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SBA Loans for Real Estate: The Essential Guide

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Purchasing, renovating, and upgrading real estate is one of the most valuable additions to help small businesses grow and expand. However, with high property and construction costs, not every small business loan can finance a real estate acquisition.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees the SBA loan program. SBA loans provide funding for most small business needs, including purchasing real estate.

If you’re looking to acquire real estate with an SBA loan, we can help you with answers to these questions:

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    What is an SBA Real Estate Loan?

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    Small business owners can use SBA loans for many business purposes. There are various loan packages available, but the two loans used for commercial real estate purchases are the SBA 7(a) loan and the SBA 504 loan.

    How do SBA 7(a) Real Estate Loans work?

    The SBA 7(a) loan is the most common and popular loan package within the SBA loan program. Business owners can use the funds for various purposes, including buying commercial real estate.

    When using the loan proceeds for a real estate purchase, borrowers can get the following:

    • Up to $5 million in the loan amount.
    • Terms up to 25 years.
    • Interest rate between 9.25% – 15%.

    Interest rates are based on the prime rate + the lender’s spread. As of December 2022, the prime rate is 7%. Borrowers can get a variable or fixed interest rate. Review Costs of SBA Loans for a complete breakdown of interest rates.

    When using an SBA 7(a) loan to purchase real estate, you must use at least 51% of the property for business purposes. Borrowers cannot use the funds to purchase personal property or investment properties, such as apartment buildings, condos, or single-family homes, to rent them out.

    How do SBA CDC/504 Real Estate loans work?

    The SBA 504 loan program provides funding for fixed assets, including commercial real estate or real estate construction. The program requires working with a Certified Development Company (CDC).

    CDCs are the SBA’s community-based partners that regulate nonprofit organizations and promote economic development in the community. You must find a CDC to work with to begin the application process.

    If approved, you can get an SBA 504 commercial real estate loan with the following terms:

    • Up to $5.5 million per project.
    • Terms up to 25 years.
    • Interest rates between 3%-7%.

    How do I qualify for an SBA Real Estate Loan?

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    Restricted Industries

    The SBA also does not allow certain businesses to obtain an SBA loan. Restricted industries and businesses include the following:

    • Real estate investment firms.
    • Companies engaged in speculation.
    • Gambling businesses such as casinos.
    • Rare coin and stamp dealers.
    • Multilevel marketing (pyramid scheme) businesses.
    • Religious businesses, charities, and other nonprofits.
    • Government agencies.
    • Lending institutions.

    There are some exemptions to these rules. For example, you could still qualify if your business gets less than one-third of its revenue from a state-approved lottery. In addition, a for-profit subsidiary for a nonprofit is still eligible.

    How to apply for an SBA Real Estate Loan:

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    You can follow these steps to apply for an SBA 7(a) loan through United Capital Source. If applying for an SBA 504 loan, you will also need to work with a CDC in your area.

    Step 1: Ensure You Qualify

    You’ll need a credit score between 650-700 and a healthy, consistent cash flow. How you intend to use the money plays a significant role as well.

    You’ll need a detailed plan of how the funds will help you invest in and grow the business.

    Step 2: Gather Your Documents

    Be prepared to provide:

    • Driver’s License.
    • Business license or certificate.
    • Voided Business Check (for business bank account information).
    • Bank Statements.
    • Credit Report/Statement of Personal Credit History.
    • Business Tax Returns.
    • Credit Card Processing Statements.
    • Personal Tax Returns – 3 Years.
    • Business Tax Returns – 3 Years.
    • Business Plan (Not in all cases).
    • Personal Financial Statement.
    • List of Real Estate Owned or Business Leases if applicable.
    • Debt Schedule/Loan/Rent/Lease Documentation
    • Deeds/Title/Ownership documentation for any collateral/Security
    • Current Profit & Loss Statements and Balance Sheet Year-to-Date
    • A/R and A/P Reports
    • United Capital Source 1 Page Application

    Step 3: Fill Out the Application

    You can begin the application process by calling us or filling out our one-page online application. Either way, you’ll be asked to enter the information from the previous section along with your desired funding amount.

    Step 4: Speak to a Representative

    Once you apply, a representative will reach out to you to explain the repayment structure, rates, and terms of your available options. This way, you won’t have to worry about any surprises or hidden fees during repayment.

    Step 5: Receive Approval

    SBA Loans through our network generally take 3-5 weeks to process. Once approved and your file is closed, funds should appear in your bank account in a few business days.

