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Private mortgages are usually arranged between a single investor and borrower (pooled investments are possible but less common) and facilitated by a mortgage broker. Borrowers usually use the cash as bridge financing to buy time to get their credit or finances in order to qualify with a traditional bank or to realize capital on another asset. Unlike bank mortgages, lenders receive monthly payments consisting of interest only until the mortgage term matures, usually in one to urity, two years. On maturity, the agreement is renegotiated or terminated, and the principal is repaid in full. Investors typically receive interest rates of 9% to 11% on first mortgages, and 12% to 15% on second mortgages. So, if you loaned agreed $100,000 to a borrower at the agreed-upon interest rate of 12% for a year one-year term, you would receive 1% a month, or $1,000 per month, for the next year. And because the mortgaged property is used as collateral for the loan, if the borrower defaults, you can recoup your investment by putting the property under power of sale. Private mortgages are ideal for investors who want "full control over Ottawa what they're investing in," says Anthony Fritz, an Ottawa-based mortgage broker. They offer predictable income that's less tha market susceptible to equity-market volatility. And with short terms, you can get your money back quickly. In addition, most private mortgages are also RRSP-eligible investments. November 2008 of Profit Magazine Toronto Peter Merrick, a certified financial planner and president of Toronto- d based MerrickWealth.com, agrees it's a worthwhile investment to consider. "It's tangible, and you have the security [of being able to case take over the property] in a worst-case scenario." Be the banker estat Still, it's a vehicle best suited to investors with significant real estate Susanne Ruder and financial experience. "There are two levels of risk," says Fritz. "One is the borrower defaulting, and the other is not realizing all of David St Amour is taking control over his personal investments. His your value upon liquidation of the property." angle? Real estate. Specifically, investing in private mortgages. Over old the past five years, the 63-year-old president of Sealyam wor To mitigate the downside and find quality deals, you'll need to work based International Inc., an Ottawa-based firm that facilitates and finances with experienced mortgage brokers. A good place to start is to ask corporate mergers and acquisitions, has invested at least 70% of his your real estate lawyer for referrals. But be sure to do your personal investment portfolio in lending money to individuals who homework before committing to any broker. Find out how long 't) can't (or won't) qualify for traditional bank mortgages. "Absolutely, As they've been in business and what their level of education is. Ask it's a good investment," he says. "I'm much more comfortable in how many private mortgages they place each year and what level of mortgages than I would be in any equity, any future, anything." support you can expect after funding. prime With the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis spawning events that A good broker will provide meticulous due diligence on both the o threaten to topple global institutional lenders, investing in private borrower and the property before presenting you with an investment mortgages might seem counterintuitive. But if you have surplus ider. opportunity to consider. They'll review property appraisals, structure estate low-risk capital and financial and real-estate smarts, it's a relatively low an effective mortgage agreement and exit strategy. They'll also weigh over strategy that offers stable, consistent returns, control ove your current and expected housing values and help build in safeguards, investments and shelter from volatile equity markets. value such as an appropriate loan-to-value amount that doesn't exceed 80% (and is often much lower). Some will provide support and Private mortgages are an "embryonic" business in Canada and not administration if a borrower defaults. "If the homework is done and something that's talked about a lot. "But in today's climate, it's a very everything is done properly, in my opinion it's one of the safest good opportunity, contrary to what people think," says St Steven Lee, priv investments out there," says Fritz. "We've funded over 1,000 private based managing partner at Markham, Ont.-based mortgage brokerage mortgage deals, and less than 10 went to power of sale." Verico Newbridge Mortgage Inc. With banks pulling back on credit approval over the last year, "it's opening up more choices in mortgage First-mortgage deals range from $100,000 to $300,000, while second inventory for the private investor, and now they're able to cherry- mortgages are usually for $20,000 to $25,000. Lee suggests that pick." t novice investors start small. "It takes time to understand how the whole process works."
"Be the banker the banker"