Feb 152024

Traditional bank and institutional lending has become outdated in some respects and does not always meet the needs of potential commercial customers. Private investor funding has filled many of the gaps while making investing easier and profitable for all parties involved. Although private funding is not actually lending by definition it is still a highly viable alternative.

The typical traditional bank loans take 3 to 6 months to close. The obvious constraint is if your deal needs to close before 3 months or if the seller is anxious to close in a fast time frame. Private funding typically takes 30-90 days to close and the right mix of information, opportunity and “right-time-right-place” has seen private deals close in a manner of days!

Most commercial lenders have very specific guidelines on documentation of the source of income or proof of asset ownership. Obtaining these documents from the current owner(s) is a big challenge if not impossible. Tax returns and additional personal information are sought but few are willing to open up their finances to just anyone. Private investors tend not to look at past performance of the property but seek a good analysis of what the future potential is. Be prepared with a sound business plan!
Many borrowers can’t qualify for traditional commercial loans if they have existing high business expenses. Again, existing financials need to be examined by the bank to determine if prior performance indicates worthiness for the loan. This time it’s your financials under the microscope. This type of information is useful in proving yourself to private investors but not required.

Special business properties such as mobile home parks, restaurant /bars, cash businesses, new development construction projects, nursing homes, assisted living centers, etc. may be outside of the traditional lenders interest. The reasons differ but are often related to the perceived risk or lack of knowledge about the type of investment. Again, private investors are more interested in your plan and its soundness rather than the category of property.

Relative short balloon payments on special purpose business loans are fairly common with traditional loans, some due in as little a 3 years. If your business plan does not specifically show how returns on the profitability of the property will support the balloon payment the loan is often denied. Private funding may also have balloon payments but you can always seek a different structure that fits your needs and plan rather than trying to plug your plan into an institutions way of doing things.

Assumability of the loan is not often offered with commercial loans. If your plan for the property includes later selling it for a profit you need to consider how potential buyers will finance the purchase from you. If you cannot transfer the loan to a qualified buyer you will be at the mercy of them obtaining a loan from an institution and meeting all of their requirements. This is time consuming and costly for the borrower creating a delay in you moving on. Conversely, private funding can often be structured so that you may transfer your existing agreement to another without any of the constraints.

Banks and lending institutions often monitor their investments by requiring ongoing financial reporting requirements. Although they are not a partner in your venture they behave like they are. Until you break free from the loan this monitoring relationship will continue. Private funding investors may also require periodic financial reports but as long as the agreed terms of the funding are being met they may have little interest.

Some institutional lenders still require the borrower to live in the same state as the property. In today’s realm the reasons for this requirement are lost. Legal issues may be a bit easier to deal with because of the requirement but not enough to limit the borrowers to properties in their own state.

There are many more differences between traditional loans and private funding. The differences usually favor the non-traditional private funding world. You may pay slight more for private funding overall but if you can’t qualify for a traditional loan, or the timing will not work you should not even consider cost when comparing the two options.

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