Business Loans

What are Maximum SBA Loan Amounts?

Nov 21, 2023 • 5 min read
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      Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are a popular financing option for small businesses. These loans offer affordable interest rates and flexible terms, making them an attractive choice for entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business. However, like any loan, there are limits on how much money you can borrow through the SBA program. 

      Let’s dive into the details of maximum SBA loan amounts and what they mean for small business owners.

      Understanding maximum SBA loan amounts.

      The maximum SBA loan amount refers to the highest loan limit set by the SBA. These limits are in place to ensure that the loans are being used for their intended purpose—to help small businesses grow and succeed. The SBA sets different maximum loan amounts for various types of loans, which we’ll explore in more detail below.

      Maximum SBA loan amount for purchasing a business.

      If you are looking to buy an existing business, the maximum SBA loan amount is $5 million. This includes both the purchase price of the business and any working capital needed to operate the business. However, keep in mind that this is the maximum amount and not all businesses will qualify for such a large loan. The SBA also requires a down payment of at least 10% to 20% for purchasing a business.

      Maximum SBA loan amount for commercial real estate and commercial property.

      For small businesses looking to purchase or refinance commercial real estate or commercial property, the maximum SBA loan amount is $5 million. This includes both the cost of purchasing the property and any renovations or improvements needed for business operations. Again, like with purchasing a business, not all businesses will qualify for the full $5-million loan amount.

      Maximum SBA 7(a) loan amount.

      The most popular SBA loan program is the 7(a) loan program, which provides working capital for small businesses. The maximum SBA 7(a) loan amount is $5 million, and this can be used for a variety of business purposes, such as purchasing inventory, refinancing debt, or expanding operations. However, the SBA typically guarantees only up to 85% of the total loan amount, meaning the lender is still responsible for a portion of the loan.

      When it comes to the SBA 7(a) loan, business owners should be prepared to make a down payment. While the exact amount can vary, it’s typically around 10% of the total loan amount. It’s important to note that this down payment requirement can be higher if you’re using the loan for certain purposes, such as purchasing real estate or an existing business.

      Maximum SBA 504 loan amount.

      The SBA 504 loan program is specifically designed to support small businesses in acquiring major fixed assets, such as real estate or equipment. Unlike the 7(a) program, the 504 loan does not have a maximum limit. Instead, it is structured as a partnership, where the borrower contributes at least 10% of the total project costs, a certified development company (usually a non-profit) provides up to 40%, and a lender covers the remaining 50%.

      The SBA’s contribution (through the CDC) can range anywhere from $25,000 to $5.5 million, depending on the nature of the project and the business’ eligibility. However, keep in mind that the total project costs (including all three contributors) can significantly exceed the maximum SBA 7(a) loan amount. The SBA 504 loans are an excellent option for businesses looking to make large investments in long-term assets, while benefiting from low down payments and fixed interest rates.

      For the SBA 504 loan, the borrower typically has to make a down payment of around 10% of the total project costs. However, this can increase to 15% for newer businesses (less than two years-old) or when the project involves a limited or single-purpose building.

      Maximum SBA microloan amount.

      The SBA offers a microloan program designed specifically to aid small businesses and non-profit childcare centers in need of small-scale financing. This program caters to businesses that require smaller amounts of funding than offered under the larger SBA loan programs. The maximum SBA microloan amount is $50,000, but the average loan awarded tends to be around $13,000. 

      Microloans can be used for various business expenses, such as purchasing inventory, furniture, machinery, or equipment. However, it’s important to note that they cannot be used for buying real estate or paying off existing debts. The repayment term for these microloans can go up to six years, providing an accessible and manageable financing option for small businesses.

      For the SBA microloan program, the down payment requirements can vary heavily depending on the lender’s policies and the borrower’s creditworthiness. While some lenders may not require a down payment, others might ask for an upfront contribution. It’s crucial that prospective borrowers discuss their specific situation with their lender or a financial advisor to understand the exact requirements and plan accordingly.

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