Skip to content
a commercial real estate broker handing a keychain with a house on it giving to a buyer

What is Seller Financing in Commercial Real Estate

If you want to purchase commercial real estate, seller financing might be just what you need. But what is seller financing? And how can it help you in your search for the perfect property? Let’s examine what seller financing is and how it works. 

Seller financing

What Does Seller financing Mean?

Seller financing is when the seller of a property provides some or all of the funding to purchase that asset. The lender, in this case, is the seller, who uses their equity in the property as collateral for a loan they make to the buyer. This type of finance can be used instead of or in addition to traditional mortgages and loans from banks and other lenders.

Seller Financing in Commercial Real Estate

Seller financing in commercial real estate refers to a transaction where the seller provides financing to the buyer to purchase the property. In this type of financing, the seller acts as a bank and provides the necessary funds to the buyer to complete the sale.

Seller financing terms in commercial real estate can vary but typically include an agreed-upon interest rate, payment schedule, and loan length. The buyer may make a down payment and then regular payments to the seller until the loan is fully repaid.

Seller financing can be an attractive option for buyers needing help to secure traditional financing from a bank or other lender or who want to avoid the stringent requirements and high fees associated with traditional loans. It may be willing to provide financing to incentivize potential buyers. It can also benefit sellers looking to sell their property quickly.

Overall, seller financing can be flexible and mutually beneficial for buyers and sellers in commercial real estate transactions. However, it is important for both parties to carefully review the terms of the financing agreement and work with a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that the transaction is structured properly and legally.

seller financing commercial real estate

Types of Seller Financing Agreements

There are several types of seller financing agreements in commercial real estate. Some of the most common include:

Installment Sale Agreement:

In this type of agreement, the seller finances the purchase price, and the buyer makes installment payments over a set period, typically with interest.

Lease Purchase Agreement:

In this type of agreement, the buyer leases the property from the seller for a fixed period with an option to purchase the property at the end of the lease term. The lease payments made during the lease term are typically credited toward the purchase price.

Land Contract:

This is an installment sale agreement where the seller finances the purchase of the property and retains legal title to the property until the buyer has fully paid off the purchase price. Once the purchase price is paid in full, the seller transfers the legal title to the buyer.

Earnest Money Contract:

In this type of agreement, the buyer pays the seller a non-refundable deposit, or earnest money, when the purchase agreement is signed. The seller then finances the purchase price balance, and the buyer makes installment payments over a set period.

Seller Carryback Mortgage:

In this type of agreement, the seller acts as the lender and provides the buyer with a mortgage. The buyer makes regular mortgage payments to the seller until the mortgage is fully paid off.

It is essential to remember that the particular conditions of each seller financing agreement may shift depending on both parties’ objectives. Therefore, it is advisable for all parties involved to seek legal advice from a proficient real estate lawyer to ensure that their contract is correctly organized and legally binding.

seller financing contract

Who Holds the Title in Seller Financing?

In a seller financing transaction, the title of the property is typically transferred to the buyer at the time of the sale, subject to any liens or encumbrances that may exist. The seller may retain a security interest in the property to secure the financing provided to the buyer.

However, it is important to note that the specific terms of the transaction, including who holds the title, can vary depending on the seller financing agreement used. For example, in a land contract, the seller retains legal title to the property until the buyer has fully paid off the purchase price.

It is recommended that both parties work with a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that the transaction terms, including the transfer of title, are properly documented and legally binding.

Is Seller Financing a Good Idea? 

Seller financing can be a good idea for buyers and sellers in certain circumstances. However, it is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before entering into a seller financing agreement.

For buyers, seller financing can be attractive if they need help to obtain traditional financing from a bank or other lender or if they want to avoid the stringent requirements and high fees associated with traditional loans. Seller financing may also provide more flexible repayment terms, such as lower down payments or longer repayment periods.

For sellers, seller financing can be a good idea if they want to sell their property quickly. It may be willing to provide financing to incentivize potential buyers. Seller financing can also provide a steady stream of income from the interest payments made by the buyer, which can be a good investment opportunity.

However, there are also risks associated with seller financing. For buyers, the interest rates on seller financing may be higher than traditional loans. The seller may retain a security interest in the property until the loan is fully repaid. For sellers, there is a risk that the buyer may default on the loan, which could result in a lengthy and costly legal process to recover the property.

Pros of Seller Financing

Increased pool of potential buyers: By offering seller financing, sellers can attract a larger pool of potential buyers, including those needing help obtaining traditional financing from a bank or other lender.

Faster sale: Seller financing can expedite the sale of a property, as buyers can complete the transaction more quickly without the need for a lengthy mortgage application process.

More flexible terms: Seller financing can offer more flexible repayment terms than traditional loans, such as lower down payments, longer repayment periods, and more negotiable interest rates.

