Waad Nadhir has been president of BOSC Realty Advisors since 1989.
Many people think that getting real estate financing is similar to signing a lease on a piece of real estate. Someone who grants a lease is a lessor or the landlord. Someone who takes on a lease is the tenant or lessee. People then assume that when they get a mortgage from a bank they are a mortgagee, the bank is the mortgagor, but this is not how real estate financing works.
Generally speaking, when you want to acquire a commercial real estate property, you do not have the necessary amount of money in order to do so. Even if you do have the entire amount in cash, it is often not smart to part away with it because you lose leverage and cash that you could use to make other deals happen.
Banks have the money that you need, but they have no interest in buying the property on their own. This means that you want to buy the property but don’t have the necessary amount of money and a bank has the money but doesn’t want to buy the property. You then go to the bank and essentially give a pledge to return principal with interest if the bank helps you. This pledge is called a mortgage. You are the one giving a pledge, which makes you a mortgagor and the bank is the recipient of the pledge, which makes it the mortgagee. You are providing a bank with a mortgage in exchange for a given amount of money.
Here’s why this is important: many people think that when applying for a mortgage, they are asking a bank for money. In reality, you are not asking for anything, but you are offering to make a deal. There is a big difference in asking your friend for an expensive piece of equipment that you could use during your vacation and asking to store your Bugatti in your friend’s garage while you are away.
You will feel very differently when you realize that you are not asking for money, but are offering a pledge to the bank.
Once you make your offer, you bankers will want to know what they will get if they choose to make a deal with you. They also want to know the level of certainty that the deal involves. For example, if the property is fully leased and comes with a rental income, then you want to communicate the numbers to your bank. Bankers know that your ability to pay off your mortgage depends on the length of your leases and quality of your tenants. Finally, tell your bankers about the cash flow surplus. Do not create a lengthy spreadsheet. Rather, summarize everything in a few sentences to build confidence that you are a wise investor who is offering a great deal to the bank just like Waad Nadhir would do.