What is a Personal Guarantee for a Business Loan?

What is a Personal Guarantee for a Business Loan?

What is a personal guarantee for a business loan, and why is it essential for your financial future? Learning about personal guarantees is vital to get money to make your business bigger.

When you ask, “What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?” it refers to an agreement where you commit to paying back the business loan personally if the company fails to do so.

Securing one is usually straightforward and embedded within the loan application. However, it carries risks, such as a potential dip in your credit score and possible legal repercussions.

This article will explain what a personal guarantee means, its importance, and the potential risks involved. Finally, you’ll gain valuable knowledge to make smart choices in getting credit for your business without risking your assets.

What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?

Are you wondering, “What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?”. Let’s answer it for you.

A personal guarantee is like making a promise. If your business can’t repay a loan, you agree to repay it yourself. It’s similar to being a co-signer for your business’s loan. Some lenders might still ask for this agreement even if your business is separate, like a corporation or LLC.

If, unfortunately, your business faces financial difficulties and can’t pay back the loan, the lender can activate your personal guarantee. Your assets may be used as a backup to ensure loan repayment.

The result is the same whether you use your belongings (like your home) as security or just promise to pay back. You will assume liability for the loan if the business cannot make repayments.

It is crucial to grasp the significance of a personal guarantee when evaluating a business loan. While it can help you secure financing, it also means you might be personally liable for the loan.

Types of personal guarantees

In this section of “What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?”, we’ll discuss the type of guarantee. There are two types of personal guarantees.

Unlimited Personal Guarantee

In an unlimited personal guarantee, the person giving the guarantee promises to repay the entire loan if the business can’t. For example, if a business borrows $200,000 and can’t repay, the person who guarantees unlimited payment must repay the remaining amount.

If there isn’t enough money in their bank account, the lender might take their other belongings like houses or cars.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) typically requires these unlimited guarantees.

Limited Personal Guarantee

A limited personal guarantee is different. Here, the person only promises to repay a particular loan if the business can’t.

This type is common when a company has more than one owner. Each owner only promises to pay a part of the loan. However, depending on their agreement, the lender may ask any or all the owners to pay back the total amount.

For instance, if a business borrows $200,000 and has four owners, each owner might only have to repay $50,000.

What Is A Personal Guarantee For A Business Loan - comparewise

How personal guarantees work

Personal guarantees are commonly associated with business loans, especially for new ventures that lack the necessary collateral. Lenders often see these types of businesses as risky, making personal guarantees a common requirement.

The idea behind a personal guarantee is that it binds you financially to your business. This underscores the importance of not giving up on the endeavour if things don’t unfold as anticipated.

Surprisingly, even without owning individual assets, you could be required to execute personal guarantee paperwork. This might seem counterintuitive, but it emphasizes the lender’s commitment to securing the loan.

If you have valuable things like a house, you might have to promise them to guarantee something personally. This means saying yes to using them to repay the loan if your business can’t do it.

During the loan application process, lenders will clarify whether you need to provide a personal guarantee. If you’re applying for something like an SBA loan, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have to provide one.

Despite misconceptions, personal guarantors don’t need to put money in escrow or make advance payments when securing a loan. They can obligate individual business owners to pay a portion of a business loan if the business defaults.

What is required for a personal guarantee?

Getting a personal guarantee for a business loan is a straightforward process. People often ask, “What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?”. It’s simply a part of the loan application, and here’s how it generally goes:

  • Apply: First, you complete a detailed loan application form, sharing all the required personal details.
  • Gather Documents: Secondly, you must collect and provide your financial data. This includes any business interests you have outside of the company applying for the loan.
  • Review Records: In some cases, you might need to examine the financial records of your other businesses.
  • Checking Your Credit: The next step usually involves a credit check. This could be a hard or a soft check to assess your credit standing.
  • Discussing the Guarantee: Once all these steps are done, you’d then discuss with the lender whether your personal guarantee would be limited or unlimited.
  • Signing the Documents: The final step is signing all the necessary loan documents, including the personal guarantee and lien agreements.

The lender will help you with the procedure. As the borrower, you only need to give information and sign papers.

Risks of personal guarantees

Signing a personal guarantee means you agree to repay the business loan if your company can’t. This comes with risks. Your credit score might go down, making it harder to get personal loans or a mortgage in the future.

You might even face legal issues, sell your things to repay the loan or have some of your wages taken away. In the worst-case scenario, you could be forced to declare bankruptcy. However, despite these risks, sometimes a personal guarantee is the only way to get a business loan that your company needs.

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Do all business loans require a personal guarantee?

Most lenders will ask business owners to promise that they’ll pay back the loan personally if the business can’t. However, some lenders do not require this commitment if the company can demonstrate high financial stability, for example, by having a large deposit or sufficient assets as collateral.

It’s essential to fully understand your loan agreement before signing it. Also, be aware that promising to repay the loan personally could have risks if your business struggles.

What to consider before signing a personal guarantee for a business loan

When considering “What is a personal guarantee for a business loan?”, it’s crucial to understand the details. Before signing such a guarantee, you should take into consideration a few essential factors:

1.  Evaluating Your Own Eligibility

Consider your qualifications as a business owner. If you meet the criteria well, you may get a decent interest rate on the loan without providing a personal guarantee. Simply put, check your chances of getting a loan based on different lenders’ rules.

2.  Deciding the Need for a Loan

Weigh whether the chance of personally taking responsibility is worth the good things the loan could give you. In plain terms, ensure your business genuinely needs the loan for growth, and remember not to borrow more than required.

3.  Possibility of Providing Business Collateral

You might not need a personal guarantee if your business owns valuable assets like machines or property. You can use these assets as collateral. With this collateral, getting a secured loan might be better than giving a personal guarantee.

4.  Assessing Business’s Repayment Capacity

Look at how much money your business makes and whether it can repay the loan on time. Ensuring your business earns enough to handle the loan repayments is essential.

5.  Evaluating Lender’s Expectations

Get a clear idea of what lenders want from a guarantor. Check whether the personal guarantee conditions match your circumstances.

6.  Checking Your Personal Repayment Capacity

Even if your business can manage the money you owe, be sure you can repay the loan if things don’t go well. Think about the money you saved and other things you can use to repay the loan.

Also, consider if you can get new items to replace important ones you might need to give away if repaying the loan.

Takeaway on what is a personal guarantee for a business loan

Putting a personal guarantee on a business loan means that your financial well-being is on the line if the business cannot repay.

While it can help secure the needed financing, it also brings substantial risks, including potential credit damage and asset loss. So, you must think everything through and ensure you understand everything before signing a personal guarantee.

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FAQs about what is a personal guarantee for a business loan

Can I get a business loan with no personal guarantee?

Getting a business loan without a personal guarantee is achievable, but not all borrowers or lenders might offer this option. Lenders take on more risk with such loans, often leading to stricter financial rules and increased interest rates.

Does a personal guarantee affect my credit score?

A personal guarantee can affect your credit score. If the business can't repay the loan and you, as the guarantor, can't either, it may harm your credit. This can reduce your credit score, making it harder for you to get personal or home loans in the future.

How long is a personal guarantee?

A personal guarantee stays in place as long as the business still owes money. This means that even if you leave the business, you're still responsible for the debt unless someone else takes over the guarantee. However, there's usually a time limit for how long a lender can try to get the money back from the guarantor. This time limit called a 'limitation period,' is usually six years but can be up to 12 years if the guarantee is considered a deed.


August 7, 2023
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