Refinance Your Hard Money Loan with a Conventional Loan

Refinance Your Hard Money Loan with a Conventional Loan

Hard money loans, while a quick source of financing for real estate investors, often come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods. If you find yourself considering long-term ownership and want to escape the burden of a looming balloon payment, the solution lies in refinancing your hard money loan into a conventional loan.

Understanding Hard Money Loans:

Hard money loans serve as a swift financing option for real estate investors, sourced from private investors. Unlike conventional loans, hard money loans offer greater flexibility and expedited approval processes. The absence of extensive government oversight allows private lenders to be more creative with loan terms. This flexibility often translates to advantages such as smaller down payments and reduced closing costs.

One of the significant benefits of hard money loans is the rapid approval timeframe, often within a few days. The application process is less stringent compared to conventional loans, making it a viable choice for investors in need of urgent financing. Credit scores, income requirements, and other financial criteria are at the discretion of the private lender, enhancing the likelihood of approval and accelerating the overall process.

However, it’s crucial to note the drawbacks, such as the shorter loan period (usually 6 to 12 months) and higher interest rates. While hard money loans are ideal for quick property acquisitions, they may not align with long-term investment plans.

Understanding Conventional Loans:

Conventional loans, in contrast, adhere to strict standards set by government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These loans are often referred to as conforming loans as they must meet the financial institution’s specified criteria. Unlike hard money loans, conventional loans typically require a more comprehensive approval process.

The down payment for conventional loans can vary based on factors such as property type. While first-time homebuyers might secure a conventional loan with a down payment as low as 3%, investors in multi-family properties may need to provide a higher down payment, often around 15%. Credit score evaluation is a standard practice, and a higher credit score enhances the chances of loan approval.

Debt-to-income ratios also play a crucial role in conventional loan approvals. Lenders typically seek a ratio of around 50%, ensuring borrowers can manage their debt obligations relative to their income.

Reasons to Switch from Hard Money to Conventional:

Hard money loans, while advantageous for quick financing, become less feasible for long-term property ownership due to their higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods. The decision to switch to a conventional loan stems from the desire to retain the property and capitalize on extended rental income. Conventional loans offer lower interest rates, providing financial relief over the property’s extended ownership.

Switching to a Conventional Loan: The Process:

Financial Requirements:

Refinancing a hard money loan to a conventional loan involves meeting specific credit requirements. Lenders assess debt, income, credit score, savings, and assets during the pre-approval process. While not the final approval, it serves as an estimation of the borrower’s ability to repay.

Choosing the Right Lender:

Researching and selecting the right lender is paramount. This involves considering factors like approval ease and favorable terms. Connecting with multiple lenders allows borrowers to choose the one that aligns best with their refinancing goals.

Property Requirements:

The property must be in a condition suitable for renting out. If under construction, completion is necessary. Lenders prefer properties with a rental history and reasonable monthly income, ensuring a secure investment.

Reasons to Switch from Hard Money to Conventional:

Switching from a hard money loan to a conventional loan is a strategic move that real estate investors often consider for various compelling reasons.

Long-Term Investment Strategy:

The primary catalyst for transitioning from a hard money loan to a conventional loan lies in the investor’s shift towards a more extended investment horizon. While hard money loans are excellent for quick property acquisition, they are not tailored for prolonged ownership due to their shorter repayment periods and higher interest rates. Investors looking to hold onto their property for an extended period find the lower interest rates of conventional loans more conducive to their long-term financial goals.

Reduced Monthly Expenses:

Hard money loans, although expedient for immediate financing, can become financially burdensome over time. The higher interest rates associated with hard money loans translate into elevated monthly expenses. By switching to a conventional loan, investors can significantly reduce their monthly financial obligations, freeing up capital for other investment opportunities or property improvements.

Enhanced Flexibility:

Conventional loans offer more flexibility in terms of repayment periods and interest rates. Investors can choose fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgages based on their risk tolerance and financial preferences. This flexibility allows investors to align their financing structure with their specific investment strategy, providing greater control over their financial commitments.

Access to Cash-Out Refinancing:

Conventional loans provide the option for cash-out refinancing, allowing investors to tap into their property’s equity. This can be advantageous for funding additional real estate projects, making property improvements, or addressing other financial needs. The ability to leverage the property’s equity enhances the investor’s financial maneuverability.

Stable, Predictable Payments:

Conventional loans offer the benefit of stable, predictable monthly payments. Unlike hard money loans, where the focus is on short-term gains, conventional loans provide a more stable financial environment for investors. Predictable payments facilitate better budgeting and financial planning for the long-term ownership of the investment property.

Switching to a Conventional Loan: The Process:

Transitioning from a hard money loan to a conventional loan involves a systematic process to ensure a smooth and successful switch.

Evaluate Financial Position:

Assess your current financial position, including credit score, income, savings, and debt. This evaluation helps determine your eligibility for a conventional loan.

Research Potential Lenders:

Explore various lenders to find the one that offers favorable terms for your refinancing needs. Consider factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, and any additional fees associated with the loan.

Pre-Approval Process:

Initiate the pre-approval process with your chosen lender. This involves submitting essential financial documentation for the lender to assess your creditworthiness and estimate your loan approval likelihood.

Property Assessment:

Ensure that your property meets the requirements for conventional loan approval. This includes verifying its rentable condition, completion status (if under construction), and a positive rental history.

Final Approval and Closing:

Once pre-approved, the lender conducts a thorough verification of the provided information. Upon successful verification, you receive final approval for the conventional loan. The closing process involves signing the necessary documents and officially switching from the hard money loan to the conventional loan.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you refinance a hard money loan to conventional?

Yes, it is possible to refinance a hard money loan to a conventional loan. This strategic move allows real estate investors to transition from short-term, high-interest financing to a more sustainable, long-term solution. By refinancing, investors can benefit from lower interest rates, extended repayment periods, and reduced monthly expenses.

Can you refinance with a conventional loan?

Absolutely. Refinancing with a conventional loan is a common practice among real estate investors seeking more favorable terms and a stable financial structure. Conventional loans provide flexibility, lower interest rates, and predictable monthly payments, making them an attractive option for those looking to optimize their investment strategy over the long term.

What is the exit strategy for a hard money loan?

The exit strategy for a hard money loan typically involves either selling the property or refinancing to a more conventional financing option. Since hard money loans are short-term and come with higher interest rates, investors often choose to sell the property or switch to a conventional loan for extended ownership and better financial sustainability.

What is the maximum loan to value on a conventional refinance?

The maximum loan-to-value (LTV) on a conventional refinance can vary but is often contingent on factors such as the property type and purpose of the loan. In general, conventional lenders may allow an LTV of up to 80% or more, meaning you can refinance up to 80% of your property’s appraised value. This allows investors to access a significant portion of their property’s equity during the refinancing process.


In conclusion, the decision to switch from a hard money loan to a conventional loan with Enterprise America marks a pivotal step towards sustainable real estate investment. The shift from short-term gains to a long-term ownership strategy not only aligns with your financial goals but also positions you for reduced monthly expenses, enhanced flexibility, and stable, predictable payments. Enterprise America, with its expertise and commitment to your success, stands as your trusted partner in navigating this strategic transition. Connect with us to unlock the full potential of your real estate investments and embark on a journey of financial prosperity.

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