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Learn the different types of USDA business and industry loans.

SBA Loans

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans offer a lifeline for small businesses in need of financing.

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How to Successfully Obtain an SBA 504 Loan

SBA 504 Loan
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 loan program is a critical tool for bolstering business growth by providing working capital to borrowers for their projects, following a thorough approval process.

How can a business apply for an SBA Loan?

What types of SBA loans are available?

What is an SBA Loan?

by | Nov 17, 2023

SBA 504 Loans

At, we understand the unique challenges small businesses face in securing financing. That’s why we offer a comprehensive suite of Small Business Administration loans, including the versatile SBA 504 loan program. Tailored to propel small business growth, our loan programs are a gateway to opportunity.

Looking to go green? Our 504 Green Loan can provide the capital you need for energy-efficient upgrades. If you’re planning to expand, our 504 Loan for Expansion offers favorable terms to help your business scale.

For entrepreneurs with specialized needs, the 504 Loan for Special Use Facilities can help fund construction or improvement projects that don’t fit the conventional mold. Startups, often overlooked by traditional lenders, can find a partner in growth with our 504 Loan for Startups.

Refinancing existing debt can free up cash flow for other investments. Our 504 Refinancing Program is designed to convert high-interest debt into manageable payments. And the benefits don’t stop there. Explore the full range of Benefits of SBA Loans to understand how they can serve as a lever for your business growth.

The journey to securing an SBA loan can seem daunting, but our SBA Loan Application Process is streamlined to assist you every step of the way. Begin with our guide on the Steps to Apply for an SBA Loan, and when you’re ready to explore the different financing options, our page on What Types of SBA Loans Are Available provides a detailed overview.

At, we’re committed to empowering small businesses with the tools and resources they need to thrive. Discover how our SBA 504 loan options can be the key to unlocking your business’s potential.

SBA 504 Loans Application

Functioning of SBA 504 Loan

The SBA 504 loan, a U.S. Small Business Administration-backed loan, offers financial assistance to borrowers in small businesses for acquiring fixed assets. This amount of funds is provided with certain fees.

Loan Structure and Components

The loan structure consists of three main components:

  1. The borrower’s down payment (usually about 10%)
  2. A bank or lender’s contribution (typically around 50%)
  3. The CDC’s share (generally about 40%)

Role of Certified Development Companies

Certified Development Companies (CDCs) are non-profit corporations that support economic growth within their communities, particularly for small business owners. They often assist in managing fees and providing support to borrowers. Small business owners play a significant role in the SBA 504 loan process by providing the third part of the financing and assisting with the application process, including handling fees.

Repayment Terms and Interest Rates

SBA 504 loans, often utilized by small business owners, have repayment terms typically ranging from 10 to 20 years, with competitive interest rates and fees that are generally below standard commercial real estate loans. These terms provide stability for small business owners as they can predict their monthly fees and payments over an extended period.

To summarize:

  • The SBA 504 loan provides funding for small businesses to acquire fixed assets.
  • It has a unique three-part structure involving the borrower, a bank or lender, and a CDC.
  • CDCs play an essential role in facilitating these loans.
  • With predictable repayment terms and competitive interest rates, this type of loan offers stability for small business owners.

This information should serve as a brief guide to understanding how an SBA 504 loan functions.

new computers and screens for a building business

Eligibility Criteria for the Loan

The SBA 504 loan program has specific eligibility criteria. Applicants must meet these requirements to qualify.

Basic Requirements

  • Operate as a for-profit entity
  • Have a tangible net worth of less than $15 million
  • Average net income should not exceed $5 million after federal income taxes for the preceding two years

Business Size Standards

Applicants must adhere to SBA’s size standards. The business should not have more than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and no more than $7.5 million in average annual receipts for many non-manufacturing industries.

Job Creation or Retention Goals

Borrowers need to meet job creation or retention goals. For each $65,000 (or $100,000 for small manufacturers) of the loan amount, one job should be created or retained within two years of loan approval.

