Top 2nd Mortgage Lenders in California

A very small percentage of private & hard money lenders in the United States will consider a 2nd mortgage, or any junior lien position. It’s a risky proposition for a lender if there is a default, which leads to a foreclosure. Second mortgage private lenders are a bit easier to find in California as opposed to other states. Here are some of the general guidelines for most private lenders that offer 2nd mortgages:

  • Loan Types: Refinance & Equity Cash Out
  • Loan amounts from $30,000 to $10,000,000
  • Combined Loan-to-Value up to 65%
  • Loan Type: Refinance,  Equity Cash Out, Cross Collateral
  • Property Types: Residential or Commercial Real Estate
    • Primary Residence OK if funds used for business purpose

Most 2nd mortgages are used for cashing out equity on a California property. Hardly any private lenders in California will consider a 2nd mortgage for a property purchase. None of the lenders on our platform consider gap funding.

Some lenders will take a 2nd position when cross collateralizing. Typically crossing collateral occurs when a private lender is funding a 1st position loan secured by one investment property, and they take a 2nd position on the borrower’s other property for additional security to reduce the loan-to-value for the loan.

Top California Private Lenders for 2nd Mortgages

Below is a list of the top private/hard money lending companies listed on Private Lender Link that offer private 2nd mortgages secured by real estate in California. All of these companies only lend in California.

Stonecrest LogoStonecrest Financial was established in 1987 and manages several funds which are very well capitalized. While most of their 2nd mortgage loans are secured by properties in the San Francisco Bay Area, they do fund a lot of loans throughout Southern California.

Here are some of Stonecrest’s lending guidelines for 2nd mortgages:

  • Loan Amounts from $250K to $10M
  • Combined LTV up to 65%
  • Interest Rates for 2nd mortgages: 9% to 12%
  • Loan Term: 1 to 60 months
  • Property Types: SFR, Condo, Multifamily, Office, Retail, Industrial, others
    • Owner-Occupied Homes OK if loan is for business purpose

Stonecrest Financial has an excellent reputation in the mortgage industry. They have been listed on Private Lender Link since 2016. We have visited their office in San Jose several times and spent time with their executive team.

2nd Mortgage Line of Credit

One of the reasons Stonecrest is the top California lender for 2nd mortgages is their unique line of credit program. Many real estate investors love this option in a scenario where they don’t need to use all the cash out funds right away. Stonecrest can provide a credit line so that the borrower only pays interest on the funds used. This is also a popular option with business owners that need working capital. The loan can be secured by equity in the business owner’s primary residence, or an investment property, or both. Stonecrest will consider using multiple properties as collateral for a single loan.

The maximum loan term is typically 3 years. Stonecrest can also provide their credit line for a 1st mortgage. Or they can fund the 1st as a standard bridge loan at a slightly lower interest rate, and a 2nd mortgage as a credit line with a smaller loan amount. We have not found any other private lending companies in California that offers a line of credit private mortgage secured by a single property.


SDC Capital logo white bg

SDC Capital is a family office lender that lends in major markets throughout California. The majority of their lending is in Southern California, but they also fund a number of 2nd mortgages in the Bay Area and Sacramento.

One unique thing about SDC is they rely on their own in-house valuation and hardly ever require formal appraisals. This could save a few days in the closing timeline for residential properties and 1-2 weeks for commercial properties. If the subject property is located in Southern California, one of the principals will drive to the property to meet the borrower and do an inspection. For properties in Northern California, they have a representative who will visit the property.

SDC Capital tends to be lower on origination fees (points) than other lenders, but that may not be the case for a 2nd mortgage. It really depends on a number of factors – location, CLTV, property type, etc.

Here are some of SDC Capital’s guidelines for 2nd mortgages:

  • Loan Amounts from $100K to $2M
  • Combined LTV up to 65%
  • Interest Rates for 2nd mortgages: 9% to 10.99%
  • Loan Term: 3 to 24 months
  • Property Types: SFR, Condo, Multifamily, Office, Retail, Industrial
    • Owner-Occupied Homes OK if loan is for business purpose

SDC has been listed on Private Lender Link since 2016. We have visited their office in Burbank (Los Angeles County) and meet their executives at industry conferences every few months.


brookline group logo

The Brookline Group sounds like a big company, but it’s really one trust deed investor, Michael Klemens, who lends out his own retirement funds. He has been offering private money loans since 1989. He is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate, so he also originates and processes the loans himself. Mike will consider properties throughout the state and has funded a lot of 2nd’s, 3rd’s and even a few 4th mortgages.

