Commercial Loans Blog

Reading a Commercial Loan Appraisal

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Oct 30, 2013

The following article was actually written by a hard money commercial loan competitor; but the article was so well-written that I simply had to memorialize it for my sons ... and my blog readers.  My sincere thanks go out to Clay Sparkman for allowing me to republish this wonderfully written article.

Clay's Wonderful Article on How to Read a Commercial Loan Appraisal:

The most important thing that you must understand about any commercial loan appraisal (or other real estate valuation instrument) is that it is only as good as its logic.  So that—in other words—you must never accept an appraisal’s conclusion regarding value without looking beyond the surface to understand the logic that leads to the conclusion and without making some reasonable determination as to the quality of the logical argumentation.

With that in mind, I offer you ten critical steps to follow when reading/analyzing (and thus attempting to assess the “goodness” of) a commercial loan appraisal.

commercial appraisal(1)    The very first thing you must ask as you analyze a commercial loan appraisal is to what degree is the appraisal transparent?  In other words, how much of the logic leading to the value conclusion is on display for you the reader?  If the answer is none, the appraisal is useless.  Throw it away.  If the answer is some (in other words there are gaps in the logic) then you must either (a) once again, decide to toss the appraisal, (b) decide to accept some degree of uncertainty, (c) attempt to fill the gaps on your own, or (d) contact the appraiser and see if she can provide the missing logic.  (Sometimes the appraiser will have the information you need on file, but they just didn't include it in their final report.)  Ideally the answer is none or very little, and the commercial loan appraisal can be said to be highly transparent.  At any rate, you will need to be asking this question throughout your analysis.

(2)    The next thing you need to do is get a handle on what is being appraised.  Is it a home, a commercial building, a parcel of land?  What are the basic specifications?  Where is it located?  Is it urban or rural?  How desirable is the surrounding area?  Are there functional inadequacies?  If it is land, what horizontal infrastructure is in place or lacking and what does the current zoning allow?

(3)    I have never heard anyone else say this, but I stand by it (at least when valuing buildings and structures; for valuing land, not so much): one of the first things I do after getting a basic sense of the property is go straight to the photos.  (And by the way, make sure you have an original appraisal or color copies.  The photos can be quite useful, but not if they are blacked out by copying and faxing.)  I study the photos of the subject property and then I compare them to the photos of each of the various comps.  You will be surprised at how often you will begin to sniff some bad cheese at this point in the process (particularly when dealing with structures).  What you are looking for here is: (a) whether or not the comps are in the same general condition as the subject property, and (b) whether or not the comps are in the same general “class” as the subject property.  By class I am referring to the level of quality and distinction of the property.  If the answer to one or both of these is no, it is not necessarily game over, but you will now be looking even more closely at the adjustment matrix later on to see if the apparent differences are effectively accounted for to your satisfaction.

(4)    Next, you will want to check the effective date of the value given.  How current is the commercial loan appraisal?  In a steady up economy we used to be comfortable using appraisals that were as much as 1-2 years old.  We would adjust the value to be in-line with changes in the market.  With the chaos of the past 5+ years, this method is not as effective and must be utilized with great care.  Generally speaking (though this would depend to a certain extent on the region) you would want your appraisal to be less than 6 months old.

(5)    Check carefully to see if there are any “subject to” items associated with the value.  Generally this will initially be indicated by checking a box that indicates the appraised value is subject to certain additions, improvements, or modifications as indicated later in the appraisal.  This of course is a critical item, so make sure you have read through the entire body of the appraisal so as not to miss any such “subject to” items or conditions.

(6)    Look to see if any extraordinary assumptions are made by the appraiser.  Here again, you will be forced to read through the entire body of the appraisal to be sure.  On more than a few occasions I have seen what looked to be a perfectly reasonable appraisal completely neutralized (or actually nullified) at the discovery of one or more extraordinary assumptions.  The problem with most extraordinary assumptions is that they are indeed extraordinary.  If I am evaluating a parcel of bare land zoned rural agricultural, and an extraordinary assumption in my appraisal states that “The zoning will be changed to allow multi-unit residential at 8 units per acre.” … well chances are, the gig is up.  Even if some serious local zoning change is in the works, what is the chance that you can count on it to come through and thus turn this “straw” property into gold?