Use Restrictions

Loan funds can’t be used for working capital, inventory, consolidating or repaying debt. Proper uses include:

  • Buying land and improvements
  • Building new facilities or modernizing existing ones
  • Purchasing long-term machinery

Meeting these eligibility criteria is crucial before starting the application process with lenders. It’s important to note that collateral is typically required, and repayment terms can vary based on factors such as loan amount and use of proceeds. Interest rates are negotiated between borrower and lender but are subject to SBA regulations.
Income requirements aren’t explicitly stated by the SBA, but borrowers need to demonstrate ability to repay the loan from operations. Understanding these criteria ensures a smoother application process while seeking financing through this loan program.

Benefits of SBA 504 Loan Program

a graph of business sales going up

Low Down Payment

The SBA 504 loan program offers a significant benefit to small businesses: a low down payment requirement. This feature allows businesses to retain more of their capital for operational expenses and business growth.

Long-term, fixed-rate Financing

Another advantage is the provision for long-term, fixed-rate financing. This means that the interest rate on the loan remains constant over its lifetime, providing stability and predictability in repayment terms.

Capital Preservation

Through this program, businesses have an opportunity for capital preservation. The lower down payments and fixed rates mean less drain on a company’s resources, allowing them to invest more in new facilities or improvements.

Community Development Impact

Lastly, the SBA 504 loan program positively impacts community development. By supporting small businesses’ growth and expansion, it indirectly contributes to job creation and economic stimulation within local communities.

new computers and screens for a building business

Drawbacks of SBA 504 Loan Program

Longer Processing Time

One notable downside is the longer processing time. Unlike other loans that can be approved within days, the SBA 504 loan takes weeks or even months to process.

Limitations in Use of Funds

Another limitation is how you can use the funds. The SBA 504 loan restricts usage to:

  • Buying land or buildings
  • Building new facilities
  • Renovating existing facilities
  • Purchasing long-term machinery and equipment

It does not allow for working capital or inventory purchase.

Prepayment Penalties

Prepayment penalties are another potential drawback. If you decide to pay off your loan early, you might incur a penalty fee. This discourages borrowers from paying off their loans ahead of schedule.

Stringent Eligibility Criteria

Lastly, the stringent eligibility criteria may exclude some businesses from qualifying for an SBA 504 loan. To qualify, a business must:

  1. Operate as a for-profit company in the U.S.
  2. Have a tangible net worth of less than $15 million.
  3. Have an average net income of less than $5 million after federal income taxes for two years prior to application.

These requirements limit access to this type of financing for many small businesses.

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Locating a Certified Development Company

Finding Local CDCs

Locate certified development companies (CDCs) in your area by:

  1. Visiting the Small Business Administration (SBA) website.
  2. Searching for local economic development offices.

CDCs play a crucial role in the SBA 504 loan process. They are non-profit corporations set up to support economic development within their community.

Role of CDCs

The functions of CDCs include:

  • Packaging, closing, and selling SBA 504 loans.
  • Promoting economic development within their operational area.
  • Assisting small businesses with the SBA 504 loan application process.

Resources from SBA

The Small Business Administration provides resources such as:

  • Lists of active CDCs sorted by state.
  • Guides on how to apply for an SBA 504 loan.
  • Information on eligibility requirements for an SBA 504 loan.

Selecting a CDC

When selecting a company, remember to conduct due diligence. Here are some tips:

  • Check the company’s track record in assisting with SBA 504 loans.
  • Ensure they have experience in your specific industry or business type.
  • Verify if they’re listed as an active CDC on the SBA website.

Remember, choosing the right certified development company can significantly impact your ability to secure an SBA 504 loan successfully.

business people looking at papers and smiling and signing signatures

Understanding the Basics of SBA 504 Loan

The SBA 504 loan, a program designed by Small Business Administration (SBA), is a powerful financial tool for small businesses. It offers long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation.

Key Points

  • The loan proceeds can be used to acquire land, buildings, machinery, and equipment.
  • The interest rates are typically below market rates, which makes it an attractive option.
  • Fees associated with this loan include processing fees, servicing fees, and closing costs. These are usually financed within the loan.
  • Collateral is required. Typically, it’s the asset being financed.
  • Personal guarantees from all owners with a 20% or more stake in the business are mandatory.

