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ALL ABOUT OWNER FINANCING

property financeYou and your family have made the decision to move out of your house and sell it. Or, perhaps you are wanting to sell an office building or a piece of vacant land. Most people think that there are only two ways that a potential buyer could pay for that property. Either the buyer has to have a load of cash or they must be able to get a loan from their friendly, neighborhood bank (or a less friendly mega-bank, but that is a discussion for another time).

What is Owner Financing?

A third way of selling a property – one which has been used for centuries – is to offer owner financing. You could use owner financing to sell a used car, an appliance, or just about anything else of value, but using owner financing for real estate is the safest and most profitable way to do it. So, what is it? Owner financing means that you are acting in some ways like a small bank, albeit a nicer and easier-to- work-with bank. When selling the property, you receive a down payment from the buyer and set up a real estate note stating the interest rate, term, and monthly payments.

Let’s try an example in which you are wanting to sell a house valued at $100,000. You and Betty Buyer agree that she will give you a $10,000 down payment and make payments to you on the first of every month at an interest rate of 6% and a loan term of 30 years. An attorney or title company would normally prepare the needed documents, including the real estate note, a deed of trust (or mortgage, in some states), and a title commitment. Each side signs in the appropriate places, the deed of trust or mortgage is recorded with the county, and you are done.

Advantages of Owner Financing

  1. There are a number of positives from offering owner financing, which include:
    Can be completed much more quickly than with a bank loan, and you have the flexibility to set up the note however you want, subject to state and national laws.
  2. The pool of potential buyers becomes much larger. They may be good credit risks but perhaps do not qualify for a bank loan.
  3. More income for you since you are recovering the original profit plus interest from the note.
    4. It helps the buyer to purchase a property that they probably could not have otherwise have bought.

When Not to use Owner Financing

  • Of course, owner financing is not appropriate for any of the following situations:
    You, as the property owner, still owe a lot of money on the property to a bank or other financial entity.
  • You need all of the cash from the property right away.
  • You need the cash from the incoming payments to survive. If the payer ever defaults, you may need to pay for a foreclosure and go without the note income for several months.

What’s Next

You successfully sold the house to Betty Buyer and all of the documents were properly created and signed. The hard work is done, so you can mostly wait for the monthly payments to come in. However, at least once per year, you will want to make sure that the property has adequate fire insurance (with you as the primary beneficiary), that property taxes are kept current, and that the property is kept in good condition.

If, down the road, you decide that you need some cash out of the note right away, you can contact a note buyer. Good note buyers will explain that you can sell all of the note or just some of the payments, how the process works, and when you can expect to receive funds.

There are a lot of note buyers out there, with varying levels of expertise and integrity. Be sure to work with a real estate note buyer with whom you feel comfortable, that is a licensed real estate broker, and that has a high rating from the Better Business Bureau or a comparable entity.

Alan Noblitt is the owner of Seascape Capital Inc., which buys real estate notes and business notes. He may be reached at (858) 672-4678 or toll-free at 1-800-634-4697. If you would like to learn more about real estate notes and read informational articles, visit www.seascapecapital.com.

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October 18, 2017 um 6:54 am
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