Understanding Commercial Real Estate Equity Lines of Credit

Jul 10, 2024

What is a Commercial Real Estate Equity Line of Credit?

A commercial real estate equity line of credit (CRE LOC) is a flexible financing option that allows property owners to tap into the equity they have built up in their commercial real estate. This type of credit line can be used for various purposes, including property improvements, business expansion, or other investment opportunities. Here’s a detailed overview of how a CRE LOC works and its benefits.

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#### What is a Commercial Real Estate Equity Line of Credit?

A CRE LOC functions similarly to a home equity line of credit (HELOC) but is secured by commercial property instead of residential property. It provides borrowers with a revolving credit line based on the equity in their commercial real estate. This means you can draw funds as needed, up to a predetermined limit, and repay them over time.

#### Key Features

1. **Revolving Credit**: Unlike a traditional loan, a CRE LOC allows you to borrow, repay, and borrow again as needed, providing ongoing access to capital.
2. **Variable Interest Rates**: Typically, the interest rates on CRE LOCs are variable, meaning they can fluctuate based on market conditions.
3. **Draw Period and Repayment Period**: The draw period (typically 5-10 years) is when you can borrow funds. After this, the repayment period begins, during which you repay any outstanding balance, often over 10-20 years.
4. **Collateral**: The commercial property serves as collateral, which may include office buildings, retail spaces, industrial properties, or multifamily residences.

#### Benefits of a CRE LOC

1. **Flexibility**: Use funds for a variety of purposes, such as renovations, expansions, inventory purchases, or other investments.
2. **Access to Capital**: Provides a ready source of capital, which can be crucial for taking advantage of investment opportunities or managing cash flow.
3. **Interest-Only Payments**: During the draw period, you may only be required to make interest payments, which can help manage cash flow more effectively.
4. **Tax Benefits**: Interest payments on a CRE LOC may be tax-deductible, depending on how the funds are used.

#### How to Qualify for a CRE LOC

1. **Sufficient Equity**: Lenders typically require a significant amount of equity in the property, often around 20-30%.
2. **Good Credit History**: A strong credit profile can help secure better terms and interest rates.
3. **Strong Financial Statements**: Lenders will review your business’s financial health, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
4. **Property Appraisal**: An up-to-date appraisal of the property’s value will be necessary to determine the amount of available equity.

#### Application Process

1. **Prepare Documentation**: Gather necessary financial documents, including tax returns, financial statements, property appraisal, and details of existing debts.
2. **Submit Application**: Complete the lender’s application process, providing all required documentation.
3. **Underwriting**: The lender will review your application, assess the property’s value, and evaluate your creditworthiness.
4. **Approval and Closing**: Once approved, you’ll close on the credit line, and the funds will become available for use.

#### Risks and Considerations

1. **Variable Interest Rates**: Be aware that variable rates can increase, potentially leading to higher monthly payments.
2. **Property as Collateral**: Using your property as collateral means that defaulting on the loan could result in the loss of the property.
3. **Fees and Costs**: Consider any fees associated with opening and maintaining the credit line, such as appraisal fees, origination fees, and annual maintenance fees.

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#### Conclusion

A commercial real estate equity line of credit can be a valuable financial tool for business owners and investors, providing flexible access to capital based on the equity in their commercial properties. It’s essential to understand the terms, benefits, and risks associated with a CRE LOC to make informed financial decisions.

At Atlantic Commercial Lending, we specialize in helping businesses navigate the complexities of commercial real estate financing. Contact us today to learn more about how a CRE LOC can support your financial goals and to explore our range of commercial lending solutions.