@Joshua Hollandsworth I have two types of commercial loans, one of them has a 20 year term but the rates start to adjust to a spread above LIBOR after five years. That kind usually has a cap of I think like 400 basis points meaning the highest it will ever go if the original rate is 6% is 10% and I can count on the money being there for 20 years.
The other kind is a 5 year term loan amortized over 20 years meaning the loan is due in 5 years but the payment is calculated as if you're going to pay it off in 20. On those, the interest rate is fixed for 5 years but there's no guarantee after that because you either have to sell or refinance the property at current interest rates at that point.
This latter loan type is what you hear of as having a 'balloon'.
I have had a number of loans like that come due after 5 years. I have never had a problem putting a new loan on them at that point with the original or a new lender at current interest rates.
But that's generally because A) the properties had appreciated in value and B) there is quite a bit of principal pay-down on 20 year amm in the first 5 years.
My decision has always been more about do I want to pull more money out, roll it into another 20 year product and lower the payment or continue paying it off on a 15 year schedule.
To deal with those questions and answer your question about 'protection', is kind of a personal business decision. I try to keep so fixed and some variable rates, vary my maturities to only have a certain percentage mature each year and make sure to keep my overall debt levels to a certain percentage of my overall portfolio value. But you can decide to take more or less risk with those variables.
If you plan to grow past a certain point it will almost certainly involve commercial financing so it's not really a question of whether to use it but more of how you use the different products available.