In these stressful economic times, many lenders and their investors are looking at acquiring existing loans, or are considering selling loans they currently own.
There are many reasons loans are bought and sold. Often times the reason has more to do with the individual situation of the seller than of the note itself, or the condition of the borrower. The most common reasons loans are sold are for liquidity, dissolution of a partnership, change of financial circumstance, deterioration of the underlying collateral, or the default of a borrower.
There are many opportunities for buyers and brokers to acquire loans at a discount to the principal balance which may result in substantially better yields than originating a new loan. Buyers and their brokers should consider several factors when purchasing a note, including the strength and payment history of the borrower, the quality of the underlying collateral securing the loan, and the strength of the guarantors, if any.
Loans can be purchased individually or in pools. Although the legal agreement differs for each, the basic process flow is the same whether you are buying or selling one or more loans. For simplicity purposes, I’ll refer to the transaction as a loan asset transaction. The term “loan sale” and “note sale” will also be used interchangeably throughout.
The basics of the purchase and sale process are relatively straight forward, but like any transaction, the devil is in the details. Following are eight steps involved in the purchase and sale of loan assets followed by a discussion of the most common pitfalls to avoid throughout the transaction.
Step 1: Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement
It is customary to execute a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement to protect both parties. Sensitive borrower information is typically exchanged and both parties need to agree to safeguard this information.
Step 2: Make an Offer
Make an offer for the loan asset in writing. Work with an attorney who has handled loan purchase and sale agreements in the past and can walk you through the various nuances to the agreement. An entire article can be written on the ins and outs of this agreement, and is a topic for another time.
Step 3: Good Faith Deposit and Open Title
Typically a seller will provide a good faith deposit to get the process started, but this is a point to be negotiated between the parties. It is a lot of work to gather the loan files together and you want to make sure you have a serious buyer before you go through the effort. You should also prequalify the buyer and verify that the funds are in place and that this buyer isn’t going to try and “raise the funds” once they review your files.
After a deposit is received, the seller should open a title policy. Most of the time the seller can buy an ALTA assignment endorsement (10.6-06) which insures the assignment vesting and lien position to the new party. The endorsement is less expensive than a full title policy and is recommended if it is available.
Step 4: Due Diligence
Once a deposit is received, conduct thorough due diligence on the loan asset. Your level of due diligence will vary depending on the asset itself, and on the number of assets you purchase. Most purchasers will conduct an independent appraisal, re-underwrite the loan, examine the chain of title, review the original promissory note, review all correspondence with the borrower, the trustee, and any other parties to the loan.
There are a number of third party companies that specialize in performing independent due diligence on loan assets and generally charge $250 per loan depending on the type of appraisal and underwriting conducted.
Most of the time you will not be able to inspect the interior of the property, or conduct an interview with the borrower, but that can be a point of discussion between you and the loan seller at the time the offer is negotiated.
Step 5: Sign Documents
Besides the purchase and sale agreement, two additional documents must be signed in order to transfer ownership of a loan. The first is an assignment, which is a notarized document referencing the original mortgage or deed of trust and is recorded in the same county in which the real property securing the note is located.
The second document is a signed endorsement of the original promissory note. This endorsement can be handled by either typing language on the back of the note (e.g. Pay to the order of….) much in the way a check is endorsed when signed over to a third party. If there is not room on the back of the note, another way to endorse the note is by attaching an Allonge which effectively has the same language that would otherwise be placed on the back of the Note. The Allonge must be securely attached and at all times kept with the original promissory note.
Example of language that may be used in an Allonge is:
THIS ENDORSEMENT IS TO BE ATTACHED TO AND MADE PART OF THAT CERTAIN PROMISSORY NOTE dated Month, Day, Year, made by Borrower Name Here, in favor of ABC Company, the payee, in the original principal amount of $x,xxx,xxx. Such Note is hereby transferred pursuant to the following Endorsement with the same force and effect as if such Endorsement were set forth at the end of such Note
When consolidating student loans, it’s important to know what you’re getting into first. As with any financial decision, you must do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Consolidating student loans is not a difficult process, but there are several rules and regulations in place that you must know before deciding to consolidate your student loans into one easy to manage loan. This is a list of some of the most important rules and regulations pertaining to student loan consolidation. Make sure you understand each of these rules before going through with the consolidation loan.
