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  • Writer's pictureColin Dubel

SBA 504 vs. SBA 7a

The SBA 504 and SBA 7(a) programs are two popular loan programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for commercial real estate financing. While both programs aim to assist small business owners in obtaining financing, they have some significant differences.

SBA 504 Program: The SBA 504 program is specifically designed for small businesses looking to purchase, construct, or renovate owner-occupied commercial real estate or to purchase long-term machinery and equipment. This program is a partnership between the SBA, a Certified Development Company (CDC), and the borrower. The CDC provides up to 40% of the project cost, and a lender provides up to 50% of the project cost. The borrower provides the remaining 10% of the project cost as a down payment. The SBA guarantees the CDC's portion of the loan. The SBA 504 loan is a long-term, fixed-rate loan, typically with a maturity of 10 or 20 years.

SBA 7(a) Program: The SBA 7(a) program is a more versatile loan program offered by the SBA. This program can be used for a variety of purposes, including commercial real estate, working capital, equipment purchases, and debt refinancing. SBA 7(a) loans can be structured as either fixed-rate or variable-rate loans and have a maximum maturity of 25 years.

Which is the better option? The answer to this question depends on the specific needs of the borrower. If the borrower's primary goal is to purchase or renovate owner-occupied commercial real estate or purchase long-term machinery and equipment, then the SBA 504 program may be the better option due to its lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. However, if the borrower needs more flexibility in the use of the loan proceeds or desires a shorter-term loan, then the SBA 7(a) program may be the better option. Ultimately, the best option for a borrower will depend on their specific situation, and it is recommended to consult with a lender or financial advisor to determine which program is best suited for their needs.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to discuss a scenario of your own with our team, please feel free to contact Colin Dubel at or 949-735-6415.


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