All the banking notions to know

Negotiating Your Way to Financial Success

In today's financial landscape, your ability to negotiate effectively with the bank can make all the difference. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just stepping into the world of real estate, this article will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to secure better profitability and peace of mind. Let's delve into the essentials of bank negotiation.

All the banking notions to know

Credit Deferral: Your Secret Weapon

One powerful tool in your negotiation arsenal is credit deferral. This financial maneuver allows you to pay only a portion or even nothing at all of your credit for several months or years. It becomes particularly handy when property renovations or improvements are on the horizon. Your request for the deferral duration should align with the project's timeline. For example, if you anticipate an 8-10 month renovation, opt for a 12-month deferment.

You have flexibility in this approach. You can choose partial credit deferral, where you only pay the interest, or full credit carryover, where you pay nothing. The latter not only eases your financial burden during the project but also helps you build up a cash reserve. This tactic is especially useful for newcomers to real estate who may have limited resources.

However, exercise caution not to overuse credit deferral, as its primary goal is to ultimately repay your loan. Extending the deferral period excessively will push back your credit's end date.

Prepayment Interest (IRA): A Shrewd Negotiation Move

Understanding Prepayment Interest, often referred to as IRA (Interest Rate Adjustment), is crucial. These are fees you pay when you settle your loan ahead of schedule. The sooner you clear your debt, the less interest the bank earns, which is why they impose IRAs.

Your goal should be to negotiate the avoidance of IRA fees when making an early repayment. While some prefer repaying their loans quickly, others like to maintain financial flexibility and use the money for future property investments. If the terms are not specified, IRAs are typically calculated as 3% of the remaining capital or six months of interest on the repaid amount. The lower of these two figures will be chosen.

Application Fees: Reducing Your Costs

In many cases, banks charge application fees when you secure a loan. These fees can range from 500 to 2000€. Reducing or avoiding them should be a part of your negotiation strategy to minimize costs. However, in the hierarchy of negotiation priorities, application fees are relatively less important, and you can skip this negotiation if the situation doesn't permit it.

The Duration of the Rate: Balancing Cash Flow

The duration of your loan has a significant impact on your financial strategy. Longer durations lead to lower monthly payments, but they also result in higher total interest payments. Conversely, shorter durations mean higher monthly payments but lower overall interest costs.

For many real estate investors, a 20-year loan term strikes a balance between low overall interest costs and positive cash flow. However, it's worth noting that banks increasingly offer 25, 30, or even 35-year terms for rental investments. You'll need to crunch the numbers to determine if maximizing cash flow or minimizing interest expenses aligns better with your financial goals.

Understanding the Language of the Banker

To succeed in negotiations with the bank, you must speak the language of the banker. One key term you may encounter is "110% funded." This means you're borrowing the entire amount needed for your investment from the bank, including notary fees, bank file fees, mortgage, and renovation costs. While it's called 110%, it's simply an expression. Banks often grant this level of funding for initial investments, but as your property portfolio grows, you may need to contribute your own funds, such as notary fees or even a 20% down payment.

Deposit or Mortgage: Securing Your Investment

Banks are risk-averse institutions, and they require guarantees to ensure they're repaid. Two primary types of guarantees are prevalent in France:

  • Surety Bonds: Representing the majority of loans, banks prefer surety bonds. In this arrangement, the bank delegates the responsibility of recovering the debt to a surety body, often affiliated with the bank itself or a housing credit organization.
  • Mortgages: Less common, mortgages are another form of guarantee. They involve using the property itself as collateral to secure the loan.

In both cases, these guarantees are non-negotiable, and banks won't provide loans without them.

In conclusion, mastering the art of bank negotiation is essential for achieving better profitability and peace of mind in your real estate investments. Whether you're leveraging credit deferral, minimizing IRAs, or negotiating application fees, your ability to communicate effectively with your bank is key to success. So, equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies outlined in this article, and watch your real estate ventures thrive.


1. What's the ideal duration for a real estate loan?

The ideal loan duration often chosen by investors is 20 years, striking a balance between manageable overall interest costs and positive cash flow. However, longer loan terms with lower monthly payments are also available.

2. How can I avoid paying application fees to the bank?

You can attempt to negotiate the reduction or elimination of application fees during your loan application. However, these fees are relatively less important compared to other negotiation aspects.

3. What is credit deferral, and when should I use it?

Credit deferral allows you to postpone or reduce credit payments during specific periods, such as property renovations. It's beneficial when you have planned work that requires financial flexibility. Ensure the deferral period aligns with your project timeline.

4. Are IRA fees avoidable when repaying a loan early?

IRA (Interest Rate Adjustment) fees can often be negotiated to be minimized or avoided altogether when repaying your loan ahead of schedule. Negotiating this aspect can save you money.

5. What does it mean to be "110% funded" by a bank?

Being "110% funded" means borrowing the entire amount needed for your investment, including various associated costs, from the bank. While it's called 110%, it's just an expression, and it's often granted for initial investments but may require contributions as your portfolio grows.

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