Buyer Financial Pre-Qualification – What, Why and How?
You’ve decided that it’s finally time to take the step and move forward in exploring a purchase of a law firm. You have located one or a few potential law firm listings that you think may be the right choice for you or your law firm’s needs and you are ready to get things moving. However, there is one thing you should do before diving into a review of the law firms, financials, calls, and meetings to see if one is the right opportunity for you – you should get pre-qualified for the purchase of a law firm.
What Is Pre-Qualification?
If you’ve ever gotten a home mortgage before, you may already be familiar with the process of pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is a preliminary commitment from a lender to give you a set amount of money that you can use to fund the purchase. The lender will supply you with a pre-qualification letter or document that you can present to brokers or to sellers when you reach out expressing interest in the law firm(s).
Why Get Pre-Qualified?
If you are going to require financing for any portion of the purchase of the law firm, it is crucial to get pre-qualified before you take any further steps. Even if your needs are only for working capital and not related to the acquisition price of a firm you would still want to make sure that key piece to the equation can be fulfilled. Doing so at the beginning of your search will provide a number of benefits:
Saving Time – By applying for pre-qualification, you’ll know up front whether or not you’ll even be able to obtain a loan of the type, the amount or for the purpose needed. In the event that you can’t obtain pre-qualification with your current lender due to that lender’s industry focus, you’ll have time to connect with a lender which is focused on law firms and move things forward for you as needed.
More Focused Search – Your pre-qualification will let you know precisely how much you can spend on the purchase of a law firm and what works for your goals, needs and overall financial risks. As a result, you’ll be able to focus on the law firm that you can afford. The improved focus will make for a more streamlined search process and help you find the perfect law firm to buy much faster.
Expanded Options – Some prospective law firm buyers are pleasantly surprised by their pre-qualifications and find out they will be able to afford a different scale of law firm than they anticipated. Once you know how much you will be able to borrow, you may be able to expand your search to more profitable or larger law firms that may be better fits for you or your firm in the long run.
Credibility – Having a pre-qualification letter from a lender will show sellers that you’re the real thing. By establishing financial credibility from the start, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate. When sellers take you seriously, they’ll be more cooperative and eager to work with you.
How to Get Pre-Qualified?
To get pre-qualified, you’ll need to approach lenders and complete an application. Lenders may want to see proof of income, bank statements or tax returns, so it’s helpful to have those documents together.
If you’re looking for assistance with pre-qualification or want to line up your next steps so that you can begin searching as soon as you have your qualification paperwork, The Law Practice Exchange can help! Contact us today and we can provide law firm marketplace lenders and other resources to help you expedite this process.