Fairfield Financial Services, Inc. - Private Money Loans, Lending & Borrowing

The private money lending business: likes and gripes (part I)

Clay Sparkman

Awhile back I published a 3-part post on my Private Money Investor blog regarding my personal likes and gripes as a purveyor in of private money.  This has been my sole job for the past 20 years.  Who wouldn’t want to go rant and rave publicly about their job?  I guess I could have easily made it a 24-part post, but that would have been amusing for me, yet not so much for the rest of you.  At any rate, I decided that these posts would be relevant to this audience as well, and so I decided to publish them here.

There is a bit of free association here, as I allow one idea to lead to another and so on, allowing my emotions to carry the narrative, and thus these items are in no particular order.  So I give you the things that tend to kick start my emotions and get me going (for better or worse):
The trust deed system (particularly as it works in Oregon, Washington, and California) is a thing of great beauty!  It provides for order and procedure, eliminating subjectivity (except for in the event of a judicial foreclosure), nicely balancing the interests of the borrower/owner and those of all the lien holders involved with regard to a particular piece of real estate.  Most of the professional investors I know enjoy and appreciate the trust deed system, and they have a lot more good than bad to say about it.

Associated with this is another wonderful thing they call title insurance.  Title companies are the only businesses I know that provide insurance against the possibility of their own error.  Knowing title companies as I do, I’m betting against them.  I will take title insurance every time AND THUS I shall be able to sleep at night.

Which brings me to the escrow service role of the title company:  This is a very tough job, high stress, with many people simultaneously placing multiple demands, and the need to consistently walk a tightrope avoiding costly problems and errors.  I most certainly wouldn’t want to do it.  And apparently most title people don’t either.  Most title companies do a poor job of training and preparing their people and setting a high standard, and thus unfortunately, most escrow services offered by title companies stink.  Fortunately, there are exceptions.  Unfortunately, we often don’t have any control over where a particular closing is going to take place.

Now I realize that this post is going primarily to loan brokers, but still I have to do this.  I have often heard that 10% of realtors do 90% of the sales—and I suspect that the numbers are even more extreme with regard to loan brokers.  A good loan broker is worth her weight in gold—and there are some good ones out there—but there are … oh so many sadly disappointing loan brokers.  Still, we need loan brokers, so we soldier on.  I figure our loans at Fairfield are about 50%/50%, with half coming to us through loan brokers and the rest coming directly from the borrowers.  The problems in my experience are not so much with honesty (though this certainly can be a problem from time to time), but with matters of basic business professionalism in general and with the specific knowledge of the business in particular.  Of course, it is a big step for many loan brokers to move into the realm of private money and commercial lending, but my company works hard to provide assistance, education, and support; we spend extraordinary amounts of time working to educate brokers.  If you are already a top-notch professional in the realm of private money, please come and do business with us (immediately).  If you are professional in your dealings and organized, but not very savvy with regard to the particulars of private money, come to us with an open mind and we will lead you through the process and do our best to educate you.  (Hey, a free education is not so easy to come by these days.)

Now here’s one that really gets me going:  I am downright angry at banks for not lending money on real estate secured loans anymore.  “Come on banks, lend money!  That’s what you do for a living isn’t it?”  We in the private money sector need banks.  We lend money to help generally strong borrowers get from point A to point B, and point B is frequently a bank loan (or a buyer who needs a bank loan in order to be a buyer).  This needs to change.  There are plenty of good safe loans for banks out there that don’t require the banks to disregard every rule of good lending (as they did with many sub-prime loans leading up the collapse in fall of 2007).  It reminds me of something Mark Twain said (and I’m paraphrasing).  He said that if a cat sits on a hot burner it will never sit on a hot burner again.  But then it won’t sit on a cold burner again either.

I love my attorney.  It took me years to find a guy like this.  Everything that you have ever heard that can be bad about attorneys: the opposite is true about my guy.  He is honest, pragmatic, honorable, and fair.  He knows his limitations—and will be the first to tell you when he comes up against them–but at the same time has a vast breadth of knowledge regarding real estate matters and business in general.  And he doesn’t start a clock every time he picks up the phone or answers an e-mail.  Believe it or not, he actually seems to charge only for “real work:” research and document preparation and such.  (And on top of all that, he’s the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with.)  If you want me to put you in contact with him, I will.

And speaking of lawyers, I have to say that I really enjoyed Happy Hour is for Amateurs, by Philadelphia Lawyer.  If you are offended by explicit talk of sex, drugs, and binge drinking, you may want to give it a miss.  But beyond the raucous tales, this book takes you right into the bowels of the enormous billing machine that is “the law firm in America.”  This book takes what we thought we already knew and knocks us right upside the head with it.  It turns out we knew nothing at all.

End of part I

— Clay (clay@privatemoneysource.com, 503-476-2909)

Clay is Vice President of Fairfield Financial, a primary source for private money since 1964.  Fairfield is currently targeting loans in OR, WA, AK, CA, CO, ID, FL, GA, ID, MT, NV, NY, OK and TX.  To submit a loan to Fairfield for consideration: http://www.privatemoneysource.com/loanproposal.php

Share |

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *