The Pros and Cons of Private Student Loans

College students are often cautioned to avoid private loans unless absolutely necessary, urged instead to take advantage of all other financial aid options first.

The advice is sound. Generally speaking, private student loans, which are offered by banks, credit unions, and other private lenders, don’t offer the same level of borrower protections and benefits that government college loans do.

As a student, you should seek out grants and scholarships first — money for college that you won’t have to repay — before taking on college loan debt. Then, if you’re still going to need college loans, you should, in general, make sure you’ve maximized all your available government loans before you consider taking out a private student loan.

Interest Rates & Repayment Options

Federal education loans have fixed interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private loans. The Department of Education offers income-based repayment options that keep your monthly payments at a figure you can afford, repayment extensions to give you more time to repay, and loan deferments and forbearances that can temporarily postpone your college loan payments if you’re facing financial hardship.

If you go to work in the public sector, you may also be eligible for the discharge of some or all of your government loan debts.

With private student loans, on the other hand, your interest rate is almost always variable, and private lenders aren’t required to provide the kind of repayment flexibility that comes standard on federal college loans.

The current foreclosure crisis that began mushrooming, in part, because of adjustable-rate mortgages should be enough to make anyone leery of adjustable-rate loans on anything.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that when interest rates are low, as they are now, adjustable-rate private student loans can have a lower interest rate than their fixed-rate federal counterparts.

If you have excellent credit, or if you have a parent or co-signer with excellent credit, you may qualify for the lowest-rate private college loans, which currently carry interest rates that are as much as 3-percent to 6-percent lower than the rates on federal student and parent loans.

Interest rates are destined to rise as the economy continues to recover from the recession, so private loan rates won’t always be this low, but if you or your parents are in a position to pay that private student loan off relatively quickly, you may be able to save money over a government-issued college loan.

Covering Your College Costs

So why take out a private student loan at all?

Private student loans are meant to “fill the gap” in college funding that may be left after you reach your federal student borrowing limits. In many cases, families find that scholarships and federal financial aid simply aren’t enough to cover the rising cost of college.

Without private student loans, you may not be able to pay for college or continue your studies.

Statistically, college graduates have a better chance of being gainfully employed than non-graduates do, and college graduates, on average, earn more money in their jobs than workers who don’t have a college degree. For you as a college student, better job and salary prospects may make the burden of a reasonable amount of private student loans easier to bear.

Working With Private Student Loan Lenders

College loan companies aren’t deaf to the economic realities that college graduates are facing. Recently, some of the largest private student loan lenders have instituted new guidelines for the repayment and forgiveness of college loan debt.

Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae, for example, both announced this year that they would begin discharging private student loans upon the death of the borrower. Beforehand, that debt was being left to the co-signer to repay.

And as the recession and large swaths of unemployment among recent college graduates has led to higher rates of delinquency and default on college loans, some private lenders have shown a slight uptick in their willingness to work out modified repayment plans with troubled borrowers who are unable to repay their private student loans.

Being a Smart Student Borrower

For students who must turn to private education loans, it pays to shop around. Interest rates are always important, but they aren’t the only factor worth considering. Repayment policies, payment deferral options, default and late-payments penalties, interest-rate caps, and other terms may give some private student loan programs a clear advantage over others.

Student Loan Consolidation – 3 Ways You Can Save Money by Consolidating Your Debt

Are you struggling to make your monthly payments on a mountain of student loans?

Maybe you’re not struggling to make ends meet, but you just know you’re wasting money on the loans you currently have.

Either way, student loan consolidation is one of the best ways that you can work towards financial security, independence and freedom.

By the time you’ve finished reading this article you’ll know:

How You can Save Money By Consolidating Your Loans
What Type of Loan Will Save You the Most Money
How to Find the Best Deal on a New Loan
Sounds pretty good, right?

“What is Student Loan Consolidation? That Sounds Like Foreign Gibberish to Me!”

