general contractors at a work site in san diego

Veteran Switches from Leasing to Ownership to Drive Business Growth

Success Story
November 1, 2017

After five years in business, San Diego building contractor Jesus Ramirez had clearly outgrown his 250-square-foot office space. Ramirez found himself storing construction materials in his garage, and there was no room to house much-needed future hires.

As he searched for a larger property, he quickly realized buying would cost only $100-$200 more a month compared to leasing.

“So, why am I going to rent?” said Ramirez, whose company, JXR Constructors, has completed remodeling work for the likes of San Diego International Airport, SDSU, and VA facilities.

Owning commercial property may seem out of reach for many small-business owners. But as Ramirez discovered, owning is not only possible – it can also unlock powerful benefits and opportunities for a growing proprietor.


Ramirez, a Marine Corps veteran and UCSD graduate, first approached a major bank to ask about a real estate loan.

After reviewing the company’s numbers, the loan officer recommended an SBA 504 loan, fixed-rate financing that requires a business owner to put down only 10 percent.

This option appealed to Ramirez because it would allow him to free up money to keep his business growing.

Building a cash reserve is especially important in the world of government-contract work, he said. Better cash flow means higher bonding capacity, which allows contractors like himself to bid on larger, more lucrative projects.

Another perk: As a veteran seeking this type of real estate financing, Ramirez would be entitled to exclusive financing or rebates to offset some borrowing expenses.


Ultimately, Ramirez connected with a loan officer with CDC Small Business Finance — the leading SBA 504 lender in the nation — to discuss his options.

After a phone call, site visit and some paperwork, he was approved to borrow roughly $500,000 loan to buy four units adjacent to his rental. This effectively grew his office space by about tenfold.

Upon receiving the letter, Ramirez recalls smiling and thinking, “Wow, we’re actually approved. We can make this happen.”

Already, the loan has allowed him to hire three more employees. Currently, Ramirez can bid on government projects valued up to $5 million. Within five years, with the help of his growing cash reserve, he hopes to increase that to $20 million — paving the way for larger scale, new construction projects, he said.

What’s more, Ramirez has been approved to receive a $3,000 rebate through CDC’s VetLoan Advantage program to offset certain costs. The program – available to vets, active military and spouses – also waives and reduces fees in specific cases.

Learn more CDC’s initiative to mobilize military entrepreneurs.


The advantages of obtaining an SBA 504 loan for the general public don’t stop there. This type of financing offers:

  • Longer repayment terms compared to conventional bank loans
  • Fixed interest rate for the life of the loan
  • The flexibility to consider projected income in addition to historical cash flows — perfect for growing firms.

Also, through an SBA 504 loan, collateral is generally the real estate being financed so other business assets are not tied up. Other lenders may require borrowers to pledge additional collateral, which can hamper future growth.

Ready to dive deeper? Learn more about the benefits of purchasing your own commercial real estateOr chat with our loan experts. They can match you with a financing plan that best suits you.