Determining Which Commercial Hard Money Lenders Are Right for You

Commercial hard money lenders continue to work their way into the fabric of modern real estate, often times by offering funding where it otherwise cannot be secured. Most interested in acquiring commercial property must leverage the secured loans offered by private investors, as large banks continue to remain frugal after the collapse of the real estate market mere years ago. But, each lending group is different, and determining which hard money commercial loans make sense and which do not can be difficult. To assist in this regard, we have created a brief guide that outlines the best ways to know which lenders deserve your attention, and which you should leave out of your rolodex!(1) Examining ExpertiseBefore contacting a hard money firm, a little bit of research is necessary to determine whether or not they are worth your time. Examining the organization’s website is a great place to start. Do they have informative and helpful resources that outline the process? Is the firm’s contact information “front and center”, letting you know that they are easy to contact? A lack of these components may tip you off that the firm being researched doesn’t have the expertise or professionalism to handle your loan!If you’d like to take things a step further, why not create a list of questions? Contact the lender, asking them about particulars and gauging their responses. If you feel comfortable with the answers, you know that you found someone you can work with.(2) Outlining the ProcessWhile most hard money commercial lenders use similar processes to quickly fund your real estate endeavors, some may have particular nuances that make them a bit quicker than the others. But, be sure that you aren’t sacrificing accountability in exchange for a speedy approval!The application process should be expedited, yet thorough. Inquiring about the various steps of the process is another great way to determine whether or not a particular lender is right for you. How quickly can you expect an appraisal? How soon will the funds be available? When you understand the timeline, you’re better prepared to make a smart borrowing decision.(3) Terms of the LoanWhen it comes to secured real estate loans, the terms will not vary greatly. But, this doesn’t mean that you will get the same offers from every lender that takes your application. For most hard money commercial loans, you can expect to receive 70% of the property’s value, as the remaining 30% is what ultimately “secures” the loan for the capital investors. The interest rate will likely be higher than the average lending institution, but this is countered by the ease of acceptance and the speedy process. Review the loan terms and create your property plan before finalizing the loan!Real estate investors have quickly learned that commercial hard money lenders are the perfect bridge between a distressed property and its new buyer. Understanding which lenders make the most sense for your situation can help you avoid problematic transactions, and help to ensure that your profits remain intact!

Unsecured Small Business Loans – Good News – Stimulus Bill Allows SBA 90 Percent Guarantee For Loans

