Seller Financing

I chatted with a friend who’s in the process of acquiring a business. Instead of using a bank to finance the debt portion of the purchase price, he’s using seller financing. That is, instead of taking out a bank loan and paying the full purchase price in cash, he’s accepting a loan from the seller. The seller gets paid part of the purchase price in cash at closing, with the remainder repaid over time with interest.

This is common, but I hadn’t heard about it being used as much in the last few years because interest rates have been so low. I was curious how the seller felt about it, so I asked my friend.

He said the seller envisioned selling the business, getting cash in a lump sum, and riding off into the sunset. Seller financing, which prevents a clean break from the business, wasn’t part of his vision. It took a bit of convincing by my friend, but in the end, they made a deal after a detailed walkthrough of the math.

Riding off into the sunset is every founder’s dream scenario if they want to sell, but it doesn’t often play out that way. Things like earnouts and seller financing are common and can mean the seller will get delayed payments over a period of time.