First Equity Funding helps Culture Estate grow

The Monmouth County-based boutique investment firm partners with real estate investors on hard money lending.

SEA GIRT, NJ – First Equity Funding, a real estate fund that focuses on fix and flip loans, has partnered with Luis Leiva of Culture Estate. “I was referred to First Equity Funding through one of my clients,” said Leiva. “At that time, I was in a bind and had a property that I needed to refinance right away. I called Christian and Jarrod and they literally closed the deal for me in less than a week. Ever since then, I was a believer.”

In the past, Leiva was never a proponent of hard money deals since he would always close in cash, but Leiva notes First Equity “really opened up my horizons to using [hard money] leverage.”

“Without First Equity, I don’t think I would have been able to grow our business as fast as we have,” Leiva said. “It is very difficult to find a good and competent lending institution that could do these hard lending deals, but First Equity has made it very easy for us to use them as a lending source.”

Through First Equity Funding, Leiva has been able to access more clients
through sheriffs and short sales. “I have also been able to grow my personal rental portfolio tremendously because I have been able to use them as a reliable partner.”

Since 2015, Leiva has purchased close to 20 properties with First Equity for
rental purchases and have flipped a number of properties with their help as well. “I have gone to First Equity Funding for about 95 percent of my hard money deals,” added Leiva. “They are small enough where you can know everyone there, but they are large enough that they will never run out of money. If they say a deal is going to close, they will find a way to make it close and I appreciate them for that.”

First Equity Funding’s mission is to be the lender of choice for real estate
investors. “We have been extremely fortunate to partner with Luis and Culture Estate since 2015 and we look forward to continued success in the future,” said Christian Pepe, Managing Partner for First Equity Funding.

Known for being transparent and open with all borrowers, investors and third-party service providers, First Equity Funding offers competitive pricing, exceptional service, and unparalleled value to its borrowers and business partners. “We are different from other lenders because we have walked in the shoes of our investors,” said Pepe. “We have completed over 50 renovations or new constructions over the past 10 years. We find that most other lenders have more of a financial background like a bank or private equity fund. They typically don’t truly understand the challenges and needs of the average real estate investor.”

With experience in all aspects of real estate lending and investing, First Equity Funding can provide a 360-degree view of the real estate lending landscape.“We have been lenders for 15 years and have invested in NPLs and have experience dealing with foreclosures, BKs, modifications, workouts and managing REO properties,” Pepe added. “We have also done extensive fix/flipping ourselves and we own a construction company that has built over a dozen new construction homes.”

In terms of financing, First Equity Funding offers flexible options. “We offer longer-term financing for investors who are looking to build out their portfolio,” said Pepe. “We are more focused on the project and building cash flow than your individual tax returns, which is important to self-employed borrowers.”

For those interested in working with First Equity Funding, Leiva encourages you to do so. “You need a lender who understands the business and what investors go through,” he said. “First Equity gets it. They have a division in their company that does flipping and renovations, so they know what it takes to be an investor and the struggles we go through. I work with First Equity nonstop… that says a lot.”

To learn more about First Equity Funding, visit or call 732-359-7800.

About First Equity Funding
First Equity Funding is a real estate fund that focuses on fix and flip loans for properties in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Florida and is expanding throughout 40 states in the United States. Since its incorporation in 2009, First Equity Funding has partnered with hundreds of real estate investors looking to buy, fix-up and sell residential and commercial properties. To learn more, visit