312-782-9000
Posts tagged with: loans

DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLISTS for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

R. Kymn Harp Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd.

R. Kymn Harp
Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd.

 2016 Update:

Are you planning to purchase, finance, develop or redevelop any of the following types of commercial real estate in the USA?

  • Shopping Center
  • Office building
  • Large Multifamily/Apartments/Condominium Project
  • Sports and/or Entertainment Venue
  • Mixed-Use Commercial-Residential-Office
  • Parking Lot/Parking Garage
  • Retail Store
  • Lifestyle or Enclosed Mall
  • Restaurant/Banquet Facility
  • Intermodal logistics/distribution facility
  • Medical Building
  • Gas Station
  • Manufacturing facility
  • Pharmacy
  • Special Use facility
  • Air Rights parcel
  • Subterranean parcel
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Other commercial (non-single family, non-farm) property

RSP_LogoHD (3)A KEY element of successfully investing in commercial real estate is performing an adequate Due Diligence Investigation prior to becoming legally bound to acquire or finance the property.  Conducting a Due Diligence Investigation is important not just to enable you to walk away from the transaction, if necessary, but even more importantly to enable you to discover obstacles and opportunities presented by the property that can be addressed prior to closing, to enable the transaction to proceed in a manner most beneficial to your overall objective. An adequate Due Diligence Investigation will assure awareness of all material facts relevant to the intended use or disposition of the property after closing. This is a critical point. The ultimate objective is not just to get to Closing – but rather to confirm that the property can be used or developed as intended after Closing.

The following checklists – while not all-inclusive – will help you conduct a focused and meaningful Due Diligence Investigation. (more…)

Continue Reading →

LENDING BLIND – SIX YEARS AFTER LEHMAN’S COLLAPSE

Commercial Real Estate Lending:  What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You!

If there is anything commercial real estate lenders have learned during the collapse of the commercial real estate market over the past five or so years, it would be the danger of “lending blind”.  Commercial real estate lending without fully understanding the project is a prescription for disaster. An original version of this article was first published in 2005.  It is eerie how prophetic the warning signs were. Surely lenders have learned. . . . (more…)

Continue Reading →

Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence – Do You Know the Four Areas of Inquiry?

Albert Einstein:           “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence – the Four Areas of Inquiry

cropped-dreamstime_m_4416964.jpgI’m a big fan of Albert Einstein. He’s one of my intellectual heroes.  He could see and understand what others could barely imagine. His greatest gift, I believe, was his ability to find answers to questions others didn’t even know existed.

Real estate due diligence requires insight as well. To find the answers, you must (more…)

Continue Reading →

IN PRAISE OF REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS – Let’s Do Lunch!

This article is being republished as a welcoming salutation to many of my long-lost Real Estate Developer friends.  You have been missed over the past several years. Call me.  Let’s do lunch!

RSP_LogoFull_2PMSDid I happen to mention I love Real Estate Developers? Not like I love my wife or my kids, or even my dog, but Real Estate Developers are definitely among my favorite people.

Think about it.

Real Estate Developers are like Gods. [Well, miniature gods, at least.] They create much of the physical world we inhabit. The homes and condominiums we live in. The grocery store and pharmacy down the street. The resorts and casinos and golf courses we enjoy for leisure. Restaurants. Shopping centers. Office buildings. Movie theaters. Truck terminals. Medical and surgical centers. Spas. Factories. Warehouses. Auditoriums. Parking garages. Hotels.

You name it; if its man-made, attached to dirt, and we can get inside it, a Real Estate Developer was probably involved. (more…)

Continue Reading →

DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLISTS – for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

Are you planning to purchase, finance or develop any of the following types of Commercial or Industrial Real Estate?

