Commercial real estate mortgage broker Denny Howell is founder and CEO of Howell Investment Finance in Ames, Iowa and believes he’s found the perfect long-term solution for senior housing/healthcare borrowers looking to refinance a skilled nursing home, memory care or assisted living property.
“In the current cycle, popular HUD Lean financing has enabled record numbers of senior care borrowers to lock in the lowest long-term interest rates they’re likely to see for a very long time. But the product only becomes the perfect solution when the FHA-approved HUD lender originating the loan has the knowledge and expertise needed to deliver on promises and flawlessly guide the loan through a complicated application and underwriting process,” he says.
Mr. Howell has more than 27 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. He formed Howell Investment Finance in 2003 to help clients find the commercial mortgage that best fits their needs. Mr. Howell is often his clients’ sounding board and filter, guiding them through the maze of financing options offered in today’s lending market.
Mr. Howell pointed out, “The financial industry is ever-changing so it’s important for borrowers to have access to up-to-date information on the various funding options available. Our mission is to help clients structure their properties to get the best financing available.”
Mr. Howell says his company was retained to help The Views Holdings, LLC decide on a HUD loan to refinance two upscale senior care properties – Meadow View Memory Care and Ridge View Assisted Living – in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Several proposals were considered, but Chicago-based Cambridge Realty Capital, an FHA-approved HUD lender, “was the obvious winner – it wasn’t even close. Cambridge kept coming back to us with the answers we were looking for,” he said.
According to Mr. Howell, after careful consideration, The Views executive board agreed the HUD Lean financing package was the obvious choice. In part, Cambridge got the nod and became the perfect solution for the Iowa holding company because of some things Cambridge doesn’t do.
“For one thing, Cambridge does not fund any other type of commercial real estate. Cambridge is totally focused on the senior housing/healthcare sector and has closed more than 400 HUD loans over the past 20 years. This level of specialization was important to The Views board and to myself,” Mr. Howell said.
“Another thing Cambridge doesn’t do is waste anyone’s time. Cambridge is not a large company that takes forever to get an answer from someone in another office across the country. With Cambridge, I often hear back the same day or the next day and quite often, I’m talking directly to the decision maker. Cambridge is very, very good at what they do. My main contacts at Cambridge are Zach Scardina and Tony Marino. They are both very helpful and knowledgeable. They do not waste my time. I am already working on more senior housing projects and Cambridge will be the lender on those projects as well,” Mr. Howell said.
Cambridge has developed a systematic internal process it uses to swiftly determine whether or not a borrower will qualify for one of the HUD programs. If not, they will explain what the borrower might reasonably do in order to get a deal done with the federal agency, Mr. Howell said, adding:
“As the qualification process unfolds some lenders may change their mind or tell you that your understanding of certain details is faulty, or that what you’re thinking about on a particular point is not what they meant at all. This doesn’t happen with Cambridge. You can believe what Cambridge tells you. I take a personal interest in all of my clients’ projects. My goal is to improve their cash flow and their properties through finding the correct financing package for their needs. I want to see all of my clients succeed and grow their businesses, Cambridge allows me to do that.”
Mr. Howell can be reached at 515-233-8228 or www.howellinvestfinance.com