Seller financing options

As a bit of a follow up to Ardell’s post below about lease purchase options, another option may be seller financing or a seller carryback.  But, if you choose to go this route how will you handle payments?  One of the best ways to make this less of a burden for the seller is to bring in a third party to handle all of the details associated with servicing the loan terms.

Most traditional transactions with conventional bank financing use an escrow service for handling things such as taxes and insurance.  This is similar but the escrow firm is also handling the servicing of payments, calculating interest and principal payments and such.

An example of a company that provides such a service is Contract Servicing.

Always do your due diligence for any company you will hire, but this might be a good place to learn a bit and find that these services exist for a variety of property contract sales and the myriad ways in which they are negotiated.

Buyer Agency Agreements

[photopress:dog.jpg,full,alignright] Is there a difference between dogs and cats? When you take out a leash, a dog usually gets all happy because he knows he is going to go outside. When a cat sees a leash he usually has the opposite reaction (some exceptions, of course) and says, no way I am going to be LED anywhere!

So what do dogs and cats and leashes have to do with consumers signing contracts?

For many years, agents have insisted that the seller sign a contract for their services, and by and large sellers have been happy to do so. I have never had a seller say, “Can’t you just do what you do, without my needing to sign a contract?”.

A seller is more like a dog than a cat, and a contract is somewhat like a leash. Most dogs are more than happy to be on a leash, as long as the guy at the other end of the leash, keeps pace with WHAT THE DOG wants to do.

The reason it is not possible to represent a seller client without a contract, is because of the “3rd party” promise to pay. The seller via that contract and the seller’s broker, agree to pay the agents who show the property. Say I list a house at $500,000 and the “seller” offers 3% “in the mls” to the Buyer’s Agent. That’s $15,000. While it may appear on the outside that the seller is offering that money to the Buyer Agent in the MLS, he isn’t. The buyer agent is an unknown person and the buyer is an unknown person, at the time the property is entered into the mls. The seller is not putting anything in the mls, the seller’s agent is putting it in the mls and promising to pay the buyer’s agent. The agent would actually have to cough up that $15,000 from his own personal funds, if he didn’t have a contract signed by the seller at the time he put the “offering” in the mls. That’s a little too much to ask of anyone on a handshake, so a contract is required from the seller.

Back to sellers are dogs and buyers are cats. The seller has a known address to the “product”/the house. It is easy to get a list of “services and metres” specific to that house. Does it need some staging? Is it photo ready? Can we get 15 photos quickly after it is staged and edit and upload them…on and on. Specific defined things after viewing the product/house, based on that house’s strengths and weakneses. Pretty simple stuff to calculate from day one, for the most part.

Buyers on the other hand are cats. They do not know “the address” of the property at the outset. They sometimes do not know for certain whether they will be buying a brand new townhome (not as much work for the agent) or a single family home built in 1910 (lots more work for the agent). They sometimes don’t know if they are going to buy in Renton or in Juanita or in Greenwood. Sometimes they need to see some property before making some of these decisions.

So a buyer needs to roam freely a bit, without a leash, more like a cat, to gather the information needed to come to an informed decision regarding type of property, general location of property and ballpark price of property. A buyer may need to see property with an agent in Renton, a different agent in Juanita and a third agent in Greenwood, before having enough information to hire the right agent for their needs. Anyone who has been in this business for awhile, knows that they are sometimes a stepping stone, in a buyer’s journey to an informed choice.

The absolute worst thing that can happen in this country, IMNSHO, is for buyers to be required to sign a contract, just to SEE a house. First of all it is demeaning, and lacks the respect and understanding of the industry, and its differences. It’s trying to put a leash on a cat, and pretending the cat is a dog.

Terminating a Contract

(This is a guest post by Craig Blackmon, an attorney in Seattle whose practice focuses on residential real estate — see www.lawofficeofcraigblackmon for more information. Please note that this post is not legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific legal counsel.)

Last week, the Washington Appellate Court decided a case dealing with a buyer’s termination of a purchase and sale agreement. The case will not be published, and accordingly it has no precedential value for similar cases in the future. Nonetheless, the case does provide some interesting insight on the factors a buyer should consider before walking away from a purchase and sale agreement.

In Silvers v. Lee, the seller (Ms. Silver) and the buyers (Mr. and Mrs. Lee) entered into a standard MLS form purchase and sale agreement (the “PSA