The Small Business Administration (SBA) works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses, through a variety of loan programs. Real estate professionals are eligible for SBA-backed loans for their businesses if they qualify as a “small business” in the U.S. These loans, which range in size from $500 to $5.5 million, can be used for most business purposes, including the purchase of land, machinery, remodeling, refinancing of existing debt, and repairing and rebuilding following a disaster.
NAR has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19. Many REALTORS® are small businesses, or work with them as clients. In the first relief package passed into law in April 2020, the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or CARES Act, there were significant provisions aimed at assisting small businesses during this difficult time. The CARES Act appropriates more than $360 billion total for new Small Business Administration (SBA) programs - the 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) advance grants program. For more information about the PPP and EIDL loans, please visit nar.realtor/coronavirusSBA.
There are several SBA programs that can benefit real estate professionals. The SBA’s most popular loan program, 7(a), provides loans for startup costs, including purchasing new land, purchasing or expanding existing businesses, and refinancing existing debt. The 504 Loan or Certified Development Company (CDC) program provides financing for the purchase of fixed assets, including real estate and equipment. For startups and small businesses with lower capital needs, the SBA has a “microloan” program, which provides loans between $500 and $50,000 for new startups and small businesses that cannot get financing elsewhere.
The SBA also provides low-interest disaster loans for businesses, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace property, including real estate, equipment, and personal property, that is damaged or destroyed in a declared emergency.
In 2015, the SBA unveiled “SBA One,” a modernization effort on the part of the Agency to streamline the application process and several other points of contact between the agency and borrowers. The platform assists with determining loan eligibility and pairing borrowers with lenders, among other services.