FAQ – Frequently Asked Commercial Mortgage Loan Questions



What is ICS?

ICS is a Commercial Mortgage Brokerage operating on a national level. In addition to commercial mortgage lending, ICS offers a Commercial Mortgage Broker Partner Program including online training and marketing services to help new and experienced brokers excel in the commercial lending business. Commercial Mortgage Brokers can work with ICS as Lending Partners, either under the ICS brand or Independently under their own business brand. 

How do you submit loans to ICS for funding?

If you are a Premier Lending Partner, you should login to your Loan Dashboard and submit the loan, then upload documents, and schedule a loan review call. If you are an Independent Broker without access, you can submit a loan for the website "Request Loan" link, then schedule a loan review call. Watch our submission video below.

How is ICS different from most lenders and brokerages?

As a national Commercial Mortgage Lending Company ICS leverages our strong, long-term relationships with all sources of capital, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA/HUD, SBA, life companies, bridge lenders, banks, and CMBS lenders. ICS structures, underwrites, packages, and prices loans which are submitted to multiple institutional and private capital partners for funding. Our lenders meet, beat, or counteroffer our asking rate and terms, ensuring our clients attain the best financing available through a competitive bidding process. ICS brokers our loans to the most competitive lender.

Can you pay a referral fee to a 3rd party broker?

If you were referred a loan by a 3rd party broker you can pay a referral fee at your discretion. We recommend 20% of your commission cut, but in some cases Lending Partners will pay up to 1% on certain deals. The 3rd party broker must be paid by you directly following closing. The referring 3rd party broker cannot be paid by ICS or at closing. They must be paid by you per a separate agreement between you and the referring party.

How long does it take to complete online training?

It can take anywhere from 1-day to several days or weeks depending upon how much time is spent reviewing the training materials online. Training is not timed and can be completed at our leisure. 

How long do Brokers have access to online training?

Access to training and the ICS Funding Platform is available online for as long as you are an ICS Lending Partner.

Can you work with ICS as Lending Partner if you are a licensed residential loan officer or realtor?

Absolutely. You can continue to work with your residential mortgage company and work with ICS on commercial and investment property loans. ICS Lending Partners are paid as independent contractors on a 1099 basis.

Can you have your own website to originate loans under your own brand?

Absolutely. However, ICS provides NO support for 3rd party websites and cannot provide any guidance related to your website for legal purposes. If you choose to have your own website, you must ensure you abide by all state-by-state and federal regulations. ICS does not provide support regarding these matters, as we have no ownership or management position in your site. If you use your own website, it is 100% up to you to determine what disclosures are needed.

Where do Broker commissions come into play with the client?

Brokers typically discuss a broker loan fee with their client upfront. You are securing financing for the client and can set your fee upfront. Most Brokers charge 1-2% to secure financing, providing clients with rate and fee options once the loan has been evaluated by ICS and underwritten across multiple lenders. ICS charges 1% on  most loans which is combined with the points you are charging. In some cases, ICS is able to work our portion of the fee to be paid by the lender, meaning no points to the Borrower. In general, assume ICS is charging 1% combined with your points.

Is there a Funding Fee Agreement with the client?

Yes, all clients sign a Funding Fee Agreement. This protects you and ICS to ensure everyone gets paid once financing is arranged. You can find the ICS Funding Fee agreement in the Forms sections of your ICS Loan Dashboard.

If you have an NMLS license or real estate license, do you have to transfer your license to ICS?


How is the support at ICS?

Training support is primarily via email and scheduled calls with an ICS Team Lead. Loan support is provided by phone, email, and scheduled calls. Every loan is assigned to a 3-person loan team at ICS, ensuring loans are processed with the highest level of support. Communication is our top priority. In addition to online training we hold two weekly live Zoom webinars each week and an intro onboarding Zoom calls for new Brokers following online training completion. 

When is the 1st onboarding call following online training?

The first onboarding call is held via Zoom the Wednesday following online training completion. You can schedule your onboarding Zoom call from your ICS Loan Dashboard Training Center.

Does ICS provide leads?

Yes. ICS provides property owner contact leads via Property Radar. Property owner contact leads can also be purchased for $1.25 each, including property details, loan information, and borrower contact details, including name, email, and phone. Lead fees are in addition to our Premier Partner monthly platform fee. Contact leads are optional, but highly recommended if you do not already have a property owner database of at least 2000 contacts.

Are commercial property loans regulated under RESPA?

