When you are looking to finance your next commercial real estate project, you need to find a commercial lender. Why, you might ask? You need someone on your side who is an expert in the nuances of the kinds of loans that are a part of commercial real estate. But finding one can be kind of tricky. Here are a few tips to help you find a great commercial lender.
Commercial banks and lenders often specialize in the larger companies, so finding ones that specialize in small businesses is often harder. The good news is, especially since 2012, small business lending has been on the rise.
One way to find a small business friendly lender is to look for a smaller lender. Community-based banks and credit unions are often much more likely to loan to a local business. Why? It’s partly based on their ability to know you and your business better than the big guys can. It’s also based on their willingness to support their local economy by investing in it. Some local banks are also participants in the Small Business Credit Initiative which is a federal program to help give small businesses a boost.
Another way to get a commercial loan is to find a lender who offers loans backed by the Small Business Administration. These loans are perfect when you don’t have the criteria that other loans would require for evaluating your creditworthiness. The SBA backs the loans, giving lenders the ability to loan to you without fear. You can either check to see if the lender lists that it is a Preferred SBA Lender or you can consult the SBA for a list of local lenders who are a part of the program.
If you can, find out who will actually be doing the loan evaluation and making the final decision, whether it is the bank itself or if they send off your loan to an outside company. This can change who you want to work with if you intend to work locally.
Once you do find a lender you like and are willing to work with, do your research on the company. You will be with them for several years while you pay off the loan, so you want to be sure you can have a good relationship with them. Check the company track record and make sure that they are likely to be around in 10 -15 years when your loan matures. You can also check to see if the company offers annual financial reviews to see if there are other financial products that it might offer you that can be of benefit.
The Commercial Finance Association also offers you some advice and help finding a commercial lender. Their service is free and you can do your search by what kind of loan you are seeking, the amount you want to finance, and where you are. The CFA will then give you options for a lender who will match what you are looking for.
If you can, think about all of this and create your strategy before you actually need the loan. It will make things go more smoothly and faster when the time comes.