Understanding Soft Costs in Commercial Mortgages: What You Need to Know

Apr 23, 2024


When it comes to commercial mortgages, it's important to understand all the costs involved. While most people are familiar with the concept of the loan amount and interest rates, there are other expenses to consider as well. These additional costs, known as soft costs, can significantly impact the overall financial picture of your commercial mortgage. In this blog post, we will explore what soft costs are and why they matter in the world of commercial real estate financing.

What are Soft Costs?

Soft costs refer to the non-construction-related expenses associated with a commercial mortgage. These costs are typically incurred before or during the construction or renovation process and are not directly related to the physical construction of the property. Soft costs can include a wide range of expenses, such as architectural and engineering fees, permits and licenses, legal fees, insurance, environmental assessments, and more.

Why Soft Costs Matter

Soft costs play a crucial role in determining the total cost of a commercial mortgage. While the loan amount and interest rates are important factors, failing to account for soft costs can lead to significant financial strain. Ignoring these expenses can result in inadequate financing, unexpected budget shortfalls, and delays in project completion.

Common Soft Costs

Let's take a closer look at some of the most common soft costs that borrowers should be aware of:

  1. Architectural and Engineering Fees: These fees are charged for the design and planning of the project. They can vary depending on the complexity and size of the project.
  2. Permits and Licenses: Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses from local authorities is crucial for any construction or renovation project. These costs can include application fees, inspection fees, and other related expenses.
  3. Legal Fees: Engaging legal counsel to review contracts, handle zoning issues, and ensure compliance with local regulations is an essential part of the commercial mortgage process.
  4. Insurance: Adequate insurance coverage is necessary to protect the property and mitigate potential risks. Insurance costs can include property insurance, liability insurance, and other specialized coverage.

commercial property

Managing Soft Costs

Effectively managing soft costs is key to a successful commercial mortgage experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate these expenses:

  • Thoroughly analyze and estimate soft costs before applying for a commercial mortgage. This will help you determine the total amount of financing needed.
  • Work closely with your lender and other professionals involved in the project to ensure all soft costs are accounted for in the loan amount.
  • Consider obtaining multiple quotes for services such as architectural and engineering fees to ensure you are getting competitive pricing.
  • Regularly review and monitor soft costs throughout the project to identify any potential cost overruns and adjust your budget accordingly.


Soft costs are an important aspect of commercial mortgages that should not be overlooked. Understanding and properly accounting for these expenses can help you secure the right financing and avoid unexpected financial burdens. By considering soft costs upfront and throughout the project, you can ensure a smoother and more successful commercial real estate venture.