Q: Do you do private lending? I’m a real estate investor and would like to be able to acquire more properties.
A: Thanks for your letter. I am not in the private lending business, but if you’ve tapped out local banks and mortgage lenders, you might want to try a website called Prosper.com.
Prosper.com is a site that connects borrowers with private lenders. You post a “loan listing” which includes some of your personal financial information (you decide how much personal information to reveal) and what you’re trying to do online and various lenders will bid for the right to do business with you. You can borrow up to $25,000.
Prosper.com founder and chief executive officer Chris Larsen helped start Eloan.com. He started Prosper.com because he thought there was a market for people who wanted to borrow money outside the traditional financing channels.
According to its website, Prosper.com makes money by charging a 1 to 2 percent fee from borrowers when a loan is funded. It also assesses a .5 to 1 percent annual loan servicing fee that is paid by lenders. The company has raised approximately $20 million dollars and is backed by a host of top private capital companies.
But as with any business relationship, you need to do your due diligence and make sure you understand the relationship between the parties, what you will get out of the transaction, the pitfalls and benefits of the deal. Finally, as for Prosper.com or any other web site you consider, make sure they are reputable and you understand the risks of doing business with that web site.
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