Importance of Business Plan

A well-drafted business plan plays a crucial role in securing an SBA 504 loan. It should clearly outline your business goals, strategies for achieving them, potential problems that may confront your business, and ways to solve them. Lenders want assurance that their money will be put to good use.


  1. Your plan should provide solid financial projections and clearly emphasize your qualifications.
  2. The purpose of the plan is not just to convince lenders but also to help you think through important issues relating to your business.
new printers and Scanners

Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages of SBA 504 Loans

Pros and Cons

Small business owners eyeing an SBA 504 loan must weigh its pros and cons.

  • Pros
    • Lower down payments
    • Fixed interest rates
    • Long-term repayment options
  • Cons
    • Lengthy approval process
    • Strict eligibility criteria
    • Potential prepayment penalties

Evaluating Business Needs

It’s crucial to evaluate if this loan program fits your business needs. Consider:

  1. Your business’s financial health
  2. The purpose of the loan
  3. Your ability to meet the repayments

Alternatives to SBA 504 Loans

There are alternatives to SBA 504 loans that businesses can consider:

  • Traditional bank loans
  • Business lines of credit
  • Merchant cash advances

Informed Decisions Through Research

Business owners should make informed decisions based on thorough research. Understand:

  • The terms and conditions of the loan
  • How it impacts your profit margins
  • The potential risks involved

Remember, every small business is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. Weigh all factors before deciding if an SBA 504 loan is right for your business.

a graph of business going up

The Process: Closing and Funding of SBA 504 Loan

Steps in the Closing Process

  1. Approval of loan application by the Certified Development Company (CDC) and SBA.
  2. Submission of necessary documentation such as business financial statements, personal financial statements, real estate purchase agreement, among others.
  3. Review of documents by CDC and SBA.
  4. Signing of closing documents.

The process from application to receipt of funding typically spans several weeks to a few months.

Documentation Required

  • Business Financial Statements
  • Personal Financial Statements
  • Real Estate Purchase Agreement

Potential delays or issues may arise during the closing process due to incomplete documentation or unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in the business’s financial status.

Remember that understanding the process can help you navigate this phase more smoothly, ensuring your SBA 504 loan closes successfully.

Folders and Papers With pens and signatures

Wrapping Up: A Closer Look at SBA 504 Loan

The SBA 504 loan program offers a unique opportunity for small businesses to secure financing that might otherwise be unattainable. This program’s benefits, including low down payments and long-term fixed interest rates, can provide stability and predictability for business owners. However, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks, such as rigorous eligibility requirements and a somewhat complex application process.
Before making any decision, it is crucial to understand the basics of this loan program thoroughly. It includes locating a certified development company (CDC) in your area and understanding the closing and funding process. Your thorough research will help you weigh the advantages against the disadvantages effectively. If you’re considering an SBA 504 loan for your business needs, take action today by reaching out to a local CDC or financial advisor who can guide you through the process.

Watch Our Videos

Are you ready to take your business to new heights? Discover the power of the SBA Business Industry Program. With its comprehensive eligibility criteria, underwriting requirements, and loan guarantees, this program provides accessible and affordable loan options for businesses in rural areas.

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Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What is an SBA 504 loan?

An SBA 504 loan is a government-backed loan designed to help small businesses purchase commercial real estate or heavy equipment for use in their operations.

Who qualifies for an SBA 504 loan?

Typically, small businesses with a net worth under $15 million and average net income less than $5 million after taxes qualify for an SBA 504 loan.

What are the benefits of an SBA 504 loan?

The benefits include low down payments, long-term fixed interest rates, and access to large amounts of capital that may not be available through traditional commercial loans.

Are there any drawbacks associated with an SBA 504 Loan?

Potential drawbacks include rigorous eligibility requirements, substantial paperwork involved in applying for these loans, and restrictions on how funds can be used.

How do I locate a Certified Development Company (CDC) in my area?

You can find local CDCs by visiting the SBA’s online directory or contacting your local SBA district office.