Student Loan Consolidation is Free
Obtaining a student loan consolidation loan is a free process, so never pay a fee for consolidating. If the lender is charging an upfront fee to consolidate your student loans, it’s most likely a scam and you should take your business elsewhere. This scam is often referred to as an “advance fee loan scam”, and it’s relatively common in the student loan consolidation world.
You Cannot Consolidate While Still in School
You may consolidate your student loans only after your loans enter their grace period, which is six months after graduating or dropping out of school. You can also consolidate once repayment of the loans begin, although you should consider consolidating before that point. It may not be beneficial to everyone, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at the numbers to see if it would save you money and make your loans easier to manage.
You Can Only Consolidate Student Loans in Your Name
This rule seems pretty obvious, but in some cases where the student is married or has their parents’ name on any of the student loans, it may come into play. Students and parents may consolidate their student loans, but they cannot combine them into one consolidation loan – They must be separate. Same thing holds true for married students who both have student loan debt. As of 2006, married students cannot combine their student loan debt into one consolidation loan – They can, however, each have their own consolidation loan.
Student and Graduates May Consolidate With Any Lender
There are no restrictions that limit which lenders are eligible for consolidating student loans, so you may choose whatever lender you wish. This allows you to shop around for the lender with the best interest rates and incentives. Keep in mind that most lenders require you to have a minimum balance totaling $7,500 or sometimes higher.
Any Federal Student Loan is Eligible for Consolidation
Any type of federal student loan can be consolidated, including single student loans. That being said, you can only consolidate an existing consolidation loan one time, but not in every circumstance. In order to reconsolidate a consolidation loan, you must add a previously not included student loan to the consolidation. In this case, your interest rate would be reconfigured using a formula to weigh the old interest rate with new rate brought on by the student loan being added to the mix. Please note that a student loan consolidation loan uses a weighted average of all of the included student loans to determine the overall interest rate – Reconsolidating in future will not completely reset your interest rate.
Consolidation Loans Offer Longer Repayment Terms
Federal student loans feature standard 10-year repayment plans. When consolidating student loans, you can extend these terms to 12-30 years depending upon how much is owed. As with any loan, though, it’s not recommended to extend the terms of the loan, because interest charges will be greater the longer the loan exists. It’s recommended to pay off the loan as soon as possible. That being said, extending the consolidation loan repayment plan can help people to better afford the lower payments brought on by a longer repayment plan.
There’s No Prepayment Penalties
You may pay off your student loan consolidation at anytime without any risk of prepayment penalties. I highly recommend paying off the consolidation loan as soon as possible to avoid some of the interest charges and to relieve yourself of the financial burden as quickly as possible. Just make sure that when making additional payments each month, you inform the lender that the additional amount should go towards the principle of the loan rather than future payments.
When a lender receives a secured loan application form he only has two areas on which to base his decision – you and the property. If he can put a tick in both of these boxes then you will get your loan at a good rate.
However, it is possible to still get your loan if either you or the property are not A1.
This is one of the good things about secured loans, they allow you to obtain a loan when other sources of finance may not be available.
Secured loans – You
Unfortunately, most things in this day and age are broken down and put into boxes and that includes you when you apply for a secured loan.
Your boxes will be:
o Your employment/ self employment
o How many outstanding loans you have
o Your usable (free) monthly income
o Your credit rating
o How you have treated your current (and previous if less than 12/ 24 mths) mortgage company
Secured loans – how to improve “you” in the eyes of the secured loan lender
Most applications for secured loans are made through a broker as most lenders do not like to gather all the information needed to process a secured loan. There is also a lot of overhead in this process which they prefer the broker to pay for.
Secured loans – rule 1
Make sure you find yourself a good secured loan broker. The secured loan lenders are not going to like me saying this but all brokers are not equal in the eyes of the lender. The better ones earn more money per application and get more secured loans paid out, as a percentage, than others.
These both directly effect you as the more the lender pays the broker the less of a fee he will need to charge you and the other reason is that you are more likely to get you loan paid out (and at possibly a lower rate) by using a well established secured loan broker.
Secured loans – rule 2
Work with you broker – not against him. I know it is a pain to keep having to produce paperwork but the more you have, the less pain you will receive when your full loan application reaches the secured loan lender.
