What are the requirements for obtaining a non-recourse loan in commercial real estate?

May 09, 2024

When it comes to financing commercial real estate, nonrecourse loans are a popular option for many investors. Unlike recourse loans, nonrecourse loans limit the lender's ability to collect on the debt to the value of the property itself. However, navigating the requirements for nonrecourse loans can be complex, and it's essential for borrowers to understand the criteria and obligations involved.

Property Type and Use

One of the primary requirements for obtaining a nonrecourse loan is the type and use of the property. Lenders typically favor income-generating properties such as office buildings, retail centers, and multifamily housing. Additionally, the property's use must align with the lender's risk profile, and certain types of properties may not qualify for nonrecourse financing.

commercial real estate financing

Loan-to-Value Ratio

The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a crucial factor in nonrecourse lending. Lenders will assess the property's appraised value and determine the maximum loan amount based on a predetermined LTV ratio. Generally, nonrecourse loans have lower LTV ratios compared to recourse loans, which means borrowers may need to provide a larger down payment to secure financing.

Debt-Service Coverage Ratio

Another key requirement is the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR), which measures the property's ability to generate sufficient income to cover the loan payments. Lenders typically look for a DSCR of 1.25 or higher, indicating that the property's income can comfortably service the debt. A strong DSCR is essential for qualifying for a nonrecourse loan.

Personal Guarantees

Unlike recourse loans, nonrecourse loans typically do not require personal guarantees from the borrower. This means that the borrower's personal assets are not at risk in the event of default. However, lenders may still require certain carve-out guarantees or recourse provisions for specific circumstances, so it's important to carefully review the terms of the loan.

Environmental and Structural Due Diligence

Prior to approving a nonrecourse loan, lenders will conduct thorough due diligence on the property, including environmental and structural assessments. Environmental due diligence helps identify any potential contamination or hazards on the property, while structural assessments ensure the building is sound and well-maintained. Meeting these requirements is essential for securing nonrecourse financing.

commercial property assessment

Exit Strategy

Lenders will also scrutinize the borrower's exit strategy for the loan. Whether it's through a refinance, sale, or other means, having a well-defined exit strategy demonstrates to the lender that the borrower has a plan to repay the loan in full. This is a critical aspect of the underwriting process for nonrecourse loans.


Obtaining a nonrecourse loan for commercial real estate financing can offer numerous advantages, but it's important for borrowers to be aware of the specific requirements and criteria involved. By understanding the key factors that lenders consider, borrowers can position themselves for success in securing nonrecourse financing for their commercial real estate investments.