A sale-and-leaseback is typically a commercial real estate transaction in which one party, often a corporation, sells its corp real estate assets to another party, such as an institutional investor, or a real estate investment trust (REIT), and then leases the property back at a rental rate and lease term that is acceptable to the new investor/landlord. The lease term and rental rate are based on the new investor/landlord’s financing costs, the lessee’s credit rating, and a market rate of return, based on the initial cash investment by the new investor/landlord.

The reasons and advantages for a seller/lessee are varied, but the most common are:

  • Help finance expansion of the existing business, purchase new plant equipment or invest in new business opportunities. A sale-leaseback enables a corporation to access more capital than traditional financing methods. When the real estate is sold to an outside investor, the corporation receives 100% of the value of the property. Traditional financing is limited to a loan-to-value ratio or debt-coverage-ratio.
  • Help pay down debt and improve the company’s balance sheet.
  • Help reduce the seller/lessee’s business income tax liability caused by the appreciation in value (land only) of its corporate real estate assets. In addition, the seller/lessee as a tenant can deduct all rent payments as a legitimate business expense on its annual tax returns.
  • Helps limit risks associated with owning real estate such as cyclical market variations.