4 Facts you should know about Commercial Mortgage in Canada

Commercial Mortgage

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A commercial mortgage is simply a loan taken out on commercial properties as opposed to residential mortgages. Some of the common commercial properties include multi-family rental apartments, industrial buildings, office buildings, hotels, retail spaces, and more. Though most available mortgage terms are almost similar to residential mortgages, they usually have high-interest rates.

The borrowers of a commercial mortgage loan include institutional investors, businesses, or companies as opposed to individuals. The business may be a limited company or a partnership. Consequently, evaluating credit score, credit history, and other aspects of business finance is more complicated with this type of property loan. This type of mortgage may also take an extended period to process because of the complexity of appraising the property in question.

1.   Commercial mortgage rates

Commercial mortgage loan rates are dependent on the terms of the specific loan, borrower, and condition of the commercial property in question. Recourse mortgages on stabilized commercial properties with known and capitalized borrowers are likely to get lower commercial mortgage rates compared to non-recourse mortgages on new construction or land with borrowers with limited history. Commercial mortgages are priced based on government bonds, with premiums being determined by the specific situation.

For commercial mortgages, it is challenging to compare interest rates as lending criteria are not usually advertised. The terms and conditions of a certain loan can also differ significantly. For this reason, it is recommended to enlist the services of an experienced mortgage broker. A licensed commercial property broker deals with rental apartment properties, offices, industrial properties, retail spaces, and more. The broker can connect you with various lenders.

Your preferred lender will assess the overall risk associated with your property before lending you money (commercial property mortgage). For instance, a mixed property can have a storefront and two to three floors of residential property. There is a high risk if the business area of the property is greater than the residential section (in terms of square feet). Note that commercial properties are considered riskier as the repayment process depends on the business performance.

2.   Commercial mortgage qualification criteria

Easy Lease, Commercial Mortgage

Suppose you are an institutional investor and want to get a commercial property mortgage; there are important requirements you must meet. This bar is often set high because the value of loans is considerably high. Here are some of the common requirements you must meet when applying for a commercial mortgage.

Debt services coverage ratio: Simply put, this is the ratio of available cash to the set mortgage payment, and it is the primary criterion that many lenders will analyze to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness. Many lenders will apply a mortgage-to-value ratio and expect borrowers to invest their money into the purchase to balance the odds successfully.

Borrower’s credit history: Many lenders require a great credit score and credit history as proof that your business is creditworthy. Though there are lenders who may accept commercial mortgage applicants or real estate investors with less-than-ideal credit scores or history, such lenders are very few.

The current business situation: Suppose your business is operational; commercial mortgage lenders expect it to have a steady cash flow and profitability. Your commercial lender may ask you to provide your financial projections and business plan. Remember, your potential lender wants to ensure that you can successfully make your monthly payments on time.

The specific type of business: It is important to mention that the terms of commercial mortgage often depend on the specific type of business you own and the type of property you plan to buy. This is a quite complicated area, which is why you must enlist the services of a specialist (chartered surveyor or solicitor) to guide you.

Necessary down payment: A higher amount of down payment is expected of commercial properties. For instance, a typical down payment on a mixed property usually falls between 20 percent and 30 percent. Keep in mind that purely commercial property is usually higher, approximately 50 percent. Your overall risk profile determines the amount of down payment that you may be asked to pay.

3.   Commercial mortgage insurance

Commercial property insurance is more complex compared to residential property insurance. For example, CMHC will not insure pure commercial real estate but can insure a mixed residential – commercial real estate with a down payment as low as 15 percent. With personal residential property, the lending institution can be assured that the borrower will prioritize mortgage payments.

But with a commercial mortgage, it’s easy for the borrower to declare bankruptcy if the business is not performing as expected and default mortgage payments. This is why a commercial lender may require security in the form of commercial mortgage insurance.

4.   Mortgage broker fees

It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced mortgage broker. He or she can help you find a commercial mortgage lender with a competitive rate. However, you will have to pay the broker a finder’s fee. Mortgage broker’s fee ranges from a few thousands of dollar.


There are many reasons borrowers apply for a commercial mortgage. Some of these reasons include property development, a new business office, investment within the business, a new location for the business, and necessary renovation on the current commercial property. Be sure to consult with an experienced commercial mortgage broker or if you need real estate financing. 

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