(7)    Take an accounting of the methods utilized for valuing the subject property.  In my opinion, a market sales comparison approach is ALWAYS essential and should be the primary method—and the one given most weight—in valuing a property.  The only true value in a  market economy is the amount that others are willing to pay for it, and thus the attempt to estimate market value by looking at recent sales—though still at best a process of estimation—is the only method we have that goes to the heart of the matter.  Beyond that, it would be nice to have a cost approach and an income approach (where relevant) but these are, in my opinion, at best a good way to cross-check the market value derived by the comparison approach.

(8)    Another thing you need to take a close look at is the aging of the comps.  If all the comps were sold quite recently, then you are good in this department.  But if one or more of the comps are more than 6 months old, this may be a problem.  The next step would be to look at the comp matrix to see how much the appraiser adjusts the target value to factor comp aging.  If one or more of the comps are listings … well then, these aren’t really comps at all.  I have seen comp workups using nothing but listings.  This is totally unacceptable. Anyone can list a property for any price they want.  It would perhaps be reasonable to have 1-2 listings along with at least as many “true” comps, but even this is getting into squishy territory.  So here again, you would have to look at how the appraiser adjusted the subject value based on the “listing” comps.

(9)    You should spend the majority of your effort fussing over the comp matrix.  This is the matrix which compares various characteristics of the subject property with various characteristics of the comps and makes specific adjustments for each of the comps to arrive at adjusted values for the comps (effectively attempting to monetarily “convert” each of the comps into the subject property).  If you have: (a) many adjustments, (b) large adjustments (relative to the price of the property), and/or many seemingly subjective adjustments, then you may want to seriously question the integrity of the appraisal.  You will want to walk through each and every adjustment, and here again, you must look for transparency.  Does the appraiser explain the logic behind his adjustment decisions?  If not, you have a transparency problem.  At the end of the day, you must be comfortable with the adjustments and you must feel that they are objective, transparent, well thought out, and seemingly reasonable.  If not, you must either (a) discard the appraisal, (b) contact the appraiser for further explanation, and/or (c) revise one or  more adjustments and revise the final subject value accordingly.

(10) And finally you will want to be sure and take a look at other methods of valuation utilized (generally income and cost on commercial loan appraisals).  And then you will want to determine how the appraiser has gone about reconciling the different values arrived at utilizing different methods.  Sometimes a weighted value approach is used.  If so, how much weight is being given to the comp value approach relative to other methods utilized.  As you may have guessed by now, I generally like to see all or at least the vast majority of weight given to the comp analysis.  If the appraisal doesn't explain the reconciliation, you have a transparency problem.  If the comp value approach is not given enough weight, you may want to fall back on the value arrived at by the comp value approach as your own final value.

And there you have it.  There is a great deal more that can be said about reading an appraisal, and certainly this list of ten items is far from exhaustive, but it does give you a few things that you will not want to overlook.  If anyone has their own favorite “crucial” steps, I would love to hear about them.  Please let me know and I will share them with the group.

Last word:  Don't think that you don't need to "read" a commercial loan appraisal just because you are the commercial loan broker or the borrower, thus relying on the work of the appraiser to be true and accurate given their credentials.  I often ask brokers and borrowers if they have read the appraisals they have submitted, and what their opinion was. If they haven't read the appraisal or clearly haven't put the effort in to attempt to understand and make sense of it ... well that wouldn't necessarily kill the deal, but to my mind it highlights a potentially serious credibility issue.  As a broker (and certainly as a professional investor borrower), you must read and understand the items that you are submitting.  Anything less will generally become apparent to the lender and will ultimately undermine your ability to do your job effectively.

