Here's a hidden "Gotcha" for seller financing.

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Shoreline New Hampshire & Maine

Every now and then you might be asked by a seller or buyer if seller financing could be an option to make a transaction work.

A common scenario might be for a buyer to ask a seller to take back a small second mortgage (we're talking about a legitimate, recorded, and disclosed second here) in order to help them get into a home.

Being a good guy the seller says "sure, I'll do that and because I like you so much I'll only charge you 3% interest on this $25,000 second you're going to pay off in 5 years."

Sounds like a match made in heaven; a gracious seller and a grateful buyer, a meeting of the minds, and a paycheck for their Realtors.

All goes well and a couple of years down the road your seller goes to his mailbox and there's a letter from the IRS.

"Greetings" says the letter; "We've noticed you're carrying a second mortgage on your former principal residence and only charging 3% interest."

"That's nice but the AFRs (Applicable Federal Rates) for seller financing say you should have been charging 4.88% for a mid-term note so we've imputed the correct interest rate for you and you still owe..............................."

OUCH! You're 'good guy' seller is now not only stuck with a tax bill for back taxes he's also looking at paying interest on money he still won't be receiving in the future because the note rate for his second mortgage is only 3%.

AFRs also fluctuate according to money market conditions so it could be even more next year than it is this.

You need to consult a qualified tax professional to advise sellers before advising them to do any sort of seller financing.

Posted by

Jim Lee , REALTOR®, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)  RE/MAX Shoreline

100 Market St., Suite #200, , Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 431-1111 x3801

Visit New Hampshire Maine Real to search homes, get Seacoast area information, and find out how great living on the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast really is.


Follow RealtorJimLee on Twitter


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
seller financing
applicable federal rate

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City
I always advise clients about AFR. Illinois has no prepayment penalty on any loan to finance a resident except if the rate is below 8%. They usually don't read the fine print that far. Had any 8% loans lately>
Dec 23, 2006 11:00 PM #1
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal


I had never heard of that.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.  It's along the same lines of "forgivness of debt" income that you can get taxed for.

All these crazy rules just make me a bigger supporter of the fair tax plan.

Dec 24, 2006 12:43 AM #2
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL

You're absolutely right here, Jim. We should alert our clients, and also - take that into consideration when doing low interest or no interest financing for relatives.


Dec 24, 2006 01:53 AM #3
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Jim - thanks for sharing this info about AFRs.  I'd never heard about that before.


Dec 24, 2006 02:42 AM #4
Marc Blasi
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Thanks for the tip Jim- I never heard of this but I'm certainly going to look into it!
Dec 24, 2006 02:43 AM #5
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


Great advice.

We can only hope that you influence a few to make new years resolutions to get more education. This is nothing new. But, it is very heavy for Christmas Eve. So I'll write no more.

Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night!


William J Archambault Jr

The Real Estate Investment Institute

Dec 24, 2006 06:35 AM #6
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jim Lee

Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH
How can I help?
Spam prevention

Additional Information