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Commercial Mortgage

The backbone of any nation’s economy is its financial institutions, such as commercial banks. These institutions facilitate the flow of capital through the market. Small and large businesses can turn to banks such as the National Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank, and others for mergers and acquisitions, among other services.

Interested in getting a commercial or learning more? In this article, we will discuss everything from the types of properties that qualify for a commercial mortgage, to the advantages and disadvantages, and the steps to take to get approved for a business mortgage.

Commercial Banking: What Is It?

Banks that specialize in commercial banking provide products and services to businesses, organizations, and sometimes governments instead of products for individuals.

Checking and savings accounts are among the products offered by commercial banks. Banks offer a variety of solutions tailored to businesses and institutions.

An example of commercial banking service is when a retail business works with a bank to process payments.

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Types of Properties

Office

There are two types of buildings: urban and suburban. The skyscrapers and high-rise properties are typical in cities, and some are as large as several million square feet. Office buildings in suburban areas are usually smaller and grouped together.

Multi-tenant or single-tenant office buildings are common, and many are custom-designed. Additionally, they are ranked in three groups: Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Class A Office

Premier office users compete for these buildings with the highest rents in the area. The buildings have beautiful finishes, state-of-the-art technology, excellent accessibility, and a unique market presence.

Class B Office

Rents are on par with the area’s average for buildings that cater to a wide range of users. Building finishes are good to fair. Finishes are decent for the region, and the building’s systems are adequate, but it does not compete with Class A properties at the same price.

Class C Office

Rents are below the average for the area for buildings competing for tenants requiring functional space. There is a specialty sub-sector in this space for medical office buildings.

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Retail

Retail properties are those containing stores and restaurants we frequent. Multi-tenant buildings (often anchored by a major tenant that attracts customers to the property) or standalone buildings that serve a single purpose.

Retail is a complex sector, since the type of shopping center depends on several factors, including scale, design, aesthetics, tenant count, and trade area.

There are two types of single-tenant buildings: big-box centers (usually with a national chain like Costco, Walmart, Nordstrom, or Bed Bath And Beyond) and pad sites (single-tenant buildings within a shopping mall, often a financial institution, restaurant, or pharmacy).

Industrial

In industrial buildings, tenants operate various industrial operations, and they are mainly located outside of urban areas, especially along the major routes for transportation. Low-rise buildings can also house industrial parks. There are four types of properties:

  • Heavy manufacturing: These buildings are custom-built to accommodate the machinery and equipment needed by manufacturers.
  • Light assembly: They are not customized and can be used for assembling products or storing them.
  • Bulk warehouses: These are usually large and used for distribution.
  • Flex industrial: Industrial and office properties combined.
  • Research and development (R&D) facilities: A specialized type of industrial facility.
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Multi-family

The term multi-family real estate refers to residential properties other than single-family homes, such as apartment buildings, condominiums, co-ops, and townhouses. Multifamily properties are often divided into Class A, B, and C.

Apartment buildings, in particular, are classified into several types.

High-rise

Buildings with nine or more floors and an elevator.

Mid-rise

Usually located in an urban area, a multistory building with elevators.

Garden-style

Buildings with one to three stories set in a garden setting in a suburb, semi-rural, or metropolitan area; elevators are optional.

Walk-up

Four- to six-story buildings without elevators.

Manufactured housing community

In a manufactured home community, homeowners rent ground sites from the operator.

Special-purpose housing

Multi-family properties can be of any style, as long as they target a particular population segment, for example, university housing, senior housing, and affordable housing.

Hotel

Hotels are businesses that provide lodging, dining,  and other amenities to tourists and travelers. Independent hotels are called boutique hotels, while flagged hotels are part of a major chain, such as the Fairmont or Ritz. The six categories are as follows:

Limited-service

Room service, a restaurant on site, and a concierge are not available.

Full-service

The hotel offers room service and has a restaurant on site.

Boutique

The hotel is located in an urban or resort area, offers full-service amenities, is not a chain, and has fewer rooms.

Casino

Includes gaming components, such as blackjack and slots.

Extended-stay

Guests have access to fully functional kitchens in their rooms and larger rooms for extended stays.