Clay Sparkman
Vice President, Fairfield Financial Services, Inc.

This is George writing again.  I made my sons, George IV and Tom, study Clay's superb article.  My younger son, Tom, wrote back to me with the following wise comment:

These are essentially the exact same steps Angelica taught me to use when I didn't understand why she would accept one appraisal but not another.  

"The only other item this guy did not mention (but Angelica - our EVP and the Boys' immediate boss and trainer - emphasized) is who actually did the reporting and what their licensing is."
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Topics: commercial appraisals

Commercial Loans and Valuing a Commercial Property Using a Cap Rate

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Oct 28, 2013

This is my 4th blog article on the subject of cap rates and commercial loans, and its a good one!  Today you will learn how appraisers and commercial brokers (commercial realtors) compute a cap rate.  Then you will learn how to appraise or value a commercial property using a cap rate.


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A Pro Forma Operating Statement is a projected budget for a commercial property for the upcoming year.  A pro forma sets aside a reserve for vacancy and collection loss and a reserve for replacements (new roof, new HVAC unit, etc.).  It also budgets for outside management, even if the owner currently manages the property.  The bottom line of the pro forma is the commercial property's projected Net Operating Income (NOI).  We will use the NOI a lot in this article.

When an appraiser wants to figure out the cap rates at which nearby commercial properties are selling, he starts first by by gathering up the offering memorandums on recently sold commercial properties.  By the way, an Offering Memorandum is a sales brochure, prepared by the listing real estate broker, that describes the commercial property that is for sale, includes color pictures, and contains a pro forma operating statement on the property.  Please be sure to look at the sample offering memorandum.

From the offering memorandum, the appraiser gathers the Net Operating Income number.  Using the NOI and the actual sales price, the appraiser can quickly compute the cap rate.

How exactly does he do this?  Well, let's look at the definition of cap rate.

Cap Rate = (NOI / Purchase Price) x 100%

For this example, let's assume that the appraiser looked at the original offering memorandum of a recently-sold 8-unit apartment project and plucked off the number, $48,619, as the NOI.  The building eventually sold for $1,055,000.  Let's plug, chug, and then compute our cap rate:

Cap Rate = ($48,619 / $1,055,000) x 100%

Cap Rate = .046 x 100%

Cap Rate = 4.6%

In other words, if an investor purchased this 8-plex for $1,055,000 all-cash, and if he hired a professional management company to run the property, the investor would earn an annual return (think of it like "interest") of 4.6%.  This is a fairly low cap rate, but apartments are a very desirable form of income property, and this particular 8-plex was located in a densely-populated, high-demand area of Sacramento.

Okay, now let's look at a different property.  Suppose you're the appraiser or a commercial real estate broker.  You have looked at the numbers on a dozen nearby commercial properties that have sold recently and which are comparable to the retail building (lets say a dollar discount store) that you are trying to value today.  You have computed the cap rates on these dozen sales, and you have determined that small, free-standing retail buildings in this area sell for a cap rate of around 9.25%.

You have also looked at the lease and the historical operating expenses for this dollar discount store building, and using those numbers, you have prepared a pro forma operating statement.  You have computed the projected NOI to be $32,500 per year.

Now here comes your biggest nightmare.  Do you remember when your high school algebra teacher once said, "You're going to have to learn this stuff.  You will need to use algebra someday in business."  Well, folks, unfortunately today is that day; but I promise to go slow and to use baby language.  And please don't panic!  When I'm done, I am going to give you a simple formula that you can memorize to figure out the value of a commercial property.

Now let's first key our eyes on the target.  We are trying to value a little free-standing retail building that is currently leased to a dollar store.  We know the property's NOI, which we computed to be $32,500 per year.  We know at what cap rate comparable commercial properties are selling - 9.25%.  So how do we use what we know to compute the property's value?  Let's start with the definition of a cap rate.

