Tampa, with its lively Busch Gardens and spectacular beaches, is a booming market for housing and short-term rental properties. A 2023 report from Redfin suggests that the average sale price of properties in the area has upscaled by 8.3% in the past year—and it doesn’t seem it will be dropping anytime soon. Talking to local lenders like Birchwood Loans is a good idea if you want to navigate the market with area-specific expertise.
Birchwood Loans mainly lends in the Tampa Bay area, although it is open to funding properties throughout the state. In this guide, we’ll discuss the lender’s:
- Application and approval logistics
- Service reviews
We will also look at some other top local lenders catering to house hunters and investors in the state.
Birchwood Loans—Background and Products
Birchwood Loans—also referred to as Birchwood or Birch—is backed by professionals who have been servicing real estate transactions for over four decades.
Birchwood is one of the many private lenders in Florida that solely work with hard money loans. The group does not service conventional or government agency-insured loans. That hardly puts the lender at a disadvantage because most realtors and investors seek hard money loans. They are financing products secured by the asset rather than the borrower’s creditworthiness and are considered perfect for short-term or investment financing.
Lenders like Birchwood remove extreme scrutiny elements (like credit and background checks) from the underwriting process, so the funding is delivered much faster than banks. Speed and convenience are a blessing for investors, especially in competitive markets like Tampa, where there is a lot of pressure to act first.
Birchwood’s hard money loans are primarily available as three sub-products:
Birchwood investment loans can be used for purchasing or refinancing rental income-generating residential properties. Tampa is a popular hub for acquiring rental properties because of its proximity to MacDill Air Force Base (AFB). Several military workers employed at the base prefer using their housing allowance to rent homes in the areas, so it’s easy to have a steady stream of positive cash flows from these properties.
Source: Jonathan Borba
Birchwood Loans currently finances properties that don’t have too many restrictive guidelines for owner-occupation. For example, if a condo is located in a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) that mandates its properties to have at least 75% owner residency, the lender may hesitate to make a deal because the income potential of the home is considerably reduced.
Birch recommends getting properties in locales that have minimum percentage caps for lease or rental activities.
Bad Credit Home Loans
In the purest form, hard money loans should be offered without considering a person’s credit standing, but most private lenders find the exercise too risky. They would dictate minimum credit scores and other financial requirements, which beats the purpose of hardcore asset-based lending.
Birchwood Loans caters to borrowers struggling to qualify for financing due to credit issues. The lender not only entertains all credit scores but also services applicants with other blemishes, such as:
- Past bankruptcies
- Job/income loss
- Employment status problems
- No showable income
- Citizenship issues
At Birch, you can apply for bad credit hard money loans as investors and owners of vacation or secondary homes. Homeowners typically use these products as bridge loans to finance a property temporarily while they work on their credit and get a regular mortgage. Besides hard money loans, the lender may also help you with non-conventional subprime mortgages that have higher interest rates than the loans offered at prime rates.
Bad Credit Commercial Mortgages
Similar to bad credit home loans, Birchwood’s bad credit commercial mortgages service borrowers who were rejected traditional commercial real estate loans. These products are used by business professionals, realtors, and contractors. The eligible properties include:
- Land (raw or developed)
- Shopping centers
- Hospitality structures
- Retail malls
- Warehouses and storage units
Typical Loan Structure at Birchwood Loans
Birchwood Loans does not provide individual lending frameworks for all their packages. Based on the info available on the lender’s website, you can expect the following structure for its hard money loans:
|Loan size||$25,000 to $400,000|
|Interest rate||7.9% to 12.95%|
|Loan-to-value (LTV)||Up to 60% (although some sections of the website mention 70%)|
|Tenure||Up to 5 years|
|Origination fees||3% to 6%|
|Installments||Interest-only or amortized|
|Servicing areas||Greater Central Florida metropolitan area, including:|
Lake Buena Vista
Keep in mind that Birchwood updates its lending structure over time—it’s best to contact the team for the latest info. You can apply for the lender’s products via the following two methods:
- Reaching out by phone at 727-300-1793
- Filling out an online loan application
If your application is considered, expect a week or two for the final loan to take shape. In most cases, the funding is disbursed within four to five days of filing the requested paperwork.
Birchwood Loans—Pros and Cons
Birchwood Loans is one of the most reputable lenders in Tampa, commanding a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google. Some of the best service aspects of Birch include:
- Direct dealings (no brokers)
- Easy processing for bad-credit applicants
- Organized team
- Electronic payment options
- Expert guidance on the Tampa market
Some of the downsides of the lender include no support for new construction loans and owner-occupied properties. Birch doesn’t have many negative reviews, but some customers have pointed out that the lender is not fully transparent about their loans and may not respond well when asked too many questions. Reviews are personalized experiences, though, so it’s better to talk to the lender directly to see if the programs work for you.
