Once the marketing of your business begins, the local office will be responsible for fielding all interest pertaining to your listing. As prospective buyers submit inquiries to learn more about your business, you can rest assured that confidentiality will remain our highest priority. As the owner, it's important to recognize that listing your business for sale isn't the finish line! Selling a business is a marathon; not a sprint. The average business sales process (from listing to close date) is 7-9 months. That's more than enough time for the performance of the business to change (for better or worse.). Taking your foot off the gas now could hurt your asking price OR potentially kill a deal altogether. It's critical that you continue to push your business forward while the remaining steps play out:
Non-Disclosure Agreements are standard procedure and will be required for buyers to sign and return before receiving any information. Additionally, as part of the screening process, buyers will be required to complete a Buyer Questionnaire to confirm their interest and qualifications. If a prospective buyer is proven qualified and revealed to be an ideal fit, the local office will work with them to schedule a showing and ultimately transition their interest into an offer.
Offer / Counter Offer / Due Diligence
After an offer is accepted, the local office will work with the buyer to facilitate their required due diligence and to negotiate the letter of intent, counter-offer, and asset/stock purchase agreement.
Franchise Disclosure & Discovery
Upon acceptance of an offer, the local office will quickly introduce the buyer to your Franchisor in order to start the franchise disclosure, discovery and qualification process. Every Franchisor has their own resales process, protocols and deadlines. Sunbelt is partnered with over 100 national brands and will incorporate those protocols into their selling process making it easier for you, the buyer and your Franchisor. This removes many of the potential pitfalls that can delay (or even kill) a deal.
Your buyer will almost always require some form of financing to fund the transaction. While there are many financing options available for a buyer (i.e., conventional loan, SBA loan, asset loan, seller financing, and more), the most common business loan by far is the 7(a) Business Acquisition Loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA lending process is long (60-90 days or more) and can be tremendously stringent. Most local Sunbelt offices have relationships with qualified lenders to help facilitate resale transactions.
The closing process is different depending on your state. The Sunbelt office will recommend a closing attorney. The closing will be facilitated by either a title & escrow company, the buyer or sellers’ attorney, or a third-party attorney that represents the ‘transaction’.