Seller-Financed Mortgage: What Is It?

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A vast majority of homebuying  transactions rely on the buyer qualifying for a mortgage through a bank. After all, most people don’t have enough cash lying around to buy a home outright. Nowadays, you have more options with different types of lenders and alternative financing companies where you can seek pre-approval online. But sometimes even these options don’t work out, as pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re actually going to get the underwriter at the lender to approve you.

This could make you consider other alternative options like seller-financed mortgages.

What is a Seller-Financed Mortgage and How Does It Work?

As the name implies, you are financing your purchase with the person or company selling the home instead of taking out a mortgage with a lender. It’s a private transaction where you, the buyer, make an arrangement with the seller to buy the property.

The seller draws up a promissory note that details the terms of the mortgage: interest rate, payment schedule, and the consequences if you default on the mortgage. In most cases, the seller then finances the sale for a short term, usually five years, with a balloon payment at the end of the period. However, the promissory note can be sold at any time to another financing company: sellers don’t necessarily need to wait for the buyer to refinance with a more traditional lender.

Why Would I Consider a Seller-Financed Mortgage?

There are situations that make it difficult to work with a traditional lender, such as:

  • Self-employment / entrepreneurship
  • Foreign employment
  • Frequent job changes, or you haven’t held the same job long enough
  • Poor or no credit
  • Tax-related issues
  • Debt-income ratio is too high

Sometimes, these situations can be incredibly frustrating when you know you’d be able to afford the mortgage payment or it’s even far less than market rent where you want to buy! Alternative lenders may have options but sometimes even they don’t want to lend to the self-employed or borrowers with high student loan or credit card debt.

This makes seller financing a more viable option when you can demonstrate your ability to make payments but are having trouble with the traditional channels.

What are the Key Pros and Cons of Seller-Financed Mortgages?

The down payment, interest rate, and other terms are more flexible although they may not necessarily be better than what you would get with a bank. There are also no points, PMI, or origination fees which can save money upfront and over the life of the loan.

Closing is also much faster, easier, and cheaper because there’s no loan officer or underwriter involved. 

However, the seller may not always confirm they’re able to finance the sale. If the seller has a mortgage, most of them have a due on sale clause that forbids them from selling the home without paying off their mortgage balance first. If the seller still does this without paying off the mortgage first, your new home could get foreclosed on.

The homebuying process can be a difficult undertaking, but we’re here to help you find the best options so you can buy your dream home as quickly as possible. Reach out today to learn more!

What Costs are There Before Securing a Mortgage?

Securing a mortgage to buy a home is probably one of the best and most important milestones in a person’s life. It comes with a lot of benefits and bragging rights.

But, even with all of the butterflies and feelings of being on cloud nine, the truth of the matter is that there are also costs in securing a mortgage — before and after the transaction.

The costs incurred before securing a mortgage.

The following are the costs incurred before you can secure a mortgage:

1. Before you obtain a mortgage, you need to pay for appraisal fees. An appraisal fee is a professional fee that you pay to get an estimated value of the house you want to buy. This one is the first step that you need to fulfill before securing a mortgage. It allows creditors to determine your loan-to-value ratio. A third party does it. The price ranges between $300 and $1,000.

2. You also need to pay for an inspection fee. The inspection fee is the amount that you spend for the potential house to get checked for leaks, pests, problems, and everything that may make or break your decision to purchase. It depends on the creditor if they require this, but it costs roughly around $300 to $500 for a home inspection service.

3. You also have to pay for your credit report fee. You may think that this should be free of charge, but it is not. More often than not, potential borrowers need to obtain a copy from each of the credit bureaus even before they apply for a loan. Some professionals would say that this is the first cost of securing a mortgage because if you have a bad credit rating, you might as well not push through with the loan. This aspect is all debatable. It will cost the borrower around $30 to $50 per report. If you are lucky, you can get this for free because some lenders cover the cost themselves as part of their credit check.

These three costs get incurred mostly before approval of the loan, and there are different costs once you get the approvals and purchase the house. The critical thing is for you to be a hundred percent committed to the purchase. Being fickle minded does not pay off in the real estate market. 

If you are still potentially on the fence with your mortgage needs, ask a real estate professional to help you decide on what mortgage options might work best for you.

3 Signs That Now Is a Good Time to Apply for a Mortgage

For many individuals, the homebuying journey often begins with getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Because if a buyer has a mortgage, he or she can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

Ultimately, there are many signs that now may be the perfect time to apply for a mortgage, and these include:

1. You’re ready to upgrade from an apartment to a home.

If you’re tired of paying monthly rent for an apartment, purchasing a house offers a viable alternative. And if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can move one step closer to moving from an apartment to a house.

In most instances, a home offers a significant upgrade over an apartment. Many residences are available in cities and towns nationwide that offer more space than apartments. Plus, as a homeowner, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a landlord.

2. You feel good about your credit score.

If you have a strong credit score, you likely are a great candidate for a mortgage. In fact, you may be better equipped than others to get a favorable interest rate on the mortgage of your choice.

