apartment building financing
“Financing Multi Unit Family Buildings Is Primarily About Cash Flow”
Multi unit properties are also divided into two categories for lending purpose.
Properties with 4 or less units are typically financed through residential mortgage financing programs while multi unit family structures of 5 units or more are financed through commercial mortgage programs.
The focus here is the larger commercial buildings in this category.
Like most commercial financing applications related to property, the land value for these apartment buildings are determined by commercial appraisal and the loan to value offered by the lender will be specific to the structured of the program that the lender is providing.
Multi unit family building financing programs will tend to fall in the 50% to 85% loan to value range range. Many programs will require qualification for mortgage insurance to cover off the lender risk of default. The cost of financing will be impacted by whether or not mortgage insurance is required and the amount of the financing required.
So Now back to cash flow.
Longer term commercial mortgage agreements require proof of established rental incomes in order to secure lower cost interest rates.
There are a number of different revenue and cash flow items that are reviewed at the time of application to validate cash flow.
These include 1) rental rolls; 2) vacancy rates; 3) rental contracts or agreements; and 4) financial statements.
The longer a period of time this information can be provided, the more credibility it has to supporting the cash flow available for debt servicing.
Calculating Debt Servicing Capacity For Multi Unit Financing
Each commercial property financing program for multi unit family buildings will have prescribed debt service coverage ratios that describe the relationship that needs to exist at a minimum between required annual debt repayment and the annual net cash flow generated by the property.
Once again, depending on the property, this ratio can range from 1.2 to 1.4.
The process for coming up with net cash flow is to take the income from the financial statements and add back non cash items, primarily depreciation. There can also be other add backs or reductions to the cash flow calculation depending on the lending program.
If you have a low vacancy rate and solid market rents, then its more likely you will be able to qualify for the higher end of the loan to value range. If this isn’t the case, then the amount of equity that needs to be invested will increase.
This is common in situations of acquisition where the buyer can secure a good purchase price for an under preforming asset and realizes that rents can be raised with some work and vacancies reduced.
The challenge with this from a financing perspective is that while the lender will want to see your projected cash flow over the period of the proposed loan term, the debt servicing calculation is going to be based on existing and historical cash flows with some programs opting to consider a three year historical average.
This can make it difficult to qualify for financing with lower cost lenders until such time as the cash flow has been increased.
If the cash flow requirements of the “A” lenders cannot be met, then more equity based lenders will need to be considered to provide a higher loan to value, but that will also come with a higher cost of borrowing.
The point here is that the cash flow that has been generated by the property in the recent past and the present is the most important aspects for financing a multi unit family building.
Especially in situations of acquisition, its recommended to get enough basic financial information from the seller to roughly assess the amount of financing the property can service.
This can save a lot of time purchase and financing process as by doing some preliminary math you can better determine how much capital you will need to invest of your own money and if the financing request you are making is likely to be approved and funded.
Failing to do this can result in waste of a considerable amount of time and money trying to secure financing that will not hold up under cash flow due diligence.
If you’re looking for financing multi unit family buildings of 5 units or more, then I suggest you give me a call so we can go over your requirements together and work through the different commercial mortgage scenarios that are available to you.