  • • Shopping Center?
  • • Office Building?
  • • Large Multifamily residential?
  • • Parking Lot/Parking garage?
  • • Retail Store?
  • • Mixed-Use?
  • • Restaurant/Banquet property?
  • • Sports and Entertainment Venue?
  • • Intermodal Logistics Terminal?
  • • Medical Building?
  • • Gas Station?
  • • Distribution Center?
  • • Manufacturing facility?
  • • Pharmacy?
  • • Special Use facility ?
  • • Other?

RSP_LogoHD (3)A KEY element to successfully investing in commercial or industrial real estate is performing an adequate Due Diligence Investigation prior to becoming legally bound to acquire the property. An adequate Due Diligence Investigation will assure awareness of all material facts relevant to the intended use or disposition of the property after closing.

 The following checklists will help you conduct a focused and meaningful Due Diligence Investigation.

 BASIC DUE DILIGENCE CONCEPTS

 Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer beware.

Consumer protection laws applicable to home purchases seldom apply to commercial real estate transactions. The rule that a Buyer must examine, judge, and test for himself, applies to the purchase of commercial real estate.

Due Diligence:

“Such a measure of prudence, activity, or assiduity, as is proper to be expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent (person) under the particular circumstances; not measured by any absolute standard, but depending upon the relative facts of the special case.” Black’s Law Dictionary; West Publishing Company.

Contractual representations and warranties are NOT a substitute for Due Diligence. Breach of representations and warranties = Litigation, time and $$$$$.

The point of commercial real estate due diligence is to avoid transaction surprises and confirm the Property can be used as intended.

 WHAT DILIGENCE IS DUE?

The scope, intensity and focus of any Due Diligence Investigation of commercial or industrial real estate depends upon the objectives of the party for whom the investigation is conducted. These objectives may vary depending upon whether the investigation is conducted for the benefit of: (i) a Strategic Buyer (or long-term lessee); (ii) a Financial Buyer; (iii) a Developer; or (iv) a Lender.

If you are a Seller, understand that to close the transaction your Buyer and its Lender must address all issues material to their respective objectives – some of which require information only you, as Owner, can adequately provide.

GENERAL OBJECTIVES:

 (i) A “Strategic Buyer” (or long-term lessee) is acquiring the property for its own use and must verify that the property is suitable for that intended use.

 (ii) A “Financial Buyer” is acquiring the property for the expected return on investment generated by the property’s anticipated revenue stream, and must determine the amount, velocity and durability of the revenue stream. A sophisticated Financial Buyer will likely calculate its yield based upon discounted cash-flows rather than the much less precise capitalization rate (“Cap. Rate”), and will need adequate financial information to do so.

 (iii) A “Developer” is seeking to add value by changing the character or use of the property – usually with a short-term to intermediate-term exit strategy to dispose of the property; although, a Developer might plan to hold the property long term as a Financial Buyer after development or redevelopment. The Developer must focus on whether the planned change in character or use can be accomplished in a cost-effective manner.

 (iv) A “Lender” is seeking to establish two basic lending criteria:

 (1) “Ability to Repay” – The ability of the property to generate sufficient revenue to repay the loan on a timely basis; and

 (2) “Sufficiency of Collateral” – The objective disposal value of the collateral in the event of a loan default, to assure adequate funds to repay the loan, carrying costs and costs of collection in the event forced collection becomes necessary.

Questions and Answers signpostThe amount of diligent inquiry due to be expended (i.e. “Due Diligence”) to investigate any particular commercial or industrial real estate project is the amount of inquiry required to answer each of the following questions to the extent relevant to the objectives of the party conducting the investigation:

I. THE PROPERTY:

 1. Exactly what PROPERTY does Purchaser believe it is acquiring?

• Land?

• Building?

• Fixtures?

• Other Improvements?

• Other Rights?

• The entire fee title interest including all air rights and subterranean rights?

• All development rights?

 2. What is Purchaser’s planned use of the Property?

 3. Does the physical condition of the Property permit use as planned?

• Commercially adequate access to public streets and ways?

• Sufficient parking?

• Structural condition of improvements?

