I have a secret that, as a lifelong Chicagoan and a real estate investor, I shouldn’t admit: I’m not a Chicago snob. You want to put ketchup on your hot dog? Go ahead. You want to root for the Sox and the Cubs? It’s weird, but it’s your life. You want to say you’re from Chicago even if you live in River Forest? That’s fine by me. 

See, my ethos throughout my long real estate investing career is that I want to help people have a home here in Chicagoland. You probably want to do that too, by getting into the real estate investment business. But, there might be one stumbling block: getting the capital to start. 

Luckily, that’s not impossible. I’ve worked with nearly every private money lender in Chicago and I can tell you that it is possible to get a good loan at workable terms even if you are just starting out. And, there are also lenders if you are ready to make the leap to the big time. 

I believe that people who want to do good work here should have all the advantages so I want to share my most trusted private money lenders in Chicago. If you want to be part of that, and want to know how to get capital, keep reading. 

Why It’s Important To Find a Good Private Money Lender in Chicago

Financing real estate investments is crucial to your business. If you are new to real estate investing, you might wonder why you need a private money lender and not a bank. Well, to tell you the truth, banks aren’t ideal for this. There’s a lot of paperwork, waiting, and rejection if they don’t think you check every single box. And, if you’re buying distressed houses, forget about it. That’s just too much risk for traditional lenders. 

That’s why smart investors know how to locate private money lenders, also known as hard money lenders. Here are some of the advantages

⇒ Fast approval process, often within a week or two

⇒ Flexible approvals, which is really important in this line of work where you may overextend your credit or you may be missing  a W-2

Real estate investing expertise

The last one is really important. Your best hard money lenders understand the nature of real estate investing and know how to judge a deal. It’s one of the main advantages of hard money loans. If you have a good lender, that’s more important than some boxes to be checked. 

Five Top Private Money Lenders in Chicago

Now, you aren’t going to stroll into a hard money lender and say “I want to be a real estate titan, give me some money!” You can, but that rarely works. What happens is that the terms and rates vary depending on your experience, your credit, and more. 

So, it’s not a free ride, of course. But, it is a chance to get rolling or to take your business to the next level. The key is to find a private money lender in Chicago who lends at the best rates to someone at your investment experience level. 

Here are some lenders who can finance your deal that I think are very helpful, based on your investment experience.  

Hard Money Lender Investment Experience  Value for Investors
Chicago Rehab Loans Mid-level Local market knowledge
Finance of America Mid-to-high level High funding ceiling
Residential Capital Beginner Fixed-rate lending
Chicago Hard Money Mid-to-high level Fast approval
LendingHome Beginner Offers advice and guidance


With that quick view in mind, let me tell you a little more about why I recommend these particular Chicago hard money lenders. 

Chicago Rehab Loans

I know I said I wasn’t a Chicago snob, but I still like a place that is local. Chicago Rehab Loans has been in this business since 1995, and focuses primarily on the Chicagoland region, though they will look at your deals in Southern Wisconsin or Northwest Indiana. I think this is really important since they know the market and know what is booming or on the verge of it. 

To me, these are ideal mid-level lenders. You need some background and history, and a minimum credit score of 580, but they are also willing to take more chances. You think you know the next suburb that’s going to boom like St. Charles? They’ll take a look. Having a track record will help out, but having ambition will do wonders as well. 

Finance of America

As the name implies, this is a national lender that has branches in every market. This is a good place to go if you are starting out since they’ll lend as low as $50,000, which not every place will do. Of course, the rates are higher when you are brand new. But, if you have a good deal, they are worth looking at. 

What they are really good for, though, is when you are making the leap. They’ll loan as much as $2 million. That’s awesome if you’re looking in the Gold Coast or, these days, Lincoln Square. And going that high really is crucial for people tearing down older structures in the suburbs and replacing them with more market-friendly homes. 

Residential Capital

ResCap is honestly one of the more interesting players out there. They lend at 10%. That’s a fixed rate. Now, that’s not the lowest rate, but nor is it the highest. If you are pretty new, you are gambling on yourself, essentially, that you can pay that off. 

Of course, they don’t lend without taking a look. They are real estate experts and won’t sign off on disasters. So you have to have your stuff together. But if you do, you can get a very reasonable rate and they sign off fast: in 7-14 days. Before you know it, you’re in business. 

Chicago Hard Money

Now, this is a hyper-local firm with a real Chicago attitude. They say they can close within a day, but they’d rather not. But, they can if they have to. That’s the kind of firm this is. You deal directly with the people, who are lending you their own money. They’re not brokers. 

And they know this city, too. They only lend in the city or up to an hour away (which given traffic, could be Norridge on some days). This is perfect for pros who know what they are doing. You get fast approval working with other professionals. 


Here’s a company that is the opposite of local but provides a nice local touch. They offer advice and guidance and can give you assistance in making a decision. That’s why they are very popular with people starting out. I’m not going to say the rates are the lowest when you are new, but they are manageable. And, for such a large firm, they act like good people. It’s nice to see. 

So that’s a lot of information. But, how do you pick the best one? Well, why not let them come to you?

How to Make Private Money Lenders in Illinois Compete Over You 

It can be overwhelming to apply for loans and compare rates. But, for me, it isn’t overwhelming anymore. That’s because I’m an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. And, that means I have access to their proprietary hard money lending portal

Here’s how it works. I have a potential deal. I enter the information in the portal from my iPad. The hard money lenders then send me their rates for a loan. And, all I have to do is pick the one I like the most. I enter my information once and receive what I need. They compete for my business; I don’t go asking for theirs. 

If you’re interested in that, request information about becoming a franchisee today. It saves time and gives me the ability to make the most of my money. With that, I can buy my friends all the hot dogs they want. If it’s on me, ketchup is even allowed. 


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.


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