Purchase-money mortgages can allow buyers with less-than-perfect credit to purchase a home. While it may appear to be a good idea to become a homeowner no matter what, there are some drawbacks to this process that you should be aware of. The following article will walk you through the process of purchasing a home using a purchase second mortgage or purchase money note, as well as highlight some of the risks involved.

What Is a Purchase Money Mortgage?

A purchase-money mortgage, also known as seller financing, is a loan provided by the property seller to the home buyer. It’s common in situations where the buyer does not qualify for traditional bank financing, and it’s similar to other non-conforming loans.

The seller, as the “bank,” determines the down payment, interest rate, and closing fee requirements. The buyer makes a down payment to the seller and signs an executed financing instrument outlining the loan terms. The financing instrument, like a traditional mortgage, is recorded with the county, protecting both the buyer’s and seller’s interests.

Why Would a Buyer Prefer a Purchase Money Mortgage Over a Traditional Bank Mortgage?

This is common when buyers do not qualify for traditional bank financing due to a poor credit score, a high debt-to-income ratio (DTI), or a low down payment. Willing sellers can provide financing by accepting the down payment and negotiating loan terms based on the buyer’s qualifications and the seller’s requirements.

The primary distinctions between a purchase-money mortgage and a bank mortgage are the qualifying requirements and who holds the deed. A traditional mortgage is held by the bank, whereas a purchase-money mortgage is held by the seller.

Types of Purchase-Money Mortgages

Buyers use a purchase-money mortgage to negotiate a deal with the seller. There aren’t many regulations or requirements that buyers or sellers must meet because it’s a private mortgage. It depends on your agreement, but most buyers and sellers use the following purchase-money mortgages.

Land contract

A land contract is a seller’s mortgage. The buyer and seller reach an agreement on the down payment, interest rate, and payment frequency. The buyer makes the agreed-upon payments to the seller on the agreed-upon dates. When the buyer has paid off the mortgage, the seller transfers the deed to the buyer, and the buyer becomes the owner of the property.

Lease option agreement

A lease option agreement is a rental agreement that includes the option to purchase the home at the end of the lease or when it expires. When negotiating the transaction, the buyer and seller work out the lease details and the opportunity to buy.

The majority of lease option agreements apply a portion of the monthly rent toward the down payment on the home. If you do not exercise your right to buy the house, you will lose the extra money you are paying each month to put toward the purchase.

Lease-purchase agreement

A lease-purchase agreement is similar to a rental agreement, but there is a requirement to purchase the home before the lease term expires. If you are unable to obtain traditional mortgage financing at this time, it may prove difficult unless the seller is willing to offer seller financing.

Taking on the seller’s mortgage

The buyer must assume the mortgage if the seller has a mortgage on the property that will not be paid off before the buyer takes possession. This means that the buyer picks up where the seller left off on the loan, making the same payments at the same rates.

Buyers have two mortgages because most homes sell for more than the existing mortgage amount: the assumable mortgage and the purchase-money mortgage. These typically have varying interest rates and terms. It is important to note that before assuming a mortgage, buyers must qualify with the lender.

Hard money loans

A hard money loan, which is a loan from private investors who focus on the property itself rather than the borrower’s qualifications, is another option. The only issue with hard money loans is that they are only for a short period of time and have much higher interest rates. They may be a viable option if the buyer does not have excellent credit but expects to improve it within the next few years, allowing them to qualify for traditional financing to pay off the hard money loan.

Purchase Money Second Mortgage

For most families, the decision between renting and buying is a contentious one. However, the most difficult part of buying a home is usually coming up with the down payment for the mortgage. This is where a Purchase Money Second Mortgage comes into play, and it could be the solution for you. Purchase money second mortgages are similar to standard purchase money mortgages. One significant distinction is that one is in a second mortgage lien position, while the other is in a first mortgage lien position.

A purchase money mortgage occurs when the buyer obtains a mortgage from the subject property’s seller. The seller may use this strategy to help sell the property, or the buyer may lack credit or cash for a down payment. Private mortgages are another name for these types of loans.

The Purchase Money Second Mortgage is a loan that closes with a first mortgage and your down payment at the same time.

What is A Purchase Money Second Mortgage?

When purchasing a $300,000 home, the first lien position mortgage has the larger loan amount. For example, the first lien would be $240,000, or 80% LTV. On the title, the second mortgage is in a less advantageous position. You may put down $30,000 or 10% LTV. The first and second-lien positions now total 90 percent LTV, so you must make up the difference and put down the remaining $30,000, or 10% LTV. You avoid PMI by not borrowing more than 80% LTV on your first mortgage.

How Does it Work?

Purchase money second mortgages and standard second mortgages are two of the most common options. What is the distinction? The seller provides the purchase money second mortgage. The lending institution, on the other hand, finances the standard second mortgage.

There is very little you must do for a standard second mortgage if you secure funding from the same lender as your first mortgage. The lender has most of what they need after you apply for the loan. They’ll use the same income, asset, and credit information you provided for the first mortgage to process your application.