• Environmental contamination?

• Innocent Purchaser defense vs. exemption from liability

• All Appropriate Inquiry

 4. Is there any legal restriction to Purchaser’s use of the Property as planned?

• Zoning?

• Private land use controls?

• Americans with Disabilities Act?

• Availability of licenses?

• Liquor license?

• Entertainment license?

• Outdoor dining license?

• Drive through windows permitted?

• Other impediments?

 5. How much does Purchaser expect to pay for the property?

 6. Is there any condition on or within the Property that is likely to increase Purchaser’s effective cost to acquire or use the Property?

• Property owner’s assessments?

• Real estate tax in line with value?

• Special Assessment?

• Required user fees for necessary amenities?

• Drainage?

• Access?

• Parking?

• Other?

 7. Any encroachments onto the Property, or from the Property onto other lands?

 8. Are there any encumbrances on the Property that will not be cleared at Closing?

• Easements?

• Covenants Running with the Land?

• Liens or other financial servitudes?

• Leases?

9. If the Property is subject to any Leases, are there any:

• Security Deposits?

• Options to Extend Term?

• Options to Purchase?

• Rights of First Refusal?

• Rights of First Offer?

• Maintenance Obligations?

• Duty of Landlord to provide utilities?

• Real estate tax or CAM escrows?

• Delinquent rent?

• Pre-Paid rent?

• Tenant mix/use controls?

• Tenant exclusives?

• Tenant parking requirements?

• Automatic subordination of Lease to future mortgages?

• Other material Lease terms?

10. New Construction?

• Availability of construction permits?

• Soil conditions?

• Utilities?

• NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permit?

• Permit required if earth is disturbed on one acre or more of land.

• If applicable, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is required.

II. THE SELLER:

1. Who is the Seller?

• Individual?

• Trust?

• Partnership?

• Corporation?

• Limited Liability Company?

• Other legally existing entity?

2. If other than natural person, does Seller validly exist and is Seller in good standing?

3. Does the Seller own the Property?

4. Does Seller have authority to convey the Property?

• Board of Director Approvals?

• Shareholder or Member approval?

• Other consents?

• If foreign individual or entity, are any special requirements applicable?

• Qualification to do business in jurisdiction of Property?

• Federal Tax Withholding?

• US Patriot Act compliance?

5. Who has authority to bind Seller?

6. Are sale proceeds sufficient to pay off all liens?

III. THE PURCHASER:

1. Who is the Purchaser?

2. What is the Purchaser/Grantee’s exact legal name?

3. If Purchaser/Grantee is an entity, has it been validly created and is it in good standing?

• Articles or Incorporation – Articles of Organization

• Certificate of Good Standing

4. Is Purchaser/Grantee authorized to own and operate the Property and, if applicable, finance acquisition of the Property?

• Board of Director Approvals?

• Shareholder or Member approval?

• If foreign individual or entity, are any special requirements applicable?

• Qualification to do business in jurisdiction of the Property?

• US Patriot Act compliance?

• Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance?

5. Who is authorized to bind the Purchaser/Grantee?

IV. PURCHASER FINANCING:

A. BUSINESS TERMS OF THE LOAN:

1. What loan terms have the Borrower and its Lender agreed to?

• What is the amount of the loan?

• What is the interest rate?

• What are the repayment terms?

• What is the collateral?

• Commercial real estate only?

• Real estate and personal property together?

• First lien?

• A junior lien?

• Is it a single advance loan?

• A multiple advance loan?

• A construction loan?

• If it is a multiple advance loan, can the principal be re-borrowed once repaid prior to maturity of the loan; making it, in effect, a revolving line of credit?

• Are there reserve requirements?

• Interest reserves?

• Repair reserves?

• Real estate tax reserves?

• Insurance reserves?

• Environmental remediation reserves?

• Other reserves?

2. Are there requirements for Borrower to open business operating accounts with the Lender? If so, is the Borrower obligated to maintain minimum compensating balances?

