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SPONSORED: A financial guide to buying a dental practice

26/10/2020
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by Lucy Keeble, Financial Consultant at MediEstates

 

Making the decision to buy a dental practice is, of course, a major financial commitment, but it is an incredibly exciting and rewarding opportunity.

At times, the process may feel incredibly complicated, so it is highly recommended to seek out professional advice from the outset.

Working with specialist financial brokers with a wealth of experience of the dental sector will help guide you through the key elements of buying a practice. They understand the complexities of practice purchases and appreciate that initiating the first steps into the world of practice ownership may be a daunting prospect. There is, therefore, incredible value in working with a specialist team.

Documentation
Creating a comprehensive business plan is the first essential part of practice acquisition. Before considering any loan, a bank will need to see details of the practice, including the business aims and objectives, historical accounts for the practice, usually for the past three years, proposed working arrangements, staffing levels, and opening hours. You should also include your CV to prove a stable working history.

A specialist broker offering independent advice can search for lenders on your behalf, saving time and stress

 
The bank needs to be assured about how the practice is going to be run in the future, how the buyer is managing their money and that the practice will generate enough income to cover the loan repayments.

Deposit
Every bank has different criteria for lending and all lenders will usually require a cash deposit from the purchaser. On average, banks are looking for a 10% to 20% deposit, but this can vary to as low as 5%, and is negotiable depending on each individual’s circumstances.

First-time buyers not only normally need a deposit and ensure they meet the criteria of the banks, they also need to prove they have a minimum of two years’ experience of managing or being an associate in a UK practice.

Interest rates
Over recent years, interest rates have continued to remain at a historic low. Several major banks have specialist healthcare lending teams, meaning the decision to agree a loan will be taken by people experienced in the dental sector who understand how a practice works. The scope for lending on a practice purchase has many considerations and variables. To secure the best deals available, it is beneficial to use a specialist dental advisor, rather than approaching a bank directly. A specialist broker offering independent advice can search for lenders on your behalf, saving time and stress. They deal directly with the heads of healthcare to negotiate the most preferential rates, which can be fixed or variable, giving you access to a full range of finance deals.

A specialist financial broker can also assist with refinance for those who already own a practice. They can help to find a better interest rate or extend the loan once a fixed term comes to an end. In some cases, 100% lending may even be available for existing practice owners.

The bank’s final loan agreement is subject to the valuation of the practice by an independent valuer, as banks require the valuation to be in line with the practice purchase price. Once the valuation is completed and finance is agreed, the bank will send a full offer letter – usually valid for three months – so you can complete the transaction.

No two dental practices are the same, so when it comes to the complexities of buying your first practice, it makes sense to enlist the help of a team of dedicated dental practice brokers.

The team will then negotiate the terms that best suit your specific needs and budget. With the support of a financial advisor who understands the complexities of the current market, you can ensure the most suitable and competitive terms for your prospective practice purchase.

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