No. Commercial loans are non-consumer, business-related loans.

Does ICS provide live training in addition to online training?

Yes. ICS provides Brokers that sign up as Lending Partners with continuous live and online training every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 9am PST via Zoom. You can join our weekly meetings by logging into your Loan Dashboard and clicking on the Zoom Call links.

How long has ICS been in business?

ICS started as a Commercial Real Estate company in 2009. In 2017, ICS launched ICSLoans.com designed to train and help Independent Loan Brokers and ICS Commercial Loan Advisors originate, package, and place commercial, multifamily, and investment property loans with lenders on a nationwide basis.

How do you become an ICS Lending Partner?

You must sign up as a Lending Partner with us online.

Are there any requirements or quotas?

No. Our goal is for you to originate $36MM in loans per year. Hopefully  your goals exceed those of ICS!

How many loans are originated through ICS monthly?

Over 100MM+ in commercial and investment real estate loan applications are originated through ICS each month. 

How much do Commercial Mortgage Brokers make?

The average in the U.S. is $150,000 per year. Good brokers make $360k+ per year. Top producers are in the 7-figure range annually.

What is the largest loan ICS can fund through our lenders?

There is no maximum loan limit. ICS funds loans through the largest lenders and institutions in the country and is partnered with one of the most active Family Offices in the U.S. for projects in excess of $250MM.

What type of loans does ICS fund?

Commercial, multifamily, and investment properties, including multifamily, office, retail, industrial, 1 to 4-unit rentals, and many more. See more property types here.

How long does it take to start funding loans?

Average time is 60-90 days for most new Brokers. This may vary depending upon the amount of time and effort spent originating loans on a weekly basis. Many start with ICS with a few loans already in the works. This equates to a faster ramp-up period.

What is the smallest loan ICS can fund through our lenders?

$100k is our minimum loan size at ICS.

What are the SIX Core Loan Programs most used to fund loans through the ICS Funding Platform?

  1. Bridge Loans
  2. FLEX Perm Loans
  3. Permanent Loan
  4. Fix & Flip / Rehab Loans
  5. New Construction Loans
  6. SBA Loans (Bank)

If you have a general question about the Funding Platform, training, or an administrative related question, who should you contact?

First visit your Loan Dashboard by logging in. If you cannot find the answer to your question within the ICSLoans.com FAQ or training sections, contact the ICS Support Team via email from the "Contact" link on the main menu at ICSLoans.com. Do not call the office or schedule a call for general questions. Email is always the best line of support. Always make sure to ask the question with great detail in your email to ICS so we can accurately answer your questions for you.

If you have a direct question about the status of a loan you have submitted, what should you do?

You can login to your Loan Dashboard and select the loan on which you are working. In the processing section of the loan, you can check the status of the loan. If you want more information, you should contact your assigned Senior Lending Partner or Account Executive assisting you with the loan.

If you have a direct question regarding training, what should you do?

Contact the Support Team through www.icsloans.com contact page from the main menu. Remember, if you are asking questions that have been covered in training or are available on the ICSLoans.com website, we expect that you do your best to use our resources provided to find the answer. We are always here to help. If you get stuck, email us through the contact link from the main menu.

If you have a specific deal related question or scenario and the answer is not covered in training or available via the ICS website, what should you do?

Make sure you have entered the loan request online, then go to the loan detail page and schedule a loan review call. You can select a day and time to speak with an ICS Team Lead to review your loan in detail. You can also simply send us an email through the Contact link on our site, which is faster.

Does ICS handle general questions and support matters by phone?

No, all support questions should be submitted online via the ICS contact form so they can be assigned to the appropriate person. 

If you have a loan scenario, and are unsure if the loan can be funded through ICS, what should you do first?

Login to your Loan Dashboard and use the Loan Finder tool to search programs. You can also enter the loan into the system. You can then schedule a "Loan Review Call" with an ICS Loan Team member. If you are an Independent Broker (not a Premier Lending Partner) you can simply submit the loan from the website without logging in, then schedule a loan review call.

What documents are needed to properly package a loan for lender review?

  • Rent Roll
  • Operating Statement
  • Schedule of Real Estate Owned
  • Person Financial Statement or Commercial 1003
  • Credit Report
  • Rehab & Construction loans require a budget and scope of work.

What is a point?

  • A point is 1% of the loan amount, referred to as loan origination fees. For example, when a borrower pays two points in origination fees, they are paying 2% of the loan amount. The borrower pays points directly at closing, either from loan proceeds on a refinance, or out-of-pocket on a purchase.

