What Type Mortgage Is Used For Commercial Property?

When it comes to financing commercial properties, there are various types of mortgages available for investors and business owners. One common type is the commercial mortgage loan, specifically designed for purchasing or refinancing non-residential properties. These loans typically have longer terms than residential mortgages, ranging from 5 to 20 years, with fixed or variable interest rates. Commercial mortgage loans require a larger down payment compared to residential mortgages, usually between 20% to 30% of the property’s value.

Another popular option is the SBA (Small Business Administration) loan, which provides government-backed financing for small businesses looking to acquire or expand their commercial real estate holdings. SBA loans offer favorable terms such as longer repayment periods and lower down payments compared to traditional commercial mortgages. However, qualifying for an SBA loan requires meeting certain eligibility criteria and going through a more extensive application process.

Understanding Commercial Property Mortgages

A commercial property mortgage is a loan taken out to finance the purchase or refinance of a commercial property. Commercial properties include office buildings, retail spaces, industrial facilities, hotels, apartment complexes, and more. These mortgages function similarly to residential mortgages, but they are tailored to meet the unique needs of commercial real estate transactions.

Types of Commercial Properties

Before diving into the different types of mortgages, it’s essential to understand the various commercial property types. Each property type may have different characteristics that can influence the mortgage options available. Some common commercial property types include:

  1. Office Buildings
  2. Retail Spaces
  3. Industrial Properties
  4. Hotels and Hospitality Establishments
  5. Multifamily Apartment Complexes
  6. Warehouses
  7. Mixed-Use Properties
  8. Special Purpose Properties (e.g., healthcare facilities, educational institutions)

Now, let’s explore the various types of mortgages commonly used for financing commercial properties.

Types of Mortgages for Commercial Properties

A commercial fixed-rate mortgage offers stability and predictability for borrowers. With this type of mortgage, the interest rate remains constant throughout the loan term. This means that your monthly mortgage payments will remain the same, making it easier to budget and plan for the future. Commercial fixed-rate mortgages are a popular choice for borrowers who prefer a conservative approach and want protection against potential interest rate fluctuations.

Commercial Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

Commercial adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) come with interest rates that fluctuate based on market conditions. Typically, ARMs offer lower initial interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages, making them attractive to borrowers seeking lower initial monthly payments. However, as interest rates change, so do your mortgage payments, which can make budgeting more challenging. ARMs are suitable for borrowers who expect interest rates to decrease in the future or for those who plan to sell or refinance the property before the rate adjustments occur.

Balloon Mortgages

Balloon mortgages are short-term loans with fixed monthly payments for a certain period, usually 5 to 7 years. At the end of this period, the remaining balance becomes due in a lump sum. Borrowers often choose balloon mortgages when they anticipate having sufficient funds to pay off the remaining balance or plan to refinance the property before the balloon payment is due.

SBA 7(a) Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers various loan programs to help small businesses, including SBA 7(a) loans, which can be used for purchasing commercial properties. These loans are partially guaranteed by the SBA, making them more accessible to borrowers who may not qualify for traditional commercial mortgages due to stricter requirements.

Commercial Bridge Loans

Commercial bridge loans provide short-term financing to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an existing one. They offer quick access to funds, allowing borrowers to seize investment opportunities promptly. However, bridge loans often come with higher interest rates and fees due to their short-term nature.

Commercial Hard Money Loans

Commercial hard money loans are asset-based loans that use the property itself as collateral. These loans are typically easier to qualify for than traditional mortgages, as the lender is more focused on the property’s value and potential rather than the borrower’s credit history.

Commercial Construction Loans

For those looking to build a commercial property from the ground up, commercial construction loans provide funding to cover the construction costs. These loans disburse funds in stages as the construction progresses, helping borrowers manage expenses throughout the building process.

Qualifying for a Commercial Property Mortgage

Qualifying for a commercial property mortgage involves meeting certain criteria set by lenders. Here are some common factors lenders consider when evaluating your eligibility:

Credit Score Requirements

Your credit score is an essential factor in determining your creditworthiness. A higher credit score indicates responsible financial behavior and makes you a more favorable borrower in the eyes of lenders.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Lenders assess your debt-to-income ratio, which compares your monthly debt obligations to your income. A lower ratio demonstrates that you have enough income to cover your debts comfortably.

Property Appraisal

A property appraisal is necessary to determine the property’s current market value. Lenders will want to ensure that the property’s value aligns with the loan amount.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio

The LTV ratio is the ratio of the loan amount to the property’s appraised value. A lower LTV ratio reduces the lender’s risk and may lead to more favorable loan terms.

DSCR (Debt Service Coverage Ratio)

The DSCR measures the property’s ability to generate enough income to cover its operating expenses and debt payments. Lenders prefer a higher DSCR as it indicates lower default risk.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Commercial Property Mortgages

  • Opportunity for property ownership without full cash investment.
  • Potential for property appreciation and increased equity.
  • Tax benefits, including deductions for mortgage interest and property expenses.
  • Diversification of investment portfolio.


  • Strict qualification criteria and documentation requirements.
  • Higher interest rates and fees compared to residential mortgages.
  • Property value fluctuations and potential market risks.
  • Financial responsibility for property maintenance and management.

How to Choose the Right Mortgage for Your Commercial Property

Choosing the right mortgage for your commercial property depends on various factors, including your financial situation, investment goals, and risk tolerance. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Consider your long-term financial goals and how the mortgage aligns with them.
  • Evaluate the property’s potential for rental income or appreciation.
  • Assess your ability to manage mortgage payments and other financial obligations.
  • Seek advice from financial experts or mortgage brokers to explore your options fully.

Tips for Getting the Best Mortgage Deal

To secure the best mortgage deal for your commercial property, consider the following strategies:

Shop Around for Lenders: Obtain quotes from multiple lenders to compare interest rates and terms.

Negotiate Terms and Rates: Don’t hesitate to negotiate with lenders to find more favorable terms.

Seek Professional Advice: Consult with a mortgage broker or financial advisor for expert guidance.

Improve Your Credit Score: Work on improving your credit score to qualify for better loan terms.

Prepare Detailed Financial Documentation: Provide thorough and accurate financial documents to demonstrate your creditworthiness.


Acquiring a commercial property can be a significant step towards achieving your business or investment goals. Commercial property mortgages offer essential financial support for such ventures, giving borrowers the opportunity to own or develop commercial properties. Before choosing a mortgage, carefully consider your financial situation, long-term objectives, and the specific requirements of your commercial property. By doing so, you can find the most suitable mortgage option and set yourself up for success in the commercial real estate market.


Can I use a residential mortgage for a commercial property?

No, residential mortgages are specifically designed for residential properties and cannot be used for commercial properties. You need to apply for a commercial property mortgage.

What is the typical loan term for a commercial mortgage?

Commercial mortgage loan terms can vary, but they commonly range from 5 to 25 years. Some lenders may offer longer terms for certain property types.

Are commercial mortgage interest rates fixed or variable?

Commercial mortgage interest rates can be either fixed or variable, depending on the type of mortgage you choose.

How much down payment is required for a commercial property mortgage?

The down payment for a commercial property mortgage usually ranges from 20% to 35% of the property’s purchase price. The exact amount may vary based on the lender’s requirements and the property’s type and location.

Can I use a commercial mortgage for a startup business?

Yes, commercial mortgages can be used to finance properties for startup businesses. However, lenders may require additional documentation and financial information to assess the business’s viability.

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