Hard money lending is not nearly as familiar to the average consumer as traditional bank lending. As such, a lot of people don’t really understand what hard money is all about. Among the many questions curious consumers ask is the following: do hard money borrowers pay closing costs?

Media misinformation leads some to believe that hard money lending takes place in shadowy back alleys in the middle of the night. It is assumed that private lenders offering hard money and bridge loans are predatory lenders looking to charge sky high interest rates in hopes of being able to repossess collateral. But none of these things are true. Functionally speaking, hard money lending is very similar to traditional lending.

Applications, Reviews, and Closing Costs

Hard money lenders are not standing on street corners handing out money to passersby. They are professional, legally established, and licensed firms that operate from real offices staffed by people wearing business suits. To apply for a hard money loan, you have to complete and submit an application. You have to provide documentation. You have to prove your ability to repay what you borrow.

All the documentation you furnish is reviewed by the firm. Should your loan be approved, there will be more documents to complete at closing. And yes, you will pay closing costs. Some of the closing costs may differ compared to traditional loans, and some of the costs associated with bank borrowing are not part of hard money. But there will be closing costs to pay.

Typical Hard Money Closing Costs

Nearly every hard money lender charges an origination fee. Salt Lake City’s Actium Partners explains that this fee is represented as ‘points’, based on the fact that it is determined using a percentage of the total loan amount. Assuming a single point is equal to 1% of the loan amount, a 5% origination fee on a $100,000 loan would be $5,000.

Other typical closing costs associated with hard money loans include:

  • Document Fees – Lenders typically charge a fee for preparing and processing documents. Sometimes fees are split up between the two, sometimes they are categorized under a single fee.
  • Appraisal Fee – Given that hard money loans are approved primarily on collateral, the borrower is charged a fee for appraising said collateral. Lenders prefer to work with their own appraisers and simply pass on the cost, regardless of what it is.
  • Underwriting Fee – Hard money lenders are known to charge underwriting fees, just like banks. However, the underwriting process is slightly different for hard money lenders, and they are under no obligation to charge a fee.
  • Credit Report Fee – If a lender feels it necessary to check a borrower’s credit, the fee for running a credit check is added to the loan.
  • Wire Fee – Hard money lenders prefer to electronically wire funds into borrower accounts rather than cutting checks. Their banks charge a fee for the service, and that fee is passed along to borrowers.

There may be a number of additional fees that are charged by individual hard money lenders. For example, any legal fees associated with preparing or closing on the loan will fall on the borrower. These can be anything from attorney’s fees to the costs associated with bank notes or deeds of trust.

The long and short of it is that hard money borrowers pay closing costs just like their counterparts who secure traditional financing do. Closing costs are part of the game. Though they may seem unfair to borrowers, the cost of doing business is passed on to customers in every industry.