Commercial Construction Loan
A commercial construction loan is relatively easy to acquire if the applicant understands the terms and conditions that apply to these types of loans. Typically an applicant presents themselves to the lending institution armed with the following information.
Financial Statement - the stronger the financial statement is, the easier it is to acquire the financing. It is prudent to have an accountant attest to the accuracy of the statement and to include any appraisals of assets which will confirm their present value. Cash on hand is always critical, but the liquidity of assets is also an important factor in determining financial strength. Banks and lending institutions have a number of measures that are used to determine financial strength, however the non-banker can easily recognize financial statement strengths and weaknesses. It is important to note that every financial statement has some elements of weakness but these can be overshadowed by a history of timeliness in meeting obligations or the strength of the business plan.
Business Plan â€“ the business plan should clearly present the the reason for the construction loan. Obviously, if the construction project has a buyer or renters that are committed to the project the plan is significantly strengthened. The contract for potential purchase or lease agreements should be available to the lending institution and this type of documentation almost certainly reduces the risk and makes the lending institution more amenable to committing the funds. If the loan is for "spec construction" the plan needs to address the best and worst case scenarios to enable an assessment of the risk. One has to thoroughly complete their homework to provide a presentation of the plan that is thoughtful, thorough and realistic. The business plan must address the financial commitment of the applicant. The greater the commitment of the applicant the higher the chance of success in securing the loan.
The Loan - the loan is usually based on a loan to value (LTV) formula and may specify a time limit for completion. Anywhere from 5-25% of the total value of the construction may be required from the applicant. The stronger the financial statement and business plan the lower the financial contribution is for the applicant. Obviously, the strengths of these documents will affect the interest rate that will be applied to the loan. Typically a construction loan is written for the agreed upon amount and then "draws" are made on the account based on percentages or phases of completion. For instance at the 50% completion point the applicant will have used 50% of the money available on the loan. The lending institution will require evidence of the successful completion of each phase and may even dispatch an inspector to verify completion. The lending institution may require interest only payments to be made as the term of the loan progresses or they may defer interest until completion of the construction. These facets of the loan transaction have to be negotiated.
It is routine to expect that the construction loan can be converted to a regular purchasing loan at the end of construction, however it is critical to insure that this is the case and to fully understand the terms and conditions of that loan.
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