Private Lender vs. Bank Mortgage: Real Estate Investment Lending Landscape

Real estate investment is one of the smart money investment techniques. Real estate investors typically make the first investment, then allow appreciation, and the forces of demand and supply drive up the worth of their investment portfolio. The investment is often cost-intensive, therefore requiring the input of external funding in most cases.

Funds for real estate investment typically come from two primary sources; private lenders and bank mortgages. While both provide funding, it’s essential to consider each carefully before selecting one, as they may affect your profit margin and even how you can operate your business.

florida house private lender vs bank mortgage

The end goal of every investment is to make a profit, and if you are lending for real estate investment, you need to know the peculiarities of each and how it affects your investment portfolio. Selecting the right lender for your real estate investment is an important process because it can affect your profitability in the long run.

Private lenders

Private lenders are private institutions that provide funding for real estate investments. They are usually run by individuals and investors who provide funding typically for a shorter duration while being more flexible than bank mortgages. They are more inclined toward financing people with insufficient income or bad credit scores.


  • Terms and conditions flexibility: When taking a mortgage from a private lender, they are willing to work with lenders through customized financing options, giving rise to flexible terms and conditions to favor the borrowers. These terms can be tailored to meet the requirements of specific investors, making them more flexible than traditional banks.
  • Faster approval process: The speed of approval is one of the most attractive qualities of private lending. The duration from loan application to being funded can be as little as two weeks.  Private lenders technically have fewer requirements and regulations than banks, hence their ability to quickly provide funds.
  • Less stringent credit requirements: Private lenders have less stringent credit requirements because they are more focused on the value of the property and the payment strategy rather than the borrower's creditworthiness. Provided the numbers add up on the side of the real estate investment, and there is a payback system, the loan is granted to the borrower.


  • Higher interest rates: Private lenders take more risk than bank mortgages, leading to a higher interest rate. Private investors are out to make a profit quickly, hence the higher interest rate. It is the price to pay for fast loan disbursement.
  • Shorter loan terms: Private lenders are in the business for a profit in a short time. That translates to shorter loan terms for the borrowers. In a case where the duration expires before completing the payment, the borrower may need another form of financing to pay off the private lender.
  • Limited regulation and consumer protection: Limited regulation is a two-edged sword. It provides faster loans for the borrower. However, it also makes it difficult to verify the lender's reputation. It is also difficult to ascertain if their operations are within the legal boundaries.

Bank Mortgages

Bank mortgages are the most common form of real estate financing that has existed for years. They provide funding for real estate projects, especially for people with good credit scores. They have strict regulations with less flexibility for the investments they make. They generally lower interest rates but have a higher bar of entry.


  • Lower interest rates: Banks generally give lower interest rates to borrowers for real estate borrowers. The lower interest is made possible because banks typically get their funds from low-cost sources like bonds and customer deposits. On the other hand, private lenders get funds from banks with an interest rate, which drives the interest they put on financing higher.
  • Longer loan terms: Banks give longer durations to pay off the mortgage compared to private lenders. The longer duration allows the borrowers to manage their cash flow and pay off the loan over a more extended period of time.
  • Stronger regulation and consumer protection: The strong regulations that raise the bar of entry for mortgage loans also protect borrowers against illegal activities. The strong regulation protects the customers from rash decisions by the banks.


  • Strict credit requirements: Unlike private lenders, banks do a more in-depth investigation of the mortgage loan applicant. They are as concerned about the ability of the borrower to pay back as they are about the value of the investment. These stringent requirements make it difficult or near impossible for some real estate investors to get funding.
  • Lengthy approval process: The approval process for banks is quite lengthy, as they need time to complete the background checks on the borrowers. The average time for processing a bank mortgage is between 30 and 60 days, compared to private lenders, which may take only about two weeks.
  • Less flexibility in terms and conditions: Banks are held by stricter regulations, hence the limited flexibility options they can offer their customers. Borrowers can only take the ready-made options presented by the banks, as there is little to no chance of customization.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Private Lender vs. Bank Mortgage

Before deciding if you will take a mortgage from a private lender or a bank mortgage, you need to consider these factors to know what works for your peculiar scenario. The factors to consider include:

  • The loan amount and interest rates: The loan amount and interest rates vary greatly among banks and private lenders. However, private-lender mortgages generally have a higher interest rate than bank mortgages. Although bank mortgages are known to have a lesser interest rate, it helps to shop around to have options.
  • Loan terms and conditions: The terms and conditions offered by private mortgage lenders vs. banks are different, with the former giving you more flexibility and leeway than the latter. It is important to critically examine the terms and conditions of any lender and be on the lookout for special clauses and fine print.
  • Your credit history and financial profile: Banks pay close attention to the credit history of the borrower. Hence, your finances and financial profile must be commendable before you apply for a bank mortgage. A private lender mortgage, on the other hand, is more concerned about the quality of the real estate investment and your payback strategy.
  • Property type and investment strategy: Your intended property type and the investment strategy you plan to use will greatly influence your source of funding. Private lenders are more inclined to give loans for non-traditional real estate investments like vacation rentals, which banks may consider risky. Non-traditional investment strategies like multiple real-estate investments at once do not fall on the good side of banks. 
  • Relationship with the lender: The relationship the borrower has with the lender plays a role in obtaining a loan. A private lender mortgage may be more interested in having a personal relationship with the borrower. It allows for flexibility and understanding between both parties. Banks are more focused on your public reputation than a personal relationship.

Tips for a Successful Loan Application

  • Prepare a strong financial profile: Preparing a strong financial profile would increase your odds of getting a successful loan application. This would mean a high credit score and a constant income flow for a bank mortgage. Private investors, on the other hand, would require a solid business plan which includes a realistic budget, timeline, and exit strategy.
  • Research and compare multiple lenders: Your decision on which investment option to go with is not only determined by the interest rate, hence your need to research multiple providers. You should compare the lenders on the basis of their terms and conditions, their reputation, the duration of the loan, and the flexibility they offer.
  • Seek advice from experienced real estate investors: Seeking advice from real estate investors is a sure way to make the right investment choice. It is important because they have done it before and know of major pitfalls you should avoid.
  • Negotiate loan terms and conditions: Most of the lending platform's terms and conditions are flexible. You can negotiate the loan terms and conditions to be more favorable.
florida homes from aerial

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between private lenders and bank mortgages for real estate investments?

Private lenders usually provide financing options faster than bank mortgages, while bank mortgages have stricter requirements, longer loan terms, and low-interest rates.

How do I decide between a private lender and a bank mortgage for my investment property?

When deciding between a private lender and a bank mortgage, you need to consider the property type, loan amount, investment strategy, interest rates, and fees to decide between a private lender and a bank mortgage.

What factors should I consider when selecting a lender for my real estate investment?

Factors to consider when selecting a lender includes the property type, loan amount, investment strategy, interest rates, and fees of the lender.

Are there any tips for successfully securing a loan for a real estate investment?

As previously stated, some of the tips for success include providing a solid business plan, comparing lenders, improving credit scores, and showing experience.

How do loan terms and conditions vary between private lenders and bank mortgages?

Bank mortgages offer lower interest rates and longer loan terms with stricter qualification requirements, while Private lenders may offer more flexible loan terms and a faster approval process.


The best lender for you depends on your peculiar situation. If you need investments for non-traditional real estate projects, then your best bet would be a private mortgage firm. On the flip side, if you have a great credit score and need financing for traditional real estate investments, then bank mortgages may be a better option.