Buying a business requires a good deal of capital or lender resources. The bottom line is that a large percentage of buyers don’t have the necessary capital or lender resources to pay cash and that is where seller financing comes into play. The fact is that seller financing is quite common. In this article, we will take a deeper look at some of the key points to remember.
Is Seller Financing a Good Idea?
Many buyers feel that a seller’s reluctance to provide seller financing is a “red flag.” The notion is that if a business is truly as good as the seller claims it to be, then providing financing shouldn’t be a “scary” proposition. The truth is that this notion does carry some weight in reality. The primary reason that many sellers are reluctant to provide seller financing is that they are concerned that the buyer will be unsuccessful. This, of course, means that if the buyer fails to make payments, that the seller could be forced to take the business back or even forfeit the balance of the note.
However, it is important for sellers to look at the facts. Sellers who sell for all cash receive approximately 70% of the asking price; however, sellers receive approximately 86% of the asking price when they offer terms!
Seller Financing has a Range of Benefits
Here are a few of the most important benefits associated with seller financing: the seller receives a considerably higher price, sellers can get a much higher interest rate from a buyer than they can receive from a financial institution, the interest on a seller-financed deal will add significantly to the actual selling price, there are tax benefits to seller financing versus an all-cash sale and, finally, financing the sale serves as a vote of confidence in the buyer.
Clearly, there are no guarantees that the buyer will be successful in operating the business. Yet, it is key that sellers remember that in most situations the buyers are putting a large percentage of their personal wealth into the purchase of the business. In other words, in most situations, the buyer is heavily invested even if financing is involved.
Business brokers excel in helping buyers and sellers discover creative ways to finance the sale of a business. Your broker can recommend a range of payment options and plans that can, in the end, often make the difference between a successful sale and failure.Read More
The majority of business sales include some form of seller financing. Typically, seller financing is when the seller provides a loan to cover part of the purchase price. The rest of the purchase price is covered by the down payment or often other financing sources are used as well. Summed up another way, the seller is essentially acting as a bank for the buyer.
When sellers offer financing, it often also helps them achieve a higher final sale price. Sellers who are not open to seller financing will likely limit their possibilities.
Performing Due Diligence
When a seller opts for seller financing, it is necessary to do much of the work that a bank would usually perform, for example, checking a potential buyer’s credit report, financial statements and other key financial information. After all, if you opt to offer seller financing, then you’ll want to ensure that your buyer will not default.
Usually contracts allow for the seller to take back a business in 30 to 60 days if financing fails. In this way, the buyer can avoid a potentially serious business problem.
There are often other contractual stipulations as well. A common clause for businesses involving inventory is that new owners need to maintain a certain level of supplies during the payment period.
Providing Benefits for Both Parties
It should also be noted that seller financing is of considerable interest to buyers. Sellers looking to attract as much attention to their business as possible will want to consider this route. Offering this type of financing sends a very clear message. When a business owner is open to seller financing, he or she is stating that he or she has great confidence that the business will generate both short term and long term revenue. That level of confidence speaks volumes to buyers about the health of the business.
What Due Terms Typically Look Like?
In terms of the length of seller financing, 5 to 7 years is typical. The issue of how much a seller is expected to finance is another issue that draws considerable attention. While there are no steadfast rules as to what percentage seller’s typically finance, it is common for sellers to finance up to 60% of the total purchase price.
Finally, seller financing does have a good deal of paperwork and points to consider. Opting to work with an attorney or business broker is absolutely essential to protect all parties involved.Read More
Naturally, as a seller you want the highest price you can get for your business. But in some cases, however, it might not be the best deal. There’s an old adage “You can’t separate the Price and Terms.”
For this reason, every offer should be reviewed carefully. When an offer is presented, naturally the first thing as a seller you look for is the “price.” If it is lower than anticipated, many seller’s first reactions are to decline the offer give it back, initiating the case for its being much too low. As a seller you should consider an offer carefully and avoid quick knee jerk reaction.
Here are a few alternatives that might offset a lower price:
• an offer with no or very few, and easily satisfied contingencies (can help to create a successful close)
• a consulting agreement or other deferred compensation- often can add up nicely for sellers
• a quick closing
• all cash, if that’s important
• employment contracts with relatives or long-time employee(s)
• business vehicle to remain with the seller
• buyer has a long success record indicating long-term survival
• short-term payment period if seller financed
When a professional business broker is involved, he or she can point out those areas that may offset the price, down payment or the structure of the deal. After all, the important thing is not what as a seller you get, but what you get to keep!Read More
Business owners who want to sell their business are often told by business brokers and intermediaries that they will have to consider financing the sale themselves. Many owners would like to receive all cash, but many also understand that there is very little outside financing available from banks or other sources. The only source left is the seller of the business.
Buyers usually feel that businesses should be able to pay for themselves. They are wary of sellers who demand all cash. Is the seller really saying that the business can’t support any debt or is he or she saying, “the business isn’t any good and I want my cash out of it now, just in case?” They are also wary of the seller who wants the carry-back note fully collateralized by the buyer. First, the buyer has probably used most of his or her assets to assemble the down payment and additional funds necessary to go into business. Most buyers are reluctant to use what little assets they may have left to secure the seller’s note. The buyer will ask, “what is the seller not telling me and/or why wouldn’t the business provide sufficient collateral?”
Here are some reasons why a seller might want to consider seller financing the sale of his or her business:
- There is a greater chance that the business will sell with seller financing. In fact, in many cases, the business won’t sell for cash, unless the owner is willing to lower the price substantially.
- The seller will usually receive a much higher price for the business by financing a portion of the sale price.
- Most sellers are unaware of how much the interest on the sale increases their actual selling price. For example, a seller carry-back note at 8 percent carried over nine years will actually double the amount carried. $100,000 at 8 percent over a nine year period results in the seller receiving $200,000.
- With interest rates currently the lowest in years, sellers usually get a higher rate from a buyer than they would get from any financial institution.
- Sellers may also discover that, in many cases, the tax consequences of financing the sale themselves may be more advantageous than those for an all-cash sale.
- Financing the sale tells the buyer that the seller has enough confidence that the business will, or can, pay for itself.
Certainly, the biggest concern the seller has is whether or not the new owner will be successful enough to pay off the loan the seller has agreed to provide as a condition of the sale. Here are some obvious, but important, factors that may indicate the stability of the buyer:
- How long has the buyer lived in the same house or been a home owner?
- What is the buyer’s work history?
- How do the buyer’s personal references check out?
- Does the buyer have a satisfactory banking relationship?
Advantages of Seller Financing for the Buyer
- Lower interest
- Longer term
- No fees
- Seller stays involved
- Less paperwork
- Easier to negotiate
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