You will pay off two loans rather than one at the closing. This simply entails signing two sets of closing documents and agreeing to accept two liens on your home instead of one. If you sell the house, you must repay both loans in order to remove the liens on your property and transfer homeownership.

What Are the Benefits of a Purchase Money Second Mortgage?

Avoiding PMI because the fee may be higher than the cost of a second mortgage. As a result, a first mortgage allowing you to borrow 90% may be more expensive than an 80% first mortgage and a 10% second mortgage at a higher interest rate.

Furthermore, if a seller is motivated but the lender is capping the loan at 80 percent, along with your 10% down, or a total of 90 percent CLTV (80 percent + 10%) or complete loan to value, the seller may be motivated to use a purchase money second mortgage (PMSM) to help seal the deal. The PMSM interest may be tax-deductible. You should confirm with your CPA.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

When examining a product’s benefits and features, it is important to remember that there is almost always a disadvantage. One disadvantage is that you may have to pay a higher interest rate due to the risk factors involved. A cash refinance uses equity in the subject property as collateral. Furthermore, purchase money second mortgages generally carry all of the risks associated with any other standard mortgage.

Purchase money second mortgage is a private loan that may or may not be reported to credit bureaus. This could imply that you will not receive credit for any payments you make on your credit profile. As a result, obtaining a mortgage history may prove more difficult. Second mortgages require a higher note rate than first mortgage positions.

Purchase Money Note

A purchase money note, also known as a purchase money mortgage, is an agreement between a seller and a buyer in which the seller issues the mortgage to the buyer. This arrangement is also referred to as “owner financing.” When a buyer is unable to qualify for a mortgage from a lending institution, purchase money notes are frequently used. Purchase money notes benefit both the seller and the buyer and allow for mortgage flexibility. The agreement’s parties can choose a down payment, payment option, and interest rate that meets their needs.

Common Sections in Purchase Money Notes

The following is a list of common sections found in a Purchase Money Note. These sections are linked to this sample agreement, which you can read.

  • Defined Terms
  • Interest Rate
  • Payments
  • Nature of Note; Note Secured by Mortgage and Pledge Agreement
  • Interest Rate Limitations
  • Default Rate
  • Borrower’s Power And Authority
  • Borrower’s Obligations Absolute And Unconditional
  • No Oral Changes
  • Applicable Law
  • Borrower’s Consent To Jurisdiction And Venue
  • Covenant To Cooperate
  • Default and Acceleration
  • Waiver
  • Notices
  • Usury
  • Severability
  • Cumulative Remedies
  • Waiver of Jury Trial

Who Can Assist With Purchase Money Notes?

Lawyers with experience working on purchase money notes assist clients. Do you require assistance with a purchase money note?

Post a project in the ContractsCounsel marketplace to receive free bids from attorneys to draft, review, or negotiate purchase money notes. Before hiring, all lawyers are vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers.

Purchase-Money Mortgage Benefits for Buyers

Even if the seller requests a credit report on the buyer, the seller’s qualifications criteria are typically more flexible than those of traditional lenders. Buyers can choose between interest-only, fixed-rate amortization, less-than-interest, and a balloon payment. Payments can be mixed and matched, and interest rates can adjust or remain constant based on the needs of the borrower and the seller’s discretion.

Down payments are flexible. If a seller requests a larger down payment than the buyer has, the seller may allow the buyer to make lump-sum payments toward the down payment on a regular basis. Closing costs are also lower. There are no loan or discount points, nor are there any fees for origination, processing, administration, or other categories that lenders routinely charge. Buyers may also close faster and receive possession sooner than with a conventional loan because they are not waiting on lenders for financing.

Purchase-Money Mortgage Benefits for Sellers

When providing a purchase-money mortgage, the seller may receive the full list price or more for a home. On an installment sale, the seller may also pay less in taxes. 3 Buyer payments may increase the seller’s monthly cash flow, resulting in spendable income. Sellers may also offer higher interest rates than money market accounts or other low-risk investments.


When you can’t get traditional bank financing but know you can afford a loan, a purchase-money mortgage is a good option. Explore your options with the seller, such as rent-to-own or lease option agreements, to see which one best fits your situation, as this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is one of the disadvantages of the purchase money mortgage?

One disadvantage is that you are still the legal owner of the home and will be for some time. If those buyers are untrustworthy, you may end up with damaged properties. Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to evict or foreclose on a defaulting buyer.

Which of the following describes a purchase money loan?

Which of the following is an example of a purchase money mortgage financing arrangement? As part of the purchase price, the buyer provides the seller with a mortgage and a note. Hypothecation. To pledge property as security for a debt or loan without relinquishing possession of it.

Can you refinance a purchase money mortgage?

Tip: If you use a purchase-money subordinate mortgage to obtain financing, it can later be refinanced with your first mortgage and considered a rate and term refinance (rather than a cash-out refi), which may result in more favorable and/or higher LTV limits.

When would a purchase money mortgage be applied?

A purchase-money mortgage can be used in situations where the buyer is assuming the seller’s mortgage, and the difference between the balance on the assumed mortgage and the sales price of the property is made up of seller financing.

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