Mortgage Note Buyers and Sellers, Loan Servicing, and Hard Money Lenders

Sell My Note – Crafting a Note For Investors

Using owner finance techniques to sell a property are no more difficult than a traditional real estate closing, following a logical and proven plan is the best method for ensuring a successful real estate sale with seller financing.

The sellers’ misconception

Many property sellers stay away from seller financing because they mistakenly believe that creating a note is not a viable solution for selling their home.

After all, if they can’t walk away with enough cash to provide the down payment on another property, they’ll be powerless to replace the property they’re selling.

As a consequence of this common misunderstanding, many sellers feel compelled to stick with conventional real estate methods, limiting their options and missing out on the benefits that seller financing could offer them.

In actuality, many notes created through seller financing are quickly sold and the seller ends up with the cash they need.

Even better, if the note is created with buyers’ purchasing criteria in mind, the seller could walk away from the closing table with cash in hand. This means that the net result is almost exactly the same as with a conventional real estate sale!

In cases where the note holder does have a problem selling their monthly payments, the difficulty in liquidating the note is typically a result of one general problem: the note was not created with the buyer in mind. Instead, it was created with only the payer in mind. To ensure that a newly-created note will be attractive to potential buyers, it is important to recognize that their purchasing criteria are important as well.

Too good of a deal

For property sellers looking to sell their note immediately, it would be a grave mistake to create the note by prioritizing only the payer’s demands. A buyer must have a compelling reason to agree to collect payments in order to buy a note, such as a substantial down payment, a respectable payer’s credit score (to minimize risk), a competitive interest rate, or a fairly short term.

An example of a “bad note” from a buyer’s point of view would be a seller financing situation where no down payment was collected, the payer’s credit score was not checked, and the interest rate is fixed at 3%. Basically, this is TOO good of a deal! Even payers that qualify for loans from traditional lending institutions would jump at this offer with no out-of-pocket money required and a rate below prime.

Clearly, the note payer and note buyer are looking for very different things. Payers would love a “no money down” purchase with financing at a low interest rate, but most buyers wouldn’t want anything to do with this sort of note simply because it is a bad deal for them.

In a situation without a reasonable down payment there is nothing holding the payer to their obligation. After all, a payer involved in a “no money down” purchase could walk away and lose almost nothing financially. Abandoning their obligation to pay may hurt their credit score, but it was their substandard credit that forced them into a seller-financing situation in the first place.

When there is no equity in the property (buyers will use the lower of the property value or the sales price to calculate equity), all offers to purchase the secured note will be discounted substantially in order to compensate for the buyer’s risk of default. A heavily discounted buyout offer often means the seller will not be able to get the money they need.

If the seller of a private note needs a large amount of cash immediately, they must be able to sell the note as soon as it has been created. And to quickly find a buyer, the note must meet the general buying parameters of these people, which include a solid down payment, a decent interest rate, and typical terms.

Creating notes that can be sold

Every buyer has their own criteria that determine what they will or won’t buy, but a down payment of at least 15% is a good minimum figure when creating a note. This upfront payment immediately creates protective equity in the property which acts as the buyer’s safety net in a foreclosure. A competitive interest rate is important because it will make it easy for the buyer to purchase the note and yield the desired profit without much of a discount to the note holder. Finally, keep in mind that people typically avoid notes that do not follow a traditional term (amortized over 120 months, 180 months, etc). A two-year, interest-only balloon term is a perfect example of a note that most buyers would avoid.

The points described above are only a rudimentary starting point for note creation; there are certainly other things that buyers look for when considering a note. It is always a good idea for the seller to contact a qualified note finder in order to get the specific information they need.

The finder will be able to utilize their experience in working with buyers to give the seller general guidelines about what should meet most buyers’ parameters. Of course, there are no absolute guarantees of a quick sale, but when the seller creates a note with the buyer’s requirements in mind, it should not be a problem to locate an interested buyer who will give the seller the cash settlement they need.

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