Commercial Loans Blog

One Hundred Submissions to Close a Single Commercial Loan

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Aug 24, 2009

It Has Never Has It Been Harder to Close a Commercial Loan

A buddy of mine recently sent me an interesting email that says it all about placing commercial loans today.

George,

... The markets have been turned upside down. There is a real disconnect today with what the borrowers want and think they can get and what they can realistically can get from the lending community.

We just funded a $6.5 million loan for a self-storage project at a 6.95% rate for ten years. The borrower wanted a NON-recourse loan. While there were several hundred lenders in that market for that product 18 months ago, today there are none. The exception, the life companies, are at 55% LTV. Our deal was 61% LTV without 12 months of stabilized income. The life companies would not even take a hard look at the deal. The borrower was VERY well qualified, with lots of cash and a great financial statement.

We went to over 120 lenders who would make a loan on this property type in So Cal and found only ONE who would do the deal. The deal closed, and the lender has now eliminated self-storage as a product they will lend on.

Borrowers in most cases are still not realistic about what they will accept vs. the market. There is no 100% financing. The borrower must have 25% to 35% equity in the deals today. For refi's the borrower must have a DSCR of at least !.25:1, and even Fannie Mae wants 1.20:1 for apartments. And FNMA has a new requirement that they want you to own at least four multi-family projects, or have owned that total (in the past), if they are to consider you for a loan ...

R. H. Adams

This mortgage broker had to submit his commercial loan to 120 different commercial lenders before finding the one commercial lender who would do the deal. He didn't quit. To his credit, he pushed on and on until he found a home for the deal. You will probably have to do the same with your own commercial loans.

I have often said, "Sometimes placing a commercial loan is as difficult as finding a wife for your best friend. You can set him up with a lovely girl that is the right age, the right size, the right level of beauty, and the right religion ... and still there is just no chemistry or fireworks. All you can do is keep setting your friend up with new ladies. It becomes a numbers game."

So if you are trying to place a commercial loan with a bank or a life insurance company today, you may have to submit your commercial loan to 50 to 100 commercial lenders ... until you find just the right chemistry.

Topics: commercial loan, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial lender, commercial mortgage

Valuing Apartment Buildings

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Jul 20, 2009

Here Are Some Quick Valuation Methods Used By Commercial Real Estate Brokers and Appraisers

Suppose you are a commercial loan broker or commercial mortgage banker. A commercial borrower comes to you and applies for a multifamily loan on his 32-unit apartment building. He absolutely needs $3 million in apartment financing. Is his commercial loan request reasonable, or is he wasting your time?

If you knew approximately how much his apartment building was worth, you could quickly check the loan-to-value ratio to make sure that it didn't exceed 75%. Few multifamily lenders, other than Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, will make apartment loans in excess of 75% LTV today.

One quick technique is the Gross Rent Multiplier. Take the annual rent of the apartment project and multiply it by the typical multiplier for your area. For example, suppose the annual gross rents for this project are $500,000 (about $1,300 per month per unit). If apartment buildings in this area are selling for a Gross Rent Multiplier of between 7 and 9 and the project is just of average quality, you might multiply $500,000 by 8 to give you a rough estimate of value of $4 million. A loan request of $3 million versus a $4 million value (75% LTV) is about the maximum loan amount that the borrower could hope to get.

Another technique is a market approach to valuation called the Price Per Unit. Suppose comparable apartment projects in this area are selling for $90,000 to $130,000 per unit. Because the subject apartment building is average and it is located in an average area of town, you might choose to use $110,000 per unit.  Thirty-two units times $110,000 per unit gives you an estimated value of around $3.52 million. Gee, a $3 million loan against a $3.52 million property isn't looking too promising. If you're busy, maybe you don't take on this loan, especially if the borrower absolutely must get $3 million.

"But, George, my office is located in Billings, Montana. I don't have a clue how much apartment buildings are selling for per unit in Atlanta, Georgia."

Here's a trick. The commercial brokerage firm of Marcus & Millichap (marcusmillichap.com) is well-known for refusing to take listings on over-valued multifamily properties. In other words, if the market value of an apartment building is $3 million, they won't list the building for $4 million.  So go to their web site, find some nearby and comparable apartment buildings, and determine the listing price per unit. Then you should probably reduce the price per unit by 7% to 10% to get a rough estimate of the market.  You can do the same thing using LoopNet.com.

