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Can an SBA Loan Used to Purchase an Existing Business?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Yes, an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan can be used to purchase an existing business. The SBA offers several loan programs, including the 7(a) loan program, that can provide financing to entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to acquire an existing business. Here's how an SBA loan can be used to purchase an existing business:

  1. SBA 7(a) Loan for Business Acquisition: The SBA 7(a) loan program is one of the most common options used for acquiring an existing business. This program provides financing for a wide range of purposes, including purchasing a business, refinancing existing debt, and working capital.

  2. Eligibility Criteria: To use an SBA loan to purchase an existing business, the borrower (buyer) must meet the SBA's eligibility criteria, including being a small business owner, having a good credit history, and demonstrating the ability to manage and operate the business successfully.

  3. Business Valuation and Due Diligence: As part of the loan process, the borrower must conduct thorough due diligence to evaluate the financial health and viability of the business being acquired. This includes reviewing financial statements, tax returns, contracts, customer relationships, and other relevant information.

  4. Business Plan: The borrower is typically required to submit a comprehensive business plan that outlines their strategy for operating and growing the acquired business. The business plan helps demonstrate to the lender and the SBA how the acquisition will be successful and how the loan will be repaid.

  5. Down Payment: While SBA loans generally require lower down payments compared to conventional loans, borrowers should be prepared to provide a down payment, which is typically a percentage of the total project cost. The specific down payment amount can vary based on factors such as the type of business being acquired and the borrower's creditworthiness.

  6. Loan Structure: The SBA loan can cover a significant portion of the acquisition cost, but the borrower may still need to secure additional financing from personal funds or other sources to cover the down payment and other associated costs.

  7. SBA Lender and Process: To obtain an SBA loan for a business acquisition, the borrower works with an SBA-approved lender. The lender reviews the loan application, conducts underwriting, and works with the borrower throughout the approval process.

  8. SBA Guarantee: The SBA provides a government guarantee to the lender, which reduces the lender's risk and encourages them to provide financing to borrowers who may not qualify for conventional loans.

It's important to note that the SBA loan process can involve documentation, evaluation, and approval steps that may take some time. Additionally, SBA loans have specific requirements and regulations, so it's recommended to work with lenders and advisors experienced in SBA lending to navigate the process successfully.

As with any significant business transaction, conducting thorough due diligence, seeking professional advice, and carefully evaluating the business being acquired are critical steps to ensure a successful acquisition and loan application process.

Larry L. Gilmore, CMB, AMP

ClearBlu Group

President & CEO

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