Home Buying in Naples>Question Details

Trulia Naples, Other/Just Looking in Naples, FL

Is it appropriate to ask a home seller how much they owe on their home?

Asked by Trulia Naples, Naples, FL Mon Nov 19, 2012

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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 “outside the box” 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 I’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!

Steve McRory
Pro Option Mortgage/ Florida
Ph: 888 662 4404
Prior Service U.S. Marine Corps
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
Homes should be sold in exactly the same way banks sell their stolen goods,

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
As previously stated, it has nothing to do with the sales price, so why would one want to know, other than just simple curiosity. No, it would not be appropriate to ask the seller for such information. As one who spent over 20 years in the banking industry, I can attest that one's finances is considered confidential and most would be put off by your question. If it seems important to you, again as stated below, do some research and you can get a fairly good idea. At least you should be able to see the original amount financed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
Good answers below, but you will get a HUD statement showing the Seller's pay-off . If it is a short sale it should state in the ads or ask your agent. KathyBC 800-448-3411 ext 601...(11/19)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
You can certainly ask however the truth is regardless of what they owe it has absolutely nothing to do with the true market value of the property. This value is something your buyer broker should be supplying you with as well as the data to back it up.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
You can do a fair amount of research on the active mortgages and do some simple math. Asking them to confirm your numbers is generally not a problem.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
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