Insurance companies serve a very important function in our society. The purpose of insurance is to share risk. Risk is the amount of economic loss that someone is willing to assume in an activity. For instance, a bank would not loan money for the purpose of buying a house, unless the house was protected against losses such as fire, wind and other perils. That protection is provided by a Homeowner’s policy.A loan to purchase an automobile would not be available unless the car was insured for losses by theft or collision. That protection is provided by an auto policy.Health insurance is a policy that shares the risk of losses caused by injuries or illness. A share of the risk is assumed by the individual through a deductible or co-pay. In-other-words, if someone visits the doctor, that individual may be required to pay the first $15 or $20 of the visit. The health insurance company assumes the risk of the remainder of the cost.That shared risk comes about through an exchange of ‘consideration’. Consideration is value. The insured pays a premium in exchange for the promise of the insurance company to pay certain costs associated with the insured’s health care. Which brings us to the controversy surrounding the government’s efforts to institute what some call universal health care.No matter what side of the argument you are on, in favor or against universal health care, one issue has been settled. President Obama stated publicly that it is impossible to insure the ‘uninsured’ without additional costs. So, the idea that this will be a ‘deficit neutral’ policy has been debunked by the administration itself. Either taxes go up to pay for the program, or health care will have to be rationed to keep costs neutral, or bring them down.In response to the public out-cry about a government health care program, the administration has called the insurance companies villains. After all, insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions for some period of time when an individual enrolls (however that is not always the case with group policies), and insurance companies are making a ‘profit’.PreExsiting ConditionsThink about the concept of risk and preexisting conditions. An individual has a home that has been damaged by fire. Would a homeowner’s insurance company now write a policy that would cover the repairs to home caused by the preexisting fire? Of course not! That is not shared risk, that is bad business.An individual has a preexisting health condition, say diabetes. Purchasing a policy that would exclude the treatment for diabetes for a limited period of time (usually two years), now results in a shared risk. The health insurance company will cover the person for other perils, and if that individual pays the premiums over time, that exclusion regarding the preexisting condition is then dropped.Is it possible for the government to insure everyone in the United States and force insurance companies to provide policies without regard to preexisting conditions? It is possible, but not without driving the cost of health-care way up. After all, the money to pay the doctors and hospitals have to come from somewhere and President Obama stated that ‘We are out of money’. Since the government doesn’t earn money, its only source of revenue is taxes.ProfitInsurance companies are being cast as the bad guy since companies make a profit. Which do you prefer, companies that are well run that make a profit, or a company like General Motors that required billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail the company out? A profit is what allows companies to expand services and provide jobs. Companies that fail to make a profit, go out-of-business.The government not only fails to make a profit, as a well run business entity should, it runs at a deficit. The latest example is Cash for Clunkers. Not only was taxpayer money used to subsidize auto sales, now car dealers are complaining that the government is not sending the checks for the Clunkers that were promised. It appears that many buyers will have lost their old cars and now face repossession of the new cars purchased since the money for the program did not actually exist.This does not bode well for a government run health care system.Tort ReformDoctors and hospitals must practice defensive medicine. People will sue for anything. Tort lawyers use a ‘shot-gun’ approach when filing a malpractice lawsuit. All doctors, nurses, technicians and hospitals involved in a case are named as a defendant, whether that party had any actual responsibility for the claimed injury and damage.We need a loser pay system, which provides that anyone who brings a lawsuit and loses, is required to pay the other side’s attorney fees and expenses. That would do away with most frivolous lawsuits and bring the costs of health care down.Big Government SolutionGovernment should be required to live within its means. It does not, and the government, not insurance companies, is the villain in this scenario.The founding fathers did not foresee a large, powerful centralized government. That is what was the war of independence against England was all about. The US Constitution delegated specific powers to the Federal Government, and it does not specify taking over any private sector industry.Medicare and Medicaid are government health care programs on the verge of collapse. Even President Obama admits Medicare cannot be sustained. No program can be sustained when it runs at a deficit and all government programs run at a deficit.Universal Health Care will run at a deficit from day one and that is just bad business.