Mike’s maximum loan-to-value for a junior lien is 50%, which is much lower than the other lenders mentioned here. He hardly ever requires an appraisal since the LTV is so low. If the property is located within 100 miles of Los Angeles, he will likely drive to the property and meet the borrower in person.

Here are some of The Brookline Group’s guidelines for 2nd mortgages:

  • Loan Amounts from $30K to $1.2M
  • Combined LTV up to 50%
  • Interest Rates for 2nd mortgages: 8% to 12.50%
  • Loan Term: 1 to 60 months
  • Property Types: Land, SFR, Condo, Multifamily, Commercial
    • Owner-Occupied Homes OK if loan is for business purpose

Mike Klemens has been listed on Private Lender Link since 2018. We have spent time with him at several conferences hosted by the California Mortgage Association which is where we initially met.


Click the green buttons above to view each lender’s profile. Private Lender Link has found all of companies mentioned above to be very reputable.  If you make contact with them, please mention that you read about them in this article.

Contact us if you’d like any lender recommendations for private and hard money lenders in California and other states throughout the country.

Correspondent Lending for Private Hard Money Lenders & Brokers

There are now several private lending companies in the market that offer a Correspondent program to fund private/hard money loans, by partnering with loan originators. The term correspondent is not as well defined in private lending as it is in conventional lending. In the private mortgage world, it’s also referred to as table funding. The key difference from the conventional correspondent lending is the correspondent partner does not need to use their own money to fund the loan.

The expansion of correspondent programs in private mortgage lending started in 2018. The increased competition for deal flow spurred this creative way for lender to get more deals. The companies offering this program are typically national lenders with a large operation that also originate loans themselves. They already have a back office and efficient system to fund loans in multiple states. Some of them offer a white label solution in which a separate entity has been set up for closing, so that the lender’s brand is masked. Other lenders simply offer lower pricing for loan originators and call it a correspondent program, or table funding.

How it typically works:

  • Loan Originator goes through approval process
  • Originator advertises Correspondent loan program to their clients as if it were their own
  • Originator presents deal to Correspondent
  • Correspondent evaluates loan request
  • Originator issues a term sheet to Borrower without reference to Correspondent
  • Correspondent does not communicate with Borrower
  • Correspondent funds the loan and retains servicing
  • Originator maintains relationship with Borrower

Correspondent lending is typically offered for residential investment and multifamily properties. However, there are a small number of lenders offering this program for commercial real estate – office, retail, industrial, assisted living facilities and others.


Origination Fee
Most private lenders that offer a correspondent program will charge an origination fee. We’ve found that amount to typically be in the range of 0.50 to 1.25 points. The loan originator can add their origination fee on top of that, and there may be limits. The lender may not like to see the total origination fee being too much higher than what they charge.

Interest Rate
The interest rate spread is what makes a correspondent program attractive. A loan originator can earn a rate spread for the duration of the loan and not have to handle the loan servicing.

Additional Fees
Some Correspondents offer the opportunity for the loan originator to earn a spread on additional fees like credit reports, background checks, and appraisals.

An Alternative to Brokering

Many mortgage brokers that have a correspondent relationship for private lending are advertising themselves as a direct lender, which may give them more credibility with their clients and give them an edge over their competition. This not necessarily good for other private lenders in the market, but all lenders may want to consider forming a correspondent relationship to monetize good leads that they cannot fund in-house. Some private lenders only lend in one particular region. If they get a lead for a deal outside of their lending area, they can use a correspondent to get that deal funded, without risking their own capital.

Lenders Offering a Correspondent Program

Our site has a Capital Directory which includes institutional note buyers, capital advisors, and correspondent programs. Below are a few of the companies that have set up a correspondent lending program:

Contact us if you have any questions about these companies or private mortgage correspondent programs. We will continue to add more companies to our Capital Directory and make an effort to maintain a database of many capital providers in the private lending industry.

