for quick settlement claims. Many private lenders will state that they have super fast settlement times, sometimes as little as 24 hours. Usually this is completely unrealistic and used as a marketing ploy. If it sounds to be good to be true…well, you know the rest.
  • Ask about the lenders settlement record. Find out how often loans they have worked on make it to settlement stage. Take a look at case studies and check out testimonials received from respectable brokers or borrowers.
  • Ask where the funding come from. This is a very interesting concept that very few people consider, where does a private lender actually get their money from? Its a good idea to ask who the Lender of Record is? Some lenders will change this on the ultimate loan documentation when a private lender is brokering the transaction to the person writing the cheque. Private Mortgages Australia uses the one vehicle for all its loans. A lot of private lenders use a sophisticated investor networks to underwrite their loan advances. Other private lenders raise funds from wholesale or retail sources with the use of an Australian Financial Services License (‘AFSL’). PMA has received backing from an  independent wholesale funder that has committed to investing up to $100 million to fund our portfolio of registered first mortgage loans.
  • Find out who makes the lending decision? In some cases it is the individual investor that makes the final decision to lend the funds required and will essentially “write the cheque”. This isn’t an ideal situation. Imagine that you are a borrower and you submit a loan to a private lender. Everything seems to be going well, you pay the upfront fees, order the loan documents from the solicitor, but then are taken by complete surprise when your loan application is rejected despite being formally approved. What has occurred is that the loan was approved by the ‘middle man’ but then turned down by the person writing the cheque. Unfortunately this occurs all the time. The smarter alternative is to make sure that the private lender is the one who is making the decisions. This is a safer and more effective situation for the borrower. PMA operates a number of Funds and our Credit Committee makes the lending decision on behalf of the pooled mortgage fund.

If you haven’t already, align yourself with a good private mortgage provider that has a proven track record with finalising settlements which can only be a good thing for you and your clients.

 

What exactly is a private mortgage?

What exactly is a private mortgage?Originally posted on Mortgage Professional Australia

There seems to be some confusion with brokers about what a private mortgage actually is; so let me set the record straight.

I can understand why there is some misunderstanding with this as the lines can become a little blurred between non-bank, low doc, non-conforming and a mortgage fund.

A private mortgage is quite literally that, a mortgage that is funded via an individual, not a bank or an institution. Private mortgage lending dates back to roman times and is very similar now as it was then, with one-person lending money to another, in other words peer to peer.

In the past many legal firms facilitated private mortgages as they would often have high net worth clients wanting to invest their money, and other clients who wanted to borrow.

While not as many as in the past, there are still a number of legal firms offering private mortgages. It is however more challenging for them now as they are no longer able to act for both the investor and the borrower; this is considered a conflict of interest.

Some brokers call a private mortgage an “asset lend”. This is due to the fact that in the past many private loans would really only focus on the value of the asset being offered as security and while the borrower’s financial situation was noted, it was more to do with the asset than the borrower.

Times have changed and while the asset is still the primary consideration, the client’s financial position and their ability to service and repay the loan are more relevant than in the past. Having said that, paperwork and requirements are still minimal when compared to mainstream loans.

The best way to describe a private mortgage is as a sensible asset lend, meaning relevant questions about the borrower will be asked but there won’t be endless, and often irrelevant, requests for information and documents which often seems to be the case with the banks at the moment.

For the most part private mortgages are non-code, meaning they’re not designed for mums and dads to buy a house. They are typically commercial transactions such as for a business person wanting to raise capital, or a developer wanting to purchase or raise funds on a site. The key is business purpose which is good, as these are just the kind of loans the banks seem to have the most trouble with at the moment and is why private mortgages have become very relevant for brokers.

Private mortgages are typically short term, 12 to 24 months and are designed to provide a fast no fuss solution for a borrower seeking business related capital. For this reason, the borrowers exit strategy is important. This will often be the sale of an asset or a refinance with a mainstream lender following the loan term.

We are often asked if a private mortgage is safe for the borrower, an odd question really when they are the one that is being lent the money. Perhaps this is because some people think private mortgages come from the underworld and non-payment will result in a visit from thug on a Harley Davidson.

This is far from the truth as private mortgage investors are typically professional business people and the loans are documented via a registered mortgage that is prepared by solicitors. The security documents a borrower will sign are much the same as those a bank would produce.

Even though most private mortgages fall outside the code, if a loan does go into default, standard recovery action would be applied. Borrowers can take comfort in the fact they have the same protections with a private mortgage as any other non-code commercial loan.

While not the answer to every loan problem, a private mortgage can be a great way of securing business finance for a client when the banks have either said no, are asking way too many questions, or if quick settlement is needed.

If you haven’t already, align yourself with a good private mortgage provider as this will ultimately mean more options and more options mean more settlements which can only be a good thing for you and your clients.

How does the private lending process work?

