Skip to content Skip to footer

5 Types of Commercial Real Estate Loan Guide: Essential Overview

5 types of Commercial Real Estate Loan Guide

5 Types of Commercial Real Estate Loan Guide: Essential Overview

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on commercial real estate loans. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a first-time borrower, understanding the various types of loans and financing options available to you is crucial for success. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the five main types of commercial real estate loans: traditional bank loans, SBA loans, hard money loans, bridge loans, and construction loans.

Each loan type has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, and understanding these differences is essential for selecting the financing option that best suits your needs. We’ll also be discussing the commercial real estate loan process, including the requirements and documentation necessary to secure a loan. Additionally, we’ll be covering the rates and terms associated with commercial real estate loans, including ways to negotiate better rates.

Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of commercial real estate loans so that you can make informed decisions and achieve success in your commercial real estate endeavors. Read on to learn more.

Understanding Commercial Real Estate Loans

When it comes to financing commercial real estate projects, there are several types of loans available to borrowers. Understanding the pros and cons of each option is crucial to determining which loan type is best for your project. Here are the main types of loans available:

Loan Type Pros Cons
Traditional Bank Loans Low interest rates and longer repayment terms Strict qualification requirements and longer application process
SBA Loans Favorable terms and rates and easier qualification requirements Longer application process and additional paperwork required
Hard Money Loans Flexible terms and easier qualification requirements Higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms
Bridge Loans Short-term funding for time-sensitive projects Higher interest rates and additional fees
Construction Loans Funds disbursed in stages to cover construction costs Higher interest rates and stricter qualification requirements

Each loan type comes with its own set of requirements and considerations. Understanding the characteristics of each loan type is crucial to determining which option is best suited to your project’s needs. In the following sections of this guide, we’ll dive deeper into each loan type to help you make an informed decision.

The Commercial Real Estate Loan Process

Applying for a commercial real estate loan can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is important for borrowers to understand the steps involved and the requirements needed for a successful loan application. Below is an overview of the commercial real estate loan process:

Step Description
1 Prepare documentation
Borrowers should gather and organize all the necessary documentation that lenders will require. This may include financial statements, tax returns, business plans, and property information.
2 Select a lender
Borrowers should research potential lenders and select a lender that offers the most favorable terms and rates for their specific needs.
3 Submit application
Borrowers should submit a comprehensive loan application to their chosen lender, including all required documentation.
4 Underwriting process
The lender will review the borrower’s application and documentation to assess the risk and determine whether to approve the loan or not.
5 Loan approval and closing
If the application is approved, the lender will issue a commitment letter outlining the terms of the loan. The borrower will then need to sign the commitment letter and pay any associated fees before closing on the loan.
6 Loan servicing
After closing, borrowers will make regular loan payments to the lender. The lender may also provide additional services, such as property inspections and financial statements analysis, to ensure the loan remains in good standing.

It is important for borrowers to understand that the loan process may vary depending on the lender and the type of loan being applied for. It is recommended that borrowers seek the assistance of a qualified commercial real estate loan expert to help guide them through the application process.

Traditional Bank Loans

Traditional bank loans are the most common type of commercial real estate loan. These loans are typically offered by banks and credit unions and are used to finance a variety of commercial properties, including office buildings, retail centers, and industrial facilities.

The terms and rates associated with traditional bank loans can vary widely depending on the lender and the borrower’s creditworthiness. Generally, borrowers can expect to pay interest rates ranging from 4% to 8%, with terms ranging from 5 to 25 years. Some banks also offer adjustable-rate loans, which can be a good option for borrowers looking to take advantage of changing market conditions.

Borrower Qualifications

Qualifying for a traditional bank loan can be challenging, as banks typically require borrowers to meet strict criteria to qualify. Some of the most common requirements include:

  • A strong credit score and financial history
  • A down payment of 20-30% (or more) of the property’s purchase price
  • A demonstrated ability to generate sufficient income to repay the loan
  • A detailed business plan outlining how the loan will be used

Overall, traditional bank loans are a good option for borrowers with strong credit histories and established businesses. However, for borrowers who don’t meet these qualifications, alternative financing options may be a better choice.

SBA Loans

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are a popular option for commercial real estate borrowers who may not meet the strict requirements of traditional bank loans. These loans are guaranteed by the SBA and offer lower down payments and longer repayment terms than traditional bank loans.

To qualify for an SBA loan, borrowers must meet certain requirements, including being a small business owner and having a strong credit score. There are several types of SBA loans available, including the 7(a) loan program, which is the most commonly used for commercial real estate.

Pros Cons
Lower down payments Longer application process
Longer repayment terms Strict eligibility requirements
Lower interest rates May require collateral


Depending on the size and type of the loan, SBA loans may require some form of collateral. This can include real estate, equipment, or other assets that can be used to secure the loan.


To be eligible for an SBA loan, borrowers must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Being a small business owner
  • Having a strong credit score
  • Providing collateral (depending on the loan)
  • Meeting the SBA’s size standards

Borrowers should also be prepared to provide extensive documentation during the application process, including financial statements, tax returns, and business plans.

Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans are short-term loans typically used by real estate investors to purchase and renovate properties quickly. These loans are often provided by private investors or companies and have higher interest rates and fees than traditional bank loans. They are called “hard” money loans because they are secured by the value of the property rather than the borrower’s creditworthiness.

How Hard Money Loans Work

Hard money loans are typically easier to obtain than traditional bank loans because they are primarily secured by the property’s value. The loan amount is based on a percentage of the property’s appraised value, also known as the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Typically, hard money lenders will lend up to 70% of the property’s appraised value.