Another commercial property valuation technique, the Capitalization Method, could be used to value the multifamily property. Suppose the borrower hands you a fact sheet containing a reasonable looking pro forma operating statement. If you knew that apartment buildings were selling in that area for 5.75% to 6.75% cap rates, you could merely divide the NOI by the cap rate to arrive at a rough estimate of the value of the building. For example, suppose the borrower provides you with a reasonable-looking pro forma perating statement. According to his own numbers, his NOI is just $220,000 per year. If you divide $220,000 in net operating income by an estimated market cap rate of 6.25%, you'll get around $3.5 million.

This borrower is probably hosed. He has a $3 million ballooning loan, and yet the building is only worth around $3.5 million. Unless this guy can bring another $400,000 in equity to the closing table, he may end up losing the apartment building in foreclosure. His best bet is to plead with the lender for an extension or a loan modification. By quickly valuing the property, you may have saved yourself a lot of wasted effort.


If you need a loan on apartment building, you can apply to 750 commercial lenders in just four minutes using C-Loans.com.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, apartment lenders, apartment loan, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

Commercial Real Estate Values Falling Sharply

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Jun 30, 2009

Interesting Report from National Mortgage News Online

No one can be terribly surprised that the other shoe has finally fallen.  According to a June 22nd report from National Mortgage News Online:

Commercial Real Estate Prices Fall 8.6% in April

Commercial real estate prices as measured by Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices decreased 8.6% in April, leaving the index at 25.3% below its level a year ago and 29.5% below the peak in prices measured in October 2007.

According to Moody's, the large negative return for April likely reflects that deals closed during that month were negotiated at the end of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009, when securities markets and overall sentiment were plunging. "The size of April's decline, following a 5.5% decline in January, also suggests that sellers are beginning to capitulate to the realities of commercial real estate markets," says Moody's managing director Nick Levidy.

The South has been the worst performing region over the last year, with an annual decline of more than 20%. Commercial real estate has performed worse in Southern California than in the Western region as a whole. In Southern California, the office market has been the worst performer, with prices dropping 22.2% in the last year.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial real estate financing, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial financing, commercial mortgage, commercial real estate

Financing Broken Condo's

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, May 12, 2009

A Broken Condo is a Project That Didn't Sell Out

Commercial loan brokers should be on the look-out for broken condo projects. There is a good chance to make a nice commercial loan brokerage commission.

A broken condo project is a residential condominium project that didn't sell out. The unsold units are usually converted back to multifamily rental housing.

I spoke with a major commercial loan officer at a large bank today. This bank makes portfolio apartment loans. I asked him if it is possible to finance broken condo's.

His reply surprised me. He indicated that, of course, that if none of the condo units were sold, that a normal apartment loan is a no-brainer.

But he also indicated that if only a handful of the units were sold that a portfolio loan on the rental units would be possible.

However, he stressed that if too many of the units were sold as condo's that such a deal would be impossible. How many is too many? Certainly if 25% of the condo units had been sold, the deal would be difficult to finance. I was left with the clear impression that if only 10% to 15% of the condo's had been sold that his bank would definitely consider financing the apartments.


Need a commercial or multifamily loan? You can apply to hundreds of commercial lenders in just four minutes using C-Loans.  And C-Loans.com is free!

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, broken condo, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial mortgage

Business Equipment for Commercial Loan Brokers

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Apr 27, 2009

Scanners With Document Feeders Are Becoming Essential

Commercial mortgage loan brokers now only really need three pieces of equipment - a reliable cell phone, a laptop computer, and a combination copier / fax machine / scanner.

The need of a commercial loan broker of a good cell phone is obvious; but have you ever considered whose phone number you are promoting? Let's suppose that you send a thousand mail pieces and 3,000 emails every month for two years. Further suppose your marketing pieces encourage your clients to call the main office number for your broker.

Now suppose your broker goes belly-up. Oops! All of those clients and referral sources will be calling a disconnected phone number. Yikes.

Or suppose a commercial real estate agent really needs a commercial mortgage loan for his client. He calls your office and asks for you, but you're out of the office. "Is there another commercial loan agent there with whom I could speak?" You've just lost a commercial loan and potentially a good commercial real estate agent.

The moral of the story is this: Promote your personal cell phone number, not the office number of your broker.

Let's talk about laptop computers. I recently converted to an Apple MacBook, and I absolutely love it. No longer do you have to spend hours updating your virus protection software and malware protection software. Sure, an Apple MacBook costs an extra $600; but the machine so worth it.

Don't worry about software. Microsoft makes Office software for the Mac. This means that I can still use the fabulous Apple OSX software and still communicate with my office. There is Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the Mac, and my staff at our commercial loan office can easily open with their PC's any file I create on my Mac. It's heavenly.

