Toronto’s Larry Weltman helps Canadian real estate professionals do business more efficiently and effectively. As a customer service representative for AccessEasyFunds Ltd., he and his team provide commission advances at affordable prices for real estate agents and brokers. This helps commercial real estate agents maintain a strong cash flow even as they’re investing significant upfront dollars into projects. Weltman discusses the booming Toronto market and the convenience of front-end commissions, a relatively unique option.
The Toronto commercial real estate market is very strong at the moment, following a substantial increase in prices over the past two years. To what do you attribute this trend?
Larry Weltman: Supply and demand. This is especially prevalent in large metropolitan areas, where high rental demand has been driving up rent prices, which in turn push up values these properties through the capitalization rates. This is attributable to a few factors. One is that there are lower costs of borrowing at this end of the market. Also, more capital is available for these deals from traditional sources, like banks, at higher leverage thresholds. Because high lending ratios and rental incomes have increased, so there’s better debt service.
For realtors, at least, deals seem to take longer to put together today. And there’s more cost, too. Is there a way to reduce time and money?
Larry Weltman: This is because there’s so much more work than a residential deal. What many realtors aren’t aware of is that there is a way to advance and finance commercial deals by getting some or most of their commissions upfront. At AccessEasyFunds, we do it, and it’s a unique offering. To date, we’ve advanced commissions on more than $9 billion worth of real estate transactions.
Why would commercial real estate agents opt for advances on their commissions?
Larry Weltman: In the commercial real estate market, deals involve substantially more money than they do in residential deals. Also, in commercial real estate, it can take several weeks or even several months to close the sale. In the traditional model, the agents won’t receive their commissions until some time after the closing, so because of this waiting time, they might not have enough money on hand for bills that need to be paid. In the pre-deal commission model, an agent can apply for an advance of up to 90 percent on his or her commission as long as the deal is firm and solid. This model, by the way, does work for residential real estate deals as well.
Does it cost more in the long run for real estate professionals to do things this way? For example, is there high interest as a trade-off for the convenience?
Larry Weltman: No, it’s actually structured to help the commercial agents as much as possible. In our case, you’re looking at very competitive rates. And there’s no upper limit on how much money you can request, of course subject to agent qualification.. And the application for an advance is really easy to complete. It takes maybe ten minutes, then not even an hour for approval to occur. Once that happens, the money you requested will be in your bank account usually the same business day. This approach is finding lots of favor with commercial agents, especially those who need the money and can’t wait for an extended time to pay their bills.
If a commercial real estate agent has a lot of irons in the fire, say, several deals going on at one time, can they use this approach for each of them, or is it just limited to one? Larry Weltman: There’s no limit. It can be as many as they’d like, again, of course, subject to agent and deal qualification. Many real estate companies across Canada are enthusiastically using the advance commission process. It’s really been a lifesaver to those who need to maintain positive cash flow.