The Logistics of Obtaining Commercial Loans for Apartment Buildings
Submitted On 2008-06-30

Getting a commercial loan for an apartment building is considered one of the easier loans to get with respect to other investment properties. This is due to the fact that commercial lenders focus primarily on the subject property as the repayment source with the borrower being a secondary repayment source. As apartment buildings have historically been a very stable asset class, they typically can get some of the best lending terms.

Many property investors focus on single family homes, rather than apartment complexes, because it is often easier to manage. Financing can be difficult to obtain from the commercial lenders for single family homes, and it can be difficult to get the business off the ground. However, many investors recommend that when borrowing from commercial lenders, you take the focus off yourself, as it is with single family homes, and put it on the property, like an apartment building.

Often, even with little capital, a loan will be approved, because of the high return on apartment buildings, and the low risk from defaulting on a commercial loan. Before you go out and try and purchase an apartment building, you should know what qualifies as an apartment building under commercial loan guidelines. One to four family dwellings are usually not considered commercial loans; this would include duplexes and fourplexes. However, if there are five or more units in the building, this would be considered a commercial loan.

Apartment buildings can have tremendous profitability if managed correctly. For example, if you have a gross income of $100,000 from rental income on a building, and you deduct $60,000 for operating expenses and vacancies, you still come away with a $40,000 profit off of it. Dividing by a 7 percent cap rate, will give you an estimated value of the property, which would come close to $570,000. Often commercial lenders will look at statistics, like this, to determine the cash earning potential on apartment complexes. Naturally, it is not hard to see why these types of loans are approved so quickly and easily.

Now, just because it can seem relatively easy to get a commercial loan for an apartment building, this does not mean you should not do your research. Going to a commercial lender with a detailed plan of action for the apartment building, along with your own cash projections, will make the process move much quicker. Doing your research can also benefit you. For example, if you are going to fix up the apartment property, you will therefore increase the value greatly. A property with a high vacancy can have the greatest upside potential; however it will probably require that you put more money down that you would have to with a stabilized property. This is because most lenders underwrite to a debt service coverage first and a high vacancy can limit your supportable loan amount. As with any loan, researching and being prepared when meeting with the lender, will only benefit you and help your business become more successful.

Target Audience: Buyer

Tags: apartment loans, apartment mortgage loans, apartment building loan, commercial apartment loan

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