Real estate investors and homebuyers are always curious to know about how much the seller paid for the home that they are trying to buy and how much they owe on their mortgage. Buyers try so hard to get this information because they want an edge over the seller.
Knowing beforehand about what the seller owes can help them make an acceptable offer both for seller and buyer. The buyer aims to seal the deal at a price lower than market rates but high enough to clear the seller’s debt.
Though the process of finding out what the seller owes is complicated and time taking but not impossible. There are several ways that you can try to get this information.
What can you do?
Ask the seller
The easiest way to find out what someone owes is to ask the property owner directly. Request the homeowner to see the most recent mortgagee statements of all the possible mortgages on the home.
If someone shows a willingness to buy, the seller may reveal all the essential information related to the mortgage. If it is a short sale, most probably they will share the information.
Don’t assume that there will be only one mortgage on the property. Always ask if there is more than one mortgage on the property. Inquire about the property records, liens, taxes, title of the property, and mortgage before completing the sale.
Ask the lender
Sometimes, the seller/homeowner may be reluctant to give you the mortgage-related information. In such a situation, you can call the lending company’s office to ask about the debt.
However, before you contact the lending company, ask the homeowner to allow you to get the information from the lender. Once he allows, the lending company will share all the essential details with you.
Again lookout for all the taxes, amount of mortgage, mortgage balance, tax records, payment history, and other important data. Don’t just end here. To confirm the authenticity, compare this data with the information you got from other sources.
Search public records
Property records are stored with the clerk of the local court for the county. Anyone can access this directory to determine the amount a seller owes on a mortgage by looking at the public records.
Call the county courthouse and ask about how to conduct the Property Identification Number (PIN) search. Once you get the PIN, visit the courthouse and request to find the records.
Following the process, you will get the record for free, but you have to pay some fees if you want a copy.
Also, remember that the county record will give you the mortgage amount recorded and not the current status on the mortgage. The record is updated once the loan is paid off.
Ask the real estate agent
Contacting the real estate agent to know the updated information about the property is also a reliable and easiest way. Real estate agents can easily access the updated information and provide you with the current information.
Also, bring all the documents to your real estate agent that you have found during the search. Your real estate agent will go through all the documents in detail and help you formulate an offer for the property owner.
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You can also look for property information from searchable online databases. Apart from private sites, some sites are operated by county governments and contain the property records of its jurisdiction.
CourthouseDirect and NextAce are examples of online sources of public records. These sites will give details of recorded transfers, mortgages, and trust deeds. However, these sites may not have the updated information or even miss some information.
Be watchful while gathering essential information about the property that you want to buy. You are not bound to search for the details lest you follow the protocols.
With access to such data, you will know what mortgage debt the property owner owes. This will help you create an offer that will definitely end up with a successful deal.