It’s no secret that the banks’ can be slow, with the lending process often taking 6-8 weeks to be completed. Greater flexibility and quicker turnarounds are major reasons borrowers often prefer to work with private lenders when obtaining finance. In a recent survey we found that nearly 50% of brokers had decided to work with a private lender because their client needed fast access to funding. This may be because they have an urgent business opportunity, need to quickly refinance some debt or require an injection of funds so they can finalise a project. Access to quick funding is often the difference between being able to take advantage of an opportunity or missing the boat.

So, how exactly does the private lending process work then?

Private Lending Process

Step 1. Submit application form

The Borrower or Referrer fills in the Quick App Form (found here) which includes details about the business, the individual borrower/s, loan amount, loan purpose and real estate assets and liabilities.

Step 2. We conduct initial assessment

We look at the details provided and see if it is possible for us to offer a loan in the provided circumstances.

Step 3. We issue an Indicative Letter of Offer

We provide the Borrower with and Indicative Letter of Offer which gives the details of how much we are willing to lend, the terms of the loan and the interest rate. If the Borrower decides that the Indicative Letter of Offer is suitable to them then they pay a small assessment fee ($550 to $770 inc. GST depending on complexity) to cover costs for searches that we need to ensure that everything is in order for us to move ahead with the loan.

Step 4. Conduct due diligence

Due diligence involves assessment of the applicant, loan structure, security position and exit strategy. There are a number of documents we need the Borrower to send us  to complete these tasks which are included on this checklist here.

Step 5. Issue Letter of Offer

Once we have conducted all the necessary checks and searches we will then issue a formal Letter of Offer. This includes the final interest rate, expected disbursements at settlement and details of any outstanding conditions to be met prior to settlement (if any).

Step 6. Settlement

Once the Borrower has accepted the Letter of Offer loan documents are prepared and sent to applicant’s solicitor by email. Upon return of the fully executed documents the approval fee, legal costs and prepaid interest are deducted from the loan and the balance can be paid by the next business day, sometimes sooner.

Referrer fees are paid within 24 hours from settlement with no clawbacks.

 

We endeavour to make this process as quick as possible and depending on the complexity of the loan can move from the initial application to settlement in as little as 5 business days – possibly sooner. If your client requires quick turnaround on a loan then make sure you get in touch with Senior Relationship Manager, Shanta Lobo at [email protected] or call 1300 856 683.

What does the election result mean for private lending?

Scott Morrison and the Coalition won the electionIn the lead up to the federal election there was a degree of stagnation across both the residential and commercial property markets with house prices dropping in the major cities and clearance rates at commercial auctions much lower. The looming possibility of changes to franking credits and capital gains taxes had people feeling nervous that their pockets could soon be feeling a lot lighter. Therefore, many Australians were waiting to see the outcome of the May 18 election before making any financial decisions.

However, with the election now done and dusted, and the Coalition remaining in power, a level of certainty and stability has come back to the market. The constancy of a familiar government will boost confidence in the property market and should see vendors and buyers reengage. Add to this the likelihood of interest rate reductions as early as this month and buyers, investors and developers are feeling a lot more confident about the future.

Property investors will be keeping an eye on where the billions promised in infrastructure spending is distributed, which may present growth opportunities in suburbs and regions which get a funding injection. The Coalition’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and APRA removing the 7% serviceability guidance may also have some effect on the housing market, however this remains to be seen.

For private lenders, a confident and stable market is always a good thing. It means borrowers are feeling better about the value of the properties they are purchasing and lower interest rates on current investments are helping to keep dollars in their pockets. At Private Mortgages Australia we are confident that now the results of the election have been finalised we will see an increase in loan applications from borrowers and also an increase in the amount being borrowed.

Will 2019 be the year of private lending?

Private lending in 2019With the release of Commissioner Hayne’s report  it’s clear that 2019 is going to bring about a number of changes to the private lending industry for lenders, brokers and borrowers alike. We take a look at how we see 2019 panning out for the private lending market.

A move towards transparency

The royal commission has destroyed borrowers’ trust in the big four banks, and now they’re looking for alternatives that offer honesty and transparency. This is an opportunity for those lenders with straight-forward and open lending processes to put their best foot forward and show borrowers that there is a genuine alternative to the mainstream banks.

Continued tightening of the purse strings

2018 saw the banks reducing their risk appetite and placing a number of restrictions on what they will lend and who to. This meant that obtaining finance became increasingly difficult for borrowers, particularly commercial borrowers. This restricted lending environment looks to continue throughout 2019, with the findings of the Hayne report recommending further regulations for the banks’ lending systems.

However, this has created a real opportunity for non-bank lenders who look at lending situations in a different light to the banks. Private lenders are able to be more flexible in who they will lend to. Rather than just look at the serviceability of the loan, they will look at the bigger picture when making a lending decision. This means that while the purse strings are tightening at the banks, more opportunities to access funding will become available through the non-bank sector.