What is YSP?

YSP is commonly known as yield spread premium. YSP is lender paid compensation some lenders pay based upon the rate. 

What are the three most important things ICS looks at when evaluating the strength of a borrower?

Money in the bank, equity, property income.

What happens once a loan is submitted online by an Independent Loan Broker or ICS Premier Lending Partner?

Once a loan is submitted online, the Loan Broker can schedule a Loan Review Call to go over the loan with the ICS Loan Team. The Broker should also upload documents available prior to the call if available.

How much does ICS charge per closed loan?

ICS typically charges 1% and/or wraps a loan fee into the loan paid by the lender at closing. ICS fees, if not paid by the lender, range from 0.5% to 1.5% depending upon the property type, loan type, and loan size. There is a standard $2,500 loan processing and underwriting fee paid by the Borrower on loans under $5MM and $5,000 on  loas in excess of $5MM. This fee is paid by the Borrower once a final Lender Term Sheet has been mutually executed between the Borrower and Lender.

Can a borrower use seller financing as their down payment to purchase a property?

In most cases, no. A borrower must have the down payment available. 

Can a borrower use equity in other properties they own to purchase additional properties?

Yes, if they do not exceed the maximum LTV required by the funding lender across collateralized properties.

Does ICS fund loans outside of the United States?

No. We only arrange financing in the United States.

Do you need a Loan Officer license to originate commercial real estate loans?

In most states, no. A real estate brokerage license is required in California. A loan officer license is required in Arizona and Nevada. If you are unlicensed in those states, ICS will team you with a licensed Lending Partner to assist you in closing the loan. 20% of the gross commission goes to the Licensed Broker.

If you do not know the meaning of a term (terminology) or want to learn more about commercial lending, what should you do?

Go to our Commercial Lending Terminology page and/or login to your Loan Dashboard and access your training manual.

> Terminology 

Are Lending Partners employees?

No. Lending Partners are independent contractors and work under the ICS brand or under their own company name. Loan Brokers are paid the Friday following closing or directly at closing depending upon the funding Lender.

Does ICS work with foreign nationals and non-US Citizens?

Yes. Quite common.

If a borrower has not filed taxes for 1 or more years, can we still do the loan?

Yes, but they will not get a bank loan. They will have to go with a non-bank bridge loan or FLEX Perm loan until they have filed taxes.

What fees are charged to borrowers?

Brokers usually charge 1%-2% on most bridge loans, hard money, construction, and fix and flip loans. Brokers typically do not charge more than 1% on conforming permanent loans larger than $500k. Fees vary by loan size and loan type. ICS will always discuss the best fee structure with you for each loan.

Do Lending Partners have access to the ICS Loan Dashboard tools and resources.

Absolutely. However, Independent Brokers that do no sign up with ICS and Premier Lending Partners can submit loans, but they cannot login or access our Funding Platform.

Can Brokers work under their own company name?

Yes. Lending Partners can work under their own company name and use ICS to process, underwrite, and place their loans with lenders. 

Do Lending Partners have a different split if working under their own business name vs. working under ICS?

No. The commission is the same. 100% of loan origination points.

How many lenders are there in the ICS Lending Platform?


What is the best way to learn about Commercial Lending?

Go through the ICS online training resources.

Who is the typical ICS Lending Partner?

Residential real estate agents, commercial realtors, residential loan officers, business consultants, financial planners, salespeople, and other similar fields.

What is a typical rate for a hard money loan?

SOFR + 5.5% to 6.5%.

What is the standard maximum LTV on conforming / institutional loans?

65% to 75%, 80% on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac apartment building loans over 5-units.

What is the standard maximum LTV on hard money / bridge loans?

60% to 70%

What type of properties does ICSLoans.com not work with?

Owner-Occupied Residential Home Loans.

Hard Money loan approvals are based off what primary factors?

Equity & Cash-flow.

Does ICS provide SBA financing through lenders?


Why is it beneficial for a borrower to work with a correspondent lender or broker instead of a bank?

Brokers source capital through every lender in the country providing borrowers with more options. Correspondent lenders sell and assign loans to multiple lenders.

How do you change your profile / phone, contact information with ICS?

Login to your Loan Dashboard and from the dropdown menu select Update Profile.

How do you update your contact information with ICS?

Login to your Loan Dashboard and from the dropdown menu select Update Profile

How long does it typically take to close a hard money / bridge loan?

