Commercial Mortgage Lenders Are Requiring Larger Down Payments
Since the start of the Great Recession, commercial real estate lenders have become more cautious. Before the economic downturn, commercial lenders would regularly make commercial loans to 75% loan-to-value on office buildings, retail centers, and industrial buildings. In fact, in 2006 and early 2007 some conduit commercial lenders were even making commercial mortgage loans as high as 80% loan-to-value.
Today few commercial lenders will make new permanent loans much higher than 60% to 65% loan-to-value. In addition, they will not allow sellers to carry back a second mortgage behind their new first mortgage loans.
This means that real estate investors wishing to purchase commercial buildings must now put down 35% to 40% of the purchase price in cash. No surprisingly, far fewer commercial properties are changing hands.
There is a technique, however, that commercial real estate investors can use to reduce the size of their required down payments. Instead of carrying back a second mortgage on the commercial property being purchased, the seller can carry back a second mortgage on a different piece of commercial property owned by the buyer.
For example, let's suppose that an investor wants to buy a commercial center owned by a seller. The parties agree on a price of $2 million. Without using this technique, the investor would probably be required by the bank to put 40% down - or $800,000 in this example. That's a lot of dough.
However, the parties might make the following agreement. The investor (buyer) will put down $500,000 in cash, which is still a significant amount. We, in the business, might say that the investor (buyer) has more than enough "skin in the game" to assure that he is motivated to make his new commercial loan payments and maintain the property. The seller - and this is the key - could carry back a second mortgage on an apartment building, a property different from the one being purchased, owned by the investor (buyer). This arrangement would probably pass muster with the vast majority of commercial lenders today.
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