May 23, 2024
Infographic What Is an SBA Loan?

Understanding SBA Loans for Real Estate

Starting a new business or expanding an existing one often requires financing, and one option that many entrepreneurs consider is the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. While SBA loans are primarily known for supporting small businesses with working capital, equipment purchases, or debt consolidation, they can also be used for purchasing real estate.

The Benefits of Using an SBA Loan for Real Estate

One of the key advantages of using an SBA loan to buy real estate is the lower down payment requirement. Typically, traditional lenders require a down payment of 20% or more, making it harder for small businesses to afford commercial properties. However, with an SBA loan, you may be able to secure financing with as little as 10% down.

Additionally, SBA loans offer longer repayment terms compared to conventional loans, which can help reduce the monthly payment burden for business owners. This allows them to allocate more funds towards growing their business or handling unexpected expenses, rather than being tied up in high mortgage payments.

Qualifying for an SBA Loan for Real Estate

While SBA loans can be an attractive option for purchasing real estate, it’s important to understand the qualification criteria. The SBA has specific eligibility requirements that borrowers must meet, including having a sound business plan, a good credit score, and sufficient collateral to secure the loan.

Furthermore, the property being purchased must be used for the borrower’s own business operations, and it must also meet the SBA’s size standards. This means that the property cannot exceed certain square footage limits, depending on the industry in which the business operates.

Types of Real Estate That Can Be Purchased with an SBA Loan

SBA loans can be used to purchase various types of real estate, including office spaces, retail stores, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and even hotels or motels. However, it’s important to note that the SBA does not provide loans for investment properties or properties that are primarily used for speculative purposes.

The SBA 504 Loan Program

One specific SBA loan program that is commonly used for real estate purchases is the SBA 504 loan. This program is designed to provide long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land, buildings, and machinery. It involves a partnership between a Certified Development Company (CDC), a lender, and the borrower.

Under the SBA 504 loan program, the borrower typically contributes 10% of the project cost, while the CDC provides 40% through a debenture sale, and the lender finances the remaining 50%. This structure allows small businesses to secure favorable financing terms and preserve their working capital for other business needs.


Using an SBA loan to buy real estate can be a smart financial move for small business owners. Not only does it offer lower down payment requirements and longer repayment terms, but it also allows entrepreneurs to secure commercial properties that may have otherwise been out of reach. However, it’s important to carefully review the eligibility criteria and choose the right SBA loan program that best fits your business needs.

By leveraging the benefits of an SBA loan, you can take a significant step towards owning the real estate your business needs to thrive.