More residential real estate investors are exploring commercial real estate and business loan alternatives as a result of the increasingly chaotic investment environment for residential financing. In these circumstances prospective commercial property owners, business investors and business owners should educate themselves about choices for the business opportunity financing and commercial loan climate that currently prevails throughout the United States.
Environmental requirements for business finance will be a complex issue for numerous business investments. Environmental issues involved in a business loan will primarily depend upon the commercial lender as well as the type of business. More extensive requirements can impact both the cost and timing for a commercial mortgage loan.
Tax returns and financial statements for a business loan are likely to be a concern for all commercial borrowers. Whereas residential mortgage financing is likely to involve only personal tax returns, most business financing will include a review of business tax returns as well. Business financial statements and personal financial statements will be required for certain kinds of business opportunity financing and commercial real estate financing.
Secondary financing will often be a means of acquiring desired commercial loans. The use of seller financing or secondary financing is a prudent business financing strategy to reduce capital requirements for the borrower. Secondary financing will not be accepted by all commercial lenders.
An unexpected requirement for many commercial loans involves sourcing and seasoning of funds. When purchasing a business, some lenders will require that borrowers document where the down payment is coming from (sourcing) and how long the funds have been in that location (seasoning). If a borrower cannot adequately provide this documentation, the choice of commercial lenders will be more restricted.
Collateral and cross-collateralization for business loans will be an insurmountable obstacle for some commercial borrowers. Collateral requirements for business financing will depend on many factors such as down payment, type of business, credit scores and the type of financing needed. Cross-collateralization refers to lender requirements involving personal collateral such as a home used as collateral for a business loan.
Any requirement for a business plan when obtaining commercial mortgages is likely to be expensive and time-consuming. A business plan is not always required for a business loan, but when one is required this will add significantly to the cost and length of the loan process.
An increasing problem for commercial borrowers seeking refinancing is an unreasonable limitation for getting cash out of the new loan. Commercial lenders differ significantly regarding restrictions imposed on the amount of cash out to the borrower when refinancing. Some lenders will not permit any cash out whatsoever while others will limit cash received by the borrower to a particular amount. The preferred approach is to use a lender that will allow cash to be paid out up to an agreed loan-to-value (frequently 75%).
It is important to to thoroughly analyze business financing lockout penalties. A lockout penalty is much more severe than a prepayment penalty in that such penalties can effectively prevent a commercial borrower from selling or refinancing during a prescribed period (often two to five years).
In addition to the issues noted above, numerous other key business finance and real estate mortgage issues will also be important to evaluate. Commercial mortgage requirements are very different from residential financing requirements in the United States. We have prepared several other business finance overviews addressing additional factors that will be significant for most commercial borrowers. Separate report topics include SBA loan refinancing, business opportunity financing, stated income business loans and commercial appraisals.