When you invest in a piece of commercial estate, you generally have to take out a mortgage to pay off the cost, just like with a residential purchase. Yet, the factors determining whether or not you will be approved for an investment property loan are somewhat different and the requirements are more demanding. Commercial mortgage lenders will look at several financial aspects including a property appraisal, a credit check, the down payment, and the Debt Service Coverage Ratio.
A property appraisal is required to determine the market value of the commercial building and accompanying land. The appraisal keeps the lender from inadvertently loaning you more money than the real estate is worth, thereby reducing the risk of loss for the lender. Appraisals are also conducted during residential home purchases, but the price-deciding factors are different. A commercial property’s value is based not only on the condition of the roof, the plumbing, and other systems, but also on the size, location, and accessibility of the place.
With an investment property mortgage loan, you will also need to demonstrate a good credit record. Of course good credit is a plus in residential mortgages, but because commercial properties generally cost much more than the residential properties, the credit requirements tend to be more stringent. In addition, checking your credit history and score, lenders will want plenty of income and asset documentation to make sure you will be able to make your mortgage payments. If it is your own business that will occupy the business space, the lender will want the proof of the profitability of your venture.
Down payments are another determining factor in whether or not you will be approved for a commercial property loan. In the residential world, borrowers can often get away by contributing very little and sometimes even nothing up front in the form of a down payment. The big price tags on official and business properties, however, makes lenders very cautious as the risks are much greater. Large down payments are usually required for an investment property mortgage loan, with the minimum being 20 percent of the price. In many cases though, the average seems to be a down payment of 30 to 45 percent. You are then provided with the loan of the remaining amount of the purchase price. The amount you are loaned compared to the actual price is called the Loan to Value ratio (LTV) and is a very commonly used percentage in the mortgage world.
Finally, you will be approved for a mortgage based on the Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) of the commercial real estate. This is the amount of money the realty generates each month from rents and other fees (the net cash flow) versus the amount of the monthly mortgage payment (the debt service.) This ratio helps lenders to determine how much you can reasonably afford to pay on your commercial property loan each month. Most like to keep the ratio between 1.1 and 1.4. A ratio of 1.4 means that for every dollar you pay in mortgage payments, your property should be generating $1.40. Your revenue would therefore be larger than your debts, and you would theoretically be able to repay your loan.
Certain commercial lenders may have additional loan requirements, which are not listed here, but the basics remain the same for all. Be sure to shop around and ask each lender how he or she determines its approval. You can be competitive in the commercial property loan market by doing your homework and coming fully prepared to the negotiating table.