Securing a business loan can be confusing and finding a transparent lender can be a difficult task. When choosing a lender there is a lot of jargon to sort through which is why it is easy for borrowers to focus only on getting the lowest interest rates. However, it’s far too common for borrowers to buy into a loan because the interest rate looks good only to discover a range of hidden costs and fees.
Interest rate vs total cost of the loan
The rate of interest is only one portion of the total cost of a loan. Trying to calculate the true cost over the life of a loan can be daunting but it makes good business sense to do so. This is why finding a lender that is entirely upfront and transparent about fees is incredibly important. One way to check is to see if they provide a proposed disbursement schedule or estimate of all upfront costs with any indicative offer.
Here is a list of fees a lender may require as part of the loan agreement, which can greatly increase the overall cost of the loan:
- Establishment/Origination/Application Fees: Setting up the loan/account .
- Documentation Fees: A fee to cover time spent preparing the loan documents.
- Direct Debit Fees: When making a repayment some lenders charge for every transaction which add up over time.
- Monthly Management Fees: Ongoing fees charged for the management of the loan.
- Withdrawal Fees: Charged for every withdrawal, often seen in Line of Credit loans.
- Late Fee: If the payment schedule is missed.
- Early Repayment Fee: Charged if you pay the loan out before the due date.
- Amendment Fees: Added by the lender if you request amendments to your loan/ repayments.
Helping borrowers to understand the difference between a good interest rate and the total cost of a loan is extremely important, particularly when dealing with short term lending. We have had clients come to us in the past who have been offered an interest half of what we offered, however when they took into account the other fees and charges they were required to pay they discovered that we were significantly cheaper than the other lender. When you look at the total cost of the loan, interest rates can become completely irrelevant.
Below is an example of a $435,000 two-month loan for a second mortgage we arranged for a client to help them complete a development project:
Interest for the two-month loan: $16,530 (22.8% per annum)
Approval fee: $15,206 ($2,871 to Referrer)
Legal fees: $2,735
Total cost of the loan: $34,471
This shows that, as the loan was only for two months, the interest was just less than 50% of the total cost, demonstrating how critical it is to know what all the other costs are.
The total benefit
When looking at whether to take this loan, the borrower also needed to consider how much money they would make out of the transaction. They not only needed to look at the cost of the loan, but at the benefit that the loan was going to deliver.
This is where a rough feasibility study for the development was important.
Gross Realisation Value: $1,950,000
Land purchase: $650,000
Stamp duty: $35,000
Build cost: $650,000
Other costs (agent, council, holding): $115,000
Total costs: $1,450,000
TOTAL GROSS PROFIT: $500,000
This means the project yields a gross profit of $500,000.
Therefore, the cost of the loan divided by the gross profit is approximately 7% of the total cost. The client was able to determine that it made business sense to give away 7% of their profit ($34,471) to get the deal done. As we can see from this example, the interest rate is less significant than the overall cost of the project.
When considering a loan, a borrower needs to gain perspective on the overall outcome of the loan rather than getting caught up just comparing interest rates. This is where sound advice from a broker and a transparent lender is critical.
For further information about private loans for business projects, give us a call on 1800 856 683 or contact us via our website: www.privatemortgagesaustralia.com.au/contact-us/