Why Use A Commercial Mortgage Broker?

Value beyond expectations, that’s why.

If you have ever thought about financing a commercial real estate property, the thought of using a commercial mortgage broker may have crossed your mind. However, if you are like some people, you may have debated using a commercial mortgage broker based on the belief that it is more expensive to use a broker rather than go directly to a lender. This common belief is a myth.

The reality is that there are a number of ways in which you can save money by engaging a mortgage broker to provide you assistance with your commercial real estate financing needs and objectives. If you take the time to determine the value of using a commercial mortgage broker you will surely see that it is money well spent.

-Locating a Lender

Locating a lender to fund your commercial mortgage is not as easy as it may seem. Due to the wide range of property types, loan types, and special circumstances a single lender simply cannot offer loan programs for all potential loans. You may waste a considerable amount of time simply trying to find a single lender that offers the program you need. A qualified and experienced mortgage broker will have multiple lender relationships in place who can offer a wide range of lending options. Some brokers may even have relationships in place that give you access to hundreds of lenders offering an unbelievable amount of loan options.

-Risks in working with a single lender

You may spend the time and locate a single lender that can meet your needs, but you are not out of the woods yet. By working with a single lender or bank you are putting all your eggs in one basket as they say. The approval process can take a good deal of time that you may not have. Then what happens if the loan application is not approved by that lender? Can you afford to go through the process a second time risking a similar outcome? By working with a broker, your loan application can be submitted to multiple lenders. This not only increases the chances that your loan will be funded, but it also gives you and your broker more bargaining power to get the best deal.

-Cost Variations Between Lenders

One of the most significant ways in which you can save money by using the services of a commercial mortgage broker rests in the fact that there can be notable differences in the interest rates, costs and other fees charged from one lender to the next. A broker will help you in identifying the most reasonably priced options available from these different mortgage lenders. On first blush the cost differences from one lender to another may seem small. But remember, in most instances we are talking about loans in the millions of dollars. Even if the interest rate difference is minimal on the surface, over time this can add up to a significant amount of money.

-Brokers Specialize

Commercial mortgage brokers, especially the good ones, will often specialize in a certain property or loan type. The added experience provided by a specialist guarantees that they have experience with exactly the loan you are looking to secure. Each and every property type and loan type has its own set of issues and pitfalls so it pays to find a broker that services your individual needs. In comparison, if you have a problem with your plumbing you want a plumber, not a general contractor.

-Inherent Expenses of Searching on Your Own

People tend to forget that when they are devoting time shopping around looking for a commercial mortgage lender – or anything else for that matter – it takes you away from other pursuits, including money making pursuits. Therefore, you do need to keep in mind that by engaging the services of a commercial mortgage broker you free up more of your valuable time to engage in other efforts that are more profitable than aimlessly wandering around looking for a mortgage lender.

-Support Services

Another avenue through which a commercial mortgage broker can help you save money is through their existing relationships with other industry professionals. A good commercial mortgage broker has a preassembled network of professionals including appraisers, accountants, lawyers and other service providers that they work with on a regular basis. Not only do you not have to spend the time to find these required resources on your own, but often times you can get a reduced rate on the services due to the brokers existing relationship.

-Fees of Commercial Mortgage Brokers

You need to understand that commercial mortgage brokers appreciate that they are in a very competitive business. Therefore, these professionals are now taking great pains to make their services as affordable as possible. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the broker fee. And don’t be afraid to ask your broker questions regarding how they came up with the fee proposal. The good thing about using a broker is that they do not get paid unless your deal closes.

It is true that in the end, you do pay a fee for utilizing the services of a commercial mortgage broker. These fees can range from half a point to two points on conventional loans up to five or so points on a hard money deal. However, you will find, as many commercial investors have in the past, that working with a commercial broker will help ensure that your needs are met and that you get the best deal in the process. The bottom line is that what you are paying for is a professional on your side, someone to watch out for your best interests. Similar to the way a lawyer protects your interests in legal matters. You wouldn’t go to court without a lawyer, so don’t finance your commercial mortgage without a broker.

Getting Started as a Commercial Mortgage Broker

Tips to get you into one of the hottest industries in the US.

Are you ready for a change? Have you been looking for an opportunity for uncapped earning potential while making your own hours? If you have a mind for problem solving and a sincere desire to help people, then the commercial mortgage industry may be for you.

The commercial mortgage industry is quickly becoming one of the hottest industries in the United States. The surge of Small Cap mortgages coupled with the need for knowledgeable mortgage brokers makes this the best time to take advantage of this opportunity. All it takes is a desire to learn and grow and the right partner on your side.

As with any industry there are obstacles you must overcome to be successful. For the commercial mortgage industry, these barriers include (but are not limited to):

-Proper training in commercial underwriting.
-Lender relationships and loan programs
-Deal Flow. Getting clients in the door.
-Geographical service limitations.

The first step to getting your foot into this hot industry is the proper training. As you are looking for training, it is important that you find the most in depth and comprehensive training possible. While most direct lenders will provide free training, the training is almost always directed toward the loan products offered by that lender. This type of training, while valuable, will not provide you the breadth of knowledge you will need to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Look to the established industry organizations like the Mortgage Bankers Association or the National Association of Mortgage Brokers for better training opportunities. Another option is to look for a company that serves the interests of commercial brokers as a whole. These companies should provide the best training options and may also include other services that will make your transition a bit easier.

