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  • Writer's pictureJosh Taylor

Breaking Down Seller Financing

In a nutshell, seller financing happens when the person selling the house steps up to bat as the financier. Usually, in the world of residential real estate, a bank or credit union swoops in to fund the buyer's mortgage. But if that route hits a roadblock, seller financing steps in as Plan B.

Here are the key takeaways:
  1. A Quicker, Cheaper Deal: With only two players in the game (buyer and seller), seller-financed sales can be faster and less pricey than the usual route. No waiting on the bank's approval process here!

  2. Lower Closing Costs: Since there's no bank involved, say goodbye to pesky mortgage fees and points. That means more savings for the buyer.

  3. Flexibility, with a Balloon Payment: Seller financing usually runs for a shorter term, like five years, and ends with a balloon payment. It's like a financial crescendo.

Now, how does it work?

Well, no bank means no formalities. The buyer and seller sketch out their own agreement, including interest rates, payment schedules, and penalties for defaulting. Instead of the entire sum exchanging hands, the buyer pays it back over time.

This alternative financing option can be a lifesaver in tight mortgage markets or regions where home loans are elusive.

But, fair warning, it's not all sunshine and rainbows:
  1. No Free Lunch: The terms of seller financing are a two-way street. The seller needs to consider their financial situation and the risk of a buyer defaulting.

  2. Transparency is Key: Buyers, be upfront about why you're not going the traditional mortgage route. The seller will be digging into your financial history, so don't leave any skeletons in the closet!

  3. Pitch It Right: If seller financing isn't advertised, don't be shy to ask. Better yet, come prepared with a specific proposal.

  4. Check for Clear Ownership: Make sure the seller actually owns the property free and clear. Mortgages on the property can complicate things.

Sellers, here's your checklist:
  1. Short-Term Flexibility: You can sell the promissory note right after closing. Cash in hand, baby!

  2. Shout It from the Rooftops: If you're offering seller financing, make sure buyers know. It's a rare gem in the real estate world.

  3. Get Tax Advice: This can get a bit tricky tax-wise, so get an expert on board.

  4. Pro Help is Invaluable: Both parties should hire professionals for contract and note writing. They'll make sure everything's legally sound.

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