Loan assumption question - Posted by Anthony

Posted by John Merchant,JD on July 18, 2002 at 09:43:31:

Absolutely, and this is the cleanest and most above-board way to do it. Get written agreement from the note holder/mortgagee to release the Seller and substitute the Buyer as the now-debtor.

Realistically, this is normally only going to happen with the private note holder and not the “bank” because institutions just generally don’t want to release any debtor, once they’re mid-stream with a loan; however, it never hurts to inquire, and you may find that if you “sweeten the pot” with an offer to pay the note holder (individual or institution) some modest amount for such a release it just might be accepted and a release might be agreeable.

The institution will want to pull credit of new borrower, and so will the savvy individual note holder.

Of course it’s best, legally, to totally and openly disclose in writing to the Seller that with the proposed assumption by buyer, the Seller will remain liable on the note and in case the buyer gets into trouble later and cannot pay the note, the lender will look to the seller to pay it.

As lawyers have advised their clients forever, if the would-be buyer would just tell the seller, in writing, every bad thing that might happen, concealing and hiding nothing, even if it were to cover a dozen pages, that buyer would STILL get many motivated sellers’ signatures on the dotted line, because those sellers are MOTIVATED (!) and would sign anything!

Done this way, if/when the buyer does get into later problems and cannot pay, the seller now has no complaint or recourse back against the buyer for failure to disclose.

I confess I’ve had problem properties which I would have sold this way, because I was so sick of dealing with the problem that I would have GIVEN the property away or taken ANY deal.

Loan assumption question - Posted by Anthony

Posted by Anthony on July 17, 2002 at 16:33:15:

Hello. I own a rental property in Missouri that has an assumable mortgage. I consulted an attorney on having a buyer assume the mortgage. He said I needed to be careful, because if a buyer assumed the mortgage, I would still be liable for the loan. For instance if it burned down and the buyer didn’t have insurance, I would still be responsible for paying back the note. Is he correct? If so, what can I do to protect myself? I don’t want someone 10 years down the road knocking on my door asking for $50,000! Thank you for your help.

Seller remains on the assumed note - Posted by John Merchant,JD

Posted by John Merchant,JD on July 17, 2002 at 23:25:30:

Sadly, most sellers seem to think they’re off the hook whenever a buyer assumes their loan.

But not so!

Once the lender gets you or me on the note, they’re not going to freely release us until they’re paid in full. Why should they? Would you or I release a borrower whom we’ve qualified and who now owes us thousands of dollars if the new buyer doesn’t pay?

Don’t think I would…unless that original borrower came in with some new money to buy himself a release…then I might consider releasing him/her, and leaving just the assuming purchaser on the debt, but only if that assuming buyer’s credit was as good as the seller’s.

This, by the way, is an area that concerns me insofar as possible fraud by a slick-talking REI buyer…saying in effect: “Mr. Seller, let me just assume your loan and we can get this done quicker, cheaper, etc…and I’ll pay your note and you can run & play”…and failing to mention, if the buyer even knows himself, that the seller is still on the hook for the loan.

Then the seller, thinking he/she’s been “relieved” on and as to the loan, moves on and doesn’t know until disaster hits down the road (a la Porter case, OH) that he, the seller, is still on the loan, his credit has been ruined because of the then irretrievable delinqquency of his loan, etc.

It’s my opinion that Seller probably has a case of civil, actionable fraud against the Buyer for not openly and totally disclosing to the Seller that the Seller is still on the hook and if the Buyer doesn’t pay, then the Seller’s credit is going to be trashed.

Of course, as we’ve seen in the Porter (OH) situation, the Buyer frequently gets in so deep that a suit and Judgment against that Buyer is worthless. A criminal complaint and subsequent conviction of the fraudulent buyer is small comfort to the seller for his damages and pain.

Re: Seller remains on the assumed note - Posted by Anthony

Posted by Anthony on July 18, 2002 at 04:54:23:

The mortgage holder, who is a private individual-not a bank, agreed it would be fine to have someone assume the loan. Is it possible to have her sign a paper releasing me of all responsibility to repay the note?

It seems strange to me; What is the point of having someone assume a loan, if they get all the benefit of ownership while you still assume all the risk?