Hello Searchfunder! I'm looking to put together a capital stack that will work well with an SBA 7(a) loan, and I'm having difficulty determining what's permissible based on my review of podcasts, interviews, and posts here on searchfunder.

In short, I'm seeing contrasting advice, and I'm hoping I can get a more definitive answer from those with experience in this group.

1. HELOCs: I've seen a lot of advisement saying that it's fine to take out HELOCs and use that equity as part of the capital stack. I've seen others saying the opposite; that the SBA program does not allow equity to be borrowed. Can anyone provide more clarity here? I have significant home equity that I would be happy to tap into, but don't want to break any rules that could blow up a deal under LOI. Perhaps the HELOC must have been drawn X days in advance of the SBA loan closing?

2. Family & Friends: If taking money from family and friends, are there any terms for the incoming funds that must be met? e.g. must they be gifts? Can they be loans? Or must they be structured as investments with a return? Any other considerations there?

3. While I'm asking, are there other sources of capital that are commonly tapped into (aside from liquid stocks/cash) that are SBA-permissible? I've heard of plundering 401ks, but for security purposes, I'd rather leave those funds in place. Anything else to consider?

Appreciate any guidance you can provide.