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Small Business Purchase Financing—Obtaining Your Down Payment by ScoreSMB


									Small Business Purchase Financing—Obtaining Your Down Payment
By Peter Siegel, MBA, Business for Sale Financing

Most lenders insist that business buyers/borrowers "have some skin in the game" such as a
down payment on a business purchase. Most lenders require anywhere between 10%-30%
down on a business purchase depending on the type of business, the deal structure, and the
lenders general requirements.

All lenders are different and many times their requirements change throughout the year.
Below are a few ideas that can be utilized to maximize the amount for a down payment on a
business purchase and to obtain financing to complete your deal.

Here are a few ideas of where to source possible sources for a down payment:

Cash & Savings - An obvious source for a complete or partial down payment. You do not
want to utilize your entire pile of cash since lenders will be accessing your "personal liquidity".
Lenders do not want you to utilize all your cash on a down payment in case the new business
you purchase has a few bad months financially. They want to make sure you have the funds
personally to pay your families monthly bills etc.

Cash Gifts from Family Members - Many lenders will allow gifts of cash as long as there are
"no strings attached" i.e., they are not meant as loans. As long as a letter from the family
member providing the funds spells out that the gift is solely for a business purchase and not a
loan you should be fine with most lenders and financial institutions.

Home Equity - With home equity growing rapidly many buyers utilize these funds to either
buy a business or utilize it for a down payment. Before you pull all your funds out of your
house for a down payment make sure it won't jeopardize the deal and structure of the deal in
case the equity (or partial equity) would be needed to help secure a loan.

Partial Owner Financing - Usually the buyer will put down 20% to 50% (utilizing one of the
methods included in this article), and the sometimes the owner will carry back a note of
between 10% to 50%. Interest rates vary on seller notes but they usually will be higher than
banks or commercial resources. Even though the owner takes back a note, the buyer of the
business still needs to "inject" a down payment between 10% and 30% of the total purchase

Retirement Funds/Plans - Many buyers have built up sizeable amounts in their work 401K
plans. There is a way to tap this money tax free—put it into a "special trust" that then buys
the business for you. Many corporate refuges/individuals coming out of corporate America are
going this route.

They key to all this is to be creative - possibly tap several of these sources to get your
down payment funds together. Keep in mind to start this process early (pre-qualify and
arrange for your down payment to be liquid and ready so that when you do find a business to
buy and need financing you are ready to go.
Peter Siegel, MBA, is a SCORE counselor and founder of and Business for
Sale Financing. He is a consultant and author on buying a business, selling a business and
business purchase financing, and hosts workshops on these topics as well. He has written
three books and currently writes a syndicated small business blog on these topics.

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