Basically, any loan consolidation is defined as using a single big loan to pay off multiple smaller loans. The benefits of loan consolidation are many, but here are a couple of the most notable ones:

Save money with a Lower Interest Rate loan
Save money with a Longer Repayment Period loan
Save yourself a headache by consolidating your monthly paperwork
Obviously, you can see that in the right circumstances consolidating your loans is probably the very best thing that you can do for your finances. Below I’ll tell you what type of loan is best for your situation.

“How Can I Save the Most Money with Student Loan Consolidation?”

What loan is best for you?

Most fresh college grads have absolutely terrible credit. It’s just a fact of life that in college you’re poor and bad at handling money. But you don’t worry about it! Because soon you find a good job and start to rebuild your credit.

- Private Loans -

If you’re already graduated and you have a solid income and you’re NOT living paycheck to paycheck, then you should consider Private Student Loan Consolidation.

Basically, this is where you take out a loan with a private lender to pay off all of your federal loans. The benefits of a private loan are numerous, but really it just comes down to what kind of deal you can find. Many private lenders will even work with you to build a custom loan to meet your needs!

However, there is a downside: A private lender won’t touch you with a 10 ft. pole unless you have good credit.

- Fixed Rate Loans -

If you’re having trouble paying off your debt due to an extremely high interest rate on at least 1 or 2 of your current loans, then consolidating to a Fixed Rate loan can totally fix your problems.

With a fixed interest rate you don’t have to worry about your monthly payments sky rocketing in the future…You pick an amount that you can handle paying on a monthly basis, and find a Fixed rate loan to meet your needs.

Note: In order to do this you’ll have to figure out the weighted average interest rate of all of your loans. Basically this will let you see what your average interest rate is currently, so that you can find a better deal elsewhere.

- Talk To Your Current Lenders -

If you’re really hankering to get out of debt and consolidate your loans, you shouldn’t just rush off to find a brand new lender right away.

Many times if you contact your lenders you can get a better interest rate or restructure your loans. This is especially true if you’ve strengthened your credit substantially since taking out the education loan.

Who knows, you might even be able to consolidate all of your loans into one of your current lenders…Wouldn’t that save you a lot of time!

It’s Okay to Still Have Questions…

As you can see, student loan consolidation is one of the best ways to get out of debt and ensure your financial security for the remainder of your repayment period, however, you do have to kind of know what you’re doing.

Otherwise you just risk putting yourself in a worse situation than you were in before!

Now listen, I understand that you probably have a few questions left… That’s fine! Luckily for you, I’ve got the answers.

If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments, and you’d like to know how you can save time, money and stress by consolidating your loan, then you should take some time to visit our website to learn how to get the best possible deal. I think this free article will be of particular

Alternative Loan Options for Residential Real Estate Investment

Conventional loans are typically the hardest to obtain for real estate investors. Some lenders don’t allow income from investment properties to be counted toward total income, which can make global underwriting a problem for certain investors, especially those who already have several existing conventional, conforming real estate loans reporting on their credit. In these cases, the investor must look outside conventional funding for their investments. Two of the more popular choices for alternative financing are portfolio loans and hard money loans.

Portfolio Loans

These loans are loans made by banks which do not sell the mortgage to other investors or mortgage companies. Portfolio loans are made with the intention of keeping them on the books until the loan is paid off or comes to term. Banks which make these kinds of loans are called portfolio lenders, and are usually smaller, more community focused operations.

Advantages of Portfolio Loans

Because these banks do not deal in volume or answer to huge boards like commercial banks, portfolio lenders can do loans that commercial banks wouldn’t touch, like the following:

smaller multifamily properties
properties in dis-repair
properties with an unrealized after-completed value
pre-stabilized commercial buildings
single tenant operations
special use buildings like churches, self-storage, or manufacturing spaces
construction and rehab projects
Another advantage of portfolio lenders is that they get involved with their community. Portfolio lenders like to lend on property they can go out and visit. They rarely lend outside of their region. This too gives the portfolio lender the ability to push guidelines when the numbers of a deal may not be stellar, but the lender can make a visit to the property and clearly see the value in the transaction. Rarely, if ever, will a banker at a commercial bank ever visit your property, or see more of it than what she can gather from the appraisal report.

