How Does My Funding Request Get to the Top of an Investor’s Stack of Potential Deals?

By David D. Repka, Co-Founder of Bison Financial Group

For better or worse the free & flattening power of the Internet has forever changed how the “deal game (1)” is played. The Internet is a terrific way to share massive amounts of data virtually instantaneously and frictionlessly, but there is still a rhythm to be followed on what is submitted to an investor (2) and when.

Successful investors have a very large deal flow and see many deals over the course of a day, a week, a month and a career. They know their “box” and what fits and what doesn’t. They view e-mail as a necessary evil to be waded through as quickly as possible. They want to get to the bottom of their inbox as quickly as possible to go home to their family not get bogged down in a paperwork quicksand. There are few things that will melt an investor’s brain faster than a first time e-mail with 20mb of unlabeled or cryptically coded file attachments. To paraphrase Blaise Pascal, “just because you did not have the time to write me a short letter does not mean you should bomb me a long list of file attachments that I really don’t care about now” (nor may I ever care about them).

Last week I asked a bridge lender that is new to me to share a basic overview on the types of transactions that best fit his “sweet spot”. The reply I received was so awesome that it nearly brought tears to my weary, overworked bloodshot eyes. I knew I must share it in my blog since it does such a great job of crystalizing what is and what is not important to a lender. Enjoy!


Thanks for your e-mail. The answers to the following questions are important because the terms and pricing for individual deals are based on leverage, debt service coverage, asset quality and sponsorship.

Thank you,
Mr. Lender

General Loan Criteria as follows (for this particular lender):

1.     Lien Position: all loans are in 1st position
2.     Loan-to-Value (LTV): not to exceed 65%
3.     Term: not to exceed 2 years
4.     Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR): greater than 1.0
5.     Exit: clearly defined exit strategy
6.     Location: any U.S. metropolitan market
7.     Type: multifamily, office, medical office, mixed use, retail, flex, warehouse & light industrial

Initial Questions Needed (preferably via email) i.e. The Executive Summary:

1.     Loan amount
2.     Type of Asset (e.g. multifamily, retail, office, flex)
3.     Property location (e.g. city, state)
4.     Term requested (e.g. less than 12 months)
5.     Purpose of the loan (Use of Proceeds)
6.     Drop dead closing date
7.     Existing debt (1st position)
8.     Existing NOI
9.     Near term tenants ( if retail, office, flex & etc)
10.   Additional NOI from the near term tenants
11.   May we review the most recent appraisal?
12.   Guarantor(s) Net Worth and Liquidity
13.   Exit Strategy

I would really appreciate having the answers sent back to me in the:

a) order I sent them and
b) without additional executive summaries or overviews.

This will help me get to the answers I need much more quickly thereby getting an answer to you on whether or not we can move forward.

Thank you,
Mr. Lender


WOW! What a breathe of fresh air… an investor that actually knows what his box is, how to fill it and how to communicate with potential channel partners. I especially like the completely unambiguous and no-nonsense instructions to send him an e-mail with the items on his list and in his preferred order! That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do business in the Internet era and how you rise out of the ashes of burned out deals to the top of someone’s mind, heart and inbox.

(1). By “deal game” I mean commercial real estate investment / development / finance as well as corporate finance / Mergers & Acquisition.
(2). So there is no ambiguity, whenever the word “investor” is used, it refers to a deal participant that is writing a check to either buy an asset or provide senior debt, mezzanine financing, preferred equity or pure equity. For the purposes of this article all may be used interchangeably.