Cap Rate = (NOI / Purchase Price) x 100%

In order to solve for Purchase Price (Value), we have to rearrange the equation to where we have "Purchase Price is equal to" on one side of the equation.  Therefore we are going to have to move some terms around to isolate Purchase Price on one side of the equal-to-sign.

Now, remember, in algebra we can do anything we want to one side of the equal-to-sign, as long as we do the same thing to the other side.  Let's start by multiplying each side of the equation by Purchase Price.

Purchase Price x Cap Rate = (NOI  / Purchase Price) x Purchase Price x 100%

What is seven divided by seven (7/7)?  One, right?  What is (9.2 / 9.2)?  One, right?  What is (Purchase Price / Purchase Price)?  One!  So now let's rewrite this equation:

Purchase Price x Cap Rate = NOI x 100% x (Purchase Price / Purchase Price)

Purchase Price x Cap Rate = NOI x 100% x 1

Purchase Price x Cap Rate = NOI x 100%

We are trying to isolate Purchase Price on one side of the equal-to-sign, so now let's divide both sides of the equation by Cap Rate.

Purchase Price x (Cap Rate / Cap Rate) = (NOI x100%) / Cap Rate

Purchase Price x 1 = (NOI / Cap Rate) x 100%

Purchase Price* = (NOI / Cap Rate) x 100%

*Another name for Value.

This formula in red is the one you can simply memorize.  You take the property's NOI and divide it by the Cap Rate (expressed as a decimal; i.e., 0.072 rather than 7.2%).  

Okay, we're now ready to plug and chug.  In this example we assumed that the proeprty's Net Operating Income (NOI) was $32,500 per year.  We also determined that comparable commercial properties nearby were selling at a 9.25% cap rate (0.0925 if expressed as a decimal).

Value = NOI / Cap Rate**

** Please note that we had substituted Value for Purchase Price and that in this formula we have to remember to express the Cap Rate as a decimal.

Value = NOI / Cap Rate

Value = $32,500 / 0.0925

Value = $351,351 or rounded to $351,000

Forget about the torturous algebra!  Just remember to divide the Net Operating Income by the Cap Rate (expressed as a decimal) to figure out the value of the property.

This is such an important tool that we are going to do one more example.  The subject property is an office tower in Indianapolis generating $2,324,000 per year in net operating income.  Similar office towers downtown are selling at 6.75% cap rates.

Value = NOI  / Cap Rate

Value = $2,324,000 / 0.0675*

Value = $34,429,629 rounded to, say, $34,430,000

* Would you have remembered to convert the cap rate to a decimal format? 

Congratulations!  You now know how to value a commercial property, even one that is located in Bum Flowers, Egypt.  :-)

By the way, if you enjoyed this article, and you are not already subscribed to my blog, please find my rump-ugly picture above and fill in your email address.  I am in the process of training my two sons, before I keel over and die, and you can therefore get trained in commercial real estate finance for free.

Also, some Facebook likes or Google-Plus +1's would make my old, weary heart a little happier.  I know, its disgusting when an old man begs.

Joke Du Jour:  So there I was, sitting at the bar staring at my drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink and gulps it down in one swig.  "Well, whatcha' gonna do about it?" he says menacingly, as I burst into tears.  "Come on, man," the biker says, "I didn't think you'd CRY. I can't stand to see a man crying."

"This is the worst day of my life," I say. "I'm a complete failure. I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen, and I don't have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home, where I found my wife with another man.  Then my dog bit me."

"So I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all.  I buy a drink, I drop a capsule in it, and I sit here watching the poison dissolve. Then you show up and drink the whole thing! But hey, enough about me, how's your day going?"

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Commercial Loans, Cap Rates, and Commercial Loan Constants

Posted by George Blackburne on Fri, Oct 25, 2013

This is the third article in my series on cap rates and commercial mortgage finance.  My eventual goal is to explain a line from an earlier blog article, where I pointed out:

"If the interest rate on a commercial loan is 13.9% and the commercial property is valued based on an 8% cap rate, it is mathematically impossible for the property to carry a new commercial loan larger than 57% loan-to-value."

