Safe Trust Deed Investments- What does this mean and how can it be achieved?

For many years our company has had to wear 2 hats, one is our borrower hat and the other’s our investor hat.  Since we stand in between a borrower in need of funds and an investor looking to invest their money we need to always remember that we must serve the needs of both parties.  It is a challenge to balance the needs of both parties in the quest to satisfy the needs of both parties.

In this Blog Post we want to focus on the needs of our investors and what needs to done to provide a safe trust deed investment.  The overriding determinant for a safe investment had always been and will always be equity. Equity is the borrowers’ interest in the property.  Basically the difference between loan and lien balances recorded against the property and the market value of the property.  A Borrower who has a lot of equity in their property just seen to sleep better at night, and the same goes for an investor who as loans on a property that has a lot of equity.  Basically it’s safe to say that equity is a good thing for both borrowers and investors alike.

In the old days equity could be used as the one determinant in deciding to fund a loan.  But in today’s world there are many laws and regulations that the state of California has passed into law that has done away with relying on equity as the only determinate.

There have been many analogies relating the mortgage business to a 3 legged stool.  One leg being the property the second leg being credit and the 3rd leg being income.  It is a very good analogy since a 3 legged stool will stand with only 2 legs and neither can a trust deed investment.  Equity provides a cushion so the investor has a protected equity position in the property.  Income provides the investor proof of the borrowers’ ability to pay and credit provides the borrowers willingness to pay.  When you have all 3 you have a great trust deed investment.

Let’s take a look at the 3 components that goes into a safe trust deed investment.


When a borrower contacts our company to get a loan on their property one of the first things we look at is equity.  If there is not sufficient equity right up front we reluctantly have to notify the borrower that we will be able to proceed forward in providing them a loan.  There would be no need to check the borrower’s credit or verify their income if the main ingredient known as equity is missing.  That’s how important equity is when reviewing a loan request.

The process of determining equity is as follows:

Since most of the loans our company arranges are first trust deeds our example here is based on a first trust deed.

The amount of money the borrowers request is determined.

Next the value of the property is calculated by way of a formal appraisal of the property.

Then a calculation is made where the value of the property is divided into the loan amount to calculate a percentage.  That percentage represents a ratio of the loan amount relative to the market value.

Let’s look at an example:

Loan amount: $100,000.00

Market value: $200,000.00

LTV (Loan to Value) 50%

This would be a very safe trust deed investment.

If the loan amount was increased to $150,000.00 then the LTV would be: 75%

The LTV is calculated in the following way $150,000 divided by $200,000.00= 75%.

This would not be a safe trust deed investment sine it exceeds the industry standard of 65% LVT to insure a safe trust deed investment.

An additional calculation must be done to determine if the proposed loan amount is sufficiently large enough to pay off any and all liens recorded against the property and provide the borrower the necessary amount of funds requested.



When a borrower contacts our company or Bank of America the need to confirm income is required.  We don’t live by the same standards that the big banks are required by both state and federal regulatory agencies.  Our company must also live by both state and Federal requirements but not to the same standard.

Must banks will not approve a loan to a borrower that exceeds 40% of the monthly income.  Our company will look at a borrower’s income that goes as high as 60% on the borrower’s monthly income.  We also have the ability to review bank statements or even allow the borrower to state their income in some instances.

When reviewing a borrower’s income our company must determine that the borrower has sufficient income to make the monthly mortgage payment to our investor.



We always pull a credit report for every borrower who applies for a mortgage with our company.  The payment history for all accounts of the borrower are reviewed to determine willingness to pay.  Close attention is paid to any and all mortgage are reviewed to make an assessment into possible future willingness to make monthly mortgage payments.

Interest Rate

After assessing all 3 factors, equity, income and credit a determination is make as to the appropriate interest rate that will satisfy the ability of the borrower and the investment returns of the investor.  All hard money loans are not alike.  Every loan has their unique attributes and associated risks that need to be attended to when our company negotiates a loan with the borrower ad a trust deed with our investor.


Our Assessment of The Fed’s Monetary Policies for 2013

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Federal Reserve – There is probably no agency or government department at the State or Federal level that has more effect on our daily lives than The Federal Reserve Bank which is responsible for setting Federal monetary policy.

Monetary policy is set by the Federal Reserve Bank in several ways:

  • The Fed increases and decreases interest rates
  • The Fed also increases or decreases the money supply

Currently the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank is Ben Bernanke and he oversees the Federal Open Market Committee which is the division of Federal Reserve Bank that sets monetary policy. Currently the Federal Reserve Bank’s monetary policy is focused on lowering interest rates and expanding the money supply.

A short explanation is in order here.

Lower Interest Rates

Lower interest rates are easy to understand as lower rates lead to additional buying power for products that normally require financing, such as cars and houses. Lower rates equate to lower monthly payments. When people have “additional” buying power due to lower rates they are empowered with added purchasing power which leads to a possible imbalance in the supply/demand ratio, which normally leads to an increase in prices, which is currently happening to the price of houses.

With interest rate at historically low levels, more people are able to qualify for real estate mortgages and are able to buy higher priced homoes than if interest rates were at higher levels. Also when interest rates are at such low levels potential buyers develop the attitude that “they don’t want to miss-out” on the low mortgage rates so even if they were not intending to purchase a home for a year or more in the future they often move up their buying plans to get in on the low rates. The effect of this psychological mindset contributes to additional supply/demand imbalance.

Expansion of Money Supply

The second way that the Federal Reserve Bank sets Monetary Policy is through the expansion and/or contraction of the money supply. Currently the policy is to expand the money supply by many of billions of dollars per month. This is often termed “printing money” and is accomplished by contracts the Federal Reserve Bank sets up with the United State Treasury Department through the buying and selling of bonds, where money is really created out of thin air. This monetary policy can lead to inflation as has happened many times in the past. The main reason that consumer prices have not currently increased is due to the continuing effects of the recession and the anemic economic recovery that the economy is experiencing.

In the near future interest rates will begin to rise from their historic lows and the demand for real estate will decrease which will put downward pressure on home prices. If money supply policy continues unabated (The Fed continues to pour billions into the economy), inflation could rear its ugly head which historically leads to higher real estate prices. When the two opposite forces are compared, the drop off in demand due to increased interest rates should more than offset the inflationary pressure on real estate prices.

Our conclusion is that while real estate prices are currently going up there appears to be a ceiling that will be determined on any increase in mortgage interest rates.

Caution is advised in over optimism about the current increase in real estate prices.