Getting into Fix & Flips? Read This Appraiser’s Advice First


clip_image003When people hear about Level 4 Funding and the work we do, they often wonder exactly how people put hard money loans to use and create real value with them. Oftentimes, those we help work in the “fix-and-flip” business, rehabbing houses. Of course, the next flurry of questions usually surrounds who does that and how they make it work. We’ve been lucky enough to get a few professional home rehabbers to open up a bit about their work and are highlighting their stories. Jason Maze of Maze Enterprise and Amazing Appraisals was kind enough to give us some insights.

Jason Began as an Appraiser

clip_image005Working in real estate appraisals, Jason routinely helps home buyers and sellers, as well as other parties such as lawyers and accountants, determine the value of a home. While this is often done in advance of a sale, appraisals are routinely performed anytime knowing the value of a property is beneficial, such as during a divorce or while handling estate planning. Over the years, he really got to know the numbers and specific areas. When the market crashed in 2008, he noticed an interesting trend. Canadians were heading into the area and buying en masse. “We can do that,” he decided. With his experience in value and his wife Jennifer’s lifelong affinity for design, the two ventured into the fix-and-flip business.

He Offers Some Tips for Those Getting into Home Rehabs

We asked Jason what advice he’d give someone who was considering getting into the business. “Go for it,” he says. “Make sure you have crunched your numbers. Buy low, sell low.” Although Jason may have the upper hand in valuation because he’s been in the field for decades and now does about ten flips per year on top of it, he says anyone can get a better idea of the numbers by hiring an appraiser before they purchase a property or prior to selling one.

There are Highs and Lows in the Fix-and-Flip Business

So far, Jason says his and Jennifer’s most rewarding project has been a historic home. With Jennifer’s designs and Jason’s fiscal sense, the outcome was great. However, the icing on the cake was when HGTV contacted the couple and asked about airing it on a show. This particular property, aside from celebrity status, was a bit of a rarity for the duo, as they typically aim for “newer” homes, or those built in the 1970s through now. Jason says they “learned their lesson” about dealing with older homes the hard way by purchasing one sight unseen. When they finally got their hands on it, they realized it was built with mud and straw, then covered in plaster, as opposed to modern building materials. This, he adds, isn’t uncommon for the period. Many homes throughout the southwestern US, particularly in the Phoenix area, were built this way because it’s what the earliest residents had on hand and helped make the desert heat more bearable. Still, it was an unexpected surprise they had to overcome and added a few extra challenges to the rehab.

Jason and Jennifer Have Big Plans

clip_image009Despite the occasional blip, the fix-and-flip business has been good to the Maze family. The pair does about two homes at a time, continuously adding to their impressive portfolio. This still allows plenty of time for Jason to grow his appraisal business. Jennifer, on the other hand, has been balancing managing the design of their rehab properties with a nursing career, which she may soon leave behind in favor of branching out on her own offering design services to others. Of course, the family is still allowing plenty of time for fun and new adventures together as well. Chat with Jason About Appraisals or Get Info on a Fix & Flip Loan.

If you’d like to chat with Jason about his appraisal services, go to

You can also visit to learn more about loans for your next fix-and-flip project and even begin the application process right on the site. We’ll be sharing more stories from home rehabbers like Jason too, so pop back in soon for the next installment.

Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC  Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Office:  (623) 582-4444 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027

What to Expect With Hard Money Loans Arizona

Hard money loans Arizona offers real estate investors a great tool. But, that tool is only useful if the investor understand the process and knows what to expect.

Hard money loans Arizona represent a good opportunity for many real estate investors. But knowing what to expect from the process and how to prepare are critical to a successful request and having the loan funded. Knowing what the lender is looking for will let you present him or her with the desired information and be prepared to meet the requirements of getting the loan.

Hard money lenders are going to want to see that the borrower has some money in the bank as a safety net in case there are issues with the property or the future transaction. Being cash poor is going to make it difficult for you to pay insurance, invest in repairs to the property or even maintain the property. So it is always wise to create a nest egg before beginning your search for hard money loans Arizona.

As a first time hard money borrower, it is also important that you do your homework. Understanding the terms for hard money loans Arizona is very important. The interest rate is definitely going to be higher than a traditional loan and the terms are going to be much shorter. But that is the price of doing business in the hard money world. However, the advantage for you is that all of the terms on hard money loans Arizona are negotiable. You simply need to work with the lender to agree to terms that meet both your needs and his or her needs.

