A 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.