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M O R E    R E S O U R C E S

Article by Mark Walter

Think I'm a Bank?

  Why so much excitement over real estate notes? The risks must be reviewed carefully. This article analyzes real estate notes from the perspective of the uninitiated. Before jumping into the risks and possible rewards, we’ll examine how real estate transactions work when creating first mortgage notes. Second mortgage notes differentiate from first mortgage notes and involve more risk. Eventually, the way note brokers value notes is another risk to consider very cautiously. While the savviest real estate investors systematically invest in real estate notes, does it really makes sense for you? By way of comparison, some companies offer different methods of handling notes.

  To understand first mortgage notes, compare how banks resell notes. Likely you are aware that financial institutions routinely sell home mortgages to other lenders. At times, individuals who own their home free and clear become the lender by financing their equity when they sell. Frequently these loans include a balloon payment, which is a large final payment. Balloon payments are often setup to come due within 10 years or less because sellers want cash quickly. When a seller decides to sell a note, you pay cash for the note and begin receiving payments from the borrower. Now that we have briefly considered first mortgage notes, we will consider second mortgages notes.

  Real estate transactions create second mortgage notes when the seller finances only a portion of their equity. In these cases, the buyer secures other financing for the first mortgage. Legally, the terms "first" and "second" refer to the lien position of the loan. Indicating the priority, lien position determines which loan gets paid first in case of foreclosure or bankruptcy. Consequently, seconds, short for second mortgage notes, are considered somewhat riskier than first mortgages. Since they carry additional risk, banks routinely charge higher interest for second mortgages. Imitating banks, you will expect to earn breathtaking yields of 10%, 14% or more when you buy seconds or thirds. Whether it is sensible to purchase second or third mortgage notes depends on the payor of the note.

  The crucial factor in valuing a note continues to be the reliability of the payor. Significantly, most notes available for purchase have an owner occupant payor. If you purchase the note through a note broker, the broker will determine the value of the note using the payor’s credit history. However, after you purchase the note, the payor’s situation may change. Collecting the payments has then become your responsibility. Are you ready to be the bill collector? Are you ready to renegotiate the note? Are you ready to foreclose and resell the house? While the reliability of the payor looms as a large consideration, savvy real estate investors reason like banks and charge forward into this lucrative industry.

  The savviest real estate investors love purchasing real estate notes whether first, second, or third mortgages. Essentially, this joy arises from their talent and experience at handling the problems. When a note turns sour from nonpayment, these investors know how to collect, renegotiate, or foreclose. Consequently, they generate enormous cash flow from very safe investments. Very high yields of 10%, 14% or more motivate these investors. Realizing their note is secured on real estate and insured for hazards, they also know their note will be paid in full if the occupant sells or refinances the house. Not surprisingly, they consider second and third mortgages far better investment vehicles than the stock market or mutual funds. These investors reason like banks do to achieve superior returns on their capital; you can level the playing field by utilizing companies that handle the grunt work and guarantee payments.

  A growing breed of real estate companies and note brokers guarantee payments and handle all collections. This waive of services came about in response to the needs of note buyers wishing to bypass the hassle of debt servicing. Rather than leave you in the cold if a note turns sour, these companies make themselves liable as the payor on the note and guarantee your payments regardless of whether the occupant pays. Additionally, a real estate company has greater financial resources than an individual borrower; this reduces your risk substantially. These companies create the same reliability as banks allowing you to profit like the savviest real estate investors.

  First and second mortgages notes actually are familiar to those of us who have ever owned a home. Seeking the best returns, you will select your payor very carefully because there lays the greatest risk. Assuredly, savvy real estate investors invest in real estate notes because they have the know-how to handle nonpayment issues. Because there are real estate companies that guarantee payments and handle the problems, you can reap the rewards of more lucrative, and safer real estate notes than many other investment vehicles. Those who exclaim real estate notes are not safe are dead wrong; they simply don’t have the know-how to protect their investment. So most important of all, you must choose your payor wisely. Once you have chosen an established real estate company that guarantees payments and manages borrowers, begin investing a portion of your portfolio right away. "Think I'm a bank" you ask. Of course not. But start amassing steady, predictable profits like banks!

   Think like banks do.

Copyright © Mark Walter

About the Author
Mark Walter enjoys writing articles on real estate investing. He also owns and operates an established real estate company offering greater financial returns to buyers and sellers of houses and real estate notes in Virginia. Visit his web site at

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