Why interest rates are irrelevant

private lender interest ratesSecuring a business loan can be confusing and finding a transparent lender can be a difficult task. When choosing a lender there is a lot of jargon to sort through which is why it is easy for borrowers to focus only on getting the lowest interest rates. However, it’s far too common for borrowers to buy into a loan because the interest rate looks good only to discover a range of hidden costs and fees.

Interest rate vs total cost of the loan

The rate of interest is only one portion of the total cost of a loan. Trying to calculate the true cost over the life of a loan can be daunting but it makes good business sense to do so. This is why finding a lender that is entirely upfront and transparent about fees is incredibly important. One way to check is to see if they provide a proposed disbursement schedule or estimate of all upfront costs with any indicative offer.

Possible fees

Here is a list of fees a lender may require as part of the loan agreement, which can greatly increase the overall cost of the loan:

  • Establishment/Origination/Application Fees: Setting up the loan/account .
  • Documentation Fees: A fee to cover time spent preparing the loan documents.
  • Direct Debit Fees: When making a repayment some lenders charge for every transaction which add up over time.
  • Monthly Management Fees: Ongoing fees charged for the management of the loan.
  • Withdrawal Fees: Charged for every withdrawal, often seen in Line of Credit loans.
  • Late Fee: If the payment schedule is missed.
  • Early Repayment Fee: Charged if you pay the loan out before the due date.
  • Amendment Fees: Added by the lender if you request amendments to your loan/ repayments.

Educating borrowers

Helping borrowers to understand the difference between a good interest rate and the total cost of a loan is extremely important, particularly when dealing with short term lending. We have had clients come to us in the past who have been offered an interest half of what we offered, however when they took into account the other fees and charges they were required to pay they discovered that we were significantly cheaper than the other lender. When you look at the total cost of the loan, interest rates can become completely irrelevant.

Below is an example of a $435,000 two-month loan for a second mortgage we arranged for a client to help them complete a development project:

Interest for the two-month loan:                                         $16,530 (22.8% per annum)

Approval fee:                                                                               $15,206 ($2,871 to Referrer)

Legal fees:                                                                                     $2,735

Total cost of the loan:                                                               $34,471

This shows that, as the loan was only for two months, the interest was just less than 50% of the total cost, demonstrating how critical it is to know what all the other costs are.

The total benefit

When looking at whether to take this loan, the borrower also needed to consider how much money they would make out of the transaction.  They not only needed to look at the cost of the loan, but at the benefit that the loan was going to deliver.

This is where a rough feasibility study for the development was important.

Gross Realisation Value:                                                        $1,950,000

Land purchase:                                                                          $650,000

Stamp duty:                                                                                 $35,000

Build cost:                                                                                    $650,000

Other costs (agent, council, holding):                               $115,000

Total costs:                                                                                   $1,450,000

TOTAL GROSS PROFIT:                                                          $500,000

This means the project yields a gross profit of $500,000.

Therefore, the cost of the loan divided by the gross profit is approximately 7% of the total cost. The client was able to determine that it made business sense to give away 7% of their profit ($34,471) to get the deal done. As we can see from this example, the interest rate is less significant than the overall cost of the project.

Sound advice

When considering a loan, a borrower needs to gain perspective on the overall outcome of the loan rather than getting caught up just comparing interest rates. This is where sound advice from a broker and a transparent lender is critical.

For further information about private loans for business projects, give us a call on 1800 856 683 or contact us via our website: www.privatemortgagesaustralia.com.au/contact-us/

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.

Brokers can achieve 50% market share for business loans

Brokers can achieve commercial and business lending origination

The Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) has said that brokers can achieve 50 per cent of commercial and business lending origination.

The FBAA’s executive director Peter White said that brokers in Australia “have every opportunity to follow markets like the UK [where brokers have around 70 per cent market share] and dramatically increase origination market share”.

He said: “The high level of professionalism and best practice engaged in Australia under our regulations, and genuine concerns for skilled conduct producing best outcomes for borrowers, is a recipe for more and more borrowers using brokers.”

As an advisory board member for the Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA), Mr White said that opportunities exist for brokers in the small business sector to improve the service they currently provide.

“Many brokers are very proficient at business and commercial lending, but they need stronger knowledge skill-sets that deepen their understanding of how those loans function within business markets.

“If you are dealing with a borrower who is in an aged care facility, you need to understand the aged care market and its needs. Same with hoteliers, restauranteurs and motel owners, so you can speak their language and gain their respect.

“When you actually know their industry and market, you will own the right to their business,” he said.

This article originally appeared on SME Adviser.