EquityMax—Is It a Feasible Option for Non-Qualifying Real Estate Financing?


Founded in 1990, EquityMax is an alternative lender based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, providing non-conforming real estate loans. Non-conforming (or non-qualifying) loans are products that don’t fall under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) mortgage standards. So, EquityMax loans work even for borrowers with poor financial credentials, such as low credit scores and high debt-to-income (DTI) ratios.

When it comes to alternative borrowing, it’s important to find lenders with suitable products and consistent service quality. In this guide, we’ll present EquityMax products, discussing their:

  • Suitability
  • Logistical viability
  • Consumer perception

We will also check out competitive alternative lenders to help you make an informed borrowing choice.

EquityMax Products—Everything You Should Know

EquityMax specializes in hard money loans, i.e., loans based on the hard asset, aka the collateral. Banks and other traditional lenders process loans relying on both—your hard money and soft money assets, and the latter includes intangible assets like your credit score and income capacity. Since hard money loans are only backed by the asset, they can be acquired easily and within a short timeframe.

EquityMax currently offers hard money loans under the following programs:

  1. Fix-and-flip and cash-out refinance loans
  2. Foreign national loans
  3. Non-recourse loans
  4. Transactional funding loans
  5. Specialty loans

Fix-and-Flip and Cash-Out Refinance Loans

If you’re carrying out renovation work on a distressed property or adding upgrades to your existing home, you can go for fix-and-flip and cash-out refinance loans from EquityMax.

Fix-and-flip loans are suitable for property investors who buy houses at deep discount prices. They typically use the loan to cover the purchase price and rehabilitation costs. The finished house can be sold for a huge profit to a customer or at a modest wholesale price to a real estate investor. EquityMax conducts a repair analysis of the property before determining if it can be funded for an adequate profitability margin.

Source: Tima Miroshnichenko

Cash-out refinance works for properties with an existing mortgage. EquityMax pays off your existing mortgage and sets you up with a new one, only a larger sum. The extra amount will depend on the value of equity you have in the property. You can use the funds to renovate your property or add cosmetic additions to increase its resale value.

Here is a summary of the lending terms for these real estate loans:

ParametersEquityMax Fix-and-Flip or Cash-Out Refi
Minimum lending amount• Cash-out refi—$20,000
• Fix-and-flip—$25,000
Interest rateStarts from 8.99%
Origination feeStarts from 2%
Loan-to-value (LTV)Up to 90% current value or 65% after-repair value (ARV)
InsuranceFire and theft insurance required
Funding time2–3 days for simple title and lien cases

EquityMax gives borrowers a choice between interest-only and amortized payments for up to 17 years. Remember that hard money loans have higher rates compared to bank mortgage loans—holding on to them for the long term will be expensive, especially if you own an average property without much scope for capital appreciation.

Foreign National Loans

It’s difficult for non-U.S. citizens to qualify for home loans in the country. Foreigners typically need to be lawful permanent residents to apply. Traditional lenders also ask for documents like a green card, Social Security number, and income proof from non-U.S. applicants. EquityMax (and many other alternative lenders) ignore residency documentation and lend to foreign nationals on the basis of a deal. Applicants don’t have to go through asset verification either, be it their domestic or foreign portfolio.

EquityMax foreign national loans can be applied for residential, rental, commercial, or mixed-use properties. You can request an amount up to 85% of the LTV or 70% of the ARV. The loan structure is similar to fix-and-flip loans, but the pricing is higher because of the convenience provided—expect a minimum interest rate of 9.99%. 

Non-Recourse Loans

Non-recourse loans are products that don’t require your personal guarantee. If a borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can use the collateral to recover the investment but not the borrower’s personal assets.

EquityMax non-recourse loans allow borrowers to deal in real estate using their self-directed IRA (individual retirement account). You will need to hire a custodian to maintain your account, and the relevant costs will be deducted using your IRA funds.

The LTV/ARV funding limits for non-recourse loans are similar to those for EquityMax foreign national programs (85% LTV/70% ARV), but your minimum interest rate starts from 10.99%. You can consider the program if you’re looking for the tax-deferment benefits that come with IRAs.

Source: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

Transactional Funding Loans

EquityMax offers a transactional funding program for wholesale real estate dealers who don’t want to invest their own funds in a project. You can qualify for 100% financing (up to $2 million) without putting in a down payment or paying for the closing costs. The only catch is that you need to have an end buyer ready (backed by agreements) to be eligible for transactional EquityMax loans.

The pricing for transaction loans is calculated as a percentage on the entire loan. EquityMax gets a cut of 1% on transactions up to $500,000—higher amounts come with specific terms.

Specialty Loans

Specialty EquityMax loans are hard money loans designed for specific situations and can overlap with the programs we’ve discussed in the previous sections. You can go for products like:

Application Process at EquityMax

You can apply for EquityMax loans online using a form. Besides your contact info, you have to provide details about the property, such as area, existing liens, type, etc. Once you submit the application, an EquityMax employee will contact you for further action. In certain cases, you may be asked to submit documents like credit reports and sale contracts online.