Resort

A large resort with a golf course, water park, or amusement park attached and is located in a typical resort location (such as Disney World or Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa).

Special Purpose

Commercial real estate investors may own special purpose real estate, but it does not fall into the abovementioned sectors. Theme parks, religious institutions, self-storage units, and skating rinks are special-purpose facilities.

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Commercial Mortgage vs. Residential Mortgages

In terms of mortgages, it is natural for a homeowner to think the same guidelines apply to commercial properties. However, this is not the case. Commercial property financing differs significantly from residential property financing. Generally, there are different rules, and you deal with other lenders.

Commercial mortgages are similar to residential mortgages. A difference lies in the type of borrower (individual vs. business) and the collateral used (residential vs. commercial).

Business mortgages for commercial properties differ from those for residential properties in that your income is usually not taken into account. Banks and commercial mortgage lenders usually view mortgage loans from a business perspective and do not consider personal income. According to lenders, the property bought with a commercial mortgage should generate enough revenue to cover the loan repayments.

Despite this, a lender will consider all of your information when assessing your loan application. A lender will likely consider the whole package. The lender will also want to know about the building’s history, upkeep, area, function, and whether it is suitable for your project. If the commercial property does not generate enough revenue, you will have to show that you have enough earnings to pay mortgage payments.

Commercial Mortgage Types

In order to help you understand what is likely to work for you, let us explain each of the seven types of commercial real estate loans.

Purchasing

The holder of a purchase loan can borrow money to finance commercial property purchases. As a commercial property, it is used to generate income.

Cash-out

Commercial property financing includes refinancing or taking out a new mortgage and repaying the property’s equity. The equity in a property can be cashed out without a mortgage.

Refinancing

Refinancing involves the outright purchase of a loan from one financial institution by another for better interest rates, longer repayment terms, etc.

Bridge

Bridge loans are short-term loans that are either used to finance a commercial real estate property entirely or before a long-term loan is obtained. A bridge loan is to renovate, improve, or finish a property.

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Construction

Commercial property owners use loans like this to improve their operations, build new properties, or build purely for speculation.

Fix-and-Flip

Investors of all sizes use this type of commercial real estate financing to build properties that are later sold for a profit. Similar to a bridge loan, this facility covers the deficit incurred while waiting for longer-term funding.

Hard-money

A real estate loan is associated with a more established borrower. These loans are issued without going through all the red tape associated with obtaining similar loans.

What Are The Steps To Getting A Commercial Mortgage Approval?

You can get a commercial property loan by following these six steps.

Profitability

Your company’s finances should be in order first. To get financing, a company must be successful and expanding. Businesses without profitability have few chances of getting funding. Banks prefer companies with a track record of profitability.

Analyze Your Space Requirements

Analyze your real estate requirements carefully. Financiers don’t like to finance poorly planned, impulsive projects. Solid planning is preferred.

Determine your finances, location preferences, and space needs; whether to purchase or lease; and how you will accommodate future growth. Many businesses fail to plan appropriately before purchasing real estate. When enterprises purchase office space, they often fail to consider future expansion and only think of their current needs.

Budgeting requires taking into account the cost of the property (or rent, if leasing) and the associated costs. Costs associated with due diligence, remodeling, production downtime during changeovers, legal fees, property operating costs, and, if a lease is involved, contingencies, as well as improvements to the lease, are often overlooked or underestimated by businesses.

Prepare an adequate budget before you buy or lease commercial real estate.

Have an Idea of the Property You Want

In addition to your finances, banks consider what type of building it is, how old it is, its condition, as well as resale value when determining how much to lend. Banks can’t be precise about the amount of financing they can offer without a specific property.

If you appear to be wasting the banker’s time and not a serious buyer, you might also leave a bad impression.

Banks may agree to a preliminary meeting if you don’t have a specific property you want to determine what kind of financing they can offer. If you have a good working relationship with your banker, you should meet with them.

You Should Prepare Documents

Gather the documents you’ll need to provide the bank once you’ve chosen a property. An accurate financial statement, a solid business plan, and information about the property you’re interested in are all required. Banks also want to see that the management team is experienced.

