Getting a Commercial Mortgage is Tougher Today
We are, indeed, in the midst of a significant and severe credit crunch. Conventional lenders, such as banks, Wall Street investment houses and insurance companies have greatly curtailed their lending activity. Even the very best investors and developers are finding it hard to get projects funded.
The collateralized debt market has dried up. Few bond buyers are interested in mortgaged backed paper today. Big institutional lenders are finding it impossible to turn the mortgages they originate into cash. Put in simple terms; no mortgage buyers, no mortgage loans.
Property owners, investors and developers are left frustrated and without financing.
Good Deals on the Sidelines
The dollar volume of pent-up commercial mortgage loan demand now measures in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Deals that, just a year ago, would have enjoyed quick funding are being rejected by banks out-of-hand. Not because they don’t have merit, but because the banks and their counterparts are caught up in the liquidity crises.
With millions in profit potential at stake, commercial property investors are seeking out non-traditional sources of mortgage funds.
Private Commercial Mortgage Loans; Funding Deals When Banks Won’t
Privately funded commercial mortgage loans are becoming increasingly popular during this mortgage meltdown. Private lenders, many funded by wealthy individuals, hedge funds or other large pools of capital, often lend their own money for their own portfolios. These unique lenders have not been crippled by the breakdown of the collateralized mortgage bond market. They can still originate loans at will without worrying about who may or may-not want to buy them.
Further, private loans (sometimes called “hard money” loans) can close in just days, as-opposed to conventional loans which, if you get one at all, can take 3 months or more to fund. There are generally no loan committees, stacks of paperwork or complicated ratios to deal with. If they like your deal and you demonstrate that you can pay them back, they can and will close your loan no-matter-what Wall Street is doing.
What Private Commercial Mortgage Lenders Look for
Private lenders are equity based lenders; loan decisions are not driven by the credit of the borrower. It is essential that the collateral property have substantial equity in it. Most hard money commercial lenders won’t lend more than 70% of the purchase price or, in the case of a refinance, the value of the commercial property. So be prepared for large down-payment requests or a good sized 2nd mortgage. Also, borrowers will need to have some cash, typically 10% or more, in any given deal. There is no-such-thing-as 100% financing today. Documentation requirements will be much less than conventional lenders would require but be prepared to back up any claims you make with some proof. Income producing buildings are favored by hard money lenders but most are willing to consider all property types.
Hard Money Commercial Loans Have Become Indispensable
With the large conventional lending institutions frozen like a deer in the headlights, private, hard money commercial lenders have become indispensable to the commercial sector. They stand ready and willing to lend against quality buildings or well thought-out development projects. Investors should not give up on finding financing for their best deals until they have looked into a privately funded mortgage.
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