Financing gas stations and convenience stores has never been at the top of the list for most banks and lending institutions. Now it’s gotten even tougher. Because of recent changes in SBA lending guidelines,obtaining a purchase loan got a lot more difficult.
SBA has been perceived as “B” credit financing for many people which is not accurate. SBA could finance things like working capital and inventory which banks frequently would not do on a conventional basis and generally would do a higher loan to value (LTV) loan than many banks. In reality, it was the banks lending the money and the SBA would guarantee the loan.
Effective June 15, 2008, the SBA will require all sellers to provide an environmental indemnification agreement regardless if the site has ever had an environmental issue or not. Fun, huh? Imagine this… you’re buying a station that is a few years old…it’s in pristine condition… the site has never had an environmental concern… now the SBA wants the seller to sign that they will indemnify in case of leakage, spillage or migration for the entire life of the loan if the State’s LUST fund goes insolvent or if private insurance is not effect by the owner. So, even though YOU had nothing to do with the leakage or spillage, you might be responsible for it! Fun stuff… good times! How many sellers do you think will want to sign off on this? The SBA also will now require a Phase I environmental on business only purchases
Secondly, the SBA no longer wants to have appraisals with an income approach in it. Appraisers are in arms about this because this is contradictory to their own guidelines that they go by. They also want to have a business valuation done by a third party company instead of the income approach, adding time and expense to the transaction.
If this isn’t bad enough, if you’re borrowing part of your down payment from a home equity loan, the SBA will require that if you are married, your spouse will need to work in a job that has nothing to do with your business, to assure that the home equity loan is paid.
If this concerns you, it should. It would appear that the not so veiled message is that the SBA does not want to finance gas stations and convenience stores with fuel anymore. I’d complain to your local representative and Senator to make your feelings known.
With all this having been said, it is imperative that you deal with people that specialize in financing gas stations and convenience stores, who hopefully are aware of financing in this asset class.