3. Is the Borrower required to pledge business accounts as additional collateral?

4. Are there early repayment fees or yield maintenance requirements (each sometimes referred to as “pre-payment penalties”)?

5. Are there repayment blackout periods during which Borrower is not permitted to repay the loan?

6. Is a profit participation payment to Lender required upon disposition?

7. Is there a Loan Commitment fee or “good faith deposit” due upon Borrower’s acceptance of the Loan Commitment?

8. Is there a loan funding fee or loan brokerage fee or other loan fee due Lender or a loan broker at closing?

9. What are the Borrower’s expense reimbursement obligations to Lender? When are they due? What is the Borrower’s obligation to pay Lender’s expenses if the loan does not close?

B. DOCUMENTING THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOAN

Does Purchaser have all information necessary to comply with the Lender’s loan closing requirements?

Not all loan documentation requirements may be known at the outset of a transaction, although most commercial real estate loan documentation requirements are fairly typical. Some required information can be obtained only from the Seller. Production of that information to Purchaser for delivery to its lender must be required in the purchase contract.

As guidance to what a commercial real estate lender may require, the following sets forth a typical Closing Checklist for a loan secured by commercial real estate.

Commercial Real Estate Loan Closing Checklist

1. Promissory Note

2. Personal Guaranties (which may be full, partial, secured, unsecured, payment guaranties, collection guaranties or a variety of other types of guarantees as may be required by Lender)

3. Loan Agreement (often incorporated into the Promissory Note and/or Mortgage in lieu of being a separate document)

4. Mortgage (sometimes expanded to be a Mortgage, Security Agreement and Fixture Filing)

5. Assignment of Rents and Leases.

6. Security Agreement

7. Financing Statement (sometimes referred to as a “UCC-1”, or “Initial Filing”).

8. Evidence of Borrower’s Existence In Good Standing; including :

(a) Certified copy of organizational documents of borrowing entity (including Articles of Incorporation, if Borrower is a corporation; Articles of Organization and written Operating Agreement, if Borrower is a limited liability company; certified copy of trust agreement with all amendments, if Borrower is a land trust or other trust; etc.)

(b) Certificate of Good Standing (if a corporation or LLC) or Certificate of Existence (if a limited partnership) or Certificate of Qualification to Transact Business (if Borrower is an entity doing business in a State other than its State of formation)

9. Evidence of Borrower’s Authority to Borrow; including:

(a) Borrower’s Certificate

(b) Certified Resolutions

(c) Incumbency Certificate

10. Satisfactory Commitment for Title Insurance (which will typically require, for analysis by the Lender, copies of all documents of record appearing on Schedule B of the title commitment which are to remain after closing), with required commercial title insurance endorsements, often including:

(a) ALTA 3.1 Zoning Endorsement modified to include parking [although if the property is a multi-user property, such as a retail shopping center, an ALTA 3.0 Zoning Endorsement may be appropriate]

(b) ALTA Comprehensive Endorsement 1

(c) Location Endorsement (street address)

(d) Access Endorsement (vehicular access to public streets and ways)

(e) Contiguity Endorsement (the insured land comprises a single parcel with no gaps or gores)

(f) PIN Endorsement (insuring that the identified real estate tax permanent index numbers are the only applicable PIN numbers affecting the collateral and that they relate solely to the real property comprising the collateral)

(g) Usury Endorsement (insuring that the loan does not violate any prohibitions against excessive interest charges)

(h) other title insurance endorsements applicable to protect the intended use and value of the col- lateral, as may be determined upon review of the Commitment for Title Insurance and Survey or arising from the existence of special issues pertaining to the transaction or the Borrower.

