Even a decade ago, it was not much difficult to obtain a mortgage as it is now. Home prices were high and lenders had abundant cash at their disposal, making mortgage loans easily obtainable. Even stated income loans and no-doc mortgages were available. The housing market crash of 2007-08 has however reversed the situation and brought about some belt-tightening measures in the market. Currently, the stated income loans or no-doc mortgages have disappeared from the market and the criteria to obtain a mortgage loan have become more stringent. These market realities have forced the home buyers and sellers to become more creative. One of the creative strategies adopted by them is the owner financing.
- What is meant by owner financing?
- What are the different types of owner financing?
- What are the different benefits of owner financing?
What is meant by owner financing?
Owner financing is common in a buyer's market â€“ a market which has more sellers than buyers. To safeguard his/her interest, the home seller may ask for a high down payment of 20% or more. Here however the deed of the property is not transferred to the buyer unless all the payments are made in full. Since no institutional lenders are involved here, the terms and conditions of the mortgage are negotiable. In fact, terms and conditions are set up in such a way so as to provide benefits to both the buyer and the seller.
What are the different types of owner financing?
- Land contract
- All-inclusive mortgage
- Junior mortgage
- Lease agreement
In land contract, legal title of the home is not transferred to the home buyer but the buyer is given an equitable title, a title that fetches temporarily shared ownership. Payments are made by the buyer to the seller and the buyer becomes the owner of the property once the final payment is made.
In this type of owner financing, the home seller is responsible for carrying a mortgage promissory note that is equal to the difference between the home price and the down payment amount.
In the current market conditions, many lenders are not willing to offer finance more than 80% of the value of a home. Home sellers may come into the scene and can make up for the difference. The home seller can take out a junior mortgage to compensate for the deficient amount of the home buyer. Here the seller can take out the junior mortgage from the first mortgage taken out by the buyer from the first mortgage lender. However, taking out a junior mortgage loan is comparatively risky as in the event of default by the home buyer, the first mortgage is repaid first and the junior mortgage is paid off later.
Another form of owner financing is the lease agreement where the home seller gives equitable title to the buyer and leases the home for a contracted term such as an ordinary rental. Once the agreement is over, the buyer has to take out a mortgage loan equal to the purchase price of the home minus the total rent payments made.
What are the different benefits of owner financing?
Benefits to the home buyers
Despite the high down payment that the buyer has to make, owner financing offers several benefits to them -
- Easy qualification criteria
- Tailor-made financing
- No/low closing costs
- Faster closing
Because of the relatively easy qualification criteria, many home buyers prefer owner financing over traditional financing. Due to recent bankruptcy or divorce, the home buyer may have poor credit, making him/her ineligible for a traditional home financing. Again, the home buyer may be a self-employed person and may not have the necessary documents in support of his/her income. The home buyer may also be very new in the job market and may not fulfill the criteria required to obtain a traditional loan. In addition to these, there are many other reasons which make a home buyer not eligible to obtain traditional financing. Owner financing is certainly a very good choice for these home buyers.
Unlike the traditional financing, here both the buyers and the sellers have the flexibility of choosing from a variety of payment options such as fixed-rate amortization, interest-only or a balloon payment. Home buyers can decide the payment option by negotiating with the sellers.
In case of owner financing, home buyers aren't required to pay the closing costs which the home buyers have to pay compulsorily in case of conventional financing. Loan origination fees, processing fees, points, title insurance, underwriting fees, administration fees and many other fees charged by the traditional lenders add up to thousands of dollars. By opting for owner financing, home buyers can avoid these costs.
Here the buyer and the seller are not dependent on a lender to process the loan. Absence of any third party lender, ensures faster closing of the transaction.
Benefits to the home sellers
Sellers aim at obtaining as much price as possible. Sellers also want to enjoy tax saving benefits on the gains accrued. Benefits to the sellers are listed below -
- Highest price
- Tax saving benefits
- Monthly cash flow
- Selling a hard-to-sell property
Since the seller is offering the financing at soft terms, the seller may want to receive more than the fair market value of the property. Buyers may also be agree to pay the premium as they can't qualify for traditional financing.
In case of owner financing, home seller sells the property in installments. Home seller reports only the income received in each calendar year. This means that here the sellers have to pay less tax.
The monthly payments that the home seller receives from a buyer, increases his/her monthly cash flow. This in turn raises the spending capacity of the seller.
It may be the case that the seller is finding it tough to sell the property through the conventional route. Through owner financing, a home seller can sell an otherwise hard-to-sell property with lot ease.
Before agreeing to owner financing, both parties should consult separate legal counsel in their state.