Commercial mortgage borrowers often ask us how lenders determine the rates that they offer on commercial mortgage loans. There are many criteria that lenders use when determining rates, but lenders will assess the relative risk of a loan when reviewing a loan application. The lower the risk, the lower the rate. The higher the risk, the higher the rate. It is important to understand what factors are important to lenders and underwriters.- Borrower Qualifications. Lenders will analyze a borrower or guarantor’s net worth, liquidity, cash flow, credit history and real estate experience in determining overall risk. Lenders like to see borrowers with a good history owning and managing similar properties. They want to see sufficient cash reserves to cover unexpected issues that might arise and they expect to see that borrowers have a good history of paying their bills in a timely matter.- Property location and market. Good quality properties in large metropolitan and suburban areas are considered lower risk than inferior properties and properties in small rural locations. Good properties in good locations are easier to rent in the case where tenants move out or situations where the remaining lease terms are short. For example, if a property in a poor location becomes vacant, it will require a significant amount of renovation to attract new tenants.- Tenant mix. Multi-tenanted properties with good quality tenants and long-term leases are very desirable when financing office and retail properties. Lenders do not like vacancy, high turnover rates and properties in a constant state of flux. Lenders like to see well run properties that attract and maintain long term tenants- Stabilized occupancy. Lenders look for properties that have enjoyed high occupancy levels with minimal disruption for the last 2 to 3 years. Properties with vacancies and fluctuating rental histories are considered higher risk. Lenders will ask for operating statements for the past 2-3 years. They expect to see steady occupancy and increasing net income. Properties that fluctuate wildly with income and expenses will generate lots of questions.- Property Condition. Properties in good condition with little deferred maintenance are considered lower risk than properties in need of major capital improvements. Properties in poor condition will usually require that the lender set aside or escrow funds for repairs and maintenance. Properties in poor condition tend to perform worse than well maintained properties.- Leverage. Loan-to-Value is very important in determining risk. A 50% LTV(loan to value) loan will price better than a loan at 80% LTV. If a property experiences difficulty, there is much more room for error on low leverage loans.-Debt Coverage. This refers to the excess in net operating income over annual mortgage payments. The more excess cash flow a property produces, the lower the risk. Excess cash flow can be used to mitigate against turnover, repairs or other cash drain.At the end of the day, lenders do not want to expose their lending institutions to undue risk. A borrower should be prepared to address all of these issues to the satisfaction of the lender at application in order to increase the chances of getting approved for a loan at the lowest rate possible.Once you are qualified for a commercial mortgage loan, it is helpful to get an idea of your proposed monthly payment in advance. A commercial mortgage calculator is a very helpful and useful tool. Whether you are purchasing a new commercial building, or refinancing an existing commercial loan, it is helpful to know how much of a loan you can afford at today’s rates. A commercial mortgage calculator will calculate your monthly payment for you. You will be asked to enter the loan amount, number of years, and interest rate. The mortgage calculator will calculate your monthly payment.
Several years into the residential real estate crisis, another one looms just around the corner: Commercial Real Estate. Trillions of dollars worth of commercial mortgage loans are about to reset. Problem: Decreasing property values has prevented many commercial property owners from refinancing. But there is some good news.According to a October 30th 2009 press release posted on the FDIC.Gov website, the “Prudent CRE Loan Workout Guidance” was adopted by various federal government agencies.The FDIC press release stated: “This policy statement stresses that performing loans, including those that have been renewed or restructured on reasonable modified terms, made to creditworthy borrowers will not be subject to adverse classification solely because the value of the underlying collateral declined.”This is good news to commercial property owners who are still creditworthy, but can’t refinance due to current economic conditions. The Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workout policy gives financial lending institutions the tools needed to be proactive in preventing loan defaults now and down the road.The new Prudent Workout guidelines also stated factors that a bank would consider during a loan workout: “The borrower’s ability to repay the loan, the borrower’s willingness and capacity to repay the loan under reasonable terms and the cash flow potential of the underlying collateral or business.”Since a good number of commercial properties, such as apartment buildings have the cash flow but can’t refinance and the owners have been paying the mortgage loan on time, they would make good candidates for a commercial loan workout.Banks, facing a potential onslaught of loan defaults are more willing to help borrowers by performing commercial loan workouts. Commercial loan workouts are special arrangements lenders make with delinquent borrowers to avoid going into foreclosure down the road. Workouts can consist of making payment arrangements, lowering the interest rate, extending the maturity date or even lowering the principal balance. The whole process usually takes between 30 to 60 days.An important thing to remember when seeking a commercial loan workout is whether or not its in the bank’s or lender’s best interest to approve a commercial loan workout or permit foreclosure. A key factor is the overall financial standing of the delinquent property owner. Does the owner have or will have enough cash flow to repay the loan? This and many other factors will determine if a commercial loan workout is the best solution.Banks don’t want the headache of having a non-performing asset on their books. Having a large number of non-performing loans on their books may gain the interest of government regulators who oversee the banking industry. Even the regulators have updated their guidelines to help commercial real estate owners facing foreclosure.