Credit and Financial Requirements for Private Mortgage Loans

Private and hard money lenders generally do not have a lot of requirements when it comes to credit history and financial documentation. Equity is the primary factor in a private lender’s decision to fund a loan. For a purchase, how much equity (or cash) is the borrower bringing to the closing table. For a refinance or cash out, is there a sufficient amount of equity (35% for most private loans)? For a residential fix & flip, will the after-repair value result in at least 35% equity, and how much is the borrower contributing to the project?

That said, some lenders do have a minimum credit score requirement. Here on, every lender must indicate their minimum credit requirements, if any. Even if the credit score is not a factor, lenders may check a borrower’s credit report to make sure there is no fraud, judgements or liens which may affect the lender’s security.

Many private lenders will ask for 3 months of bank statements to make sure the borrower has enough money to pay any expenses required to operate the subject property. For a commercial property, the lender will want to see a rent roll to make sure the income is sufficient to make the interest payments. For a rehab fix & flip project, a lender may be funding most of the project costs, but they wants the borrower to have some cash in the bank in case the project goes over budget.

We’ve seen some lenders use the borrower’s credit score to determine the interest rate and fees. Regardless of the loan-to-value, a lower credit score may give a lender a reason to charge a higher interest rate and additional origination fees.

Private Money for Land Loans

The number of private lenders offering loans secured by land is very limited. The ones that do consider land will be very conservative on the loan-to-value, typically no more than 50% LTV or 50% LTC (loan-to-cost). And the interest rate may be much higher than loans secured by improved property since the risk is so much higher.

Why Won’t Many Private Lenders Consider Land?

Private lenders always have to consider the worst-case scenario when evaluating a potential loan funding. That worst-case scenario is having to foreclose and own the subject property. So a better question may be: “Why would a lender not want to own land?”

  • Difficult to Sell
    Land is the least desirable type of real estate. Even if the asking price is 50% of the value, there are not many buyers out there for unimproved real estate.
  • Lack of Income
    Most land does not produce any income. If a lender is not able to quickly sell the property, they will have to hold it for a long term while having to pay property taxes and other expenses.
  • Lack of Development Experience
    Even if the land has entitlements and can be developed, a lender may not have the expertise or experience to continue the project.

Lenders that do consider land may only consider certain types of land:

Urban Land: Located in a heavily populated area
Suburban Land: Located in a moderately populated area
Rural Land: Located in a small town or remote area
Raw Land: Has no utilities
Agricultural Land: Used for operating an agricultural business
Recreational Land: Used for a sporting or recreation business
Timberland: Forested property

Some lenders will only consider land that has entitlements. This makes the land more marketable in case the lender has to foreclose and ends up owning the property.

Cross Collateralize
Some lenders will only consider land if the borrower has another investment property, which is not land, that they are willing to use as additional collateral.

Here on, all lenders that consider land as collateral have to specify their criteria for lending on land, including the type of land, maximum LTV, and other guidelines. On any of the search results pages, use the Property Type filter at the top and select ‘Commercial Land’ or ‘Residential Land’ from the drop-down list.

Fees Charged for Private Mortgage Loans

Most private and hard money lending companies do not charge any upfront fees prior to funding a loan, especially for residential properties. However, we have seen some private lenders charging various types of fees prior to funding, and in many cases it shouldn’t be a deterrent. Some fees are reasonable or common for private lending, and every lending company has their own policies on this matter. Upfront fees for commercial real estate are typically different than residential property.

We require all lenders on our platform to indicate which fees they charge, and whether the fees are charge before closing. You can find this information on each lender’s profile.

Below are some of the types of fees we’ve seen lenders charging prior to funding short-term private mortgage loans…

Appraisal Fee
Many private and hard money lenders will not require an appraisal, but some do. If an appraisal is required, the fee is typically paid directly to the appraiser.

Deposits are more common for commercial real estate bridge loans, but we have seen some private lenders requiring a deposit for a residential property loan. Most lenders who do charge a deposit have decided that they are going to fund the loan, but they want a commitment from the borrower. This may be completely reasonable because a private lender may spend a lot of time and effort to complete the process of funding the loan. It would be a huge loss for the lender if the borrower decided to back out of the deal.

Site Visit Fee
For private lenders who only lend in one single market will typically visit every property they fund and meet the borrower as well, without charging any sort of fee for their time and travel. We have seen some private lenders who lend throughout the United States, and they still need to visit the property. This is more common in commercial bridge loans, and sometimes the site visit fee is included in the deposit, if applicable. Most residential property lenders that require an appraisal will not need to do a site visit. We’ve seen site visit fees range from $500 to $3,000.