Steady income stream: For sellers, offering financing can provide a steady stream of income from the interest payments made by the buyer.

Potential tax benefits: Depending on the transaction’s specific terms, buyers and sellers can take advantage of certain tax benefits associated with seller financing.

owner finance commercial property

Disadvantages of Seller Financing

Seller financing can offer several benefits for buyers and sellers in a commercial real estate transaction. However, there are also potential disadvantages to consider. 

Seller financing may also come with higher interest rates, longer repayment periods, and incomplete financing. One significant disadvantage is the risk of default. If the buyer cannot repay the loan, the seller may need to engage in a lengthy and costly legal process to recover the property.

 Additionally, providing financing can be risky for sellers, as they may be taking on additional risks, such as a decline in property value or a rise in interest rates. It is important for both buyers and sellers to carefully consider these potential disadvantages before entering into a seller financing agreement. Working with a qualified real estate attorney can help identify and address any risks or concerns to ensure a successful transaction.

Cons of Seller Financing

Risk of default: If the buyer cannot repay the loan, the seller may need to engage in a lengthy and costly legal process to recover the property. This can be a significant disadvantage for sellers.

Higher interest rates: The interest rates on seller financing may be higher than traditional loans, making the loan more expensive for the buyer.

Longer repayment periods: While seller financing may offer more flexible repayment terms, longer repayment periods can also mean that the seller will receive payments over a longer period, which can be a disadvantage if they need to access the funds quickly.

Incomplete financing: In some cases, the seller may not be able to provide full financing for the purchase price, which can result in the buyer having to obtain additional financing from another source.

Increased risk for sellers: Sellers who provide financing may be taking on additional risks, such as the property’s decline in value or interest rates may rise.

Limited pool of buyers: Offering seller financing may limit the pool of potential buyers, as some buyers may prefer to obtain traditional financing from a bank or other lender.

Loss of equity: If the buyer defaults on the loan, the seller may lose some or all of the equity in the property.

The Bottom Line: Seller Financing Can Be Helpful For Those Who Need It

Seller financing can be a viable option for buyers and sellers in commercial real estate transactions. It can provide benefits such as more flexible repayment terms, potential tax advantages, and the ability to close a deal quickly. 

However, there are also potential risks and disadvantages to consider, such as the risk of default, higher interest rates, and longer repayment periods. It is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of seller financing before making any decisions, as well as working with an experienced real estate lawyer for a successful transaction. Ultimately, seller financing may be a good option for some, but not all, commercial real estate transactions.

Contact Point Acquisitions today to learn more about seller financing and how it may benefit you. With our experienced team of real estate professionals, we can help you make the most informed decision for your business.

About The Author

Jesse Shemesh

With a wealth of experience in nurturing diverse commercial real estate investment portfolios across multiple markets, I actively engage in the development and execution of deals spanning all asset classes. My expertise lies in collaborating with strategic partners, including corporate real estate professionals, fund managers, developers, and investors, to source, identify, and entitle opportunities. At Point Acquisitions, we take pride in our unique, proprietary platform that specializes in property acquisitions, generating a steady stream of organic deal flow that sets us apart from the competition. As a seasoned professional in the real estate industry, I am dedicated to creating lasting partnerships and delivering exceptional results for all stakeholders.

Disclaimer

Please note that Point Acquisitions is not a tax expert or tax advisor. The information on our blogs and pages is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or accounting advice. Any information provided does not constitute professional advice or create an attorney-client or any other professional relationship. We recommend that you consult with your tax advisor or seek professional advice before making any decisions based on the information provided on our blogs and pages. Point Acquisitions is not responsible for any actions taken based on the information provided on our blogs and pages.

Selling Hotels

How to Sell A Hotel: Tips and Strategies

November 28, 2023

Selling a hotel isn’t just a transaction; it’s an art that demands a deep understanding of the accommodation sector. The industry has witnessed considerable shifts in recent years, influenced by changing traveler preferences, technological advancements, and economic trends. These shifts…

Read More
Featured image for blog tax on commercial property, they wouldn't commercial building with money next to it and blocks that say taxes

Tax on Commercial Real Estate: What You Need to Know

October 23, 2023

Taxes play an important role in determining the profitability of commercial real estate investments. Understanding the various types of taxes involved and the strategies to minimize tax liability will significantly impact an investor’s financial success. This article will guide you…

Read More
a commercial real estate agent handing a key to a client with the words single vs double vs triple

Single vs. Double vs. Triple: Which Net Lease Is Best?

October 9, 2023

The type of net lease you choose can profoundly impact your investment and management experiences in commercial real estate. Among the various lease structures available, single net lease, double net lease, and triple net lease stand out, each with specific…

Read More