Anyone remotely involved with small businesses, whether as a consultant, lender, supplier, leasing specialist, trade association, or simply as a consumer who is tired of driving by sections of town and wondering why your favorite business unceremoniously threw in the towel, would very much like to hear some good news. Not to mention the small business owner itself. After all, there are 27 million small businesses that deserve to be thriving in this nation, but too often were ignored by the Bush administration. Classically non-complainers by nature, they just want a scrap of hope thrown their way. And I’m not talking about wide-eyed idealists looking for handouts-in all due respect to Emily Dickinson, they’re not looking for the”thing with feathers that perches in the soul”. Just give us a few bucks and we will run with it. This is a continuing article (20 in all) on the subject: Help. Is anyone out there loaning to small businesses anymore?Fortunately there is a loan program out there and SBA lenders are actually making loans currently: the Community Express Loan Program. This gives unsecured small business loans between $5,000 and $50,000 with very little paperwork, answers typically in two days, interest rates presently at 7.75%, funding and two weeks, and monies wired directly to your business account. There are still lenders participating in this program, although Congress has failed to make the program permanent and still has a 10% cap on the number of loans.Enter the Obama stimulus bill. Let us look how it affects this program and small business lending as a whole.If you have tried to wade through the 1,100 or so pages of the new stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), you know its like chipping through granite. But let me pull out a little gem. It now allows the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA to you) to guarantee up to 90% of loans made by private lenders under their program. Let me explain. This is great for Community Express.When the Small Business Act was enacted in 1958, it had a very simple mission. Find a way to get loans to small businesses that couldn’t get them through traditional channels. It did this in an ingenious way. They knew banks where reluctant to loan to small businesses, especially startups, because of fear of failure. So the SBA collected a fee on each loan and used this as a fund to pay banks if there was a default. Bingo, there was invented the SBA guarantee fee. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard to know this gives incentives to the banks to make more loans.SBA loan programs have guarantees from 50% to 85%. Specifically, the SBA currently has an 85% guarantee on loans up to $150,000 and up to 75% on loans above $150,000. On the other hand, there are some programs that only go as high as 50%, including the Express Loan program (for those types of loans the new guarantee will not change). With the new stimulus bill, the SBA has the right to increase these fees to 90%.Think about this for a moment. Simple math tells us more guarantee, the greater the likelihood of the bank making the loan. For goodness sakes, 90% is tapping on the door of a 100% guarantee! Also note the guaranteed portion is typically sold on the secondary market (which has recently shut down to almost nothing) so there is more chance for loans to be sold and more money to go back into the coffers of the banks for further lending.Notice I said the SBA has the right to increase it to 90%. It can pick which program. And it has not occurred yet. But if I was a betting person, I would say they would be seriously looking at most of the programs because everyone is scraping for ideas to revive the economy.For those addicted to primary source documents, this is what the new statute, in relevant part (my attorney wanted me to add that) says:SEC. 502. ECONOMIC STIMULUS LENDING PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. (a) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to permit the Small Business Administration to guarantee up to 90 percent of qualifying small business loans made by eligible lenders.
(b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section:
(1) The term ‘Administrator’ means the Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
(2) The term ‘qualifying small business loan’ means any loan to a small business concern pursuant to section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636) or title V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 695 and following) except for such loans made under section 7(a)(31).There is also a sunset provision under Subparagraph (f) that the guarantees are only good for one year after enactment of the bill, unless extended by Congress.So what does it do for me now as a small business owner? Well now the not so good news. I predict the SBA will be increasing many of its programs to 90%. But to get the banks in the lending mood again, there has to be a secondary market. There is also new legislation on that, which we will discuss in another article. But once we have a secondary market, I predict that they banks will not only loan, but do so in a big way. For three reasons:First, history tells us when there is economic inactivity due primarily to depressed conditions, when the cycle changes for the better, like a sling shot affect, it changes dramatically. Remember when people were unable to refinance or purchase their homes because of tight markets and high interest rates? The rates went down and many jumped at the chance to refinance, improve their homes, and purchase (some say too precipitously) with abundance. Although this is an overstatement and also depends upon other factors such as employment, standards of living, etc., the analogy holds that when things loosen up, there will be a substantial number of business loans.Secondly, banks are in large part in the business of making loans and they have not been doing so for some time. They will be anxious to make profits again.Lastly, simple economics tells us when there is a vacuum in the market; capital will rush in and take advantage of that open market and initial lack of competition. Large banks are not making business loans so small community banks are starting to rush in to take over the arena. Give them a secondary market and they will explode.So for the small business owner, I think this news of 90 % guarantees is favorable. Why did it take them so long?

