Finding a new niche in the commercial space

by Ryan Smith18 May 2015
Mark Mohl, account executive with B2R Finance, sat down with MPA recently to talk about his company’s focus on an underserved segment of the commercial space.
MPA: Your approach to the commercial space is a bit unusual. What does B2R focus on?

Mark Mohl: We do a commercial underwrite on residential rental property borrowers. It’s a little niche. We were created by investors for investors. If you have someone who’s an investor with a rental property, we kind of pick up where Fannie and Freddie leave off. The investor that’s got more than five or 10 properties, depending on what the overlays are, we can finance those properties to help the borrowers either uncork the equity that’s in those properties, or restructure debt at better terms. We’re like a hybrid. We underwrite them commercially – more CMBS-like execution – but it’s on more residential rental property.

MPA: Is there a certain segment of the rental property market you cater to?

MM: The guy who’s got five to 10 rental properties can go to a local bank and get financed. The guy who’s got 300 – well, he’s got scale. He can probably get some money at more favorable rates. But the guy who’s in the middle, the guy who’s trying to grow the portfolio, he’s got nowhere to go. So we’re trying to fill that space to help refinance property, to take equity out or to grow and buy more properties.

MPA: You say you’re sort of a residential-commercial hybrid. What does that mean in terms of qualifying borrowers?

MM: Most investors are going to do everything in their power to write off everything that they can. We don’t punish them for that; we look at their properties on a cash-flow basis, and not their income. We look basically like you would at an apartment building. We’re going to look at how that apartment cash flows and make our decision on that. The hybrid part is that because it’s residential, we do our due diligence and a background check, and we pull credit. But we’re not looking at how much money they make. We’re looking at, are they a good borrower, are they a good risk, and how do they operate their properties based on cash flow?

MPA: Is there a specific part of the rental market you’re after, like vacation rentals?

MM: It’s really geared toward the long-term investor. This is for a six- to 12-month lease. So vacation rentals, short term rentals and things like that, we’re probably not going to work. We’re here to partner up with the landlord to grow his business – or we’re the take-out money for a hard lender. So if you’ve got a guy who’s a fix-and-flipper and does the work and stabilizes it and thinks, “Heck, I’m not going to flip this,” he may have hard money at 12%. We’re going to come out with a rate anywhere between 5 ½% to 6 ½% and give him a term loan.

All we do is residential rental property. That’s all we do, and we do it well. … Our goal is to partner up with the investor to help them grow their business.


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