Secured loans – rule 3
Go through your available income with your broker and get him to explain how the lender, he is putting you with, is working out your available income calculation. You might find you get a better rate if you do a bit of debt consolidation.
If you are self employed but have regular contractual work that you can prove goes back a few years, then you may be able to argue for a better rate. Self employed applicants for secured loans are usually penalised with the rate as they are considered a high risk.
Secured loans – rule 4
Your credit rating is nowhere near as important for secured loans as it is for personal loans (unsecured). However, it is still important if you want a good rate. Lenders of Secured loans (like most lenders) don’t like to see arrears on a credit report. A credit report will show the lender how you have paid your credit cards and loans over the last 12 months. It will also show any defaults or county court judgements.
Most secured loan lenders will ignore one months arrears on most loans as this can be argued that it is just a late payment. When you start to get to two months or more then you need a good (preferably provable) explanation or your rate will start to go north.
One thing secured loan lenders hate is current arrears when you apply to them for a secured loan. So, if you can, make sure your current commitments are up to date when you apply and this will keep your rate down.
Secured loans – rule 5
How you have paid your mortgage is sometimes more important than your credit report as the secured loans lenders see themselves as an extension of your mortgage and the best way they can see if you are going to pay them is to see how you have paid your current mortgage.
So, if you can, make sure your mortgage is up to date when you apply and if you have had any arrears then you will need a good explanation to keep your rate down.
To speed up you application you could get proof of your last 12 months payments from you mortgage lender and proof of the outstanding balance.
Secured loans – your property
Your property is the security that the secured loan lender has. If all goes wrong and you stop paying and communicating with the secured loan lender then eventually he will reposes your property (although he will not want to as it is creates another set of problems for them).
So, putting the above cautionary note aside, you are putting up your property as security for the loan. You are only doing this because it benefits you and you probably fall into one of the following categories:
o A lower rate than other unsecured loans offer
o A larger loan than is available through other financial sources
o You want a loan but your employment is questionable or you are self employed
o You have missed a few payments on some credit and the loan rates you are being offered from other sources are unpalatable
o Your credit is poor and you need to put up security to get a loan
It only makes sense that if you are putting your property up as security for your secured loan then you may as well maximize its value and get a lower rate.
The secured loan LTV (loan to value) is one of the major calculations that will effect the rate you are offered. It is simple to work out: you take your current outstanding mortgage, add to that the secured loan you are applying for and divide it by the current value of your property. The lower the percentage the better rate you should get.
So, if you want a lower rate then maximizing the properties value is one of the best ways to go about it. It might take a little bit of time but you could be paying for the secured loan for anything from 5 years to 25 years so the extra bit of effort could save you a lot of money in the long term.
Secured loans – property rule 1
You will almost certainly have a valuer come round to have a look at your property towards the end of your secured loan application.
Valuing property is not a science but an opinion and in this case the the persons whose opinion counts is the valuers that you have coming round. You don’t know if he has spent most of the day sitting in a traffic jam, had an argument with his children or forgotten his anniversary and what is more you can’t do a thing about it.
What you can do is be friendly and offer him a cup of coffee and make sure you have allocated time for him. Go round the property and point out any improvements you have made and are going to make.
Valuers like to be told that the property is going to be improved as it lessens their risk of getting sued by the secured loan lender in case they value the property wrongly.
Secured loans – property rule 2
Before the valuer gets to your property make sure it is looking its best. A small bit of effort will add thousands to your valuation if the property looks well kept rather than run down.
First impressions count so make sure the front and entrance hall is spotless, try and put any junk away to make the rooms look bigger and also try to finish those jobs that were half started and never quite completed.
Secured loans – property rule 3
As previously stated, the property value is an opinion so you need to make sure that the valuers opinion is the correct one. All valuers will contact local estate agents to see what is selling in the market near your property.
It would be to your benefit if you contacted the estate agents and got comparable properties that are on the market and recent sales. You can then decide which of your collection you wish to give the valuer (or you can send them on to your broker but this is not quite as good as giving them to the valuer).
Human nature being what it is, your comparables will probably end up in the valuers file and he will take these into account when valuing your property.
For advice on the best way to apply for all types of loans including secured loans, home loans, personal loans, payday loans, pawn broker loans, credit cards and mortgages please visit http://www.loan.co.uk
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