Using Public Records to Find Private Lenders

Services for Real Estate Pros with Clever Investor

Need more cash to do your real estate deals?  Where do you find private lenders? Are they a money source only for a select few who have developed great networks and relationships?  Or can you locate private lenders to help grow your real estate investing business?  

Private lenders are the secret weapon to keeping the money flowing so you can keep your investing business growing and profiting. And amazingly enough, private lenders are incredibly simple to find – if you know where to look. Good news, Active Rainers!  I'm going to explain the mystery. 

Why Investors Benefit From Using Private Money

Before I leak my secret, let me tell you why you need private money lenders to grow your investing portfolio. First and foremost, you will pay less for your investing dollars putting more profit in your pocket. Hard money lenders have their place in the investing game, but why pay anywhere from 12 -15% plus points if you don't have to? private moneyPrivate money lenders will accept anywhere from a 4 – 10% return on their money.

Private money lenders also allow you to purchase properties without banging your head against lender-imposed limits. Many investors don't know there is a limit to how many mortgages you can have before commercial lenders decide you are too risky to do business with. The limit has been as high as ten mortgages and as low as four. Seriously? If you're an investor, a portfolio of 8 – 10 houses is a low-end starting point, not your investment glass ceiling. 

Best of all, private lenders, especially those you have built a strong relationship with, can pull the trigger fast. They know you, they know how you evaluate deals and they can sign a check (or send a wire) without blinking.  If you are working with private lenders you won't lose deals to other investors just because they have cash on hand.

How Do You Find Private Lenders

So how do you find these private lender investors? I like to shop close to home. Having private money investors from my local area has a several big benefits. First, it's easier for them to meet me, see that I'm a real person and take a look at what I've done previously in my investing business. It creates a comfort level when someone is handing me money rather than mailing a check or doing a wire transfer. They know where I live.  They know where I do business.  They know how to find me and follow up on our deals and the properties we buy together.   Another benefit is that their money is conveniently handy. Picking up a check or getting money into my title stacks of cashcompany's escrow account is just faster and simpler when everyone is local. Sure, I'll take long distance money, too! But local is a good place to start.  And local is like working with a valued team member.

Go online to your county Clerk of Courts office. If you can't access the records online, you're going to have to get yourself down to the Clerk of Courts office in person. It will be worth the trip, I promise you. It seems like every county is set up a little differently and some are easier to work with than others, but here's the general process you will follow:

1. Go into the "Search Records" function. You may need to sign in, click to agree to their terms or jump through some other minor hoop. It's all good.  You aren't signing your life away.

2. In most of the search forms, you can set the parameters of what you're searching for. In my local database, I can search by last name, document type and/or category and dates. I set my search for "MORTGAGE" records and I set the search dates for the past four years or so. A lot of people were lending money in the run-up but they are not lending money now. In order to save time, I only search for dates after the economy crashed, from about January of 2009 to the today. These people still have money to put out.  They are just perhaps a little more selective about how they lend it.

3. In some counties, you need to enter a name or the first three letters of a name. Don't let this stop you. I go with common names: Jones, Smith, Harris, Turner, Johnson, Johnston, Adams, etc. I type in the first three letters (or the whole name if it's required by the system). 

4. Scan the search results for names. Ninety percent (or more) of your search results will be traditional lenders -- banks and publicly known mortgage originators. That's fine but its not what you are looking for. You're looking for the names of individuals or what sounds like a small,local company. 

5. When you find an individual name, click on the document and bring up the mortgage. The amount the private person has loaned is usually on the first page. This gives you an idea of how much money they like to loan. It almost always includes the address of the person loaning the money. Write it down!
How To Approach A Private Money Lender

I put the names and addresses of private lenders, as well as the amount they have loaned on an Excel spreadsheet which is easily merged into my word processing program for letter creation. From there, I send out a simple letter, introducing myself as a local real estate investor and telling them a little bit about me, including the fact that I like to work with private investors. I give them my contact information as well as my website address so they can see what I do and check that I'm the real deal. Then I simply ask if they'd like to be informed of any investing opportunities that I come across. 

I always follow up with little "touching base" notes – at least every other month. I don't clobber them with a credibility kit right off the bat or press for money right away. Think of it as a dating game with someone you really like and don't want to screw up on.  This isn't the person you just want to say you took to dinner once.  This is the person you think you might want to settle down and raise a family with.  Go slow, don't scare them off and let them see the value of what you do. These privatre money lenders know a wanna be when they see one.  Prove cup of coffeethat you are a valued member of their team.  True players have their own parameters of what they look for in a deal. If you can, meet for coffee and talk about what kinds of properties they like to invest in and what kind of returns they like to see on their money. 

There's a FORTUNE sitting in public records – all the money you will ever need for your deals. But if you don't ask, you don't get. Why are you still looking at this page?? Click on over to your local Clerk of Courts site NOW. 

This is just one of the great tips I enjoy sharing about locating cash to invest in real estate.  Check out my blog, watch some of my free training videos, and let me help you succeed as a real estate investor.  

Posted by

Cody Sperber SignatureCody is the founder and CEO of Clever Investor, the industry's premier source of quality real estate investing education. Cody has successfully closed many different types of real estate transactions including wholesale deals, short sales, multi-unit, subject to, lease options and his own proprietary investing strategy, the Reverse Short Sale. As a new investor Cody quickly gained a huge competitive advantage by mastering online lead generation, building one of the most successful real estate investing firms in the Arizona market. His companies have bought and sold hundreds of millions in properties and he has enjoyed several years where he's closed hundreds of real estate transactions. Before real estate Cody served time in the Navy and attended Arizona State. He is now married to his best friend and they have two beautiful children (Hudson and Brynlee).  Cody most recently published the Start Closing Deals course on real estate investors.


Comments (1)

Robin Moffitt
Gold Star Realty, Inc. - Nampa, ID
"Gold Star Service....Gold Star Results !"

Great Post.  I've had title companies research this for us...not as specific as you have relayed but...same concept.  Great idea.  Thanks for sharing,


Robin Moffitt

Apr 23, 2013 05:28 AM