What to Ask For

The loan to value rate is simple the comparison of the amount that you are asking for and the current market value of the property. In most cases a hard money lender will never fund over 70% of the cost of the property. So you need to be aware of this “magic” number and limit your request accordingly. In addition, you will need to be able to demonstrate your ability to provide the remaining amount of the purchase price for the down payment on the property.

Have a Planed Exit Strategy

All that the lender is really interested in is recovering his or her investment and interest on the hard money loan. But the lender understands that for you to pay off such a large loan in a short period of time, then you will most likely need to resell the property for a profit. So the lender will want to know how you plan to accomplish that task. And because it is only on a very rare occasion that things go perfectly, it is best for the lender and for you, to have more than one exit plan. You might want to do a quick flip on a residential property. But if you can’t find a buyer then a reasonable backup plan it to rent the property and seek a traditional loan to pay off the hard money loan.

Knowing what to expect and being prepared will not only help you to secure a hard money loan but it will also help you to be successful in profiting from that loan.

What Hard Money Lenders Arizona Are Looking For

Understanding what hard money lenders Arizona require to fund a loan will make your application process fast and easy so you can move forward with your real estate investment deal.

Most people feel a great deal of apprehension when they are requesting a loan. There are mountains of paperwork as well as many lofty qualifications that must be met. And even after attempting to meet all of the criteria, many potential borrowers are turned down. But knowing what hard money lenders Arizona require to fund a loan request can turn a difficult situation into a very successful investment deal.

Unlike traditional loans which are based on your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan, hard money loans are based on the value of the real estate being used to secure the loan. This collateral is really the deciding factor on loan approval and the amount of the loan. So credit issues or no credit will not eliminate your chances of securing a hard money loan.

You also need to understand that hard money lenders Arizona are in business to make money. So even though they are not imposing the credit qualifications that a traditional lender would use, the hard money lender Arizona is going to protect his or her investment. This is done by only funding a loan that is between 65% and 75% of the value of the collateral property. This ensures that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender is still able to sell the collateral property to recover the full balance on the loan.

Hard Money Down Payments

Because hard money lenders offer less than the full purchase price of a property, buyers need to furnish the remaining funds in the form of a rather substantial down payment. This actually is a second form of security for the lender as buyers have their own funds tied up in the deal and will work even more diligently to make the deal a success and repay their hard money loan. Lenders look at the borrower having “skin in the game” as a great source of motivation.

A Good Option When Used Correctly

Hard money loans are a good option for many borrowers as long as they understand the process of the loan and how to use the money correctly. Paying a higher interest rate on a short term hard money loan can often be the difference between closing a deal and losing out to someone else who is already funded. Then circling back to a traditional lender to refinance at a lower rate and a longer term is the smart move. But this entire process hinges on borrowers knowing how a hard money loan works and being prepared to work within the terms of this type of loan.

Being prepared to provide the large down payment and being willing to use the full value of the property as collateral on the hard money loan are two steps that each borrower much take to benefit from a hard money loan.


Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC 
Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Office:  (623) 582-4444 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027


Advantages of Hard Money Loans Arizona

It is true that hard money loans cost more in interest and fees than most traditional loans. But there are several advantages of using hard money loans Arizona.

Most borrowers are focused on trying to find the most affordable lender when they are seeking a loan. And thinking along those lines is likely to keep many borrowers from taking advantage of all of the benefits of hard money loans Arizona. But investing just a few minutes in exploring the advantages of hard money loans could easily change some borrower’s opinion of hard money loans Arizona.

As a business person, your time is very valuable. And hours spent completing traditional loan applications are costing you money. The time could be better spent managing and growing your business. The much simpler application process of hard money loans Arizona is a great way to save yourself time and the stress that is associated with completing forms and compiling bank statements and other documentation.

Another advantage of hard money loans is the fact that you will not need to submit your personal banking and financial statements to the hard money lender as you would if working with a bank. Traditional lenders are interested in business creditworthiness and financial health as well as the personal financial situation of each owner of the business. However, a hard money lender is only focusing on the current market value of the property which will be the collateral for the loan.

Self-Employment is Not an Issue

Many banks and traditional lenders have very specific criteria for funding a loan when the borrower is self-employed. This can make it even harder than normal for a borrower to qualify for a loan. But a hard money lender does not see self-employment as a negative. And in some cases they prefer it as it shows initiative and the desire to commit to hard work to become successful.

Used Correctly Hard Money Is a Great Tool

Hard money loans are not the perfect solution for every borrower. If you are looking for a long term loan, or if you need to borrow the entire purchase price of a property, then hard money lenders will be of no help to you. But if you are looking for a short term loan that can be funded quickly, then hard money is for you. The application process is much less lengthy and the criteria for approval is related more to the actual current market value of the property than it is your credit score. So borrowers with poor credit or no credit will have a fair opportunity to secure a hard money loan.