If you’re evaluating prospective lenders, it’s best to request quotes from more than one financier. The hard money market is competitive, and it’s always possible to get lower rates and closing points. For example, Florida-based Hard Money Loan Solutions (HMLS) is one lending group that services loans at just 2% closing points and zero hidden costs, making it one of the most cost-efficient lenders in the state! At the end of the day, it’s all about maximizing your cash flow with little money invested, isn’t it?
Enjoy Evergreen Investments—Choose Hard Money Loan Solutions for Your Next Venture
If you’re eyeing lucrative investments in Tampa or any Florida market, let Hard Money Loan Solutions (HMLS) assist you! The group services no-nonsense hard money loans with a purely asset-based underwriting process. HMLS lenders actively serve applicants with financial impairments, such as:
- Bad credit
- High debt
- Divorce liens
- Past bankruptcies
- Defaults on existing mortgages
HMLS isn’t only for investment financing—the group caters to homeowners, real estate business professionals, foreign nationals, and construction contractors as well. Check out the available programs and eligible properties in the following table:
New construction and reconstruction
Land acquisition and development
Rehab or fix-and-flip
|Eligible properties||Single-family homes|
*The properties can be owner-occupied, tenant-occupied, or vacant
Apply for an HMLS loan for any property/project and enjoy a carefully designed package optimized to meet your needs!
Source: Rebrand Cities
The group lends at 9.99%–12%, regardless of the program opted. The rate depends on how much LTV you qualify for and the risk metrics of your deal. The table below outlines the parameters of a sample HMLS loan package:
|Interest rate type||Fixed|
|LTV||Up to 70%|
|Origination fee||2 points or 2%|
|Closing time||3–14 days|
|Down payment||Not required|
|Prepayment penalty||None (after 6 months)|
HMLS—A 5-Star Rated Lender for Your Dream Florida Investments
HMLS has maintained an untainted 5-star rating on Google for many years now. The group enhances your borrowing experience by:
- Lending directly—You can contact HMLS online and request funding directly to save thousands in broker fees
- Providing free one-on-one coaching—HMLS lenders are veterans in the Florida real estate scene who love to double up as mentors to clients. Use their advice to grab the best properties, handle rehab challenges, or network better!
- Conducting transparent processing—Client convenience and timely communications are religiously followed at HMLS. You’re updated at every stage during the screening process, and the team is always ready to take queries
- Minimizing paperwork-related hassles—HMLS keeps documentation requirements basic. In most cases, you submit the immediate collateral documents. The group doesn’t ask for:
- Bank statements
- Credit reports
- Tax returns
- Income proofs
- Delivering fast funding—For borrowers with clear title statements, HMLS can deliver funding within 3–10 days of application
- Reducing borrowing costs—The HMLS team is motivated to help investors widen their profit margin. With that in mind, they have removed junk costs worth over $8,000 from the borrowing costs, which means you don’t pay:
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fees
- Digital retention/rate-locking fees
- Upfront fees
- Disbursal or draw fees
HMLS serves all cities in Florida—you can get a comprehensive list here. Follow these steps to apply for a loan within a couple of minutes:
- Access the HMLS loan application form
- Fill out the necessary fields about:
- Business info
- Loan needed
- Submit the form
HMLS typically contacts applicants over the phone to explore the deal—if it makes sense, you can get approval within a day!
Source: Google Reviews
HMLS Stays With You Through Market Ups and Downs
HMLS lenders are well-acquainted with the local property market and keep an understanding approach toward market fluctuations. If you encounter challenges during the loan tenure or struggle to make a payment, don’t panic! HMLS sticks to a humanitarian approach and allows borrowers to modify the repayment strategy if they have to.
The group can also help with immediate bail-outs in case you’re pressed with a foreclosure or unfavorable debt situation. HMLS is all about enabling clients to build wealth and forward goals in a supportive, legally compliant environment—reach out to the lender to start tapping into flexible funding options!
Want More Options? We Got You!
Borrowers feel empowered when they’re fully aware of their choices, and we’ve made the chore easier! The following table can lead you to some more lender reviews for financiers operating in Florida:
Keep in mind that most of these lenders specialize in alternative loans. If you want conventional mortgages, it’s best to work with local banks.
Featured image source: ryan haft