Independence From Payday Loans is Easier Than You Think

Payday loans are smart way to avoid more expensive forms of credit, but they’re not a long term solution for debt. For your long-term financial independence we encourage you to consider the following steps:a) Take an inventory of all your debts We suggest that you make a list of all your debts. For example, all you owe this month – utility charges, phone bills, rent/mortgage, car payments, loan payments, and others. When these numbers are on a paper instead of your head, it becomes easier to manage them. If your expenses add up to more than your paycheck, you will need to look for ways to reduce and/or postpone those expenses.b) Reduce and/or postpone expenses between paychecks Some money saving suggestions to consider:1. Take lunch to office and save $2 to $3 per day2. Drink regular coffee instead of designer coffee drinks and save $23. Eat dinner out less and save $15 each time4. Cut down on soda and save at least $0.50.5. Plan and Make a list of grocery items you need to buy and stick to it. Impulsive shopping leads to waste of money.6. Clip and use money saving coupons to buy groceries7. Give frugal and personal gifts instead of spending a lot on them. As an example you may put together a photo album for your friend. It may take you some time you will not have to spend the next month paying it off.8. Buy gas from the cheapest station around9. Pay your credit cards and other loans on time and save up to $35 in late fees10. Think… do you need what you are about to buy?11. When you have to buy save a bundle by buying “pre-owned” – try eBay.12. Manage balances up to date. Do not bounce a check.13. Lower the heat in the house…wear a sweatshirt at home14. Turn down the temperature on your water heater to lower the gas bill.15. Save water and electricity by always doing full loads in your dishwasher or washing machine.Change is always difficult. So good Luck.c) Use lenders that offer multi-payment payday loans. After three “consecutive” loans without being in default some lenders will convert your payday loan to a multi-payment plan. “Consecutive loans” mean loans with no more than three business days between the repayment of one loan and the next loan. A payment plan allows you to pay all that you owe in at least three payments over a period of at least sixty days by paying the fee equal to the finance charge on your loan.d) Gradually lower payday loan amount As you save and discipline yourself lower the amount of payday loan. Save on the payday loan fee and payoff the loan earlier. From a $1,500 payday loan to $1,000 to $300 and eventually you may do without a cash advance and live on your paycheck.e) Some lenders offer payday loan rewards and cash for referrals. Utilize Rewards and referral money to pay back payday loansf) Get a regular non-payday loan from a bank or finance company Contact your bank or credit union and try to see if they will offer you a lower interest loan to pay off debt. Then plan your finances well and make a new start.g) Review your latest Credit Bureau Report Know what is on credit report to make sure you are not being penalized for something someone else did or something that happened a long time ago. Get the latest copy of your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies (, and Review it and contact them to get rid of anything that is outdated or wrong. This will help you get a cheaper loan from your bank, credit union or an independent cash advance lender.h) Seek assistance from your state or county State program called “Prevention, Retention and Contingency Program (PRC)” offers grant money to working poor families to help them maintain self-sufficiency. Each county has its own eligibility requirements. Contact the Department of Human Services in your state for help and let them know an independent cash advance lender suggested that you contact them.i) Consolidate debts to reduce your total monthly paymentsFor your short-term emergencies visit for cash advances. 

Employer Branding 101 – Three Actions To Build Your Employer Brand And Attract And Retain Talent

So just why should be develop an employer brand? Is it worth the time, effort and resources?With the ever increasing challenge to hire and retain great people, especially in professional services firms where your people are in fact the product you sell, it is critical that we put in place strategies to attract and retain great talent.The 2007 International Workplace Survey from Robert Half identified that the reasons organisations in the UK are developing and implementing an employer brand strategy included:- to support retention of their current employees (24%)- to maintain a positive reputation in their industry (19%)- to attract new people to their business (18%)- to connect employee commitment to organizational goals (17%).The survey was conducted with over 5000 HR and finance managers in 17 countries across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.Only 23% of companies surveyed with fewer than 50 members of staff had a formal employer branding strategy versus 69% of businesses employing more than 200 people. Yet both types of organisation are in the market for essentially the same talent.In the UK, 44% of the HR and finance managers survey stated that their company has a formal employer brand strategy in place compared to a worldwide average of just 32%.Globally 32% of companies have a formal employer branding policy, and the companies included in the research indicated that over the next 2 years:- 20% intend to implement such a strategy in the next two years- while 35% have no intention of developing an employer branding strategy.Developing a compelling and magnetic employer brand supports the building of your reputation as an employer of choice.Increasingly candidates not only take into account the salary and benefits you provide, but assess:1. the company’s culture (what is it like to work with you)2. the company’s reputation (what will their friends, family and colleagues say about them working with you and how will it look on their CV or resume)3. the company’s values (does the company have values that they can connect with and buy into).With 35% of companies not planning to pay attention to building their employer brand strategy, there is probably no better time to get to work on nurturing your employer brand so that you win the war for talent versus your competition.YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND ACTION STEPSAre you clear about how your employer brand is perceived by both candidates that you would like to attract to your business and your current employees?If you want to create a compelling employer brand here are three actions you can take to assess how your employer brand is currently perceived:1. Ask Recruiters – Connect with recruitment consultants and executive recruiters that you work with and ask for their insights to your employer brands strengths and weaknesses versus your competition.2. Ask Your Current Staff – Access insights from your current employees on why they choose to stay with you. I highly recommend doing this through focus groups with a trained employer branding facilitator so that you access the true perception of your employer brand. If you have a multi-generational workforce, it is important to segment your focus groups to ensure that you access insights from the different communities.3. Ask Potential Employees – Undertake focus groups with candidates who would be potential employees. Using ‘projective exercises’ you can access what they think of your company and your reputation and if you would be a company they would consider joining to further their career. Again, segmenting these groups by function, demographics and geography will unearth rich data on which you can take action.