As an experienced Mortgage Broker, I completely understand why you'd want to know how much the seller owes as well as other info. There are legit reasons for buyers knowing this info that could help you decide if its worth your time to enter into negotiations or best to just pass and find another property to focus on.
Unfortunately, some don't understand the importance of a buyer knowing things like; how much the seller owes, is the property Homesteaded or is it an Investment Property, are there any PPPs on the loan(s), is there a 2nd HELOC that may be maxed out, etc. all of which can be very useful to know as this could prevent the sale and/or prohibit the buyer from getting their best deal.
Just like a buyer would shop lenders, my advice is to shop for a professional realtor, not just a professional MLS Menu Reader, but a truly experienced, skilled realtor. Locate one who thinks â€œoutside the boxâ€ and who really understands the 2012 and 2013 market that you can depend on to find out the answers to very legit questions that a buyer has about property.
Contact me and Iâ€™ll put you in touch with these types of professional realtors.
FACT: Few know the true skill of any certain realtor better than the Mortgage Broker who has been in the trenches with them on tough deals and has seen their performance when it really matters to get the deal closed!
Pro Option Mortgage/ Florida
Ph: 888 662 4404
Prior Service U.S. Marine Corps
NO DISCLOSURES WHATSOEVER.
The home owner should disclose nothing to you. Not the balance. Not who holds the mortgage. Not even how many floors are in the structure. This is all YOUR responsibly.
Yes, you can ask. The wise seller will direct you to your agent.
A Larry pointed out, IT quite irrelevant for reaching a logical decision. Some will pander to your need to know.
Best of success to yo.
Let's be honest if they owe more than you want to pay are you going to feel sorry for them and offer to pay them the amount they owe plus the real estate commission? Of course not. And if they owe less than you might imagine are you going to lower the amount you were prepared to pay and tell them,"C'mon you can take this price you only owe $xxx." If so good luck with that strategy.
This same reasoning applies to Sellers, what they "want" or "need" has absolutely no bearing on what the market (i.e. ready willing and able buyers) are paying.
Have your buyer broker do diligence for you and show you what the market value is. That's the highest number you should want to pay and you'll start with an offer below that.