According to the website, EquityMax does not conduct appraisals for local properties and can fund them in as little as three days, provided the documentation is clear.

Customer Reviews of EquityMax Financing

EquityMax is a fantastic option for hard money loans, but it is not without shortcomings. On the bright side, the lender offers one of the highest LTV rates in the market (up to 90%), which can be attractive to many borrowers. Most hard money lenders play it safe and don’t lend beyond 70% LTV.

The potential problem with EquityMax is that it offers no transparency over maximum lending rates and fees, so a welcoming deal can easily turn into a pricey affair. We went over some prominent customer reviews for EquityMax, and their best service points include:

  • Fast processing
  • No minimum credit score requirement
  • Non-recourse loan option

Many customers also enjoy the no-appraisal aspect at EquityMax, but know that property appraisal is an important part of hard money lending. The exercise indicates that the lender follows quality due diligence, lending only at manageable risk that is less likely to bring capital loss for both parties.

As far as negative reviews are concerned, some EquityMax users have mentioned poor customer service, inadequate communication setup, and loss of deposits despite being rejected for products. The loan terms can become confusing as well, so it’s crucial to read the fine print before signing up for a product.

It’s always smart to reach out to at least five lenders and compare quotes so that you acquire the best terms for your deal.

Looking for Tailor-Made Real Estate Loans? Try Hard Money Loan Solutions

Hard money-powered investing is a great way to diversify your portfolio and see growth fast, but finding a structured lender can be difficult. If you’re looking for reliability, make Hard Money Loan Solutions (HMLS) your first choice for any type of asset-based funding. Like EquityMax, HMLS offers multifaceted real estate loans in and around Florida. The group provides:

HMLS follows a streamlined and robust lending setup—the team handles every applicant on a case-by-case basis, offering them loans that best fit their profile and funding requirements. You walk into a program with full certainty over what rates and fees to expect—there are no hidden or junk fees like:

  • Upfront fee
  • Inspection fee
  • Processing fee
  • Underwriting fee
  • Digital retention fee

The following table presents the standard figures/limits for a typical HMLS loan:

ParametersHMLS Loans
Qualifying property• Residential homes (any number of units)
• Townhomes
• Condos
• Apartments
• Mixed-use or commercial property
• Investment real estateLand
Loan-to-value ratio (LTV)Up to 70% of the current purchase price or appraised asset value (whichever is lower)
Interest rates9.99%–12%
Term1–3 years
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan amount$100,000–$50,000,000
Down paymentNo deposit required
Origination fee2 points or 2%
Closing time3 days to 2 weeks
AmortizationInterest only (no amortization)
Prepayment penaltyNo penalty after 6 months
General eligibility requirements• No minimum credit score
• The borrower must have equity in the property

You can pre-qualify and get tailored quotes in a day—apply for an HMLS loan online to get started.

Source: Alena Darmel

HMLS Service Quality and Top Benefits

HMLS has 5-star customer reviews on Google for fast and customer-oriented service. The group is managed by experts with decades of real estate experience—they are motivated to help people capitalize on quality deals and boost their income safely. The group provides:

  • Flexible real estate funding—Whether you’re investing or leveraging on an owner-occupied home, reach out to HMLS for practically any real estate funding situation, including rehab, construction, foreclosure, short sale, fix-and-flip, and cash-out refinance. Compared to other lenders, HMLS has a high lending limit. Click here to check out some of the properties it has serviced in the past few months
  • Safe, non-recourse loans—All HMLS products are non-recourse. In the event of a default, the lender can only use the collateral for recovery. The group tries to avoid foreclosures and typically encourages defaulters to consider alternative repayment strategies
  • Justifiable pricing—Your rates and fees are not influenced by your financial health, nationality, or other arbitrary factors. HMLS interest rates depend on your LTV (higher LTV equals greater lending risk, so the rates go higher, up to 12%)
  • Funding guarantee—Many hard money lenders withdraw funding when they find better investment deals. At HMLS, you’re never denied a loan after a legit approval
  • End-to-end transparency—HMLS operates in a time-sensitive manner, communicating every crucial development to applicants immediately

Use the websites LTV, ARV, and other calculators if you’re checking return on income (ROI) or interest figures.

Source: Google Reviews

How Fast Can You Qualify for an HMLS Loan?

HMLS can fund your project within three days if your title deeds and the lien are clear. For complicated scenarios, the lenders usually complete an appraisal before communicating their approval. If you qualify, you can access the funds within 1–2 weeks.

The funding process is simple, and you’ll never be asked to submit paperwork like bank documents and tax returns. Follow these steps to apply for a loan:

  1. Go to the HMLS loan application page
  2. Enter contact info
  3. Submit details about your property
  4. Enter the requested amount
  5. Add a comment about the specifics of your situation (optional)
  6. Submit

An HMLS lender will call you to confirm your interest in the loan. Be transparent about your requirements from the get-to to enjoy a smooth funding cycle.

You can also explore other lenders in the private scene to compare quotes. Browse through our reviews below:

Featured image source: visionart.av

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