Five Key Factors that Impact Risk, Value and Income
What is a real estate mortgage note?
Legally speaking, a mortgage note is two legal documents: 1) A promissory note, and 2) An encumbrance or lien recorded against real estate. But, based on every day conversational usage, most people, lawyers excepted, think of it a one document. To be technically correct in this discussion we will deal with the two separate documents-the promissory note and the mortgage or deed of trust.
To determine the best way to structure a real estate mortgage note we must first consider our goal or our purpose. Remember, we are discussing a “financial instrument” an “investment instrument”. The function of a financial investment is to generate income/cash-flow at the highest rate possible rate commensurate with the risks involved. We will assume the investing goal provides at least a market rate of income, recognizing the risks involved.
5 Key Factors Impacting the Fair Market Value of a Real Estate Mortgage Note
2. Interest Rate
3. Payments & Terms
4. Collateral Security
5. Document Language
Always deal with a borrower that has good credit. A person’s FICO (credit score) shows how reliable they are in paying off debts-keeping their promises. Avoid buyers who object to having their credit history pulled; there is a reason they want it kept confidential. Don’t take their word for their past paying history, do a credit check.
The interest rate should be reasonable and fair to both parties; it should reflect the market rate for the mortgage loan with an appropriate adjustment for risk factors. Over charging can lead to hard feelings, inability to make the payments and possibly violating the usury laws of the state. Undercharging devalues the loan and renders it a poor investment.
Payments & Term
The periodic payment should be within the budget of the borrower; the payments should be monthly; the term of the loan should be less than five years, three years is better; avoid making long-term loans. A note with a 3-year term is more valuable than one with a 15-year term. The longer-term notes are discounted much more to account for the longer waiting period.
Obtain a substantial down payment; keep the loan balance at or below 75% of the value of the collateral real estate. The down payment amount reflects on a borrower’s financial stability. The higher the loan-to-value (LTV), the more risk there is to the investor. Use real estate as the collateral security backing-up the bower’s promise to repay. Be certain to evaluate the condition and location of the property used as security. The mortgage or deed of trust documents collateralizing the promissory note should be recorded in first position; it should be a first position mortgage loan.
If you are structuring a business promissory note, its value will be much greater and it will have less risk if the real estate of the business is part of the note’s collateral security. This means that companies that lease property face bigger financing discounts, unless other real estate is used as security.
Documents and Language
Preparing the mortgage loan documents yourself is high risk folly; it may seem simple and easy to do, but it is not either if it is done correctly; you may save some money on the front end, but you will give the savings back plus way more on the back end. On the internet you will find hundreds of ads and offers proclaiming “free promissory note forms”, “free tips”, and the answers to legal questions “free”. Don’t take the bait! Only an experienced promissory note specialist who really understands the legal and practical meaning of the terms and conditions can keep you safe; each state has different laws and customs. There are state laws and federal laws to be considered.