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Please stick with me here.  The math sounds hard, but its really not.  You are going to learn a TON today about cap rates, commercial loan constants, and commercial real estate valuation.  Let's start with a little review.

In prior articles, we said that a Cap Rate was merely the return on your money (think of it like the "interest rate" you would earn) if you bought a commercial property for all cash.  Cap rates can vary from 3.5% to 13%, but an average commercial property in an average area these days sells at a cap rate of between 8% and 9.75%.

For example, let's suppose you win the lottery, but its only a small one.  You net $1 million after taxes.  You're 63 years old, you've been brokering commercial loans for 25 years, and you're tired.  You're ready to retire and live off your investments.

Your local bank is only paying 1% on C.D.s, so if you left your $1 million in your local bank, you would only earn $10,000 per year in interest.  You can't retire on social security and a lousy $10,000 per year in interest.  You need a better return on your money.

You decide instead to buy a little 4-unit strip center, not far from your house, that houses a convenience store, a real estate office, a hair salon, and a chiropractor's office.  You pay $1 million for the strip center, and you buy it at an 8% cap rate.  This means that you would enjoy $80,000 per year in net rental income (8% of $1 million), which is enough, taken together with your social security, to retire.  Please note that the 8% return is a MUCH better deal than the 1% return offered by your bank.

Now let's talk about commercial loan constants.  When I first started in mortgage finance 36 years ago, the typical mainframe computer was the size of a small home.  It would take a mainframe computer a full two hours to compute the monthly payment on a $25,000 loan at a 4.25% interest rate, fully-amortized over 30 years.  Obviously a loan agent couldn't carry a ten-ton mainfame computer on his back when he went out to someone's home to take a loan application; but the borrowers still wanted to know what their monthly payments would be.  Therefore the commercial loan constant was created.

A loan constant is merely the monthly payment on a loan of exactly $1,000, fully-amortized over 30 years.

For example, the loan constant at 4.25% is $4.90 per month.  In other words, if you borrowed exactly $1,000 at 4.25% interest, and if you made $4.90 per month payments for 30 years, your $1,000 loan would be completely paid off.  See, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Now the year is 1977, and  I am on my way to take a loan application on a residential borrower at his home.  Instead of lugging a ten-ton computer on my back, I just bring my trusty loan constant ($4.90 per month).  When the borrower decides to borrow $25,000 and asks for his monthly payment, I simply multiply my trusty loan constant of $4.90 by the number of thousands that he wants to borrow, in this case 25.  The answer is $122.50 per month.  That's the monthly payment on a loan of $25,000, fully-amortized over 30 years at 4.25%.

"But gee, George, what if the interest rate changes? Won't the loan constant change?"

Yes it will.  Suppose the interest rate drops to 4.125%.  Home office will have to warm up old Ten-Ton-Betty (the company's mainframe computer) and have her devote two hours to computing the new loan constant.  In the morning, the office manager will inform us of the new loan constant.  We each received a stone tablet into which the new loan constant was chiseled.  (Just kidding!)

Now over time the term "loan constant" has evolved.  Nowadays the loan constant represents the interest rate you used when you computed the debt service coverage ratio.  

For example, you might call up your favorite bank commercial loan officer and say, "Bob, I have a great commercial loan for you.  The debt service coverage ratio is a whopping 1.55 based on a 3.75%, 30-year constant."

At which point Bob replies, "Gee, George, that all sounds great and everything, but because of the age of your commercial property, Loan Committee is going to want to amortize our loan over just 20 years.  And unfortunately our interest rate is not 3.75%.  It's 6.125%.  As I calaculate your deal, the debt service coverage ratio is just 1.07 based on a 6.125%, 20-year constant.  Your deal doesn't qualify.  Our minimum debt service coverage ratio is 1.25."

