Understanding Credit and Financing for Dentists

So you have decided to purchase a dental practice. Whether you have opted to buy an existing practice or are attempting a startup, you are going to need financial assistance. Very few doctors are in a position to fund a purchase on their own, so obtaining financing is probably a necessary step in your dental transition process. Understanding the fundamentals of financing will better equip you to make smart lending choices.

Searching for a Lender

During your search for a suitable lender, bear in mind that you are essentially seeking to purchase money. The interest rate will determine how much you will pay in exchange for the loan. Lenders offering the lowest rate will cost you less, but it is also important to find lenders who understand the dental industry and who are sensitive to your particular needs and professional goals.

Term Options

Besides the crucial importance of interest rates, the terms of the financing agreement also impact the suitability of the loan. You may wish to make larger payments over a shorter period of time or, alternatively, smaller payments for a longer period. If either option is important for your dental business to succeed, find a lender who offers flexible term options.

Approval Factors

Your credit will play a major factor in whether you are approved the lending required to purchase your new practice. Bad credit will negatively affect the lenders confidence in your ability to repay the loan on time, and may even cause them to deny the loan. If you have any of the following items on your credit history, they may increase the cost of borrowing money or prohibit you from securing financing:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Judgements
  • Liens
  • Delinquencies (90 days past due, etc.)
  • Little or no credit history
  • Too many inquiries, or requests for credit history

Maintaining a solid credit history is not difficult. Making payments on time and explaining any unusual delinquencies should enable you to secure the funding needed to purchase your dental practice.

Credit History

To avoid being surprised by unexpected credit complications, be sure to routinely check your credit history. You will need to request reports from all three credit bureaus, as they maintain independent records. If you suspect that a credit item has been reported in error, be sure to contact each bureau directly to initiate an investigation into the discrepancy. The credit bureaus are legally obligated to confirm the status of accounts and public records, and they will provide you a summary of their findings upon completion of their inquiry.

Are you considering selling a dental practice or selling an orthodontic practice? We can help you sell your dental practice for the greatest possible profit. See our sellers steps for more information.

Terry D. Watson, DDS, and Frank Brown, JD, LLM, are with ADS Watson, Brown & Associates, a dental practice transition consulting and brokerage firm in Dallas, TX. They are members of American Dental Sales and can be reached on the Contact Page.

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