Why Credit Reports are Relevant to Owner Financing & How to Proceed

Most people don’t jump with excitement when the hideous task of obtaining a credit report arises. Regardless of who it’s for, it’s just not a fun activity. Some even avoid it like the Ebola virus. But when one is considering owner financing as an incentive to attract more buyers, they may very well dig their own financial grave if such a crucial necessity is overlooked.

First of all, let’s put this common fear at ease for anyone who is conservative or non-confrontational in such business matters as selling their home. You, as a homeowner advertising their home, have a legal right to investigate the creditworthiness of any potential buyer thanks to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. This law, as well as the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), is what credit rights of U.S. consumers are based on.

The “big three” credit reporting agencies in the country can easily assist you with obtaining a credit report: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You will need permission from the person whose credit you are pulling, their full name, date of birth and social security number. Furthermore, an individual can acquire their personal credit report from most financial institutions free of charge so long as they are working with them.

Beware of buyers who are uncomfortable with sacrificing a point of two in order to obtain their report. In the event you decide to sell your home to someone whose financial background you know nothing about, you face the potential risk of creating a low-valued promissory note (which you will struggle to sell) or even foreclosing on the payor from them falling behind. It makes no sense to put yourself into a bind that can easily be avoided by doing your due diligence.

A credit report will reveal a great deal of useful information about the buyer-in-question. This includes (but isn’t limited to) their name, alias names, employment history, credit history, account history & balances, liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, child support, pending & rejected loan or credit card applications and so forth.

A realistic minimum credit score for 1st position notes or deeds of trust is 650. It should be raised to at least 700 for any instrument in the 2nd position. Investors who purchase debt instruments view lower credit as a higher risk because they depend on the payor to make the payments on time in order for them to realize a return on their investment.

Anyone who is thinking about carrying back a note, for a person who will then owe them money, should do the rational thing and research what that person already owes and how they have handled debt throughout the past. Such a decision could most certainly determine whether or not you get paid.

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