“Matchmaker, matchmaker, Make me a match, Find me a find, Catch me a catch.”
There may not be a subject more contentious and, we believe, misrepresented in the Innkeeping industry than Bed and Breakfast owner financing. Inn sellers have been known to shudder at the very mention of this term, which to them signals an undesirable extension of their Innkeeping career. And this makes sense – there is nothing so satisfying as a deal that allows sellers to exit the Innkeeping stage with a clean break and cash in the bank! However, all Inns are not created equal. That is to say, every Bed and Breakfast and Inn is subject to the needs and desires (and whims and fancies) of its owners and there are many factors that contribute to the success of an Inn and, ultimately, to the success of an Inn transfer.
The goal of any successful Inn transfer is to match a viable Inn business with a personally and financially qualified buyer. For the last 35+ years, we have guided the transfer of over 375 Inns by taking seriously our charge as matchmakers in the Innkeeping industry. The greatest tool you have is to fundamentally understand your strengths and weaknesses and how those could complement or contradict a property of interest or a possible buyer. Inn transfers require a certain level of motivation on the part of Innkeepers, future and present, and understanding your unique position will allow you to operate on a level far above most Inn sellers and buyers.
Owner Financing In Practice
There are many things that necessitate the need for Bed and Breakfast owner financing. For sellers, partial owner financing may be required when the Inn’s cash flow does not support a projected debt service. Take for instance this Okemo Valley Vermont Bed and Breakfast. The Inn has a world class setting, within a short drive of two of Vermont’s largest ski resorts. While the physical plant has been beautifully maintained and common areas abound, the owner/operators have no mortgage and run the business to produces a comfortable return for their lifestyle. A new buyer with a mortgage will need to increase business activity and cash flow, which based upon the location and facility should not be difficult. However, as owners are motivated to sell, creative financing options are available to serious and qualified buyers. This Bed and Breakfast in Chester, Vermont, presents another opportunity for owner financing.
Full owner financing is a less common occurrence, but there are cases in which owners desire to fully finance a purchase of their property. While these cases are rare, they can present great opportunities to qualified buyers. Call us for details on a few of our current listings that would consider full Bed and Breakfast owner financing for qualified buyers.
Call it Owner Financing, Seller Financing or Seller Carryback
Of course, as a seller, understanding your unique selling proposition (USP) and testing the Inn buyer market is critical to your success. While the Innkeepers dream is for a buyer to hand them one million in cash just after breakfast service and room turns, this is not always a reality. Try to clearly define your goals, understanding than an Inn transfer takes on average two years, and plan your exit strategy accordingly.
As a buyer it is equally important to understand your strengths and weaknesses and how those can be effectively applied to an Inn transfer. Do you have extensive hospitality experience, but lack the funds to purchase a property in your sights? Creative financing is our forte and we hope that we can provide the answers to launch your successful career in Innkeeping.
We invite current and future Innkeepers to call us to discuss a creative approach to Inn financing and other strategies for buying and selling viable Inns in the US and beyond.
Until Next Time,