Disadvantages of Portfolio Loans

There are only three downsides to portfolio loans, and in my opinion, they are worth the trade off to receive the services mentioned above:

shorter loan terms
higher interest rates
conventional underwriting
A portfolio loan typically has a shorter loan term than conventional, conforming loans. The loan will feature a standard 30 year amortization, but will have a balloon payment in 10 years or less, at which time you’ll need to payoff the loan in cash or refinance it.

Portfolio loans usually carry a slightly higher than market interest rate as well, usually around one half to one full percentage point higher than what you’d see from your large mortgage banker or retail commercial chain.

While portfolio lenders will sometimes go outside of guidelines for a great property, chances are you’ll have to qualify using conventional guidelines. That means acceptable income ratios, global underwriting, high debt service coverage ratios, better than average credit, and a good personal financial statement. Failing to meet any one of those criteria will knock your loan out of consideration with most conventional lenders. Two or more will likely knock you out of running for a portfolio loan.

If you find yourself in a situation where your qualifying criteria are suffering and can’t be approved for a conventional loan or a portfolio loan you’ll likely need to visit a local hard money lender.

Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Hard money loans are asset based loans, which means they are underwritten by considering primarily the value of the asset being pledged as collateral for the loan.

Advantages of Hard Money Loans

Rarely do hard money lenders consider credit score a factor in underwriting. If these lenders do run your credit report it’s most likely to make sure the borrower is not currently in bankruptcy, and doesn’t have open judgments or foreclosures. Most times, those things may not even knock a hard money loan out of underwriting, but they may force the lender to take a closer look at the documents.

If you are purchasing property at a steep discount you may be able to finance 100% of your cost using hard money. For example, if you are purchasing a $100,000 property owned by the bank for only $45,000 you could potentially obtain that entire amount from a hard money lender making a loan at a 50% loan-to-value ratio (LTV). That is something both conventional and portfolio lenders cannot do.

While private lenders do check the income producing ability of the property, they are more concerned with the as-is value of the property, defined as the value of the subject property as the property exists at the time of loan origination. Vacant properties with no rental income are rarely approved by conventional lenders but are favorite targets for private lenders.

The speed at which a hard money loan transaction can be completed is perhaps its most attractive quality. Speed of the loan is a huge advantage for many real estate investors, especially those buying property at auction, or as short sales or bank foreclosures which have short contract fuses.Hard money loans can close in as few as 24 hours. Most take between two weeks and 30 days, and even the longer hard money time lines are still less than most conventional underwriting periods.

Disadvantages of Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Typically, a private lender will make a loan of between 50 to 70 percent of the as-is value. Some private lenders use a more conservative as-is value called the “quick sale” value or the “30 day” value, both of which could be considerably less than a standard appraised value. Using a quick sale value is a way for the private lender to make a more conservative loan, or to protect their investment with a lower effective LTV ratio. For instance, you might be in contract on a property comparable to other single family homes that sold recently for $150,000 with an average marketing time of three to four months. Some hard money lenders m lend you 50% of that purchase price, citing it as value, and giving you $75,000 toward the purchase. Other private lenders may do a BPO and ask for a quick sale value with a marketing exposure time of only 30 days. That value might be as low as $80,000 to facilitate a quick sale to an all-cash buyer. Those lenders would therefore make a loan of only $40,000 (50% of $80,000 quick sale value) for an effective LTV of only 26%. This is most often a point of contention on deals that fall out in underwriting with hard money lenders. Since a hard money loan is being made at a much lower percentage of value, there is little room for error in estimating your property’s real worth.

The other obvious disadvantage to a hard money loans is the cost. Hard money loans will almost always carry a much higher than market interest rate, origination fees, equity fees, exit fees, and sometimes even higher attorney, insurance, and title fees. While some hard money lenders allow you to finance these fees and include them in the overall loan cost, it still means you net less when the loan closes.

Weighing the Good and the Bad

As with any loan you have to weigh the good and the bad, including loan terms, interest rate, points, fees, and access to customer support. There is always a trade-off present in alternative lending. If you exhibit poor credit and have no money for down payment you can be sure the lender will charge higher interest rates and reduce terms to make up for the added risk.