Getting a Commercial Loan

Written by Posted On Sunday, 05 March 2006 16:00

Whether you're an entrepreneur who is looking for an office for your company, or you're an investor wanting to buy commercial real estate, you'll likely be shopping for a commercial loan.

Commercial mortgages are typically offered with higher interest rates than residential mortgages and they frequently have very short terms. Factors such as whether you go through a mortgage banker or a mortgage broker for your commercial loan and whether the property is being purchased for your small business or your private investment can determine your success in financing the property.

"Banks are very stringent. They have certain property types that they like. There are certain property areas that they like to lend in," says Thomas Preston, Senior Loan Officer, Bayview Financial.

"If you're a novice investor and you don't know where to go [for a loan] and you're trying to get into the commercial market on a small scale your options begin to get pretty limited," says Preston.

Commercial loans are often based on more than just the credit history of the person applying for the loan. If it's for your business, how viable it is, how long you've owned the company, how financially strong your company is, and your experience will be some of the deciding factors. While personal finances are vital, if the purchase is a commercial property that can generate income, such as a hotel or apartment building, less emphasis is put on the personal aspect.

The failure rate of small businesses is very high. So lenders look at other factors including how comfortable the lender is with the type of business and industry demographics. Certain businesses, because of the backing of larger companies, may have a lower failure rate and, therefore, the ability to qualify for a commercial loan easier.

Preston says that "by and large, most banks are going to lend in the area where they are doing business and they like to lend to their own customers first." However, he says mortgage brokers have a larger scope -- "Bayview Financial lends on most types of commercial real estate in all states."

When you're shopping for your commercial loan, it's best to get an expert involved early in the process. It can be tricky to find the right lender because commercial lenders specialize in different types of industries. Their niche-market is usually dictated by the secondary market and its institutional investors who have a model for the types of loans they will buy from primary lenders.

Here are a few tips for getting a commercial loan:

  • Interview a few mortgage brokers or bankers for the job but then stick with one who can help find the right product for you. If you get too many experts involved it begins to look like no one is shepherding the loan and thus no one really puts 100 percent effort into it.

  • Negotiate offer points in the lender's initial offer letter immediately. If there are terms that you need clarified, such as tax escrows, closing schedule, lender's calculation method, etc., do it right away.

  • Don't assume anything such as that a loan can be assigned. Always check your facts.

  • Use industry experts to determine that the loan is solid.
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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

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