Not only is applying to many banks time consuming but it is also humiliating to be turned down time after time. But you can avoid the embarrassment and the wasted time by presenting your request to a reputable hard money lender. With a solid plan to purchase and resell for a profit, you have a higher than average chance of getting the funding that you need from a hard money lender.

Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC  Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Tel:  (623) 582-4444
Texas Tel:      (512) 516-1177 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027
111 Congress Ave |Austin | Texas | 78701
About the Author:  Dennis has been working in the real estate industry in some capacity for the last 45 years. He purchased his first property when he was just 18 years old. He quickly learned about the amazing investment opportunities provided by trust deed investing and hard money loans. His desire to help others make money in real estate investing led him to specialize in alternative funding for real estate investors who may have trouble getting a traditional bank loan. Dennis is passionate about alternative funding sources and sharing his knowledge with others to help make their dreams come true. Dennis has been married to his wonderful wife for 42 years. They have 2 beautiful daughters 5 amazing grandchildren. Dennis has been an Arizona resident for the past 40 years.

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The Best Time to Use Hard Money Lenders Arizona

Not every real estate transaction is tailored to a traditional loan. In some cases hard money lenders Arizona is the only choice to meet the terms of a great deal.

There are many moving parts in most real estate investment deals. You might be facing a very small window of opportunity to make the purchase or you might not have the cash on hand to complete the deal. You might even want to hold onto your cash to complete the renovations needed to quickly sell and turn a profit on a property. But whatever challenge cannot be met by a traditional lender, hard money lenders Arizona is probably going to be able to accommodate.

Banks and mortgage companies have a specific process that they must follow for each loan application. And there is a certain amount of time that this process is going to require. So if you have just a few days to raise the funds for a great investment property, a traditional lender is not going to be of much help to you. But hard money lenders Arizona offer a legitimate means of raising the capital that you need quickly.

Sometimes, timing can be an issue not because you need the money very quickly but because you have just completed the purchase of another property. In many cases, you do not have the available credit to make an additional purchase. But a hard money lenders Arizona will only be considering the current market value of the property being used as collateral and not your current debt load. This will allow you to make the additional purchase and not miss out on a great opportunity just due to poor timing.

A Unique Opportunity

Not every real estate investment is a simple case of buying low and selling for a profit. In some cases, the buyer needs to be a visionary who can see the very obscure potential in a property. If this is the case, a bank is not likely to be willing to write a loan for the property. The risk involved will be higher than a traditional lender is willing to assume. But a creative real estate investor will know that a hard money lender will fund the loan. Yes, the risk is high but the opportunity for reward on these types of deals is also high.

Non-Traditional Circumstances

Hard money loans do cost a borrower more in interest and in points. But when a great opportunity presents itself, it can be worth spending a little bit more to make a great deal more in the long run. When you need to process a loan quickly, or have already maxed out your line of credit with a bank, a hard money lender could be your only choice to land a great deal. Hard money lenders are also a good choice when the property is going to require some vision to increase the value and banks are not willing to take the necessary risk.

3 Requirements to Succeed Using Hard Money Loans Arizona

Understanding these three basic requirements of hard money loans Arizona will help to ensure that you can secure your loan. In addition, these tips will greatly improve your potential of success.

Real estate investors who are not familiar with hard money loans Arizona often have many questions about the process and how to best use a hard money loan to its fullest potential. The first question is always about the collateral required to secure a hard money loan. Borrowers want to know how much they can borrow and how that number is determined. All of this financial information is a huge part of the first requirement of hard money loans Arizona. Having a sufficient down payment is critical to securing a hard money loan. Lenders are only going to offer between 65% and 75% of the purchase price of the property. The borrower is required to provide the remaining 25% to 35% in the form of a down payment. This assures the lender that the property will almost always remain more valuable than the outstanding balance of the loan.

In addition to the cash to purchase the property, the lender is going to want verification that the borrower has the cash reserves necessary to pay the costs associated with owning the property such as the monthly payments, the taxes and insurance. If the property is in need of repairs or renovations, the lender might also want to see that the borrower has the means to make the needed repairs to protect the property value.

Be Prepared with a Detailed Plan

Real estate experience is also an important consideration prior to funding hard money loans Arizona. The lender is going to need to understand the borrower’s previous experience in real estate investing to know that they are a good investment. This experience can be demonstrated through past successful investments as well as a clear and detailed plan for the current project. Items such as a detailed timeline, tasks to be completed, comparable property pricing in the area and a plan for marketing and selling the completed property will all show the lender that this project has a great potential for success due to the experience and professional management of the borrower.


