What Is An SBA 504 Loan?
An SBA 504 loan is a type of SBA loan that is designed to help small businesses finance the purchase or construction of owner-occupied commercial real estate or large equipment. This type of loan is offered through Certified Development Companies (CDCs), which are nonprofit organizations that work with the SBA to provide financing to small businesses.
The SBA 504 loan program works by providing a loan with a fixed interest rate for 10, 20, or 25 years, with a portion of the loan guaranteed by the SBA. The borrower must contribute a minimum of 10% equity towards the project, and the CDC typically provides 40% of the financing. The remaining 50% is financed by a lender, such as a bank or credit union.
The maximum loan amount for an SBA 504 loan is $5.5 million, and the funds can be used to purchase land or buildings, construct new facilities, or renovate existing ones. The loan can also be used to purchase or upgrade equipment or machinery that has a useful life of at least 10 years.
To be eligible for an SBA 504 loan, a business must meet certain criteria, such as having a net worth under $15 million and a net income of less than $5 million, and the project must create or retain jobs in the community. The application process can be lengthy and requires detailed financial information about the business and the project.
Advantages of SBA 504 Loan To Purchase Real Estate?
There are several advantages of using an SBA 504 loan to finance real estate or other fixed assets for a small business:
- Low down payment: SBA 504 loans require a lower down payment than traditional bank loans, which can help reduce the amount of cash needed upfront. For example, the down payment for an SBA 504 loan can be as low as 10% of the total project cost, compared to 20-30% for traditional bank loans.
- Long-term fixed rate: SBA 504 loans offer long-term fixed interest rates, which can provide stability and predictability for the borrower. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan, which can be up to 20 years for real estate and up to 10 years for other fixed assets.
- High loan amount: SBA 504 loans have a higher maximum loan amount than many other SBA loan programs. The maximum loan amount for SBA 504 loans is typically $5 million, although it can be higher in certain cases.
- Multiple uses: SBA 504 loans can be used to finance a variety of fixed assets, including real estate, land, buildings, and equipment.
- Competitive interest rates: SBA 504 loans generally offer lower interest rates than traditional bank loans, which can help reduce the overall cost of financing.
- No balloon payments: SBA 504 loans have no balloon payments, which means that the borrower will not face a large lump-sum payment at the end of the loan term.
Overall, SBA 504 loans can be an attractive financing option for small businesses looking to finance real estate or other fixed assets. The combination of low down payment, long-term fixed rate, and high loan amount can make it an affordable and manageable way for small businesses to make large investments in their future.
Types of Properties Eligible For SBA 504 Financing
SBA loans can be used to finance a variety of different types of properties, including:
- Commercial real estate: SBA loans can be used to purchase, refinance, or renovate commercial real estate, such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities.
- Owner-occupied properties: SBA loans can be used to finance properties that are owner-occupied, meaning that the borrower or the borrower’s business will occupy at least 51% of the property.
- Special-use properties: SBA loans can be used to finance special-use properties, such as gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and other similar properties that have unique financing requirements.
- Investment properties: SBA loans can also be used to finance investment properties, such as multi-family apartment buildings, as long as the borrower or the borrower’s business occupies at least 51% of the property.
It’s important to note that while SBA loans can be used to finance a wide range of properties, there are some restrictions on the types of properties that are eligible. For example, SBA loans generally cannot be used to finance speculative real estate investments, such as land development or real estate flipping. Additionally, the property must be located within the United States and its territories, and must not be used for illegal purposes.
Qualification Requirements of SBA 504 Loan
To qualify for an SBA 504 loan, small businesses must meet several eligibility requirements:
- Business size: The business must be considered a small business by SBA size standards. These standards vary by industry and are based on the number of employees or average annual receipts.
- Use of funds: The loan proceeds must be used for fixed asset financing, such as real estate or equipment purchases.
- Owner occupancy: For real estate financing, the business must occupy at least 51% of the property. For equipment financing, the equipment must be essential to the business and located within the United States.
- Creditworthiness: The business and its owners must have good credit histories and demonstrate the ability to repay the loan.
- Personal guarantee: The business owners must personally guarantee the loan.
- Tangible net worth: The business must have a tangible net worth of less than $15 million and an average net income of less than $5 million after taxes for the preceding two years.
- Project viability: The proposed project must be considered financially and technically feasible, and the borrower must demonstrate the ability to complete the project on time and within budget.
- No delinquencies: The business and its owners must not have any delinquent taxes or outstanding debts to the government.
It’s important to note that meeting these eligibility requirements does not guarantee approval for an SBA 504 loan. The lender will also evaluate factors such as cash flow, collateral, and business experience when making a lending decision.
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What To Know About SBA 504 Interest Rates
The interest rate for an SBA 504 loan is calculated using a combination of fixed and variable rates. The fixed rate is set by the SBA at the time of the loan approval, while the variable rate is tied to the current market rate for 5 or 10-year Treasury bonds.
The fixed rate portion of the loan is typically set at a rate that is slightly above the current market rate for 5 or 10-year Treasury bonds. This rate is then added to the variable rate to determine the overall interest rate for the loan.
The variable rate for an SBA 504 loan is based on the average yield of the 5-year and 10-year Treasury bonds, as reported by the Federal Reserve. The rate is calculated and adjusted quarterly, so the borrower’s interest rate may change over time as the market rate for Treasury bonds fluctuates.
The overall interest rate for an SBA 504 loan is capped at a maximum rate set by the SBA, which is currently around 6-7% depending on the loan term and type of project. However, the actual interest rate that a borrower will receive depends on several factors, including the borrower’s creditworthiness, the loan amount, and the current market rate for Treasury bonds.
It’s important to note that the interest rate for an SBA 504 loan can be fixed for the entire term of the loan, which can provide stability and predictability for the borrower. Additionally, because the interest rate for an SBA 504 loan is generally lower than traditional bank loans, borrowers may be able to save money on interest charges over the life of the loan.
How To Apply For SBA 504 Loan
To apply for an SBA 504 loan, follow these general steps:
- Determine eligibility: Review the SBA 504 loan eligibility requirements to make sure your business and project are eligible.
- Find a Certified Development Company (CDC): The SBA works with a network of CDCs to administer the 504 loan program. You will need to work with a CDC to apply for a 504 loan. You can find a list of CDCs on the SBA’s website.
- Prepare your loan application: The CDC will provide you with a loan application package and help you prepare your loan application. The application will typically include financial statements, tax returns, a business plan, and other documentation to support your loan request.
- Obtain lender approval: In addition to working with the CDC, you will also need to obtain approval from a participating lender for a portion of the loan. The CDC can help you identify and work with a lender.
- Submit your loan application: Once your loan application is complete, you will need to submit it to the CDC for review.
- Wait for approval: The CDC will review your loan application and make a recommendation to the SBA. The SBA will then review the application and make a final decision on whether to approve the loan.
- Close the loan: If your loan is approved, you will need to sign the loan documents and provide any additional documentation required by the CDC or lender. The loan funds will then be disbursed to you to fund your project.
The application process for an SBA 504 loan can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to work closely with the CDC and lender throughout the process. It’s also a good idea to start the application process well in advance of when you need the funds, as it can take several weeks or even months to complete all the necessary steps.