The role of the commercial mortgage broker is to provide financing solutions for commercial property owners. Often brokers are called upon for seemingly difficult financing scenarios. The key to finding a solution is locating the right lender with the right loan product. In the past, this meant a lot of research. There are hundreds of sources for commercial loans representing thousands and thousands of financing options. The best route for someone new to the industry is to locate a database of lenders that will allow you to input the loan information and allow the system to narrow your search to a handful of potential lenders. This technology is somewhat new to the commercial industry so be careful that the database allows you to search programs from multiple lenders, not just one or two. Keep in mind that these lenders want your business, you are their client. They should be willing to do the work required to match a loan program to your needs.

So now you have the training and the lender options in place, now comes the most important piece, the clients. You will spend the majority of your time looking for borrowers that need your assistance in helping them find the right financing. The key to building a client base is education. You must educate your potential clients in the commercial industry and above all why they should work with you. Marketing to potential clients is both time consuming and can be costly. Finding the best way to market yourself will require a bit of research and testing.

As you build your business you will find that most of your clients will come from referrals. These referrals can come from friends, family, or your network of existing contacts. Be sure to let everyone you know that you are now a commercial mortgage broker and what services you provide. You may be surprised to find that your existing contacts may be your best source for business.

What about commercial mortgage “leads”? Many companies offer leads that you can buy. Just be careful about buying leads. Some can be great, but some can be a great waste of money. Leads are often offered to multiple brokers at the same time and you will find yourself competing with several (or many) other brokers for the business. The key term you want to keep an eye out for is “exclusive referrals” not leads. This means that you are the one and only broker receiving that referral and in this industry, a referral is gold. Exclusive referrals are of course not free. Often they are part of a membership to a brokerage service which includes additional services as well. Be aware that these golden opportunities may mean a commission split with the provider that may take up to half of your income. The best advice is to go into any lead or referral situation with your eyes open.

The final aspect you need to keep in mind as you venture into the commercial mortgage industry is your geographical reach. I don’t have to tell you that if you limit yourself to working deals solely in your local area, your earning potential will be equally as limited. Though it will take time, or just the right partner, your best bet is to serve as large a geographic area as possible. This flexibility will enable you to increase your potential client base and your potential income. Once you determine your target regions you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and qualifications to do business in those states. A few states require a special license to broker commercial mortgage loans. However, most states only require a basic qualification to do business. You should always consult your attorney to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to operate your business within the constructs of the law. It is a reasonable expense given the peace of mind you will have in knowing that you are conducting your business in accordance with the law.

Finding the right partner or mentor is a great way to start your career in the commercial mortgage industry. We all know it is much easier to get into something new when you have a friend that already does it. How many people decide, on their own, that skydiving is a good idea? It takes a friend that knows about it to get you involved. To show you the ropes and get you off the ground. This puts you more at ease with trying something new. Knowing someone who has “been there done that”. In the commercial mortgage industry, a little research and networking, will allow you to find the right partner to help get you started in this exploding industry.

In summary, the commercial mortgage industry provides a wealth of opportunity for those willing to put in a little hard work. While there are many companies out there that are willing to help and do provide a valuable service, there are equally as many, if not more, that are of no value to you at all. Do the research and go in with your head up and your eyes open and you may find wonderful opportunities within the commercial mortgage industry. Good luck!

Commercial Brokers – Adjusting to the Pain of the Property Market Today

This commercial property market presents most agents and property owners with a few challenges. That being said, opportunities always exist for those that work hard and look deep enough for a solution.

When the commercial and retail property market gets tougher there are some rules that should generally be worked through:

  1. Existing tenants are the lifeblood of the income and the cash flow for the property. Those tenants are also likely to be under some pressure in similar ways to the property owner. Flexibility in lease terms and conditions is required to ensure that good tenants stay in the property for the medium term. It is better to have a tenant paying 80% rent than a long term vacancy that pays nothing.
  2. Any anchor tenants will be important to the stability of a property that includes smaller specialty tenants. This is the case in retail property. Special management procedures are required. Work closely with any anchor tenants to ensure that their occupancy remains stable and productive. A successful anchor tenant attracts people to the retail property.
  3. Market rent reviews should be negotiated with a view to tenant stability; that means sensible and flexible rent terms that work for the tenant and the landlord. There is always a compromise situation that can be achieved when it comes to a rent review. If a landlord gives the tenant some leeway or benefit, then the tenant should be asked for some benefit back to the landlord (renovation, longer lease term, exercise of option, etc).
  4. Negotiate any lease options as early as possible to ensure that the existing tenants do not look to move elsewhere. Other landlords will be on the hunt for tenants for their properties.
  5. The maintenance of an existing property should be watched and managed well. There is a fine balance between low maintenance levels that destroy property usage and productivity, versus delayed maintenance that keeps presentation at reasonable levels for tenants and customers. When people and businesses move away from a property due to low levels of maintenance and presentation, it is a hard trend to stop.
  6. Incentives for any new lease will encourage new tenants to a property; they will also help existing tenants to potentially take up a new lease in the same premises that they currently occupy now. It is important to keep a check on existing incentives being offered by other landlords in the same general location. Do not lose your good tenants to another landlord for the sake of a few thousand dollars in rent. The vacancy downtime will cost you a lot more.

When the property market gets slower or tougher, all parties involved in property investment and occupation should cooperate and be open to more flexible lease terms and conditions. In this way they can spread the property pain and maintain a reasonable cash flow in slower times.