But the machine that gets me hot and sweaty is my new, combination copier / fax machine / scanner with autofeeder. The other day a broker faxed a commercial loan package to me. Because the original commercial loan package had been faxed to him, I was working with a second generation fax. The copy quality was starting to decline.

I printed out the commercial loan package and then scanned it using the autofeeder. I then clicked a few times on my laptop and created a PDF, which I simply emailed to my office. The quality did not degrade, and my commercial loan officer at Blackburne & Brown was able to issue a loan approval letter the same day.

This combination machine was not expensive. It was less than $300 and I absolutely love it. It's a Canon MX700 and I even bought it using the reward points on my credit card.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

Why the Banks Aren't Making Many Commercial Loans

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Feb 25, 2009

The Banks Don't Have Any Money

Every commercial loan broker will tell you that the banks are not making a whole lot of commercial loans these days. Surprisingly, the reason why isn't just because they are afraid to make new commercial loans.

Another important reason is that many banks are fully-invested. In plain English, they don't have the money to make new commercial loans.

This lack of liquidity is not the result of loan losses associated with the subprime meltdown. Few small banks were involved in the deal-flow of subprime loans. When the music suddenly stopped, the small banks were not left holding a huge volume of unsold subprime residential loans. It is easy, therefore, to assume that the small banks have plenty of money to lend.

In fact, the opposite is true. Banks have always preferred to make short term loans, like construction loans and bridge loans. This way they constantly have a few outstanding loans paying off every month, giving them the liquidity to make new short term loans. Unfortunately, ever since the financial crisis began, their outstanding loans have not been paying off. Borrowers with construction loans and bridge loans have been unable to refinance their loans with long-term lenders. The banks have been forced to extend these short term loans into longer term mini-perms.

To make matters worse, most small banks had a great many lines of credit extended to businesses that they served. Most of these businesses are now losing money, so the businesses are drawing down on their credit lines.  This has further drained liquidity from the banks.

Lastly, this is a very difficult time for banks to attract new deposits. The prime rate is a rock-bottom 3.25% right now. The 11th District Cost of Funds Index, a fair proxy for the typical bank's cost of funds, is a whopping 2.75%. Twenty years ago a small bank could not survive on a gross interest margin of less than 6%. With sophisticated new software and ATM's, a small bank can modernly make a profit on a gross interest margin of 4%. Helloooo? Small banks are being forced to survive right now on a gross interest margin of just 50 basis points. They certainly cannot raise interest rates to compete for more deposits.

I feel like an early pioneer, whose wagon train is surrounded by angry Indians, and who learns that the cavalry detachment sent to relieve him is itself under siege by Indians.  The small banks were one of the last sources of lending that might save this faltering economy, and it now appears they too are under siege. Yikes.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

How to Get Commercial Loan Packages in the Door

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Dec 29, 2008

Includes George's Famous Pooh-Pooh Soup Story

You're a commercial mortgage broker. You've just quoted a commercial real estate loan to a borrower over the phone. The borrower appears interested, and you want to convince the borrower to send his commercial real estate loan application to you, as opposed to a competing mortgage broker or bank.

The key thing to remember is the Theory of Momentum. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.  A potential commercial real estate borrower is therefore going to want to keep sitting on his hands.

To convince a potential commercial borrower to send his loan package to you, never ask for too many documents at one time.

If you ask for a huge checklist of documents, the borrower will surely procrastinate, during which time he'll speak with a competing commercial lender or mortgage broker, and you'll lose the deal. Instead, ask for just two or three documents at a time. Gather the six-inch-thick stack of required documents slowly over a period of weeks.

"But George, it will take months to close a commercial loan at that pace."

We've all heard the story about the young bull and the old bull standing at the top on the hill and looking down over a herd of beautiful heifers. The young bull turns to the old bull and says, "Hey, Pops, let's run down and kiss one of those cows." The wise old bull replies, "Son, let's walk down and kiss them all."

The point of the story is that if you rush things, your success rate is often much lower. If you ask for a huge checklist of documents, you'll only close one deal in fifty. If you gather the required documents in small, easy waves, you might be able to convince all fifty borrowers to send you a package.

But you have to give the borrower reassurance that his commercial loan application is looking good ... and this leads us to my famous Pooh-Pooh Soup Story:

Have you ever noticed that whenever you order anything to eat at an expensive French restaurant that the snooty waiter always says, "Ah, good choice. The duck a la orange is delicious!" And when you order dessert, "Wonderful choice, sir. The Crepes Suzette are
delicious!"

