Individual and family office investors who invest their money into mortgages and trust deeds have likely been experiencing a lot of challenges with finding loans to fund over the past 5 years, but 2021 has turned out to be one of the worst. The biggest competition for mortgage investors is institutional loan buyers that offer loan originators cheaper capital and optimum efficiency. Mortgage investors had a small window of hope in the Summer of 2020 while the institutional capital paused for a few months, but now it’s back stronger than ever.
The events of 2020 pushed a lot of private lending companies to diversify their capital sources, and many of them started a new mortgage fund. It seems like mortgage funds and REITs have become more popular and widely accepted by accredited investors, so capital raising is a bit easier for fund managers these days.
You can’t blame loan originators for exploring these other capital options. The business model of using capital from multiple individual/family investors can be quite challenging and can stunt growth for private lending operations. That said, there are still several private lending firms in the market that like the model of working with individual investors, and they have no interest in forming a fund or selling loans to the Street.
If you’re one of these mortgage investors who invests in individual notes or trust deeds, there are still many opportunities for you, but you must put in some work to get more deals from loan originators.
Tip #1 – Create a Resume
The idea of creating a resume may sound crazy to many mortgage investors, but most loan originators likely already have a solid network of investors, and you have to sell yourself. Providing originators with a resume will show that you are serious, and it will also make your life easier. Rather than having to explain your investment criteria over and over again, you can put everything in writing and send the same document to everyone.
The resume should include 4 key components:
Make a list of everything a loan originator would ask you in order to send you deals – geographic areas, loan types, property types, min/max loan amount, max LTV, loan term, target yield, and much more.
Make a list of all the private mortgage investments you’ve made in the past few years and include a few important items like the property type, city/state, investment amount, LTV, note rate, loan term, status (active or paid off), etc.
Provide some information about your existing portfolio of loans – total dollar amount, average LTV, average yield, etc.
Explain the benefits of doing business with you, how long you’ve been investing in mortgages, your process for evaluating/funding loans, what other sectors you invest in. Write up some personal information about yourself – your career, where you reside, etc.
Tip #2 – Prospect
Once you have your resume, the next step is to find loan originators that are seeking mortgage investors. This is extremely challenging, mainly because a lot of originators don’t do business with individual investors. Many of them sell all their loans to institutional capital providers, or they manage a mortgage fund, or both. It’s easy to just do some searching online to find originators. You can browse individual websites, and there are also several directories that list multiple private lending firms.
When browsing each company’s website, check to see if they have a page about Investing. You’ll find many of them are offering a fund investment, but you’re bound to find some that offer note and trust deed investments. If you don’t find an investing page on the website, move on, because they likely have too much capital, or they are backed by institutional capital.
Target the smaller shops with just one person, or no more than five. Many times, you can’t tell a company’s size by looking at their website, but the size of the firm could tell you if they’d be a good prospect.
We have a few trade associations in our industry which can be great sources to find loan originators. I am a member of three of them: California Mortgage Association (“CMA”), American Association of Private Lenders (“AAPL”), and National Private Lenders Association (“NPLA”). If Arizona is a region you’d consider, look up the Arizona Private Lender Association (“APLA”).
Tip #3 – Nurture the Relationships
This is a relationship business. Make an effort to stay connected with the loan originators that send you investment opportunities. Call them periodically to chat. If local, offer to take them out for a meal once a year. These personal interactions could keep you top of mind when a new loan request comes in.
Tip #4 – Start an Email Marketing Campaign
Whenever you have funds available to invest, send an email to all the loan originators in your network. Mention how much money is available and make the email more interesting by including your most recent transaction. If you always have funds available to invest, consider sending an email every month or every quarter to remind loan originators that you’re still active and ready to fund deals.
Tip #5 – Attend Industry Events
Attending a private mortgage conference could be a goldmine for expanding your network of loan originators. There are over 12 private lending events that take place each year. The trade associations mentioned above all host events which you can attend without being a member. And there are a few other organizations that host networking events for our industry – Geraci Law Firm, National Lending Experts, Private Lender Expo.
The attendance typically ranges from 150 to 500 people, the majority of which are loan originators. All these events offer a mobile app or website where you can find the right prospects, and you can create a profile to advertise that you’re an investor looking for deals.
Make some business cards to hand out. Be sure to clarify that you’re a capital provider, not an originator. If possible, add some info about your investment criteria on the business card.
Tip #6 – Be Realistic with Yields
Borrowers and brokers have lots of options for private lending these days, so loan originators won’t send a deal to you if your yield requirements are not a match for the current environment. Do some research online to see the pricing that private lending companies are advertising to the public. Have conversations with multiple originators and ask them what it would take for you to win deals without taking on additional risk.
The private mortgage landscape has changed drastically over the past decade. The institutional capital is likely not leaving our space, and many mortgage funds will continue to be formed. That said, there are still many quality deals out there for individual note and trust deed investors, so don’t be discouraged. If private mortgages are an important part of your investment portfolio, just work a little harder to get more deals, and your effort will definitely pay off.