This is why veteran commercial mortgage brokers always disclose the loan constant they used when they computed the debt service coverage ratio.

This review having now been completed, in my next blog article I will show you why a property valued based on an 8.0% cap rate mathematically cannot carry any 13.9% loan higher than 57% loan-to-value.

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Income Property Loan Officers Need To Be Advocates Like Attorneys

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Oct 16, 2013

Income property lending is an advocacy process, just like a criminal trial.  The matter before the tribunal is whether the income property loan should be approved by Loan Committee.

The Prosecuting Attorney, so to speak, is Loan Committee.  Loan Committee's job is to point out all of the flaws of the income property loan.  The Public Defender, in our drama, is the income property loan officer.  His job is to point out all of the good features of the commercial loan and argue why the income property loan should be approved.

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I'm blogging on this subject today because one of our loan officers (we'll call him Sam) came to me last week, and he was very frustrated.  He had a $1.3 million commercial first mortgage loan request on a very nice, fully-leased strip center in a very desirable city in Texas.  The center was even partially occupied by the owner, a physician who had good credit.

Loan Committee cut the loan request to an unworkable number - just 57% LTV - because the loan would otherwise not cash flow.  From that number Loan Committee refused to budge.  Sam ended up losing the deal - his best deal in months - and his morale was devastated.

But it was Sam's own fault, and I told him so.  "Sam, you have to grow a pair and start pushing back with Loan Committee.  Loan Committee's job is to point out all of the flaws on the deal and to initially turn down the loan."

"Your job, as the borrower's income property loan officer, is not to roll over like a puppy and say, 'Yes, ma'am.'  Your job is to (respectfully and intellectually) fight for the deal."

Here's how the conversation should have gone.  Sam is the commercial loan officer.  Angelica is our wonderful Executive Vice President and the head of our Loan Committee.  She also effectively runs Blackburne & Sons.  I try to stay out of her way and focus on developing new products.

Angelica:  "Sam, this deal looks pretty good, but I am cutting the loan back from $1.3 million to $1.15 million (57% LTV).  The deal doesn't cash flow a penny more."

Sam:  "Angelica, this is a gorgeous shopping center in one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing cities in Texas.  This is great collateral."

Angelica:  "I'm sorry, Sam, but the reason the borrower is coming to us for the loan is because he is behind in his real estate taxes.  If we make any loan larger than $1.15 million, he won't be able to make both our payments and his real estate taxes.  He'll simply fall behind on his taxes again."

Sam:  "This guy is a physican who occupies part of the center with his medical practice.  He's not going to move out of this center and let the property go.  It would cost him $75,000 to $100,000 to move his office, and he would lose a bunch of his patients."

Angelica:  "I'm sorry, Sam, but this guy doesn't make enough money on paper to afford our payments.  What are the investors going to say when they look at his financials?"

Sam:  "What you can tell the investors is that we would suddenly own a beautiful strip center in a thriving and fast-growing city in Texas, the economically strongest state in the country.  We would own the strip center free-and-clear, and we would earn at least a 9.5% cash-on-cash return from the net rental income, even after management fees.  Where are you going to beat that investment?!"

Or -

Sam:  "The borrower is self-employed.  Everyone who is self-employed probably cheats a little bit on their taxes.  This guy is probably running $75,000 to $100,000 per year in family expenses through the company.  He's got the dough if he really needs it."

Or -

Sam:  "The borrower has a $3.5 million net worth.  He is not going to lose the strip center that houses his medical practice.  It would cost him $75,000 to $100,000 to move.  He would just have to sell off his rental house if the real estate taxes simply had to be paid."

Or - And this argument is the Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner!

