Want top dollar when selling Land Contracts?
Increase the value with payment histories!
Keeping an accurate record of the payments received on a Land Contract is essential for knowing how much the buyer still owes. This also establishes a record of their payment habits – with an added benefit. Payment histories can increase the land contract values. Read on…
The value of a Land Contract can be improved by presenting contract buyers with a verifiable payment history!
There are two main ways to keep track of payments on seller-financed Land Contracts: 1) outside serviced, or 2) seller direct.
Professional Land Contract Servicing
The first and easiest is to let a professional handle it. The payments are made to a third party servicing agent that keeps track of the balance and sends the money along to the seller. They will also send out the annual 1098 Mortgage Interest Statements and can hold original documents in safekeeping.
The DIY Approach to Collecting Payments
If a seller chooses the “Do-It-Yourself”’ method over a third party pro they will need to follow these steps:
1. Place original note and other original documents in a safe deposit box.
2. Make a copy of each check or money ordered received. Accepting cash is not recommended since it is hard to verify the payment history without a paper trail.
3. Deposit the payment and keep a copy of the bank record of deposit. It is best to deposit each payment separately rather than combining with other checks.
4. Create a ledger or spreadsheet reflecting the date and amount of payments received.
5. Calculate the amount applied to interest, principal, late fees (if any), and the resulting principal balance. An amortization schedule or financial calculator can be helpful. Once calculated, record in the ledger.
6. Send out an annual statement to the buyer or payer along with the IRS1098 Mortgage Interest Statement.
7. Verify the real estate taxes and property insurance are being kept current. Consider establishing a tax and insurance escrow where the buyer pays 1/12th of the annual amount into a reserve account each month.
8. Send collection letters as necessary for late payments, lapsed insurance, or delinquent real estate taxes.
Why Land Contract Buyers Want Payment Histories
When an investor agrees to purchase a Land Contract they will request a payment history. A verifiable payment history can improve the value of a Land Contract as it provides proof of timely payments. A payment history is considered verified when it is either provided by a third party or is backed up by the documents and records outlined above.
Payment Histories Increase Land Contract Values
Unfortunately, many sellers fail to keep track of the payments received. When they go to sell the Land Contract, mortgage note, or trust deed they try to recreate the history from memory. Without any proof of payments received, a Land Contract buyer has to go on faith. Sometimes a payment history affidavit can substitute for a payment record but it still doesn’t add the value of verifiable proof.
Protect the value of your mortgage Land Contract! Set up a payment tracking method today.