As with an interview, the process is similar. Make an excellent first impression by preparing well for the meeting and arriving on time.

You Should Meet With the Bank Before Making an Offer

Meeting with your banker is a good idea before you bid on a property, particularly if it’s your first time dealing with commercial properties.

A banker can also inform you of the bank’s terms for lending money. A title search may include a building and environmental assessment, and an environmental assessment.

Each bank has its own list of experts it uses for due diligence of this type. You may be asked for a second opinion if you use someone else, which may cause the transaction to be delayed.

Take Your Time

The bank should also have sufficient time to evaluate your purchase offer. It’s common for Banks usually require at least six weeks to complete if due diligence issues arise-in contrast to offers that typically provide only 30 days.

Most businesses don’t give the bank enough time to do its due diligence. Both parties may then argue about extending the deal and even cancel the transaction.

Is Commercial Mortgage Lending Riskier Than Residential Mortgage Lending?

The primary difference between these two mortgages is the level of risk they both involve.

Business mortgages for commercial properties are generally considered riskier than those for residential properties. With a residential mortgage, lenders are primarily interested in your income to ensure you can pay your mortgage. Obviously, you must make more money than you owe. Mortgage payments cannot exceed a certain percentage of your gross income.

In contrast, a commercial mortgage requires you to repay the loan with the income from your investment property. Basically, the lender needs to know whether or not your business will succeed rather than your income. Naturally, this is not always possible, making it a riskier mortgage option. You can make the same amount of money from your commercial property in one year that you need to make your business mortgage payments. Your debt coverage ratio is one to one in this case. The preferred debt coverage ratio is 1.25, which means you are earning 25% more than your business mortgage payments.

CMHC-Insured Commercial Mortgages

CMHC, or Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation, is the country’s leading lender for multifamily housing, including construction, financing, and refinancing. Property rentals, retirement communities, and licensed home care facilities are typical examples of these real estate properties.

A CMHC mortgage also has low-interest rates and lower down payments. CMHC offers low-down payment loans for multi-unit properties. Borrowers can also take advantage of competitive and affordable interest rates for the life of the business mortgage and a reduced renewal risk.

Additionally, CMHC offers many financing terms, including extended amortization periods. Additionally, borrowers can choose between floating and fixed rates for their first and next mortgages.

Benefits

  • The interest rate is lower. For the duration of the loan, CMHC offers lower interest rates to borrowers.
  • Typically, borrowers can obtain business mortgage financing for up to 85% of the property’s value.
  • In Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario, the CMHC provide loans for existing and new multifamily residential properties, including rental properties, care facilities, student housing, and retirement homes.

Options For Financing

  • Transaction size: There are no limits
  • Duration: One to ten years
  • Amortization: Up to 40 years
  • LTV (Loan to Value): Up to 85%
  • Rates: Starting at 3.50%

Business Mortgage terms for commercial properties

This list does not include every term or concept CRE professionals should understand regarding property debt. However, it is important to understand a few terms regarding debt and lending.

Amortization

Repayment schedule for loans. Principal and interest are usually paid in equal amounts. The amortization schedule shows how much principal and interest are applied with each payment. Commercial loans typically amortize over 10 to 30 years.

Annual debt service

Annual payments made on a commercial loan. The amortization schedule determines the amount of principal and interest to be paid.

Balloon payment

If the loan has not been fully amortized, the lender will receive the remaining balance at maturity. A balloon payment equal to the remaining principal on a 10-year loan with a 30-year amortization is due at the end of the 10-year period.

Bridge loan

Loans are short-term in nature and are used to provide borrowers with time or temporary financing until they can secure permanent financing. These loans typically last between six months and three years. A borrower may use them while renovating a property or searching for a long-term commercial tenant.

Capital gain

An investment property’s taxable income. Under this method, the sales price is less than the cost of the sale, the adjusted cost basis, lost profits, excess cost recovery, and straight-line cost recovery.

Collar

A term used to describe an adjustable-rate mortgage’s upper and lower limits. These limits are often called “floor” and “cap.”