    What are the advantages of SBA Real Estate Loans?

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    Whether you use the SBA 7(a) loan or the 504 loan, SBA real estate loans offer several benefits over other types of small business real estate financing. The SBA partially backs SBA loans, which helps lower the risk for lenders.

    Both loans carry high borrowing amounts, long repayment terms, and low interest rates. The SBA reports all on-time loan payments to the major credit bureaus, so paying off the loan helps build business credit.

    In addition to setting interest rate limits, the SBA also puts a cap on how much fees the lender can charge. You won’t have to pay origination fees.

    What are the disadvantages of SBA Real Estate Loans?

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    It’s challenging to qualify for an SBA loan. In addition to the SBA’s requirements, SBA lenders tend to require excellent credit scores, high annual revenue, and multiple years in business.

    The application process and waiting for approval and funding take a long time. You need to prepare exhaustive documentation when applying.

    It can take weeks for a decision from the SBA and even longer for some lenders to underwrite and close the loan. Some SBA loans take as long as 60 days to fund from the initial application date.

    Both the 7(a) and 504 real estate loans require a down payment of at least 10%. Some lenders might require up to 20% for 7(a) loans. You need to provide collateral, usually the real estate you acquire with the loan. All SBA loans also require a personal guarantee.

    In addition, you will need to pay a guarantee fee, which is based on the portion of the loan the SBA guarantees. Most SBA loans don’t have a prepayment fee, but if your real estate loan has terms of 15 years or later, the lender can charge a prepayment penalty.

    Pros & Cons:

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    • High maximum loan amounts – up to $5.5 million.
    • Low interest rates, which the SBA caps.
    • Long repayment terms – up to 25 years.
    • No original or application fees.
    • Can use the funds to purchase, renovate, or upgrade a commercial real estate property.


    • High qualification requirements.
    • Long application process & funding time.
    • Requires a down payment of 10%-20%, depending on the loan type.
    • Prepayment penalty applies to loans with a 15-year maturity or longer.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

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    Here are the most common questions about SBA real estate loans.

    Can I get an SBA Real Estate Loan with bad credit?

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    No, SBA loans require good to excellent credit. Consider bad credit business loans if you need help with small business financing.

    While the interest rates for these loans are high, you could use them as bridge financing while building or repairing your credit.

    What types of real estate can I purchase with an SBA Loan?

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    For SBA loans, you can purchase land, existing buildings, or new building construction, if:

    • 60% of new construction property is used for business purposes.
    • 51% of existing property is used for business purposes.

    Some examples would include buying an office building, a storefront, warehouses, factories, and more.

    You can also use 7(a) or 504 loan proceeds for:

    • Improvements, such as adding curbs, gutters, or parking lots.
    • Improving or upgrading a building (new electrical systems, renovating a façade, etc.)
    • Adding equipment or machinery to a property.

    Is the SBA 7(a) or 504 Loan better for commercial real estate?

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    Both SBA 7(a) and 504 loans have their benefits and drawbacks. Determining the best one depends on your unique business needs.

    The interest rates for 504 loans are lower, but you need to work with a CDC, and the project must meet employment or public policy goals. SBA 7(a) loans provide more versatility in how you can use the funds. You can use the funds to:

    What are my options if I cannot get an SBA Loan?

    You could potentially use a business term loan to acquire commercial real estate if you can’t qualify for an SBA loan. You could also use an equipment loan to upgrade an existing business property.

    SBA Commercial Real Estate Loan – Final Thoughts

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    Both SBA 7(a) and 504 loans provide the necessary funding and terms to purchase commercial real estate. However, you’ll need a down payment, a good credit score, and solid business financials to qualify.

    If you do qualify, SBA loans are the most advantageous small business financing packages available, whether for real estate or other business needs. Contact us if you want to apply for a commercial real estate loan.

    We will help you grow your small business.

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        At UCS, we understand the value of your time and want to ensure that your application has a great chance of approval. Please take note of the following details before applying:
        • To be eligible, it’s necessary to have a business bank account with a well-established U.S. bank such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, or other major banks. Unfortunately, online-based bank accounts like PayPal, Chime, CashApp, etc., are not permitted.
        • When describing your current average monthly sales deposits to your business bank account, please provide accurate information. Our approval process is based on your current business performance, and it’s essential to provide accurate details about your current sales in the first question on the application form. We cannot approve applications based on projected revenues after receiving funding.
        We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in ensuring a smooth and successful application process.
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