I've therefore often wondered that if I ever asked for Pooh-Pooh Soup (you guessed it, a log floating is broth ..... eeuuuuu!) whether the French waiter would say, "Ah, the Pooh-Pooh Soup is delicious!"

Now back to our training. We've pointed out that you absolutely need to ask for the documents in five or six waves of three or four easy documents to fetch. But the borrower will need reassurance, before fetching a whole new wave of documents, that at least so far his commercial real estate loan application looks good.

So when you get the first wave of documents - his current schedule of leases (rent roll) and his last year's actual operating expenses - quickly scribble out a pro forma operating statement and do a debt service coverage ratio calculation. Then, assuming the numbers look good, you can tell him, "I've crunched the numbers, and so far your deal looks very do-able!"  (The pooh-pooh soup is delicious!) "Now all I need is a financial statement and two years tax returns."

With these documents you can pull a credit report and report back to the borrower, "I've looked at your financial statement, tax returns and credit report, and everything continues to look very favorable!" (The pooh-pooh soup is delicious.") "Now all I need is a copy of the leases and a financial statement and two years' tax returns on the LLC that actually owns the property." And so on, being sure to reassure the borrower that his loan package looks good (the pooh-pooh soup is delicious) after receiving each wave of documents.

So, to summarize, the object of the game is to convert a telephone lead into a loan package. To get your commercial loan borrower finally moving in your direction, you must not ask for a huge checklist of documents. Instead, ask for a very short list of easy documents to gather. After receiving each wave of documents, be sure to tell the borrower that his deal looks great (the pooh-pooh soup is delicious!). It will take you slightly longer to close a commercial loan this way, but you'll close far, far more deals (you'll kiss them all!).


Do you need to place a commercial real estate loan right now? You can submit your commercial deal to 750 different commercial real estate lenders in just four minutes using C-Loans.com. And C-Loans is free!


Perhaps as many as 10% of all of the practicing commercial mortgage brokers in the industry are my former trainees. If you would like to really learn how to broker commercial real estate loans like a pro, please click here.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial real estate financing, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, commercial lender, commercial real estate lenders, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

Submit Your Commercial Loans Using PDF's

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Dec 15, 2008

C-Loans Just Introduced a Free, New Tool to Create PDF's

Let's start from the basic proposition that commercial lenders are picky and unpredictable. A commercial mortgage broker often has to shop his commercial real estate loan package to a dozen different commercial lenders before he finds a good home for the deal.

If you, as a commercial mortgage broker, have to pay Fed Ex charges to a dozen different lenders, your package delivery charges will cut deeply into your profits. In addition, shuttling your commercial loan package between a dozen different lenders will take weeks, during which time your commercial borrower may find a cheaper bank on his own. Wouldn't it be great to be able to submit your commercial loan package by email?

If you create your commercial loan package as a PDF, you can submit your deal instantly to a dozen different commercial lenders across the country by email. The problem is, however, is that you don't have the $350 version of Adobe software to create the PDF's. Even if you did have the software, you really don't know how to use it.

C-Loans.com has just added a feature that will allow you to create a gorgeous PDF presentation of your commercial loan for free. Just come to C-Loans.com and enter your commercial deal as usual. Go ahead and submit your commercial loan to six lenders.

On the departure page you will find a new button that will allow you, with one click, to "Create a PDF". Be sure to save the PDF of your commercial loan package on your desktop. You can then attach this gorgeous PDF to an email to a dozen of your best commercial lenders.

What does one of these PDF commercial loan packages look like? Simply click here to see a sample commercial loan package as a PDF.


Do you need a commercial real estate loan right now? You can submit your commercial real estate loan request to 750 different commercial real estate lenders in just four minutes using C-Loans. And C-Loans is free!


Are you the owner of a commercial property? Do you want to hire George Blackburne personally to place your commercial loan? George charges one point upon closing, regardless of the loan size, to serve as your mortgage broker. Please click here if you would like to contact him directly.

Topics: commercial loan, commercial real estate financing, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

Call on Local Banks for Their Commercial Loan Turndowns

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Oct 28, 2008

Banks Are the Best Source for Commercial Loan Leads

If you are a commercial loan broker, your number one source for commercial real estate loan leads should be the local banks located close to your office. It's a great time to be trolling in these waters because commercial banks are turning down a lot of commercial real estate loan requests right now.

Start by going to maps.yahoo.com. Input your office address and then ask for a map. Then plot every commercial bank located close to your office. It's easy. In the Find a Business on the Map field, simply type in the word, "bank". Instantly every nearby bank will be plotted on the map.

