In the current economic landscape, marked by historically high-interest rates and a cautious approach from lenders towards issuing new loans, the commercial real estate sector is experiencing a noticeable decline in deal volume. In this challenging scenario, creative strategies are emerging for enterprising investors seeking opportunities, with one intriguing option being the acquisition of multifamily properties that come with assumable low-interest debt.

Unlike many commercial real estate loan agreements that typically prohibit the transfer of existing loans from the seller to the buyer, some multifamily loans exhibit an “assumable” characteristic. This means that the lender’s discretion to deny the transfer is more limited, making the assumption process more feasible for potential buyers. Notably, loans issued by entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as certain conduit or CMBS loans, fall into this category. As interest rates rise, the attractiveness of acquiring properties with existing low-interest debt becomes apparent.

However, even within the realm of “assumable loans, “the path to completing an assumption is not without its challenges. Loan agreements incorporate varying degrees of complexity in their assumption provisions, allowing lenders to scrutinize potential buyers’ financial capabilities to ensure they can uphold the loan obligations. Consequently, despite the perception that assuming an existing loan might provide a timing advantage compared to obtaining a new loan, this isn’t always the case.

The article anticipates an interesting shift in lenders’ attitudes towards requested loan assignments in the coming months. Struggling with portfolios that include troubled loans, lenders might view requested assignments more favorably, especially in an environment of rising interest rates. This could be particularly true when dealing with well-capitalized buyers, as lenders might see assignment requests as an opportunity to enhance project sponsorship, bring in additional equity capital, and stabilize risky loans. For lenders grappling with numerous non-performing loans, such requests could provide a means to address multiple challenges while focusing on other areas.

Amid the potential benefits, there are several potential sticking points for buyers looking to assume existing loans. Negotiations between buyers and sellers often revolve around the scope of representations and warranties provided by sellers regarding existing loans. These details are crucial for buyers to assess the obligations they’ll be inheriting.

Additionally, buyers frequently request indemnity from sellers to cover any pre-assumption obligations under the loan documents. However, sellers may be hesitant to agree, desiring to conclude transactions swiftly. Another contentious issue pertains to whether successful loan assumption is a closing condition. Buyers, recognizing the complexities of the assumption process, usually push for this provision, allowing them to exit the deal if lender approval isn’t obtained. Sellers, on the other hand, may resist due to the lack of control over lender decisions.

Consequently, multifamily deals featuring assumable debt could become a bright spot for investors in an otherwise challenging market environment.


Let Sweetwater Capital be your trusted real estate partner for financing and investment sales.
Let us know how we can help.

Compare Listings

Title Price Status Type Area Purpose Bedrooms Bathrooms