Cost basis

A property’s total cost, including hard and soft costs, less any depreciation. A person’s capital gains are equal to the sales price minus their cost basis.

Discount rate

A discount rate is a percentage rate at which money or cash flow is discounted. Discount rates take into account both market risk-free interest rates and risk premiums.

Exit fee

Upon repayment of a loan, whether prepayment or completion, exit fees are due to the lender. A borrower does not have to make an upfront payment when taking out a loan with points, but the lender may offer a lower rate.

Lender

An entity (such as a bank) provides financing for commercial real estate deals.

Leverage

Using debt to finance real estate. Commercial real estate professionals often use the terms “debt” and “leverage” interchangeably. Lenders prefer to work with individuals.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

LTV is the ratio of the amount borrowed to the property’s market value. Divide the loan amount by the property value to determine the LTV.

Maturity Date

A loan’s due date.

Net Operating Income

Rental income minus vacancy, credit losses, and operating expenses.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenditures, or OpEx, refer to the costs of operating and maintaining a property. Operating expenses can include property management expenses as well as property taxes, insurance, electricity, and attorney or bookkeeping fees.

Soft Costs

Fees like design and bookkeeping which are not directly related to labor or materials, but are incurred in the construction of a building. Over time, a property investor may incur soft costs for property management and insurance expenses.

Total Debt

The total amount of debt a borrower incurs when financing a property, including construction debt, mezzanine debt, bridge loans, and permanent financing.

Commercial Mortgage Broker

Commercial mortgage brokers are responsible for securing commercial mortgages on behalf of their clients. Mortgage brokers serve as middlemen between investors and owners of commercial property and various debt and equity sources. Instead of going to their bank to obtain a commercial mortgage, business owners and investors can turn to a commercial mortgage broker to access a variety of more attractive sources of capital. Pricing and terms offered by lenders can vary significantly. Therefore, a business mortgage broker can help you compare quotes and options from sources of money you may not have heard of or have access to.

The main problem with commercial mortgages is their relatively high up-front costs. In addition to a substantial deposit, there are several fees involved. There are also legal, and broker fees, which can vary from business to business, and arrangement fees can cost 1 to 2% of the mortgage’s value.

Refinancing Your Commercial Mortgage: What Are The Pros And Cons?

You can refinance your commercial property regardless of whether you have an active commercial loan.

Changing from one loan product to another by using the same collateral is similar to remortgaging a home. When refinancing a commercial property, lenders offer borrowers new commercial loans on their property. In order to regain full title to a commercial property, you should repay the loan over the agreed timeframe.

Refinancing commercial property has several advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few:

Advantages

Loan terms that are more favorable for experienced entrepreneurs

When your business is not young, you might be able to get a better interest rate.

Refinancing will save you money only if you do the math. Refinancing involves fees that you would not ordinarily pay. In some cases, refinancing is beneficial because of the better terms.terms.

Increased cash flow

You can take advantage of opportunities when they arise with free cash flow. Your monthly payments can be lowered and you can free up a lot of cash by refinancing your loan.

If your financial situation doesn’t improve, you might be able to find a loan with a longer-term that allows you to pay less per month. To access the lower monthly payment, you may have to pay additional expenses. Be aware of these.

Borrowing costs are lower

A refinance can lower your borrowing costs significantly. Reducing your borrowing costs will reduce the amount of profit loss.

This will also improve your debt service ratio, allowing you to qualify for more financing if necessary. Furthermore, lower capital costs make your business more attractive to investors and prospective buyers.

Disadvantages

Refinancing commercial property is expensive

The cost of processing a commercial property refinance is a significant disadvantage. The loan arrangement fee and legal fees must be paid by the borrower. Additionally, their accountants are involved in the application process, which means additional costs.

Owners who choose to switch lenders may be charged for early loan repayment, further increasing refinancing costs.

Interest rates aren’t fixed forever

The refinancing of commercial real estate loans allows property owners to adjust to fixed-rate interest rates, but the change does not apply to the entire loan term. For a set period of time, the fixed-rate option protects them from interest rate changes, at which point the loan will switch to an adjustable-rate.

After the fixed-rate period expires, interest rates may rise significantly, and property owners may pay more in interest.

