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Back To Basics On Notes– What Are They?

Over the last few years since I have been investing in mortgage notes, I have done several blogs and articles on notes and how they can be a lucrative investment opportunity. Since it’s been a while, let me do a easy to understand summary on exactly what mortgage notes are!

Mortgage notes, in laymen terms, are also known as real estate notes or promissory notes.

They are legal contract documents that outline the terms and conditions of a loan agreement between a borrower and a lender in a real estate transaction. When a homebuyer obtains a mortgage loan from a bank or lending institution to purchase a property, they sign a promissory note that outlines the repayment terms, including the interest rate, payment schedule, and other relevant details.

Now, here's where the investment part comes in as a mortgage note investor. As a note investor you have the option to purchase these promissory notes from the original lender (usually banks) or other note investors (i.e. hedge funds, private investors, etc.). This allows you to step into the shoes of the lender and start receiving the mortgage payments from the borrower. In essence, you become the new “bank” and the recipient of the monthly payments. The great thing is, the terms of the note remain the same for the borrower!

Now let’s look at some key benefits of investing in mortgage notes:

Passive Income: Investing in mortgage notes can provide a steady stream of passive income. You'll receive monthly payments from borrowers, which can be a consistent source of cash flow.

Diversification: Mortgage notes offer diversification from traditional investment options like stocks, bonds, CD’s, etc. The real estate market often operates independently from the stock market, providing an extra layer of diversification.

Fixed Returns: The note interest rate and repayment terms are usually fixed at the time the note is created. This will be different if it is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM). This means you can have a predictable and consistent return on your investment as long as the borrower is paying or performing.

Collateral: To me, this is the best part about this class of investments, the note is secured by the underlying real estate property. If the borrower defaults, you have the potential to foreclose on the property and recoup your investment through the property's value. Although most investors don’t want

to take property back, there are some that have built their business on this model. For me, the goal is collecting passive payments over the long term, so I will always try to help a borrower stay in their home.

Customizable Investments: There are various types of mortgage notes available on the secondary market, including performing notes (where the borrower is making regular payments), non-performing notes (where the borrower is behind on payments), and even distressed notes (where they may be abandoned or ready for demolition). This allows you to tailor your investment strategy to your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Opportunities in Various Markets: Mortgage notes can be bought and sold across different geographical markets throughout the US, giving you the flexibility to invest in areas with potentially higher returns.

However, it's important to note that investing in mortgage notes also comes with its own set of risks and considerations:

Risk of Default: Just like any loan, there's a risk that borrowers might default on their payments. This would fall into the category of non-performing. You need to be prepared to handle the legal and financial aspects of dealing with defaulting borrowers and potential foreclosures.

Due Diligence: Thoroughly researching the note, borrower, and property is crucial before making an investment. Understanding the property's value, the borrower's creditworthiness, and the local real estate market conditions is essential. I’ll even add that due diligence on the seller of the note is must as well. There are some bad actors out there, so buyer beware.

Legal Expertise: Dealing with mortgage notes requires a certain level of legal knowledge, especially in terms of the foreclosure process and other legal proceedings. Unless you are a lawyer yourself, it is highly recommended to get a lawyer versed in not just real estate, but mortgage notes, foreclosure, state and county specific laws involving this investment type.

Market Volatility: While real estate can be more stable than some other markets, it's not immune to fluctuations. Economic downturns can impact property values and the ability of borrowers to make payments. Thus, leading to more borrowers in distress and potential foreclosures.

All in all, investing in mortgage notes can be a rewarding venture for those willing to put in the time and effort to understand the market, conduct thorough due diligence, and manage the associated risks. If you're interested in generating passive income through real estate while diversifying your investment portfolio, mortgage notes could be a compelling option to explore. Just remember to approach this investment with caution, do your research, and seek advice from financial and legal professionals.

Read more and watch videos about notes at my website and my other social media outlets.

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