Real estate

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What Is the Point of Mezzanine Financing?

Mezzanine financing presents a compelling and distinctive opportunity for both borrowers and investors, yielding appealing returns. Borrowers stand to gain flexibility and increased potential for returns and investors in mezzanine debt can achieve higher than average target returns in relatively short investment periods. Mezzanine financing lies in-between conventional debt and equity, creating a mutually beneficial scenario for all stakeholders involved in commercial real estate ventures.

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Bridge Loan vs Mezzanine Loan: Understanding the Differences and Choosing the Right Option

In commercial real estate transactions, both bridge loans and mezzanine loans serve as valuable financing tools. Bridge loans serve the purpose of providing short-term funding to bridge the gap between transactions, while mezzanine loans offer long-term financing. Bridge loans commonly rely on collateral, such as property or inventory, to secure the loan. With a mezzanine loan, the lender has the ability to convert to ownership (equity) of the borrower’s company in the event of non-payment or default.

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What Happens If You Default on a Mezzanine Loan?

Unlike senior debt, mezzanine loans are not directly collateralized by the underlying real estate. Instead, it is secured by a pledge of the mezzanine borrower’s ownership interest in the property owner, which is the entity that owns the underlying real estate. If a borrower defaults, the mezzanine lender can foreclose on the pledged ownership interest and become the new owner of the entity that owns the real estate. Defaulting on a mezzanine loan has significant implications for both borrowers and lenders.

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Understanding Mezzanine Loan Rates

The cost of a mezzanine loan depends on the lender’s risk assessment and factors such as the borrower’s creditworthiness and cash flow affect the cost of the loan. Interest rates for mezzanine loans usually range from 10% to 20%, but additional fees apply. Lenders often require borrowers to contribute equity in exchange for the loan, known as an “equity cushion” or “equity kicker,” is a percentage of the loan amount. The equity contribution typically ranges from 5% to 15%, depending on the borrower’s financial situation.

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Is Mezzanine Financing a Second Mortgage?

While mezzanine financing seems similar to second mortgages, it operates differently and is secured by the stock of the owning corporation. Mezzanine financing is not a second mortgage in the traditional sense. Its position in the capital stack make it a distinct form of real estate financing. Due to the potential risks involved, mezzanine loans are typically placed behind a first mortgage, ensuring the protection of the property owner’s equity.

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What is the Difference between a Mezzanine Loan and a Mortgage?

Both mezzanine loans and mortgages serve as valuable tools for securing real estate financing, but their differences are substantial. Mezzanine loans rely on equity interests in the owning entity and operate indirectly, making them riskier for both borrowers and lenders. Mortgages, on the other hand, offer direct security backed by the property itself, providing a more straightforward and secure lending option.

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