You’ve made a smart decision, to work with a commercial mortgage broker for your next commercial mortgage. The first thing you need to realize right out of the gate is that the right broker can save you thousands of dollars and the wrong broker can cost you just the same. At a minimum, a commercial mortgage broker should be able to assist you with the following.
-Loan package preparation
-Loan package submission (to multiple lenders)
-Loan package evaluation
Now, where to find a good broker? You may ask around for recommendations from your network of business associates. Call the smartest and most successful commercial investor you know and ask them for a recommendation. If they are in fact smart and successful it is a good bet that they use a commercial mortgage broker. Other good options include real estate investment groups or the local Association of Mortgage Brokers. Make sure you select someone that has demonstrated experience and education in commercial mortgages and does not focus primarily on residential mortgages.
Because of the wide range of commercial property types, you will need to find out if that broker has the experience and contacts to close your particular loan in a timely manner. Many good brokers specialize. Look for a broker that specializes in the type of investment property you prefer. If you like apartment complexes, find a broker that specializes in apartment complexes. Think of it like looking for a doctor. When you have a problem with your foot you don’t just look for any doctor. You look for a Podiatrist, not a Heart Surgeon. A good broker should have “been there done that”. You are paying for expertise. Make sure they have it.
Selecting a broker before you need one is a good idea. This will allow your broker to perform additional research for your property type and loan options before you are ready. Commercial mortgage closings sometimes need to happen quickly and the last thing you want to do is be caught without someone looking out for your best interests. Pay close attention to the last thing I said, someone looking out for your best interests. Ensure the broker you select is working for you and not serving the interests of a lender or themselves. You want to go into this process with your eyes open so be sure to ask about their process, the points they charge, fees, and how many lender relationships they maintain.
Educate yourself. The only way to know that you are getting the best deal is to learn about the commercial industry and loan process for yourself. Interview a few brokers and talk about the options they may offer for your specific property type. A good broker will educate you on the loan process and provide you with resources for additional information. If the broker is not interested in helping you to learn about the industry, then take that as a hint. Either they don’t want to make the time for you, the client, or they prefer to keep you in the dark about how they are doing (or not doing) their job.
Keep in mind that most states do not require commercial mortgage brokers to be licensed. So it is up to you to determine whether a broker is right for you and if they are worth the money you will be paying. Ask questions and check references to ensure that they know what they are doing. There are a lot of great options and equally costly mistakes that can be made in the commercial finance industry. A good commercial mortgage broker will make sure you don’t make a mistake that will cost you thousands of dollars or more. Remember, the best interest rate is not always the best loan.
If you have difficulty selecting a broker or simply don’t have time to perform the due diligence it requires, you should think about working with a company that matches brokers to your specialized needs. It takes time to find the right broker, but once you find one, you will realize what a great asset they are and the value they bring to the closing table.