11. Current ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey (3 sets), prepared in accordance with the 2011 (or current) Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys

12. Current Rent Roll

13. Certified copy of all Leases (4 sets – 1 each for Buyer, Buyer’s attorney, Title Company and Lender)

14. Lessee Estoppel Certificates

15. Lessee Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements [sometimes referred to simply as “SNDAs”]

16. UCC, Judgment, Pending Litigation, Bankruptcy and Tax Lien Search Report

17. Appraisal -complying with Title XI of FIRREA (Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended)

18. Environmental Site Assessment Report (sometimes referred to as Environmental Phase I and/or Phase 2 Audit Reports)

19. Environmental Indemnity Agreement (signed by Borrower and guarantors)

20. Site Improvements Inspection Report

21. Evidence of Hazard Insurance naming Lender as the Mortgagee/Lender Loss Payee; and Liability Insurance naming Lender as an “additional insured” (sometimes listed as simply “Acord 27 and Acord 25, respectively)

22. Legal Opinion of Borrower’s Attorney

23. Credit Underwriting documents, such as signed tax returns, property operating statements, etc. as may be specified by Lender

24. Compliance Agreement (sometimes also called an Errors and Omissions Agreement), whereby the Borrower agrees to correct, after closing, errors or omissions in loan documentation.

* * * * *

It is useful to become familiar with the Lender’s loan documentation requirements as early in the transaction as practical. The requirements will likely be set forth with some detail in the lender’s Loan Commitment – which is typically much more detailed than most loan commitments issued in residential transactions.

Conducting the Due Diligence Investigation in a commercial real estate transaction can be time consuming and expensive in all events.

If the loan requirements cannot be satisfied, it is better to make that determination during the contractual “due diligence period” – which typically provides for a so-called “free out” – rather than at a later date when the earnest money may be at risk of forfeiture or when other liability for failure to close may attach.

CONCLUSION

Conducting an effective Due Diligence Investigation in a commercial or industrial real estate transaction to discover all material facts and conditions affecting the Property and the transaction is of critical importance.

Unlike owner occupied residential real estate, when a house can nearly always be occupied as the purchaser’s home, commercial and industrial real estate acquired for business use or for investment is impacted by numerous factors that may limit its use and value.

The existence of these factors and their impact on a Purchaser’s ability to use the Property as intended can only be discovered through diligent and focused investigation and attention to detail.

Exercise Due Diligence.

If you need assistance, please ask for help.

Continue Reading →

10 THINGS EVERY BUYER NEEDS TO CLOSE A COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOAN

Commercial Real Estate Closings

Since 1978, I have represented borrowers and lenders in commercial real estate transactions. Throughout the process of negotiating the sale contract, all parties must keep their eye on what the Buyer’s lender will reasonably require as a condition to financing the purchase. This may not be what the parties want to focus on, but if this aspect of the transaction is ignored, the deal may not close at all.

RSP_LogoFull_2PMSSellers and their agents often express the attitude that the Buyer’s financing is the Buyer’s problem, not theirs. Perhaps, but facilitating Buyer’s financing should certainly be of interest to Sellers.  How many sale transactions will close if the Buyer cannot get financing?

This is not to suggest that Sellers should intrude upon the relationship between the Buyer and its lender, or become actively involved in obtaining Buyer’s financing. It does mean, however, that the Seller should understand what information concerning the property the Buyer will need to produce to its lender to obtain financing, and that Seller should be prepared to fully cooperate with the Buyer in all reasonable respects to produce that information.

Basic Lending Criteria

Lenders actively involved in making loans secured by commercial real estate typically have the same or similar documentation requirements.  Unless these requirements can be satisfied, the loan will not be funded.  If the loan is not funded, the sale transaction will not likely close.

 For Lenders, the object, always, is to establish two basic lending criteria:

 1.         The ability of the borrower to repay the loan; and

 2.         The ability of the lender to recover the full amount of the loan, including outstanding principal, accrued and unpaid interest, and all reasonable costs of collection, in the event the borrower fails to repay the loan.