Sam:  "Angelica, we're a hard money lender.  Few of our deals ever make sense on paper.  If this property is valued at an 8% cap rate, I can show you mathematically that if our interest rate is 13.9% - because the loan is large and we need a higher than usual interest rate to raise all of the dough to fund the loan - that no deal on earth will carry a loan larger than 57% loan-to-value.  Heck, Angelica, if the highest LTV we can go is a lousy 57%, Blackburne & Sons might as well close up shop.  We're not going to be able to close enough deals to keep the doors open."

This is a loan that should have been made at $1.3 million; but the fault wasn't that of Loan Committee.  The fault falls entirely on the shoulders of the ineffectual income property loan officer who merely rolled over and said, "Yes, ma'am," when he KNEW that Loan Committee was wrong.  

Okay, here are the practice lessons of this article:

1.  Loan Committee's job is to point out all of the flaws on your commercial loan and to initially turn it down.

2.  As an income property loan broker, don't just roll over and accept the first "No" that Loan Committee issues.  Respectfully and intellectually fight for your deal.

3.  Choose your income property loan officers carefully.  You don't want wimps or salaried, lazy old farts as your commercial loan officers.  You want fighters!

Bottom line:  No wimps!

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Topics: advocacy

SBA Loans Put on Hold By Government Shutdown

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Oct 7, 2013

Do you need an SBA loan to buy or refinance a commercial property?  If so, you may not be able to rely on your local SBA lender.  Perhaps an inexpensive bridge loan from Blackburne & Sons, one of the oldest private money commercial lenders in the country, would help.

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Our friends at ValuExpress recently explained the problem to us:

"It’s October 1 and through failure of Congress to enact a fiscal budget or a continuing resolution to authorize federal spending, all parts of the federal government not deemed “essential” halted operations effective midnight last night."  This includes SBA loans and the SBA!

"According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s account regarding the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, about 800,000 government workers are being furloughed. In addition, funding is suspended for a wide array of services, including contracts that government agencies award to small business owners."

"This means that financing for small businesses will be significantly impaired. The Small Business Administration (SBA), which guarantees tens of billions in loans for tens of thousands of entrepreneurs annually, has furloughed about 62% of its 3,500 workers, according to its response to the threatened shutdown posted on the SBA website last week."

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"SBA lenders have been here before, but this situation is not nearly as disruptive as the annual 7(a) subsidy fights that Congress went through prior to 2004, which shut down the entire loan program three times in 1995 alone."

“The SBA shutdown is definitely a bummer for us as we have a $5-million SBA 7(a) loan closing in process with our affiliate, Country Bank and we are not sure if we can close the loan because we need the SBA to sign off on the Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) for the project,” commented Jim Brett, the ValueXpress underwriter on the project."

Our thanks for this heads-up go out to ValuExpress, one of the few commercial loan conduits to survive the Great Recession.  They're good folks.

Where does this leave you if you have an SBA loan in process?  If your seller has a competing offer circling your target property, or if you need a commercial loan right away to keep your company doors open, you should apply immediately to a private money commercial lender. At Blackburne & Sons, We make bridge loans, commercial loans, and permanent loans, up to $2.5 million, on commercial properties nationwide, owner-occupied or not.

A private money commerecial lender can typically approve your commercial loan within just 24 to 48 hours.  At Blackburne & Sons we can even give you a commercial bridge loan with no prepayment penalty, so the moment the SBA re-opens its doors and starts guaranteeing SBA loans again, you can immediately close your SBA loan and pay us off.

Private money commercial lenders, like us, will often allow junior financing.  What this means is that a private commercial lender - unlike most commercial banks - will allow the seller to carry-back a second mortgage behind their first mortgage.  In a rush situation, this extra flexibilty from your commercial lender could save your deal ... or even your company.

Remember, the SBA does not actually make commercial loans.  Instead, it merely guarantees a portion of them.  Your bank may still legally be able to make you a commercial loan today, but they will probably insist on a written commitment from the SBA to partially-guarantee your commercial loan first.  As long as the SBA is shut down, such loan guarantees will not be forthcoming.  

Consider a private money commercial loan instead. 

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Topics: SBA loans