Rise of commercial brokers

Borrowers seeking alternative lenders with transparent and flexible lending processes are going to need help. In these uncertain times, borrowers will increasingly look to brokers for guidance and advice. This is particularly the case for business borrowers who are most likely to be turned away by the banks. For this reason, it makes sense that a number of residential brokers will consider diversifying into the commercial space in order to assist this growing group of borrowers.

The year of private lending?

Overall, the changes in the lending landscape will shine a spotlight on the advantages of working with a private lender. Whether a borrower has become disillusioned with their big four bank or has had their loan application rejected, 2019 will see more and more people looking for an alternative solution for their finance needs. Private lenders have always been able to offer something different to the banks, however this year looks to be the time when the benefits of a non-bank lender really become known throughout the industry.

10 Questions For A Private Lender

Private Mortgages Australia explores what to ask a private lender.The strict lending requirements imposed by traditional bank lenders can mean that many borrowers have trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage. However, a private lender provides a smart alternative for a business borrower who can’t get finance from a bank.

Private mortgage finance usually comes from private investors or institutional funders who are willing to loan borrowers money for a business purpose using a property as security. The process can be quite complicated but choosing the right lender and knowing the right questions to ask can make a private mortgage a great option. These are some of the questions to ask your private mortgage lender.

1. What types of products do you offer?

A private lender may offer a range of mortgages, such as caveat loans, car finance, invoice factoring, first-ranking mortgages or second-ranking mortgages. If you are looking for a specific type of loan product, check with the lender about the types of products they offer so that you can find the right type of business loan that meets your needs.

2. How quickly can you assess my application?

Private lenders are usually able to process applications much more quickly than traditional bank lenders. Generally, as long as the borrower has sufficient equity in the underlying security, a private lender may be able to approve a loan much more quickly than a traditional lender, sometimes offering pre-loan approval within a few hours.  However, be wary of lenders who advertise 24-hour loans as this is often a trap to get unsuspecting borrowers committed. These 24 hour loans are commonly also called “Caveat Loans”. Many say they ‘can’ offer loans within 24 hours, but with the amount of work that goes into a loan offer it is very unlikely that this will actually happen. Some exceptions do exist, for instance where a valuation has already been conducted by a reputable valuation firm thus reducing the need to order a new valuation and speeding up the application.

3. What interest will I pay on my mortgage?

The interest rate will vary depending on a number of factors including the type of security, location, and the length of time taken to pay it back. After an initial assessment of an application a lender should be able to quote a firm rate based on the information provided. Be wary of Indicative Offers that still quote a rate range or that sound too good to be true, as quite often the interest rate is much higher when the actual loan offer comes back.

4. Where does the money come from?

This is a very interesting concept that very few people consider, where does a private lender actually get their money from? A lot of private lenders use a sophisticated investor networks to underwrite their loan advances. Other private lenders raise funds from wholesale or retail sources with the use of an Australian Financial Services License (‘AFSL’).

5. Who makes the lending decision?

In some cases it is the individual investor that makes the final decision to lend the funds required and will essentially “write the cheque”. This isn’t an ideal situation. Imagine that you are a borrower and you submit a loan to a private lender. Everything seems to be going well, you pay the upfront fees, order the loan documents from the solicitor, but then are taken by complete surprise when your loan application is rejected despite being formally approved. What has occurred is that the loan was approved by the ‘middle man’ but then turned down by the person writing the cheque. Unfortunately this occurs all the time.

The smarter alternative is to make sure that the private lender is the one who is making the decisions. This is a safer and more effective situation for the borrower.

6. Are there any hidden costs?

Sometimes there are additional fees that you may not be aware of upfront. Check with the private lender about any additional costs that may be conditional upon specific conditions or circumstances. Make sure you work with a well-respected lender that has a transparent lending process so you don’t get hit with any unexpected fees.

7. What are the optional features?

If you are looking for specific features, ask the lender about whether these will be offered with the mortgage. Popular features that provide convenience for borrowers include prepaid loan terms. A pre-paid loan term is where a borrower doesn’t need to service the loan payments for a specified period of time. Some lenders only offer this feature for one month. Could you imagine the strain of having to service a private loan with a higher than bank interest rates every month? This would be very difficult especially if the reason for approaching the private lender in the first place was to assist with cash-flow issues. It is very important to work with a private lender that understands this and can offer a loan term that is capitalised with reliance on an exit strategy.

8. How much can I borrow?

Generally, private mortgages can be approved for any amount range from $20,000 to $4,000,000 or more, and up to 75% of the value of the underlying security. However, a good lender will treat every loan application as a unique case and can therefore lend based on the individual circumstances.

9. Do I need security for a loan?

In most cases the lender will require real estate as security. You should have some equity built up in the property to be able to borrow against it.

10. Can I make extra repayments?

If you would like the option to make extra repayments, ask the private lender about the possibility of making extra repayments and whether a fee will be charged if you do choose to make them.

 

By Tony Barbone

Managing Director, Private Mortgages Australia