Selling a house or other Austin, TX real estate with owner financing may be unfamiliar territory for many, but anyone who plans to sell property against the current background of tough lending conditions may want to brush up on the basics.
Understanding the concept of owner financing is easy: the seller assumes the role of a bank and finances the buyer’s purchase.
The decision to provide owner financing, however, can be much more difficult; although providing owner financing could mean the difference in being able to sell a house, it could also mean a great amount of risk for the seller if the buyer eventually defaults on the loan.
As the U.S. struggles with a sluggish real estate market, owner financing presents a way for buyers and sellers to close deals that might not be possible with conventional financing.
There are some deals that just simply cannot get done (with conventional lending) because the credit markets are too tough for a particular buyer to qualify or because the type of transaction is perceived to be too risky.
There could also be a situation in which a buyer may not have sufficient capital for a down payment. Partial owner financing, in that case, can help fill in the gaps in closing a deal.
In addition, the benefits of owner financing can appeal to sellers who are trying to unload property. Closing a deal on a house, for example, may take considerably less time with owner financing than with conventional financing. While a conventional lender will scrutinize the collateral property to determine the level of risk, a seller who is already familiar with their property can form his or her own risk assessment relatively quickly.
Owner financing may also be an attractive choice for investment, potentially offering high rates of return. A seller can negotiate an interest rate that the buyer will pay them that is more favorable than would be available for other sorts of investments.
Furthermore, seller financing can provide some tax benefits by spreading out a large gain over time (check with your accountant or CPA).
If the seller structures the loan as an installment sale, there can be certain tax advantages to the seller as well in terms of the timing of recognition on the capital gain. The seller would need to discuss the details with a tax advisor.
Seller financing can be used to pay for a property either in full or in part. The terms of a full loan look similar to those of a conventional loan; however, a seller has a great deal of freedom in setting the terms, such as the interest rate and the duration of the payment period.
For instance, a seller might wish to provide owner financing as a short-term arrangement of five years, after which the borrower is expected to refinance the loan, presumably with conventional financing.
While sellers can be more flexible than banks in considering prospective buyers, they should nevertheless think like a bank when reviewing potential buyers. Examining documents and reports such as tax paperwork, proof of employment and credit history is prudent in determining a buyer’s ability to pay off the loan.
A seller who provides owner financing will need to get the mortgage recorded in accordance with the specific execution and acknowledgement requirements of the State of Texas. Sellers should also work with a title insurance company to perform a title search and purchase title insurance to secure the right priority for the mortgage.
A title insurance company can also serve as a good resource for understanding how much it will cost to record the mortgage. In Texas, the cost to record a mortgage or deed of trust is minimal, consisting of a basic administrative fee added to an amount that varies according to the number of pages.
Generally, the overall cost to seller finance will depend on how many documents are involved and how sophisticated those documents need to be. The size of the property and the intensity of due diligence procedures factor into these costs.
If it’s a simple scenario, such as a small little residential deal, it might be under a thousand bucks. If you provide seller financing for a sophisticated apartment building or strip center it can be multiple thousands of dollars. If you’re in the Austin, TX area, Forte Properties is your #1 choice for owner financed home transactions.
Documentation is perhaps the least of a seller’s worries. For most sellers, the initial decision to provide owner financing can be the most significant hurdle they encounter.
Documentation-that’s not a big deal. It’s done all the time, there are a lot of good lawyers that do it. It’s deciding to do it, and deciding on how to manage the risks inherent in providing owner financing when you’re a casual seller-that’s the biggest difficulty. Again, if you are interested in owner financing whether you are a home buyer or seller, Forte Properties in Austin, TX can help you every step of the way.
In most cases, sellers prefer to have cash instead of a promise by the buyer to pay them later. In addition, sellers who consider owner financing need to understand the risk that the buyer might not pay you in whole or in part, or might have financial distress situation arise down the road, where after a year or two the payment stream to you is disrupted by their financial distress.
Because sellers do not have the same resources as conventional lenders, financing a buyer can be even more intimidating. While banks can absorb the risk of nonpayment by spreading it across their entire loan portfolios, an individual seller isn’t typically able to do that. Furthermore, it’s more difficult for a seller to choose the best loan terms in accordance with the perceived risk/return.
There’s no science to that because you’re not a conventional lender. Because of the serious risks involved with seller financing, sellers should do their homework ahead of time and decide whether it is an option within their level of risk tolerance. Preferably, a seller should make this decision early in the process of selling a property, well before any offer is on the table.
You need to decide that up front so that you can package your materials in contemplation of what you’re willing to do relative to seller financing.
Lawyers who are familiar with financing and financial documents can be critical resources in the time preceding and immediately after making the decision to offer owner financing. A lawyer can help a seller understand the ramifications of owner financing and design the appropriate paperwork.
Sellers just need to be prepared for what happens if the deal goes south. Sellers can then adjust the language and terms in their loan documents accordingly, such as setting a higher interest rate that’s reflective of the higher risk, or requiring personal guarantees and other forms of credit enhancements.
As the popularity of owner financing has increased, the Texas Association of Realtors has witnessed an increase in the use of its promulgated “Seller Financing Addendum”. If you are considering a Austin, TX purchase involving owner financing (either as a buyer or seller), you should consult Forte Properties. They have a team of real estate professionals in various facets of the real estate market and are very familiar with the Seller Financing Addendum and all other documents required when buying or selling homes with owner financing.