In nearly every loan of every type, these two lending criteria form the basis of the lender’s willingness to make the loan. Virtually all documentation in the loan closing process points to satisfying these two criteria.  There are other legal requirements and regulations requiring lender compliance, but these two basic lending criteria represent, for the lender, what the loan closing process seeks to establish.  They are also (more…)

Continue Reading →

Land Patent Defense is Frivolous, Sanctionable, and a Class 4 Felony in Illinois

The law is clear.  The so-called “Land Patent” defense does NOT work.

This is not earth shattering news, but it is a reminder that defenses to mortgage foreclosure actions must be well grounded in fact and warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law. In simple terms – defenses must at least be legally plausible.

One of the more bizarre defenses raised by a small group of defendants who refer to themselves as “sovereign citizens” is a so-called “land patent” defense. It does not work – at least not in Illinois.

In a long, unusual, and fairly cumbersome opinion filed by the Illinois Appellate Court on September 23, 2013, in the case of Parkway Bank and Trust Company v. Victor Korzen and Tomas Zanzola, 2013 IL App (1st) 130380, the First District Appellate Court addressed “a number of tactics a small number of debtors use to both delay the ultimate resolution of cases against them and to use the legal system for improper purposes. Some people might classify those who engage in these tactics as “sovereign citizens”, but regardless of nomenclature, their methods are not only counterproductive, but detrimental to the efficient and fair administration of justice. A recent New York Times article noted the FBI has labeled the strategy as “paper terrorism”.

I am a strong proponent of raising every viable defense to a mortgage foreclosure when representing a defendant. There are many defects in mortgage loan files, and many more defects arising from faulty loan administration, defective securitization of syndicated loans, and breaches of public policy and black letter law by lenders. Some lenders have fraudulently manufactured and forged missing assignment documents and other documents to fill material document gaps. There are legitimate defenses that can be raised and valid lender liability claims that can be pursued in many circumstances if the situation warrants and the resources are available to mount a strong defense and counter-attack.

That said, not every so-called “defense” is legitimate, and some are just plain goofy.

Among the illegitimate “defenses” is the claimed “land patent” defense. It simply does not work. It is not well grounded in law, and there is no good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law that courts in Illinois – or probably anywhere in the United States – are likely to recognize as having been pursued in “good faith”. As a consequence, if you raise the “land patent” defense in defense of an Illinois mortgage foreclosure action, you are going to lose, be sanctioned, and perhaps be prosecuted for committing a Class 4 Felony.

In this short post, I do not intend to give an in-depth description of the (faulty) theory behind the land patent defense, but I will direct your attention to paragraph 72 et seq. of the Parkway Bank v. Korzen case, referred to above. Read this case if you are thinking about using the land patent contrivance as a “defense”, particularly in an Illinois mortgage foreclosure action. It does not work.

Continue Reading →

Dancing with Gorillas – Roulette – and CRE Litigation

The Time to Decide – Commercial Real Estate Litigation

A sage once said, “The time to worry about where the ball will drop is before the wheel is spun”.  He was speaking about roulette, of course, but the wisdom of these words has much broader application.  The point is, worry about the outcome before you place the bet, when you can still do something about it.

Commercial litigation, especially commercial real estate litigation, is in some respects like roulette. Once your lawsuit is filed, the wheel is spinning.  Unlike roulette, you may still have a measure of control over the outcome — but you are in it until the ball drops. 

In CRE litigation there is seldom an insurance company prepared to write a check.  There is a substantial risk the case will proceed to trial.  There is no guaranty you will collect anything – especially if payment of money is not the relief you seek. Consequently, there is very little chance your attorney will accept your commercial dispute on a contingent fee basis. A third of nothing is still nothing. 

RSP_LogoFull_2PMSLawyers handling commercial litigation are not your partners. Commercial litigators charge by the hour.  Except in rare cases where you can negotiate a hybrid fee arrangement, you will assume the entire financial risk – not your lawyer. Your lawyer is serving as your paid professional advocate; a hired gun, so to speak.