After locating all of the bank branches close to your office, then drop in on one or two commercial banks every business day. Ask to speak to the loan officer who handles their commercial real estate loans.

Explain to the banker that you would like to provide commercial loan services to any of his customers who the banker has to turn down. Leave the banker a flyer, along with three or four of your business cards.

Follow up the visit with a handwritten thank-you note to the banker on your company stationary and in a hand-written company envelope. The idea here is to get the banker to recognize your logo and company name. Of course, be sure to include several more of your business cards. Make sure these business cards prominently display the words, "Commercial Real Estate Loans".

Then, every ten days, be sure to send the banker something. One time you might send a funny political cartoon, and the next you might send a folksy newsletter with lots of jokes. And, of course, always be sure to include three more of your business cards with every fun communication. Pretty soon the banker will look forward to your snail mail because you always send something fun.

Try to take each of your bankers out to lunch every couple of months. Invite them to play golf with you. If a banker sends you a referral, drop by the next day with a sleeve of golf balls or a gift certificate for a free lunch. Make these guys your friends. Remember, the typical bank loan officer probably turns down a half-dozen commercial loan requests every week. Often there is no real good reason for the turndown, other than the bank simply doesn't like motels loans or the loan is the wrong size (too large or too small).

If you religiously call on one or two bankers every business day, you will quickly develop a terrific flow of commercial real estate loan leads.


Need a commercial real estate loan right now? You can apply to 750 banks with just one simple mini-app in just four minutes using C-Loans.com.

Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial real estate financing, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, marketing for commercial loans, commercial financing, commercial mortgage

SBA 504 Commercial Loans (Non-Construction)

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Oct 20, 2008

The Wise Commercial Mortgage Broker Will Aggressively Solicit These Loans

Many banks today are terrified of making conventional commercial real estate loans. They are afraid of losing money. Using the SBA 504 loan program, however, a bank is largely insulated from loan losses. As a result, many banks are still quite anxious to make these commercial loans. If you're a commercial mortgage broker, why not try to swim downstream? You should originate the kinds of loans that the banks want to see during this credit crisis.

Under the SBA 504 loan program, a borrower can finance up to 90% of the purchase of a piece of commercial real estate. He can sometimes also finance up to 90% of associated heavy equipment he might need for his factory.

These loans are typically made by banks, with the assistance of a local Community Development Corporation. A conventional commercial first mortgage of 50% loan-to-value is made by the bank, and a piggy-back second mortgage up to 90% loan-to-value is recorded concurrently.

For example, let's suppose a widget manufacturer wished to expand its business by buying an industrial building for $1 million. The bank would make a $500,000 conventional commercial first mortgage at market rates, typically amortized over 25 years, due in ten to twenty-five years, and with a fixed rate for at least the first five years. The bank would record concurrently a $400,000 second mortgage that would eventually be sold to a local Certified Development Corporation and guaranteed by the SBA.

The buyer would therefore get $900,000 in financing on this building. He would only have to put $100,000 down. In contrast, if he applied to a conventional commercial mortgage lender, he normally would only be able to finance $700,000 to $750,000. He would have to put down a whopping $250,000 to $300,000.

But wait! It's gets better. The second mortgage is fully-amortized over 20 years. There is no balloon payment. In addition, because the second mortgage loan is guaranteed by the SBA, the interest rate is typically 1.5% lower than the underlying conventional first mortgage. The borrower gets a blended rate, between the market interest rate on the $500,000 first mortgage and the lower, subsidized interest rate on the $400,000 second mortgage, that is around 1% lower than conventional first mortgage rates.

But that's not all! Both loans are also assumable. The loan fees are also low - typically 1.5 points on the first mortgage and 1 point on the second mortgage. The SBA 504 loan program is a great deal. Plus banks actually want to make these loans.

There are some limitations. First of all, the property must be at least 51% owner-used. Usually the borrower's credit score must be at least 600 - but even this is good compared to banks today, who normally require a credit score of at least 650 on conventional commercial real estate loans.

Finally, after adding back depreciation and existing rent payments, the borrower's net income from his business, according to his tax returns, must substantiate enough income to make the proposed new mortgage payment. The coverage ratio only needs to be 1.0. In contrast, conventional commercial real estate lenders require a 1.25 debt service coverage ratio.

So if you are a commercial mortgage broker, be sure to get involved with the SBA 504 program. You can apply to scores of SBA lenders using C-Loans.com. And C-Loans is free!

Topics: SBA loan, small business loan, 504 lender, 504 loan, commercial mortgage lenders, SBA 504 lender, commercial mortgage