Identify a Property
You can review properties listed on Simmons’ website and note the listing numbers of practices you would like to consider. You may then electronically submit the Confidentiality Agreement to the appropriate regional office which listed the practice, or you may contact us and we will send you the agreement by fax or mail. This is available as a link from the home page and also under each individual listing.

Receive and Review the Practice Profile
Simmons will give you access to a comprehensive practice profile on the listings that interest you. Our practice profiles include details such as photographs of the facility and equipment, community overview, practice history, real estate description and personal income scenario. Simmons can guide you through the practice profile and explain each of the items in the report to determine whether a specific practice will meet your needs.

Contact a Lender
Simmons can introduce you to lenders that know and understand the veterinary profession. Besides qualifying your credit, the loan application process lets you get additional services from the lender, including an independent opinion of the practice‘s price is relevant to its cash flow and determine if the practice price is workable under current loan terms. They will also be able to conclude whether you‘ll be able to satisfy the debt and expenses and still take home a satisfactory, comfortable paycheck. If the practice‘s cash flow is not sufficient to meet your personal needs, they will not make the loan. Remember, it is their money, so they want to be very sure that the numbers work! Many veterinarians qualify for 100% financing for the practice and, when using a lender recommended by Simmons, you may be able to apply for the loan with no upfront costs.

Schedule an On Site Visit
Once you identify practices that you‘re interested in pursuing, Simmons can coordinate a personal tour and meeting with the current owner. While there, try to envision yourself owning that practice and talk to the owner and ask questions, especially about the current owner‘s practice philosophy. Drive around and see the neighborhood to get a feel for the community. We prefer to have the owners show you the practices, since they are in the best position to discuss the details and nuances.

Obtain Financial Records
While your loan is being processed, Simmons will send you tax returns and financial records from the practice for review. Go over these in great detail with the Simmons representative until you understand every aspect on how the cash flow was determined. Simmons will also welcome any input from your accountant, and will help explain to the accountant how the valuation was conducted.

Make Offer
Simmons can help you through this process and can provide you with template forms and contracts that you can take to your attorney for review and customization. Simmons can also recommend attorneys who have experience in the field of veterinary practice acquisitions. We‘ll act as a liaison between you and the seller, negotiating terms that are fair to both.

Agree to Terms
Once all have agreed to the price and terms, a contract will be signed. A contract is legally binding — at this point make sure you are committed and ready to proceed.

Accept Financing
After you are approved for a loan, you will receive a commitment letter from the lender. Here they will outline the terms of the note that includes interest rates, length, number and amount of the payments. Upon your acceptance of the commitment letter, the lender will then process your loan.

Prepare for Closing
Simmons will help you through the entire process and provide guidance to help make sure no detail is overlooked as you prepare for closing and make your transition into practice ownership. During this process we remain busy working with the lender, attorneys, title company and/or closing agent to assist with a smooth completion of the sale.

Closing and Transition
Congratulations! the closing day has arrived and you take possession of the practice and begin the transition period.

Printable PDF version of this article: Steps to Buying a Veterinary Practice

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