ABC FinanceCommercial mortgagesProcess & criteria

Commercial Mortgage Process & Criteria

Author: Gary Hemming CeMAP CeFA CeFA CSP

20+ years experience in commercial mortgages

A big part of the work we do with our clients is around making the process as easy as possible. Securing a commercial mortgage can be daunting and time-consuming, especially if you’re looking to take out your first one.

We work with you to ensure the process runs smoothly and we keep you updated every step of the way, to make sure you always know the latest on your application. To find out more about how we work, read our commercial mortgage case studies.

The process

Find out how the commercial mortgage application process works below:

1Talk through your needs with one of our commercial mortgage experts, who will discuss the project and assess the application.
2Assuming the application is viable, you will then receive a quote in writing detailing the interest rate, fees and headline borrowing terms, along with what documents are required to submit a full application.
3The forms will be completed and submitted to the lender alongside a comprehensive report on the project.
4If the lender is happy with the application so far they may want to meet you. At this point, we would arrange the meeting for you at a time and place convenient to you.
5Once comfortable, the lending manager will take your application to the credit committee. These are the underwriters who sign off the application as acceptable to the lender. After approval, the lender will issue the formal offer, subject to valuation and legal work.
6Your formal offer will be issued.
7A surveyor is instructed to compile a valuation report on the property. It will be comprehensive and may take longer than a residential valuation to complete, although we always push to speed this up for you.
8Your solicitor is instructed to carry out the legal work and satisfy all conditions. They will run through the terms of the agreement and ensure you fully understand the loan. Once satisfied, you will sign the formal offer and return it to the lender. It is important that your solicitor is familiar with the commercial mortgage process as inexperience here can slow progress significantly.
9Once this is done, the funds can be released, and the loan completed.

Understanding commercial mortgages

When taking out a commercial mortgage for the first time, many people use their experience of residential mortgages as a reference point.

A commercial mortgage tends to take slightly longer its residential equivalent. Residential mortgages are usually heavily automated, with very little manual underwriting. Commercial mortgages are the opposite in this regard, with applications processed and agreed manually. Although this slows the process down, it does have major advantages.

Every business tends to run in its own unique way. Their finances and ways of doing things can be completely varied. Due to these dramatic differences, commercial mortgage underwriters have to be flexible, and look at each application with an open mind.

Setting hard and fast rules can prove counterproductive for commercial mortgage lenders. A good example is the assessment of a company’s financial performance. The accounts may show a small profit, however, this may be clouded by significant reinvestment in the business. The future profitability may potentially grow rapidly, however, a set of accounts alone will not show this.

Painting the whole picture to a lender is crucial to getting the best possible deal and ensuring your case completes quickly.

How can I speed up the process?

The key is to ensure that you spend additional time in producing the application pack upfront. Although we will let you know the documents that we require, any further detail about positive future changes in your financial position or anticipated trading will help.

Providing full detail upfront and responding quickly to requests is the best way to speed up your application.


We offer commercial mortgages from lenders across the whole market to find the most suitable product for you.

Each lender has their own criteria, but may even be able to step outside their predetermined must-haves under certain circumstances. The below information is intended as a guide to let you know what our lenders from across the commercial mortgage market are looking for.

Loan sizes

Borrowing from £25,000 – no maximum loan size. We are able to offer bespoke terms for large commercial mortgages.


5 years – 30 years.

Acceptable security

We can consider any type of commercial property, and can even consider predominantly residential property or land as security. We are happy to consider any security, including:

  • Offices
  • Land
  • Professional practices
  • Care homes
  • Pubs and bars
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Guest houses
  • Retail premises
  • Business parks
  • Warehouses
  • Factories
  • HMOs
  • Semi-commercial units

Acceptable borrowers

We can lend to the following ownership structures:

  • Individuals
  • Offshore companies
  • Partnerships
  • Limited companies
  • LLP / other company structures
  • Pension funds (where the pension fund is allowed to borrow money)

We can lend to borrowers from 18 years of age, and most lenders will fund clients to the age of 75. If you’re looking to borrow beyond this term, we may still be able to help, and an adviser will be able to inform you of your options over the phone.


We are able to arrange commercial mortgages across the UK, with no geographical restrictions.

Credit history

Credit history is a key factor in many lenders credit decisions. Although most lenders prefer clean credit, we can fund clients with any level of adverse credit, as long as you are not currently bankrupt.

As the level of adverse credit increases, interest rates and loan to value (LTV) may be affected.

Income evidence

For owner occupied applications, two years accounts are usually required. We have lenders who are willing to accept accountants’ certificates or projections in lieu, where appropriate.

Repayment method

Interest only or capital repayment available.

Lease length

Some commercial investment mortgage lenders require the lease to extend beyond the term of the loan. This is not the case with all lenders and your loan may still be acceptable with a short, or even rolling lease.

Lender meetings

Some (but not all) lenders arrange a meeting before taking your loan to formal offer. There are three main aims of the meeting:

  • To get to know you personally
  • To allow the person handling the application to understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
  • To understand your business

Some clients can be nervous before the meeting, but it is an invaluable opportunity to allow the lender to see the positives in your business. It is the time to sell yourself and allow them to see the great difference you could make going forward.

The meetings don’t tend to be too scary and, in reality, people who work in banks can actually be very friendly! If you are prepared and know your business, you will find the meeting far less daunting than is first imagined.

Want help finding your perfect solution?

Request a callback from our team of experts at a time convenient for you.