An investment property mortgage is a loan for non-owner occupied property. There are two main classifications of investment property mortgages. These classifications include: commercial and residential. A commercial property mortgage is for a dwelling that contains 5 or more units and/or is zoned as commercial. A residential investment mortgage is for a dwelling that is one to four units and is zoned residential. Commercial and residential mortgages are two completely different loan types and have significantly different qualification standards. The following is a basic description of each mortgage type.Residential Property Investment LoansResidential property investment mortgages have similar qualification guidelines as standard owner-occupied mortgages. Although, they do have higher down payment and credit score requirements. Below is a summary of the general guidelines for residential investment mortgages.• Credit Score Requirement – The minimum credit score requirement is typically 680 or above for investment mortgages.• Debt to Income Ratio – Typically, the debt ratio limit for an investment mortgage is 40% of the borrower’s verifiable income. Besides W2 income, the borrower’s last 2 years tax returns will be needed to calculate the income that can be used from other rental properties or other sources of income.• Down Payment – Investment property mortgages require at least 15% down, but the down payment requirement increases with lower credit scores and the greater the number of units in the property.• Income – Lenders typically will only use rental income if the borrower has a two-year history of owning rental properties. This is usually documented via the tax returns and schedules.Commercial Property Investment LoansCommercial loans typically have higher rates, greater fees, and shorter terms than residential mortgage. The two most important factors for lenders on this loan type include: a positive cash-flow for the property, and the borrower’s past commercial property management experience. Below is a summary of the general guidelines for residential investment mortgages.• Credit Scores Requirement – The minimum credit score requirement is typically 720 to 740 for a commercial loan.• Down Payment – The minimum down payment for a commercial mortgage is typically 30% or greater. When refinancing, the maximum equity position is usually 70% of the appraised value of the property.• Debt Service Coverage – This is a ratio used by lenders to calculate the property’s ability to generate cash flow. It is a calculation comparing the net operating income minus the mortgage payment and the other debt payments.Other funding sources include: hard money lenders and private loans. Hard money loans are short-term loans from private investors. Private lenders typically use the equity position in the property as the determining factor whether they will approve and fund the loan. There are usually excessive closing costs and fees (points) charged on this type of loan. Private loans are loans that a person would receive from their family or friends. The terms may or may not be similar to hard money loans. Both hard money and private lenders typically only put a lien on the property and do not report payments on the borrower’s credit report.
Funeral homes, assisted living facilities, campgrounds and other special purpose properties represent one of the most difficult commercial loan situations which will be confronted by a business owner. Unique properties are not easily understood by traditional lenders, so the most common solution involves finding a non-traditional lender for funeral home financing as well as commercial financing for other special purpose properties. Such non-traditional lenders will be appropriate for purchase situations as well as refinancing and new construction.KEY REASONS FOR DIFFICULTY IN ARRANGING COMMERCIAL FINANCING FOR SPECIAL PURPOSE PROPERTIES(1) By definition special purpose properties are not similar to other commercial properties. This makes many lenders uncomfortable due to the likely difficulty of finding another owner for a unique commercial property should it be necessary due to a loan default.(2) For funeral homes and many other special purpose commercial properties, most of the business value is represented by non-real estate assets. With traditional commercial lenders that focus on commercial real estate loans, it is almost impossible to get a loan based on the real estate value and the business value. For example, it is not uncommon to have a situation in which the real estate for a funeral home is valued at less than one million dollars while the overall business value is in excess of three million dollars.(3) Because commercial financing is so difficult to arrange for special purpose properties such as funeral homes, assisted living facilities and campgrounds, sellers of such properties are generally willing to provide substantial seller financing to assist the buyer in acquiring the business. However, many traditional lenders do not recognize or accept seller financing as a means of reducing down payment requirements for special purpose properties.(4) Many lenders simply do not understand the business complexities associated with a special purpose property. As a result, it is not uncommon for these lenders to attach onerous and expensive requirements such as business plans and environmental reviews. In most cases such lenders do not even want to make the business loan but will use undesirable loan requirements as a means of appearing to approve a loan when in fact they have disapproved the loan by adding commercial loan terms that they do not expect a commercial borrower to accept.COMMERCIAL LOAN SOLUTIONS FOR SPECIAL PURPOSE PROPERTIES For a business borrower facing the situation described above, the highest priority should be to locate a non-traditional commercial lender that engages in the following commercial loan practices:(1) Openly welcomes special purpose properties and routinely finances such properties.(2) Provides commercial financing for both the business and real estate.(3) Accepts substantial seller financing.(4) Does not add special requirements to the business loan for special purpose commercial properties.(5) Has a history of making loans for the specific type of property under consideration.(6) Can accommodate both small and large commercial loans for special purpose commercial properties (for example, loans as small as $100,000 and loans as large as $5 million or higher).Copyright 2005-2006 AEX Commercial Financing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.