You finally found that commercial property you want to buy – fantastic! Now what? All you need is the money and where do you get that? A commercial lender, of course. You can go to the Internet and type Commercial Mortgage Lender into the search box and that will get you over 1.6 million options to look through. Doesn’t seem like a good way to spend your time.
Another option may be your local bank, the one that knows everything about you including your financial history, current holdings, and existing bank account. Negotiating a favorable rate with your local bank is like playing poker while showing everyone else at the table your hand. You lose the edge, the bargaining power to get the best deal. This is not saying that your bank will purposely strike you a bad deal, but unless you are borrowing millions of dollars and are a regular source of volume, they have no truly compelling reason to give you their best rates. Besides they already have your money and unless you are going to borrow $10 Million or so it is probably just not worth their time.
While there are many different ways to go about financing a commercial property there is only one right place to start and that is with an experienced commercial mortgage broker. Someone that has sailed the commercial finance seas many times and knows the locations of all the rocks, waves, shallows, and pirates that will surely sink your ship. Realize that a mistake in commercial mortgage financing can cost you thousands or millions of dollars. These pitfalls include lockout periods, balloon payments, prepayment penalties, and resource loan structure.
A commercial mortgage broker is one of your strongest allies. Their job is to become intimately familiar with your financing needs and find solutions to meet those needs. They utilize their voluminous lender relationships to bring you the best deal possible based on your property type, financial situation, strategy, and timing. A broker has access to wholesale rates that are rarely offered to you, the consumer. Even the “preferred rates” offered by longtime contacts at your bank rarely compare as favorably.
Working with a bank for a commercial mortgage is similar to feeding the fat goldfish in your aquarium. They have come to expect food regularly provided them and will get around to eating when they are ready. On the other hand, working the commercial mortgage market through a broker is like dangling live bait over a shark tank. Lenders will go after the deal like a hungry shark, but you certainly don’t want to be the one holding the bait. That’s the job of your mortgage broker. The result will be the right deal for your situation and you didn’t lose any fingers in the process (or your shirt for that matter). Notice I didn’t say lowest rate, I said best deal. Often one’s best financing option is not the lowest rate – more on that in another article.
Brokers are matchmakers – intermediaries. They bring together those who have with those who need. It is all about relationships. It is paramount for you to trust your broker. If you find it hard to have a relationship with your broker it is likely that others will have a hard time as well. If a broker can’t understand you and your needs, they will not be of service to you or your needs. A broker must maintain relationships with you and with lenders. If they have a hard time establishing a relationship with you then what about their relationships with lenders? As with any business relationship, go in with your eyes open.
Bottom line is this. Give a broker a shot. On your next commercial loan take a little extra time and compare what a commercial broker can do with what the local bank can do. My bet is that you will find that the broker is the best bet and you may be on your way to developing a wonderfully profitable relationship with a mortgage industry professional.
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