For several different reasons, the commercial real estate market is currently booming. Relatively limited supply, relatively low interest rates, and a rapidly changing (and rebounding) economic system have all positioned commercial ownership properties for long-term success.
Investing in commercial real estate—such as office space, retail space, and multi-family properties—can help investors diversify their current holdings and generate stable, predictable dividends over time. This has proven to be especially true in some of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas, such as Charlotte, Raleigh, Austin, and Nashville.
Once you have decided that you want to become a commercial real estate investor (or expand your current commercial real estate holdings), you will need to find a partner that can help you access the capital you need. Unless you want to finance the property entirely from scratch—which, even if you have the cash needed to do so, is not always a great idea—then initial financing will play a very important role.
A commercial real estate (CRE) finance broker can help you arrange debt and connect with much-needed commercial loans. Below, we will discuss the most important things you need to know about working with a CRE-finance broker, including the many benefits that come with choosing to work with one.
What is a CRE-Finance Broker?
The primary role of a CRE-finance broker is to help connect investors and business owners with the capital they need to make commercial real estate investments. Depending on the nature of the investment, CRE financing can often be quite complicated. The broker’s primary responsibilities include working with lenders, managing all associated paperwork, comparing loan options, and helping the borrower determine which type of loan is ideal for them.
CRE brokers play an important role in guiding a proposed commercial real estate investment from start to finish. Here are a few of the reasons investors typically choose to partner with a dedicated CRE-finance broker, as opposed to some of the available alternatives:
1. Efficiently Compare Different Loans – Let’s discuss the stress involved with identifying loan types. Let’s talk about the maze
In the increasingly competitive commercial real estate space, you will find that there are many different lenders available to choose from. Without access to an industry insider, such as a CRE-finance broker, you will need to spend a significant amount of time sifting through options and comparing possible lenders in order to ensure you are getting the best deal available.
By working with a CRE broker, you will have access to someone who already has done—and is willing to do—a significant amount of the legwork for you. They’ll have pre-existing connections with lenders, making it easier to qualify your possible options and connect with essential capital partners.
2. Create a Customized Loan Package
Under the broad umbrella of “commercial real estate”, you’ll find many different types of loans available. Fixed-rate loans, construction loans, bridge loans, agency loans, and mezzanine loans could all be needed in order for a project to be successfully financed. In some cases, using preferred equity can also help close the current financing gap.
The loan that is “best” for any given investor will depend on the proposed project, the structure of their portfolio or firm, and numerous other factors. Combining multiple loan types within a single project is not uncommon. Regardless of the type of loan(s) you choose, a broker can help efficiently create a customized solution.
3. Find Better Interest Rates and Loan Terms
On balance, commercial real estate investors that choose to partner with a CRE-finance broker are much more likely to find better interest rates and loan terms. These individuals are already entrenched in the community, meaning they will already have a better understanding of where capital can be accessed at the lowest possible cost.
Lowering APR by even just a fraction of a percent can empower the borrower to save thousands (or even millions, at scale) of dollars over the course of the loan. The amount that can be saved during this qualification process can easily offset the cost of hiring a CRE broker.
4. Access Industry-Specific Expertise
There are plenty of non-real estate specific firms (like commercial banks) that will gladly lend to interested commercial real estate investors. However, because brokers with these types of companies are often committed to providing a “one size fits all” solution, they rarely can provide the degree of specialization you’ll need.
A committed CRE-finance broker, on the other hand, will be highly specialized and understand the unique dynamics of the commercial real estate market. There are many regulations, laws, and other variables that affect CRE investors that other types of borrowers won’t have to face. Be sure to choose a partner that can effectively navigate you through it all.
5. Accelerate the Loan Process
Anyone who has gone through the process of taking out a real estate loan—whether commercial or residential—knows the process takes time and can also be very stressful. While it is unlikely your loan will be structured and approved instantly, working with an experienced broker can help significantly accelerate the overall process.
The sooner your loan can be effectively structured and approved, the sooner you will be able to begin capitalizing on your initial investment. The commercial real estate space is wrought with competition—needlessly delaying the borrowing process by even a single week can have compounding consequences over time.
6. Ensure that Your Loan is in Safe Hands
Lastly, by working with a CRE-finance broker—especially one that is committed to integrity, professionalism, and execution—you can be confident that your loan is in good hands. There won’t be a need to second-guess yourself in the future because you’ll be confident that you are getting the right loan at the right price.
Furthermore, working with a qualified broker can also help reduce your (or your firm’s) exposure to future liabilities. The broker will be familiar with all laws, regulations, and taxes that apply to your specific loan and property. The expertise and continual guidance they’ll provide can prevent you from being blindsided in the future.
Commercial real estate investors partner with CRE-finance brokers for a variety of important reasons. By engaging in a CRE partnership, they can have access to their ideal loan without the headaches typical to this competitive industry. Additionally, they can be confident that they are truly getting the exact sort of CRE loan they need.