More info about other types of fees will be added soon.

Private Lending for Owner-Occupied Homes

Most private lenders will not consider a borrower’s primary residence, or a vacation home, as collateral for a private mortgage. If a borrower has a 4-unit residential property and lives in one of the units, this is still considered as owner-occupied, and private lenders won’t touch it. The main reason is government regulations. Private lending is really just for investment real estate.

There are some exceptions, and there are also some alternatives to getting a home loan from a bank. For private lenders, the purpose of the loan is more important than the occupancy. If a borrower owns a business and needs to take equity out of their primary residence to use for the business, there are some private lending companies on our platform that will provide a loan in this situation, if the property is in California. Another scenario acceptable to some California private lenders is if the loan proceeds are used to purchase an investment property. Some private lenders offer “residential bridge loans” which is used if a borrower is purchasing a new primary residence and needs to use the equity from their current home which will be sold shortly after the closing of the new home. The loan term for this situation is typically 11 months.

We have only one lender on our platform that offers consumer-purpose owner-occupied private money loans, but only in California: Pacific Private Money.

If you are having trouble qualifying for a mortgage from a bank or institutional lender, we have a few companies on our platform that offer “non-prime” mortgages which is slightly more expensive than a bank, but they can accommodate borrower with lower credit and challenged financials. Nationwide Mortgage is a good option for loans in CA, FL, OR, VA, CO, WA. Citadel Servicing Corporation offers non-prime mortgages in many states.

100% Financing for Private and Hard Money Loans

Are you seeking 100% financing for a real estate investment purchase and finding that it’s not easy to find a lender for your deal? In this guide, we’ll explain how 100% financing may be possible, the maximum loan-to-value, and how to find private hard money lenders that offer the highest leverage.

This guide is focused on Purchase Bridge Loans. If you’re a house flipper, check out our other guide that covers 100% Financing for Residential Fix & Flip Projects.

Hardly any private lending companies in the United States will consider 100% financing because it is extremely risky. If you don’t put any money into a deal, you have nothing to lose, and therefore, you may be more inclined to walk away from a property if things don’t work out as planned. This is the explanation we hear from most of the lenders in our network.

If you think the lender can just take back the property and make a profit, that is not reality. Foreclosure is a lender’s worst nightmare. Professional private lending companies are in business to lend money, not to own and manage properties.

Before we continue, we have to clarify that private mortgage lending is only for investment real estate. It’s not for buying a home that you’re planning to live in. There is one exception in California, and we’ll write another article to cover that.

Another item to clarify is the type of lender. The information in this guide is focused on  professional private lending companies, also known as hard money lenders or bridge lenders. We are not referring to private individual investors who lend out their own retirement funds.

100% Financing For Purchase Bridge Loans

The only way to get 100% financing for the purchase of an investment property which will not be significantly improved during the loan term, is with cross collateralization. This means you need to have another investment property with a sufficient amount of equity to use instead of cash.

If you do have another investment property to pledge as collateral, the lender would have a 1st position on the property being purchased, plus a 1st or 2nd mortgage on the property you already own (the “crossed” property).

If the crossed property is owned free-and-clear, meaning it doesn’t have an existing mortgage, you can use up to 70% of that property’s value for the purchase transaction.

Not all private lenders offer this, and it may take a bit longer to close because the lender now has to do their due diligence on a second property.

Not many lenders will consider a 2nd position mortgage, but the ones that do will likely have higher pricing. The interest rates for most 1st position private mortgages range from 7% to 12%, with the average being around 9% nationally. For a 2nd mortgage, the interest rates typically range from 10% to 15%.

If the crossed property will have a new 1st mortgage instead of a 2nd mortgage, the pricing would likely be the same as if you brought cash to the closing.

If you feel that this method of crossing another property being called “100% financing” is a bit deceiving, you’re not alone. However, this is how some lenders advertise that they offer 100% financing for a purchase bridge loan, and what they really mean is you can buy a property without a cash down payment.

Seller Financing Option for Higher Leverage

One other way to get higher leverage in purchase bridge loans is with a seller carry-back. This means the seller would provide a 2nd mortgage to fill the gap between the private lender’s maximum LTV and the purchase price.

