Why use Gap Investments instead of lending on my own?
At Gap Investments, you receive the benefit of a wealth of knowledge and experience specific to Costa Rica, including the market, and laws and regulations. One shouldn’t be lending in Costa Rica on their own without a great deal of knowledge about the country. At Gap, our goal is to give you a higher return than what you could get on your own, with the risks properly assessed and managed.
How do you find the borrowers?
At Gap Investments we have many qualified loan applications come to us on a regular basis. Our underwriters choose the best ones based on our previous experience with mortgages, and we work to establish terms that work for both parties.
How do you value the properties?
We perform a site inspection. With over 75 years combined experience in Costa Rican Real Estate, we can give an accurate assessment of the property.
How long do I lend out the money for?
Depending on the loan, terms can range from 6 months up to 3 years for equity loans.
What is an interest-only loan?
An interest-only loan is a loan in which, for a set term, the borrower pays only the interest on the principal, with the principal balance unchanged throughout the term of the loan. At the end of the interest-only term, the borrower will need to pay off the principal of the loan.
What kind of interest rate should I expect?
Typical interest rates paid to lenders will range between 10% and 18% or more per annum. Every loan is different depending on the risk, amount of collateral and duration of the loan.
How are borrowers able to pay those returns?
Bridge loans are typically higher because they are not conventional bank loans. These interim loans are a means to an end, and involve interest-only payments with the goal of traditional refinancing at a later time or through the property’s sale.
Why doesn’t the borrower go to a bank?
Banks are highly risk-averse and have certain collateral and income requirements for their loans. Someone going to the bank looking for a loan will have to go through the arduous and complex task of getting a traditional loan. This can take up to 6 months just to wait for approval! At Gap, we generally can get the job done in 10 business days.
What is the minimum and maximum that I can invest?
The minimum loan size through Gap Investments is US $50,000. There is no set maximum.
Can I lend to more than 1 borrower?
Yes, you can invest in as many loans as you like.
How is my investment secured?
All loans are secured by a mortgage lien on the property, or in the case of larger loans, the property can be transferred in trust if the lender so desires.
What are the closing costs involved in a home equity loan?
Closing costs can include costs for things such as attorney fees, appraisal fees, accounting fees, broker fees, reporting, escrow fees, trust guaranty fees, government fees and stamps, and loan repayment collections if needed. Just like regular bank mortgages, the closing cost is taken out of the funds disbursed to the borrower. Closing costs are usually around 7% of the loan amount.
What exactly do the broker fees pay for?
Each loan that comes in has a due diligence process where Gap Investments invests a significant amount of time and effort in ensuring the loan meets our standards. In addition, there are the office expenses, which include advertising, website maintenance, salaries, internet costs, communications, and overall administration.
Gap Investments spends much of its time and energy on site visits that can entail long trips with overnight stays in many cases. Many site visits generate a 0% return as they do not fit our criteria or are not suitable for our lenders.
What happens when the term of the loan is up and the borrower would like to extend their terms?
If everything is in good standing, we will attempt to rewrite the loan, possibly using the current lender or offer the loan to a new lender.
It looks like you are brokering multiple loans. If one loan fails does it affect the other loans?
Absolutely not. Each loan is brokered, created and managed independently from every other. Unlike a general investment fund, the funds you provide for the loan are used exclusively for that loan, which is from you direct to the borrower.
Hypothetically speaking, what would happen to the funds I lent to a borrower, if Gap were to disappear?
Absolutely nothing would happen to the loan. The loans that Gap Investments brokers are directly between the borrower and the lender.
Are you registered with SUGEF, the financial regulator in Costa Rica?
No. SUGEF regulates banks and financial intermediaries, including investment funds that raise money from investors to place investments through their own company. At Gap Investments, we simply introduce lenders to individual loans requiring funding. Gap Investments earns a commission for brokering the loan. Gap Investments is a mortgage broker, not an investment fund.
Do I have to pay taxes on the interest earned in my home country?
We strongly recommend that you research your tax obligations of your home country and comply with them.
How do I get started?
You can get started by contacting us and we will get in touch with you with equity loan opportunities that meet your investment goals.