In the process of owner financing, a seller may or may not impose a mortgage on the property. It is usually in cases of sale by owner, not where an agent or broker is involved, that the benefit of owner financing is offered. The seller offers a loan to the buyer as an incentive. There are no banks involved in the process, and the deal is directly between the seller and buyer. The terms of the loan are noted in a promissory note, also called a mortgage note or trust note. The promissory note and contracts involved entitle the buyer to possession of the property, however, the actual legal title may be transferred only after the entire payment is made.
There are three ways of performing owner financing:
- Mortgage/deed of trust: The seller is given a mortgage note for the amount equal to the difference between the price of the property and the down payment. The seller receives interest on the difference in amount.
- Contract for Deed/Land Contract: The buyer and purchaser sign a contract for deed stipulating that the buyer will secure title to property only after full payment is made.
- Lease Purchase Agreement: Prior to entering into a contract for sale, the seller and buyer sign a lease agreement for a specific term where the seller agrees to rent a house that is put up for sale. Thus the seller offers his house for rent to the purchaser and the rent payments that are made by the buyer are considered payments made towards the purchase price. At the end of the lease term, the buyer pays only the amount owed after deducting the rent paid during the lease term.
The primary benefit of an owner financed purchase is that you have the opportunity to purchase a home even if you are not eligible for or cannot afford a bank loan. This process helps you avoid cumbersome loan processes and close the deal in a few days' time. The flipside is that many sellers offering their home for sale are probably in need of money themselves, may not be aware of this method, or unwilling to take the financial risk.