As long as you are willing and able to pay your lawyer to apply his or her skill and training to your cause, your lawyer is bound to represent you with zeal and vigor. If you do not pay, you should expect your lawyer to stop work.  The fact that the practice of law is a profession does not make it a charitable enterprise. It is both a profession and a business.  There is no moral or ethical imperative for a lawyer to work without pay while advocating a commercial dispute.  CRE litigation is business litigation – and the business being advanced is yours. (more…)

Continue Reading →

CREC Capital Markets Review – CHICAGO

May 14, 2013:  The Chicago Real Estate Council hosted a panel of experts during a lunch meeting today to discuss the current state of commercial real estate industry copy-IMG_0156.jpgcapital markets.  The panel was moderated by Dave Hendrickson of Jones Lang LaSalle, and featured panelists Steve Kay, from Cantor Fitzgerald representing CMBS markets, Matt Napoli of PPM America, Inc. representing the life insurance company perspective, Mark Witt of Pearlmark Real Estate Partners, an equity funded mezzanine lender, and Dave Patchin SVP of Fifth Third Bank.

The panelists discussed the tremendous uptick in commercial real estate lending over the past year in all product types, and the prospects for dramatic growth 2013 and beyond. Interest rates in the 3% to 4% range are prevalent with loan to value ratios of 60% to 75% typical.  The spread on LIBOR based loans is typically around 200 basis points above LIBOR.

All primary loan panelists agreed that they prefer to finance projects without the use of mezzanine financing, but in certain circumstances they will consider permitting mezzanine financing.

The consensus was that interest rates are likely to remain flat for the next 12 to 18 months, but that over the next five years interest rates are likely to rise roughly 200 basis points.

None of the panelists expressed concern about the Chicago market overheating in the foreseeable future, but they are being more diligent in evaluating multifamily development and acquisition loans due to rising concerns about absorption of all the recently announced new apartment developments in the City of Chicago.  Generally, however, the sense is that multifamily projects in desirable downtown locations remain attractive, while projects in fringe locations pose rising risks.

Nationally, some markets show signs of overheating – with cap rates and purchase prices skewed. This is likely a consequence of historically low interest rates permitting increased cash on cash rates of return.  The concern is, once again, the potential loss of value when these loans must be refinanced in 3 to 7 years if interest rates have risen significantly.

A general consensus was expressed that the Chicago commercial real estate market continues to have strong growth potential into the foreseeable future, and that secondary and tertiary markets also represent significant areas of opportunity for CRE investment.

Continue Reading →

BOTTOM FEEDERS – A Leading Economic Indicator?

Bottom Feeders – and Bottom Feeder Funds – Our New BFF?

Bottom feeders have a distasteful reputation with some – but, truth be told, they are among the most reliable leading economic indicators of recovery for the commercial real estate industry.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-financial-crisis-word-cloud-illustration-image29153144There is a stunning disconnect between equity markets and the economy as a whole. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at record highs, with 15,000 in plain sight.  Equity investors are betting on a bright future. To gauge the economy by that measure, the economy appears to be healthy and rebounding nicely.

Leave Wall Street, and drive through urban and suburban retail districts, and the picture is not so bright. Vacant and boarded up storefronts are common. Parking lots are in disrepair. Shopping center signs are blank – or filled with half burnt-out signs displaying names of tenants past.

Sure. Commercial deal flow is beginning to pick up, but compared to what? A car travelling three miles per hour can triple its speed, but it is still moving at a remarkably slow pace by most standards.

I went for a drive recently, touring retail shopping centers and office parks to find out where the action is.  The answer?  Almost nowhere.   It didn’t really surprise me. Although deal flow is picking up in my practice, most deals are with cash-rich bottom feeders (or bottom feeder funds)  buying up distressed properties.  Not that I’m knocking bottom feeders. Chances are good they will (more…)

Continue Reading →
Skip to toolbar