While some private lenders are OK with this, they will not consider it when the borrower is not putting any of their own cash into the deal, so it’s not possible to get 100% financing with this scenario.

If a lender is willing to fund up to 70% of a purchase, they may be OK with you putting 10% down and the seller can finance the remaining 20% with a 2nd position mortgage.

For a residential property purchase, it will be nearly impossible to find a private lender willing to fund a 2nd mortgage for a purchase. This is commonly known as Gap Funding. We’ve known some companies that offered this in the past, but they went out of business or had to change their model because it resulted in too many foreclosures.

In commercial real estate financing, there are some private lenders that offer 2nd mortgages for a purchase. They call it “mezzanine financing” or “preferred equity.”

The minimum loan amount is typically one million dollars, and the property investor will need to contribute 10% to 15% percent of the purchase price in cash.

Buying Below Market Value

What if you’re getting a great deal off-market and buying way below the real value?

Most private lenders will not take this into consideration. In private mortgage lending, the purchase price is the value.

If you try to argue this with a private lender, their response will likely be that if they can fund 100% of the purchase price, they can just buy the property for themselves and be a real estate investor instead of a lender.

We see a lot of real estate investors using the perceived value amount when they state the loan-to-value to a lender. But if you’re buying a property and not adding any value to it during the loan term, a private lender will primarily focus on the purchase price, and many use the acronym LTP which is short for “loan-to-purchase price.”

If Not 100%, What’s the Maximum Loan-to-Purchase Price?

The max LTV for most short-term purchase bridge loans is 70%, and a small number of lenders will go up to 75%. If you’re buying vacant land, the maximum is 50% loan-to-value. Anything higher than that just doesn’t make sense for a private lender.

So to purchase an improved property, you’ll need a down payment of at least 30%, and for vacant land, the minimum down payment is 50%. If a lender is more conservative based on the property type, location or other factors, you’ll need a bigger down payment.

Some private lending companies offer long-term financing (5, 10 or 30 years) for residential rental properties. The max LTP for these loans can go up to 80% if you have good credit and the property is located in a primary market.

How to Find Lenders

You can find direct private/hard money lenders right here on our website, and we have a filter you can use to find the highest leverage.

  1. Start at the Find a Lender page
  2. Select one of these 4 Loan Types: Private Money, Hard Money, Commercial Bridge or Residential Bridge
    (Private Money & Hard Money will have similar results, and all lenders listed offer purchase bridge loans)
  3. Type in a state or major metro area, and click SEARCH
  4. Browse the list or click REFINE RESULTS in the Filters section
  5. Locate the field for LTP (Loan-to-Purchase)
  6. Type 100, and press Enter
  7. If you don’t see any results, type 95, 90, 85, and keep going down in increments of 5
  8. View each lender’s profile to learn about their guidelines, background and more
  9. Click the green CONTACT button and reach out to the lender directly

What’s the Difference Between a Private Lender and Hard Money Lender?

There are a number of opinions regarding the difference between a “private lender” and a “hard money lender”. In our opinion, they are the same – a non-institutional lender offering short-term mortgage loans to real estate investors. Our take on this comes from the perspective of being heavily integrated in the private lending industry. The majority of people who would disagree with our opinion are real estate investors (borrowers). This is what we hear from many real estate investors:

“A private lender is an individual investor who lends his/her own money and does not charge any points/origination fees. A hard money lender is a private lending company that charges points and may get their funds from investors.”

However, the lending companies which many real estate investors refer to as “hard money lenders” will commonly refer to themselves as a “private lender” or a “private money lender.”

Some private lending companies in our network do not like to be associated with the term “hard money” because they feel it has a bad connotation and makes them seem unprofessional or having extremely high pricing.

Private Lender Link does not list individual mortgage investors on our public directory. We only list private lending companies. Here are some of the benefits of doing business with a private lending company instead of an individual:

  • More Professional
  • More Reliable
  • Never runs out of money
  • Reputation
  • Legal Compliance
  • Easy to Find
  • Better Pricing

There are some benefits to borrowing from an individual investor:

  • May offer higher leverage
  • May consider a joint venture or equity position
  • Many don’t charge points (origination fees)

Private Lender Link does not list individual mortgage investors on our public directory. We only list private / hard money lending companies. It’s too difficult for us to vet individuals investors, and we can’t rely on them to deactivate their listing when they run out of funds to lend.