21 to 30-days

How long does it typically take to close a conforming / institutional loan?

45 to 90-days.

What is a non-recourse loan?

Borrower is not personally responsible in the event of default. Property secures the debt.

What is the typical term length of a hard money / bridge loan?

12 to 24-months, sometimes 36-months.

Do hard money loan payments include principal and interest or interest only?

Interest only in most cases.

What does the Primary Market mean?

Loans are brokered or sold in the primary market to banks and lenders.

What does the Secondary Market mean?

Loans are packages by lenders and banks and sold to investment companies which are then positioned as securities.

How do you calculate a Cap rate?

Net operating income divide by market sale price.

What is Senior Debt?

Long-term loans.

How much is the Loan Processing and Underwriting fee on loans processed and funded by ICS?

$2,500 to $5,000.

What does loan processing and underwriting include?

The following are included.

  • Rate quotes
  • Pull Borrower Credit
  • Title Report
  • Deed of Trust
  • Tax Report
  • Financial document review
  • Package loan for lender review
  • Submit loan to lender chosen by Lending Partner
  • Schedule escrow closing
  • Schedule appraisal as needed
  • Clear lender funding conditions

In what states does ICS service Loan Brokers.

Nationwide, not including Nevada. Brokers are responsible for their own licensing in states where required.

Does ICS assist Loan Brokers fund residential home loans?


If a borrower can apply once through a Broker and have their loan viewed by multiple lenders and investors to fund, why would they go to any other bank or loan officer?

There is no reason they would apply with another bank, lender, or loan officer. Loan Brokers can submit loan packages to multiple lenders for review to attain the most competitive rate and terms.

How many people use ICSLoans.com monthly to search for loans?

ICS has over 1,500 registered Independent Brokers and keeps an active roster of 100+ ICS Lending Partners on a national level that are producing.

Multifamily loans refer to properties with how many units?

5+ units

What is a single-tenant building?

A building with one occupying tenant

Give an example of a single-tenant building.

Home Depot.

Should a Loan Broker use a 1003 application or Commercial application?

Either works, but the ICS C-1003 Loan Application is preferred. If the Borrower has a PFS, that works just fine.

What does LOI stand for?

Letter of Interest or Letter of Intent

How long does it take to receive an LOI from a Lender?

Once the final lender is determined by the ICS Loan Processing Team that lender will usually issue a final LOI with more specific terms within 1-5 days of receiving borrower and property financials.

What is the most common type of commercial lease?

A Triple Net Lease (NNN).

Why do commercial lenders typically charge an upfront deposit when providing financing after issuing an LOI?

To cover due diligence and underwriting costs and keep borrowers from backing out of the loan and going with a different lender during the underwriting process.

Does ICS fund loans directly?

Not at this time. We currently broker 100% of our loans.

In most cases, who pays the points (fees) on a loan to the Broker, the lender or borrower?


Is ICS a Bank?


What loan has a higher rate, conforming or hard money?

Hard Money.

To whom do most institutional lenders sell their conforming loans?

The secondary market.

Why do private investors like hard money loans?

High interest rate returns on secured real estate assets.

How does ICS qualify lenders and investors that we fund loans through?

Lenders must provide verification of 5+ closed transactions.

What is the standard cost of a commercial appraisal?

$1,000 to $4,000+. Appraisals are more on properties in excess of $5MM value.

What percentage of a property must a business owner occupy as a commercial tenant to attain SBA financing?

51% or more.

How do borrowers typically complete their Commercial & Multifamily Loan Application?

Over the phone or online. It is highly recommended to complete a loan application over the phone with your client to ensure the loan is entered correctly. You can also send your client your personal short-form loan application which is available via your dedicated online loan application link or via Form Fill PDF application.

How do borrowers typically send their financial and property documents to Brokers?

Secure upload via ICSLoans.com or via email to the Loan Broker directly. Documents can be uploaded securely at ICSLoans.com by the originating Loan Broker or borrower.

Who sees a loan submitted to ICS?

The Loan Broker submitting the loan, the ICS Loan Team, and approved lenders interested in funding the loan.

Is the ICS Commercial Funding Fee agreement exclusive?

Once a borrower signs off on their Conditional Loan Quote with ICS, they have agreed to move forward with ICS exclusively or non-exclusively through closing. Have an exclusive agreement is recommended but not required. The Funding Fee Agreement guarantees you and ICS get paid if we arrange financing.