Extends the loan repayment period

Commercial property owners who refinance their loans can also extend the repayment period. In the long run, property owners who extend their business mortgage periods end up repaying much more in total, which makes refinancing all the more expensive.

How Much Equity Can I Take Out of My Commercial Property?

In order to determine how much equity you will have left in the property, you must determine the total loan to value (LTV). Lenders of commercial mortgages have a maximum loan-to-value ratio they will accept. Commercial lenders typically allow borrowers to borrow up to 75% of the home’s value. The reason for this is partly because lenders want to make sure that the borrower has enough experience to be able to make their mortgage payments on time and avoid defaulting. Additionally, they want to make sure the property has enough equity so that in the event of a power of sale, they will be able to make back their entire investment.

Refinancing A Commercial Mortgage: Calculating The Loan To Value

LTV measures the relationship between the loan amount and the collateral value. When a commercial mortgage is made or commercial property is financed, it measures or determines the risk. Calculating the LTV is a crucial step in determining a borrower’s eligibility and the loan terms. 

Calculate the loan-to-value ratio by following these steps:

LTV = Loan Amount / Appraisal Value

Commercial loans with a lower LTV have more competitive terms and rates, whereas loans with a high LTV are riskier and therefore have less advantageous terms for the borrower. 

Let’s say a building is worth $10 million, and the loan is $6 million. The loan-to-value is 60%. The same property would be more competitively priced and less risky with a $7 million loan (70% LTV).

The Bottom Line About Commercial Mortgages

Businesses can access similar banking services as consumers, plus additional services that are specific to them. Open a commercial bank account for your business to protect your personal finances from any business-related liabilities or tax problems. Commercial banks provide cash to many companies in times of need and keep their operations running.

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FAQs about Commercial Mortgages

What is the deposit for a commercial mortgage?

A commercial property requires a higher down payment. Typically, a mixed property requires 20-35% down payment. Commercial properties usually require a down payment of 50% or more.

How much should I expect to pay for a commercial mortgage?

To assess whether you will repay a commercial mortgage, lenders in Canada require a variety of documents and steps. You should factor in various fees and charges when estimating the total cost of acquiring commercial real estate: legal fees, mortgage broker fees, application fees, survey fees, evaluation fees, etc.

What is the maximum amount I can borrow with a commercial mortgage?

CMHC-insured commercial mortgages can have a loan-to-value of up to 85%, while conventional lenders usually lend up to 75% of the value of the property.

How can I obtain a commercial mortgage?

You can obtain a commercial mortgage from many lenders in Canada, each with their own requirements. For example, credit unions and banks are the best options when you need a large commercial mortgage with a short amortization and a competitive interest rate. At the same time, alternative lenders generally have fewer restrictions but higher interest rates for smaller loans.

How long does a commercial mortgage typically last?

Typically, the terms range from 5 to 20 years. Bridge financing is anything less than five years. Low-interest rates encourage commercial mortgage borrowers to lock in a long-term loan.

Are balloon loans and amortized loans the same thing?

It consists of a series of small payments followed by a large one. On the other hand, a fully amortized loan has equal payments over the loan's life.

Is a commercial mortgage more expensive than a residential mortgage?

Commercial mortgage interest rates are higher than those for residential loans, but lower than those for construction loans. The lender assesses the borrower's financial situation as well as the property's income-producing potential. Most commercial lenders offer a loan-to-value (LTV) of 85% with a 25-year amortization period.

Is it possible to get a standard mortgage for a commercial property?

Residential mortgages are limited to properties with up to four units. You must apply for a commercial mortgage if the property has five units.

What are the advantages of interest-only loans for commercial properties?

A commercial real estate interest-only loan has the most significant benefit of allowing the property or business to generate a significant amount of cash flow during the interest-only period. Borrowers have more flexibility since they don't need to pay off the principal for a while.

Is a commercial mortgage broker beneficial?

Having an advisor at the beginning of the process can be highly beneficial. You will be asked about your business, your loan needs, and the types of terms you're looking for. They can then help you find the best lenders, loan options, and terms for your business. Throughout the application and approval process, they will keep you informed.

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