Hard money loans usually have a term of 6-12 months but can be extended up to several years. The interest rates on hard money loans are typically higher than traditional bank loans and can range from 10% to 15% or higher. Additionally, hard money loans often have higher fees, including origination fees, underwriting fees, and prepayment penalties.

Pros and Cons of Hard Money Loans

Pros – Easier to obtain than traditional bank loans
– Quick funding
– Flexible terms and repayment options
– Can be used for properties in poor condition or with low occupancy
Cons – Higher interest rates and fees
– Shorter loan terms
– Can be riskier for the borrower due to the high costs and short terms

Requirements for Hard Money Loans

Hard money lenders are primarily concerned with the value of the property being used as collateral. Therefore, credit scores and income history are typically not major factors in the approval process. However, hard money lenders may still require proof of income, financial statements, and other documentation to evaluate the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Additionally, hard money lenders typically require a down payment of at least 25% to 30% of the property’s appraised value. This is to ensure that the borrower has a stake in the property and is less likely to default on the loan.

Bridge Loans

Bridge loans are a type of commercial real estate loan that can provide quick financing for borrowers who need to close a deal fast or who may be facing a short-term cash flow problem. These loans are typically short-term in nature, with terms ranging from six months to three years.

Bridge loans are frequently used by investors who are purchasing commercial properties that need significant renovations or upgrades before they can be leased out. These types of loans can also be used to purchase new properties while waiting for the sale of another property to close.

Benefits of Bridge Loans Drawbacks of Bridge Loans
  • Quick funding
  • Flexible terms
  • Less stringent criteria for approval
  • Higher interest rates and fees
  • Short repayment terms
  • Higher risk for the borrower

Before considering a bridge loan, borrowers should carefully evaluate the potential risks and benefits and seek advice from a financial professional.

Construction Loans

Construction loans are designed to finance the construction of new commercial properties. These loans are typically short-term loans, with repayment terms ranging from six months to three years. During this time, borrowers typically make interest-only payments, with the full loan balance due at the end of the term.

There are several types of construction loans available, including:

Type of Construction Loan Description
Ground-up construction loans Designed for new construction projects on undeveloped land.
Renovation loans Used to renovate or remodel existing commercial properties.
Mini-perm loans Short-term loans used to finance the construction phase of a project before transitioning to long-term financing.
Takeout loans Long-term financing used to pay off a construction loan.

When applying for a construction loan, borrowers will typically need to provide detailed plans and specifications for the project, as well as a detailed budget and timeline for construction. Lenders will also require a down payment, typically ranging from 10% to 30% of the total project cost.

Construction loans can be risky for lenders, as there is no guarantee that the project will be completed on time or on budget. As a result, these loans often come with higher interest rates and more stringent qualification requirements than other types of commercial real estate loans.

Commercial Real Estate Loan Rates and Terms

Commercial real estate loan rates and terms vary based on several factors, including the borrower’s credit score, the type of loan, and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Generally, the better a borrower’s credit score, the lower the interest rate they will be offered. It’s important to shop around to find the best rates and terms for your specific needs.

Factors That Affect Commercial Real Estate Loan Rates

Several factors can affect the interest rates and terms borrowers are offered for commercial real estate loans, including:

  • The borrower’s credit score
  • The type of loan: traditional bank loans, SBA loans, hard money loans, bridge loans, and construction loans
  • The LTV ratio of the loan
  • The length of the loan term
  • The borrower’s financial history and assets

While borrowers don’t have control over all these factors, they can take steps to improve their chances of securing more favorable rates and terms.

Tips for Negotiating Better Commercial Real Estate Loan Rates and Terms

Here are some tips for borrowers looking to negotiate better rates and terms:

  • Improve your credit score: This can be done by paying down debt, making payments on time, and disputing inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Shop around: Compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to find the best option for your needs.
  • Consider a shorter loan term: While longer loan terms can lower monthly payments, they also result in paying more in interest over time. Consider a shorter loan term to save money in the long run.
  • Provide collateral: Offering collateral such as property or other assets can improve your chances of securing better rates and terms.
  • Work with an experienced broker or lender: Brokers and lenders with experience in commercial real estate can provide valuable insight and guidance throughout the loan process.

Ultimately, securing favorable rates and terms for a commercial real estate loan requires research, preparation, and negotiation. By taking the necessary steps and working with the right professionals, borrowers can find the best loan option for their needs.


Q: What is the typical length of a commercial real estate loan?

A: The length of a commercial real estate loan can vary depending on the type of loan and the lender, but it typically ranges from five to 20 years.

Q: Are there any upfront costs associated with getting a commercial real estate loan?

A: Yes, there are usually upfront costs, such as application fees, appraisal fees, and closing costs, that borrowers must pay when getting a commercial real estate loan.

Q: What is the difference between a fixed-rate and variable-rate commercial real estate loan?

A: A fixed-rate loan has a set interest rate for the life of the loan, while a variable-rate loan has an interest rate that can change over time based on market conditions.

Q: Can I use a commercial real estate loan to purchase residential property?

A: No, commercial real estate loans are specifically designed for the purchase and financing of non-residential properties, such as office buildings, retail spaces, and warehouses.

Q: How important is my credit score when applying for a commercial real estate loan?

A: Your credit score is an important factor that lenders consider when evaluating your loan application. A higher credit score can increase your chances of being approved for a loan and getting better interest rates and terms.


In conclusion, understanding the different types of commercial real estate loans available, the loan process, and the rates and terms associated with each loan can help make the borrowing process less intimidating for prospective borrowers. By doing your research, evaluating your financing options, and working with an experienced lender or broker, you can find the right commercial real estate loan to help finance your next project.


Popular Posts

Need Help?

+1 720 309 5679
Skip to content