As with any business deal, professionalism is going to be critical to the final success of the project. Not having a clearly defined plan and the money to act on the plan is a sure sign that the project is doomed even before it gets started. But having a plan and a detailed process outlined to achieve the goals will show potential lenders that you are experienced and well prepared to start and successfully finish this project. Not only will this preparation go a long way in helping you secure the hard money loan but it will also help to make the project run more smoothly and remain on budget and on time. The effort you invest before the project begins is equally as critical to its success as any time and effort you invest during the project.

How to Find Reliable Hard Money Lenders Arizona

Finding reliable hard money lenders Arizona is not as easy as driving to a bank or mortgage company. You will need to invest some time to find the best hard money lender to meet your needs.

Most first time hard money borrowers are not very familiar with the process or their options when it comes to selecting a lender. So it can be very tempting to just accept the first lender who is willing to make you an offer. But there are a few key questions that you should answer when you are assessing potential hard money lenders Arizona.

The hard money lenders website is going to tell you a great deal about how they do business and the actual type of service that they offer. Some sites are very basic and are only used to gather your information. They provide no details about the lender or the types of terms that they offer. Often times you learn after the fact that these sites do not belong to actual hard money lenders Arizona, but instead they are operated by an intermediary or broker who is collecting information on potential borrowers and then turning it over to an actual hard money lender. This is not a person that you want to deal with as they are going to add fees and provide you with no real service. You only want to work directly with the lender.

Professionalism is another important factor when selecting hard money lenders Arizona. You want to work with a lender who can meet your financial needs but also your customer service needs. Reliable contact information, a staff that promptly returns calls and emails and clear and professional documentation are all indication of a professional lender and not a fly by night entity.

Finding a Good Match

Not every hard money lender is going to be a good match for every potential borrower. Some lenders focus only on commercial properties while others prefer to focus on residential properties. Selecting a lender who regularly funds projects similar to yours will undoubtedly make the process smoother and faster which is often a driving motivation for using a hard money lender.

Do Your Homework

Any lender, whether a hard money lender or a traditional lender, is simply a service provider. You would never select a builder for your next home, a contractor or even a car mechanic without checking out the business and its reputation. So you need to commit to the same process with a hard money lender. Be certain that they are in good standing with other borrowers and that they are not embroiled in any legal issues. Check out their reputation with previous clients. Did they offer a professional process and service throughout the life of the loan? Were they reasonable to work with one terms and payments? All of this information will give you insight into what your hard money borrowing experience is likely to be when working with that lender.

Understanding Loan to Value Ratio for Hard Money Loans Arizona

Understanding the loan to value ratio for hard money loans Arizona is critical to knowing how much money you can request. Without knowing the LTV you have no idea what lenders would be willing to fund.

Because hard money loans are secured with real estate, it is critical to understand how lenders determine the dollar amount that they are willing to lend. This determination process uses the loan to value ratio which is the loan amount divided by the property value. In most cases a hard money lender will fund up to 65% to 75% of the current property value. What this means for anyone who wants to use funding from hard money loans Arizona to make a purchase is that they must have cash or other financing for the remaining 25% to 35% of the purchase price.

It is important to understand what the loan to value ratio is on the property that you are purchasing so that you can be prepared to pay the remaining balance to complete the purchase. Some borrowers will seek a partner to contribute the remaining funds or others will use other properties as collateral to borrow the remaining funds.

On some rare occasions lenders will use an alternative ratio called the after repair value. This is basing the value of the property on its potential value after the buyer makes the repairs. It works in the borrowers favor as he or she is able to get a larger amount for the hard money loan. The down side is that this type of loan poses a greater risk to the lender who is likely to demand that the borrower pay a higher interest rate as compensation.

Hard Money is Always Secured

Understanding that hard money loans Arizona are all based predominantly on the value of the property being purchased is Important. It is also important to know that the lender will only offer a percentage of that property value as a way to ensure that the property is always worth more than the balance of the loan. This is so that in the event of a default on the loan, the lender can sell the collateral property and recover the full loan amount.

More Risk=More Cost

Hard money lenders are in business to make money just as real estate investors are buying properties to make money. All lenders calculate the amount of hard money loans Arizona in the same way. The only reason that some are willing to offer a higher percentage is because they are willing to assume a greater risk. And in return for that greater risk, the lender is going to require that the borrower pay a higher interest rate on the loan. But if you have no other way to secure the funds needed to close the deal, then paying a higher interest rate is better than losing the deal all together. You will always have the opportunity to refinance the loan in a more traditional manner at a later point in time to improve the interest rate.

Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC 
Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Tel:  (623) 582-4444 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027


Reasons to Use Hard Money Loans Arizona

Knowing when to use hard money loans Arizona is important to the success of many real estate deals that you might encounter. Selecting a hard money loan for the wrong deal can be a very expensive mistake.

There is never a one size fits all solution for your financial funding needs. It is important to understand that even though hard money loans Arizona have a great many benefits, they are only suited for certain types of deals and in certain situations. Knowing the situations that warrant a hard money loan will ensure that you are using this financial tool correctly and getting the greatest benefit from hard money loans Arizona.

Time can be a very critical factor in some real estate transactions. But funding a traditional loan can easily take 30 to 45 days if you are fortunate. But funding for a hard money loan can often times progress in just a few days. So when a great deal is very time sensitive, it makes sense to pay a slightly higher interest rate for a few months to close the deal. The borrower then has the time to follow the traditional path and apply for a loan at a lower interest rate from a traditional lender.

Having no credit makes it very difficult to secure a loan. But if you have found a great property to purchase then using hard money is a good way to secure the loan that you need to purchase the property. And just as with the time sensitive loan mentioned above, the borrower can then invest more time in finding a traditional loan at a lower interest rate.

Many consumers have experienced a great deal of financial issues in the last few years and as a result they have bad credit. Bad credit will all but eliminate the possibility of getting a traditional loan. For those folks with bad credit, hard money loans Arizona is one of the few ways that they can secure a loan. And even though the interest rate is higher than a bank loan, it is the loan that they need to make the purchase.

Hard Money Loans Are a Good Option

There are some circumstances that are beyond a borrowers control such as other potential buyers or a seller who is working on a very tight time schedule. In other cases, the borrower might have bad credit due to past mistakes or poor decisions. But regardless of the reason, when a bank is not an option, some deals can work out to be very successful when funded with hard money.

Make the Smart Choice

Having credit issues or working on a very tight schedule is no reason to pass up a great deal. Using hard money loans correctly can allow you to close a deal and eliminate the issue of time or poor credit. Then with the deal completed, you can focus on finding a more affordable means of refinancing the short term hard money loan.

Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC 
Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Tel:  (623) 582-4444 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027


What Are Hard Money Loans Arizona?

Understanding hard money loans Arizona will provide investors with an additional lending resource when they are interested in investing in real estate. It will also greatly reduce the time involved in securing funding.

Hard money loans Arizona are just loans that is secured by real estate. In addition, these loans are funded by private investors or lenders instead of the traditional banks or loan companies. In most cases, the loan is short term such as a 12 month time frame or even as short as three or six months. But the term can be extended to as long as two to five years. Another term used for this type of loan is asset based lending.

The terms of hard money loans Arizona are flexible because the lender is not obligated to follow the same rules and restrictions that traditional lending institutions must follow. The private lender is able to work more closely with the borrower to create terms that are mutually beneficial to both parties. For this reason, many borrowers prefer hard money loans Arizona over traditional loans.

In addition to being flexible with the repayment terms of hard money loans, borrowers also like the fact that it is much easier to qualify for a hard money loan than a traditional loan. Instead of the lender reviewing the borrowers credit, income and current debt load, the lender is really only interested in the current value of the property that is going to be used as collateral for the loan. This allows borrowers with no credit or poor credit to still be able to qualify for the hard money loan.

Deals the Could Require Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans are not the perfect solution for any type of deal. They are financed at a higher rate than a traditional loan and also can have additional loan fees which are charged to the borrower. In most cases, if a borrower can get a traditional loan, then that is the best solution. But when banks are not willing to fund a loan request then hard money is a viable option. Deals such as a short term fix and flip, land loans, construction loans and deals that have a very short time frame for funding are all prime examples of the perfect reason to select a hard money loan.

Properties to Secure a Hard Money Loan

A borrower can use just about any type of property to secure a hard money loan. The only qualification for a property is that the lender be willing to accept that type of property as collateral. Often times a lender would prefer a single family home as collateral because it has a more stable market value and is easier to liquidate if the borrower defaults. But multi-family residential, commercial, industrial and even unimproved land can all be used to secure a hard money loan.

Understanding how a hard money loan works and when it is beneficial, offers borrowers a legitimate option for funding when a traditional lender has declines a loan application.

Dennis Dahlberg
Level 4 Funding LLC 
Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Tel:  (623) 582-4444 NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027