June 7

2024 Guide to SBA Financing for Boutique Hotels


Are you considering investing in boutique hotels? The boutique hotel industry is booming, with opportunities for acquiring properties in the $1 to $8 million range. This guide will walk you through the essentials of SBA financing options, specifically focusing on SBA 7A and 504 loans, to help you make informed decisions for your investment.

Understanding the Boutique Hotel Market

The boutique hotel market is currently fragmented, presenting numerous opportunities for investors. Many of these properties are run by “Mom and Pop” owners who are ready to sell, making it a prime time for new investors to step in. By modernizing these properties with automation features such as keyless entry and leveraging platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, you can efficiently manage and optimize your investment.

Why Consider SBA Financing?

When it comes to financing boutique hotels, SBA loans stand out due to their favorable terms and flexibility. There are two primary SBA loan options: the SBA 7A and the SBA 504. Each has its own benefits and ideal use cases.

SBA 7A Loan: Flexibility and Convenience

The SBA 7A loan is known for its flexibility, making it a popular choice for boutique hotel investors. Here’s why:

  • Single Loan Structure: Unlike the SBA 504 loan, which involves two loans, the 7A loan simplifies the process with a single loan.
  • Flexible Use of Funds: The 7A loan can be used for real estate, working capital, and other business needs.
  • Shorter Prepayment Penalty: This makes it easier to manage finances without long-term penalties.
  • Experience Matters: Banks prefer borrowers with experience in the hospitality industry. However, experience in short-term rentals (STR) such as Airbnb or VRBO can also be beneficial.

SBA 504 Loan: Ideal for Larger Acquisitions

The SBA 504 loan is suited for larger projects, offering higher loan limits and favorable terms. This loan consists of two parts: a senior loan from a bank and a junior loan from a Certified Development Company (CDC). Key points include:

  • Higher Loan Amounts: Ideal for acquisitions exceeding the $5 million cap of the 7A loan.
  • Structured Financing: Involves a 10% equity injection, 50% senior loan, and 40% junior loan.
  • Special Purpose Property Considerations: Certain properties like gas stations or some boutique hotels may be classified as special purpose, impacting the loan structure.

Preparing Your Loan Application

Securing SBA financing requires thorough preparation. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the process:

  1. Gather Financial Documents: Obtain three years of business tax returns, a personal financial statement, and a year-to-date financial report.
  2. Create a Business Plan: Include detailed information about property improvements, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
  3. Prepare a Resume: Highlight your experience in the hospitality industry or related fields.
  4. Tell Your Story: Lenders want to understand your vision and strategy. A well-crafted narrative can make a significant difference.

Navigating the Loan Process

Working with a consultant or broker can simplify the process of finding the right lender and securing a loan. They can help you gather the necessary documents, identify suitable banks, and negotiate favorable terms.

Interest Rates and Terms

SBA 7A loans typically offer variable interest rates, calculated as the prime rate plus a margin. For higher-risk deals, margins can go up to 2.75%. For more secure deals, margins can be as low as 0.75%. Understanding these rates can help you make informed financial decisions.


Investing in boutique hotels offers a lucrative opportunity, especially with the right financing. By leveraging SBA 7A and 504 loans, you can secure favorable terms and manage your investment efficiently. Start by preparing a comprehensive loan application and working with experienced professionals to navigate the loan process.

If you're looking to dive into the boutique hotel market and need financing advice, consider booking a discovery call with an expert. They can provide personalized guidance and help you create a strategic finance plan tailored to your goals.

Unlock the potential of boutique hotel investments with SBA financing today!


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