Understanding your credit score is a key part of the homebuying journey. You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, once you find out your credit score, you can determine whether you are in good shape to pursue a mortgage.

3. A buyer’s market is in place.

In a buyer’s market, there usually is an abundance of top-notch houses and a shortage of buyers. This means a homebuyer may be able to get a wonderful deal on a house, especially if he or she performs a comprehensive house search.

To find out whether a buyer’s market is in place, you should check out the prices of recently sold houses in your area. Also, you may want to find out how long recently sold houses were listed before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can differentiate a buyer’s market from a seller’s market and decide whether now is the right time to apply for a mortgage.

If you’re interested in getting a mortgage and starting a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support at each stage of the property buying journey.

A real estate agent will teach you everything you need to know about pursuing a house. He or she will offer insights into the local housing market and ensure that you can conduct a successful house search. And if you ever have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Want to launch a home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to acquire your ideal residence.

Low Mortgage Rates: Do You Qualify?

Mortgage rates are at historic lows and there is no better time to buy a home. Do you qualify for those low advertised rates? Will you be able to secure a mortgage? Studies show that 6 in 10 people do qualify for mortgage loans. For those that can’t qualify here are ten reasons why a would-be borrower might face rejection:

1. A low credit score will keep you from getting a mortgage. Typically, a score less than 620 is unacceptable by most lender standards.

2. A maxed out credit card threshold will stop a mortgage in its tracks. If your balance more than 30 percent of the allowable credit lenders will take pause.

3. Multiple credit inquiries may drop your credit score. Limit your credit inquiries to mortgage-only credit pulls within a 30-day period.

4. Did you Co-sign a loan with someone? If so, plan to provide 12 months of canceled checks showing they make the payments to the creditor.

5. Other housing liability payments or a consumer loan for a vehicle may prevent your loan approval. Lenders are looking for you to have double the income to offset each dollar of debt you carry.

6. If you are self-employed you may not be showing income under a Schedule C. This reduces your borrowing power.

7. Claiming many unreimbursed business expenses and losses on your taxes may help you pay less taxes but it also can reduce your borrowing power.

8. If you change jobs often this could also hurt your chances at a mortgage. If you occupational status has changed in the past two years it can hurt you.

9. If you are planning on using cash for your purchase think again. All monies must come from some kind of a bank account.

10. Don’t plan on transferring money from different accounts during the loan process. Be prepared to show full bank statements and a chain of deposits etc.

Your mortgage professional should be able to look at your credit, debt, income and assets and make a determination of whether you qualify for a mortgage.

Your First Mortgage


Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase:

1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price.

2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments.

3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too.

4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income.

5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.

 

 

 

What is an Interest-Only Mortgage?

When it comes to mortgages there is a lot to know and a lot of choices. One loan that was popular before the housing crisis was the interest-only loan.

An interest-only loan is an adjustable-rate loan with an initial fixed period when only interest is due. They are typically available in 5-, 7- or 10-year terms.

Economists blame interest-only loans for the foreclosure crisis citing they were issued too freely. Today, interest-only loans are more difficult to obtain. Borrowers were using interest-only loans to qualify for a more expensive home and when the interest-only term ended the payment went up leaving many homeowners unable to afford the mortgage payment.

Interest-only loans are now being used by wealthy borrowers as a financial tool to help them manage irregular cash flow, reap a tax benefit, or free up cash for investment elsewhere.

Lenders that offer interest-only loans have strict qualifying standards. They generally require 30 percent equity in a property, and a minimum FICO score of 720. Lenders also look at the ability to pay back the loan is based on the fully amortized payment, not the interest-only payment.

 

 

What You Need to Know: Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Trying to decide what type of mortgage is right for you can be tricky business. So you may be wondering what is an adjustable rate mortgage? An adjustable rate mortgage or ARM, has an interest rate that is linked to an economic index. This means the interest rate, and your payments, adjust up or down as the index changes.

There are three things to know about adjustable rate mortgages: index, margin and adjustment period.

What is the index? The index is a guide that lenders use to measure interest rate changes. Common indexes used by lenders include the activity of one, three, and five-year Treasury securities. Each adjustable rate mortgage is linked to a specific index.

The margin is the lender’s cost of doing business plus the profit they will make on the loan. The margin is added to the index rate to determine your total interest rate.

The adjustment period is the period between potential interest rate adjustments. For example, you may see a loan described as a 5-1. The first figure (5) refers to the initial period of the loan, or how long the rate will stay the same. The second number (1) is the adjustment period. This is how often adjustments can be made to the rate after the initial period has ended. In this case, one year or annually.

An adjustable rate mortgage might be a good choice if you are looking to qualify for a larger loan. The rate of an ARM is typically lower than a fixed rate mortgage. Remember, when the adjustment period is up the rate and payment can increase.

Another reason to consider an ARM is if you are planning to sell the home within a few years. If this is the case you may end up selling before the adjustment period is up.

Federal law provides that all lenders provide a federal Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement before consummating a consumer credit transaction. This will be given to you in writing. It is designed to help you compare and select a mortgage.