traditional lenders weren’t cooperating. Investors’ other option was dealing with hard money lenders, many of whom weren’t transparent about their fees or weren’t properly capitalized. It was crazy, Warren said, because the market presented huge opportunities for investors. About 20,000 foreclosure properties became available in a typical month in Atlanta. It was possible to buy high-quality homes for pennies on the dollar, but most investors didn’t have the ability to leverage their capital. His original plan wasn’t working, but Warren spotted a different opportunity. He asked those other investors if they would be interested in dealing with a lender who refused to charge hidden costs or junk fees. “All of them said, ‘Absolutely, that company would do very well.’”


by James Hart


ima One Capital—a South Caroli- na-based lender serving residen- tial real estate investors—has become one of the industry’s fastest-growing providers of financing, approving more than $100 million in loans last year. And CEO John Warren fully expects to triple that total in 2016. Demand for Lima One Capital’s prod- ucts has been keen. Since forming in 2010, it has quickly expanded to serve dozens of states. If everything proceeds according to plan, the lender should offer service in 49 states by the end of the second quarter. Warren has some experience in managing swiftly moving situations: As an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, he fought insurgents in Iraq, lead- ing more than 300 combat missions in Ramadi and other cities over the course of four years. His time in the military taught him the importance of constantly evaluating the facts on the ground and adjusting tactics to compensate. He brings that

“We do it because it makes sense, and it helps the customers, ultimately,” Warren said. For example, last year Lima One Capital introduced a new lending product, Rental30, a 30-year, fixed-rate loan that allows borrowers to purchase or refinance individual properties or entire portfolios. Rates start at 6.5 percent. The company’s 13-month FixNFlip loans offer rates as low as 10 percent for high-volume investors and can be rolled into a 30-year product for a discounted origination fee. “We really work with any type of real estate investors,” he said. ACHANGE OF PLANS Ironically, Warren didn’t plan to become a lender when he entered the in- dustry. After leaving the military in 2008, he wanted to be a front-line investor in residential real estate. Warren was able to quickly raise $1 million in capital, but when he went to buy rental homes in Atlanta, he found himself outmaneuvered by more experi- enced operators. “All of these investors were outbidding me,” he recalled. Warren ended up talking to several of those investors, and he asked them where they were finding financing for their deals. Turns out, most of them were operating strictly on cash because, in the aftermath of the housing crisis,

approach to his work at Lima One Capital. (The name comes fromWarren’s old call sign.) Unlike other lend- ers, who might be bound to

“the way we’ve always done things,” Warren and his team are dedicated to delivering the best possible options for investors.

56 | think realty magazine | mar :: apr 2016

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