Who do you contact at ICS for general website and administrative related support?

Contact the ICS Support Team from the main Contact link from the main menu.

When purchasing a commercial or multifamily property, what is that standard minimum down payment required?

25% - 30%. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide an 80% LTV on 5+ unit apartment buildings with loan amounts over 1M.

What should you do if you forget your password to access ICSloans.com?

Reset your password at the Login page.

What are 3rd party fees borrowers typically pay directly to the 3rd party prior to closing or at closing?



Title & Escrow fees

Phase 1 and Phase 2 (if required)

What are the FIVE primary things an underwriter looks at when evaluating a loan.

  • LTV – Equity in the property / down payment
  • Property type, condition, and location
  • Property & Borrower Income (ability to make mortgage payments)
  • Borrower Credit Score and history
  • Borrower Cash Reserves in the bank

If a property is not income producing, and/or the total property income and borrower income does not support the mortgage payment, would this be a conforming or non-conforming / hard money loan?

Non-conforming / hard money / bridge.

What is the primary objective of a Commercial Mortgage Broker?

Originating and closing loans.

What type of loan application is usually required for a commercial mortgage loan?

1003 Loan Application or the ICS C-1003 Commercial Mortgage Loan Application.

What does P&S stand for?

Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Do rates change daily?

Yes. Rates attached to treasuries and swaps can change daily. SOFR and Prime based rates are less volatile and change less frequently.

How are rates determined by lenders?

Most lenders base their rate off indexes + margin. Common indexes used by lenders to prices loans include SOFR, Libor, Prime Rate, Treasuries, and Swaps.

Why does ICS charge a monthly Training and Funding Platform fee?

ICS charges a Training and Funding Platform fee to provide an abundance of training, tools, resources, loan program access, and loan support to our Lending Partners. 

What 3rd Party services does ICS provide Brokers access when signing up for training and Funding Platform access?

Brokers have access to a Property Radar account which provides property data across millions of properties nationwide. This is included at no additional cost.

What is the most efficient way to get in touch with property owners?

While email is important and necessary, it is not the most effective form of prospecting. Good old fashioned phone calls and automated voicemail broadcasts are by far the best ways to connect directly with property owners.

What is the difference between Conforming and Non-Conforming loans?

Conforming loans are those that meet bank-grade underwriting guidelines. ICS funds conforming loans through banks, credit unions, life companies, CMBS, SBA, and agency lenders. Conforming loans offer the lowest rates available. Non-conforming loans are for properties or borrowers that do not qualify for conforming loans, including FLEX loan products, bridge, fix and flip, and private construction loans.

What Is the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)?

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is a benchmark interest rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans that replaced the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

What are lenders most concerned with when evaluating long-term financing?

Existing lease lengths and terms.

What is the maximum LTV on an SBA loan?


What type of scenario usually ends in loan application failure?

Limited equity.

What does a T12 refer to?

Trailing 12-month property operating history.

Will lenders customize loan terms and prepayment penalties?


What type of lender always requires business and personal tax returns?


Are CMBS recourse or non-recourse?


What is a great website to use to find Hot owner refinance and purchase leads?


What important Borrower document confirms cash liquidity?

Bank statements.

Does the tenant pay taxes, insurance, and maintenance on a gross lease?


What type of properties might a NNN lease apply to?

Commercial properties, such as office, retail, industrial. NNN leases do not apply to multifamily or 1 to 4-unit rental properties.

What is a great tool to use to mass call clients?


What is the fastest way to building a property owner database?

Order property owner researched contacts through ICS.

How many properties should you be researching and adding to your database per week as a new Commercial Mortgage Broker?


How many referral partners should you be researching and adding to your database per week?


How long does it take to get a lender Term Sheet once a file is Market Ready?

1 to 5 business days depending upon the lender.

What is the best way to find "good" business?

Research specific properties, find owner contact information, and contact them.

What is used to determine the loan amount on a purchase when evaluating the loan?

The contract purchase price.

What sells clients on ICS and you as a Broker?

More options through more lenders.

What is the minimum DSCR for most permanent multifamily loans?

1.20x to 1.25x

Does ICS charge any upfront fees?

Yes, once a Lender Term Sheet has been mutually agreed upon between the Lender and Borrower.

Do lenders usually require a deposit following a Term Sheet?

Almost always.

What is the maximum referral fee you should ever pay a 3rd party?

20% of your net commission or max 1%.