Selling a Real Estate Note 101: Can I only sell part of my mortgage note?

Can I Only Sell Part of My Note?Selling a mortgage note (also called a real estate note or promissory note) can be confusing, especially if you are a first-time note holder and have never worked with a note buyer before.  This “Selling a Real Estate Note 101” series is designed to be a resource for those people.

In a previous post, we covered the common reasons why people sell their mortgage notes and how that process works. What we haven’t addressed yet, however, is the option to sell just part of your mortgage note (also called a partial). Here are some of the common questions about partials.

Why only sell part of the note?

  1. In tough economic times, the note seller may not be able to find a buyer for the full value of the note (or the seller would have to take a bigger discount). For more information on how the value of a note is figured, please read What is my mortgage note worth?.
  2. Sometimes the seller only needs a small sum of cash for a particular purpose (college tuition, unexpected medical bills, to reinvest, or pay down debt, for example).
  3. Selling a partial note provides the seller with immediate cash flow now while getting the note back in the future (once the partial sale’s terms have been fulfilled) to collect remaining scheduled payments.
  4. The seller also gets the flexibility to sell another part of the note at a later time, if they wish.
  5. A partial note sale will often yield the seller more money for their note in the long run.
  6. Another advantage to the partial note seller may be the delay in some of the capital gains taxes.
  7. It is easier to find a mortgage note buyer since buying a partial note is considered a less risky investment.

How does a Partial work?

  1. In a full note sale, the buyer purchases the entire amount of the note, meaning all of the remaining payments. In a partial, the buyer agrees to buy part of the note, usually in the form of a specified number of payments (e.g. 60 monthly payments), or a specified amount of the balloon payment. There are even partial sales (called a split partial) where the note seller and note buyer split the monthly payments. For more information on the different options for partial note sales, please contact us.
  2. Typically, note investors require a minimum note balance of $50,000 before they will consider investing in a partial note.
  3. The process of selling a partial mortgage note is very similar to selling a full note. Please refer to our post on Should I Sell My Mortgage Note? for more information on the process and paperwork required to get started.

The bottom line is that a partial can be a win-win when it reduces the amount of discount the
seller takes and makes for a more secure investment for the buyer. To talk about your options
with a partial sale or just have your questions answered, please give us a call.

Next week, we will be covering more important tips for selling a mortgage note. Please
comment below to let us know if you have found this information helpful or if you have been able
to share it with someone who has. We invite any and all feedback!


Written by Alan Noblitt

Alan Noblitt is the President of Seascape Capital, LLC, and works as both a real estate note buyer and a business note broker. Alan has an MBA from Arizona State University, a B.S. from the University of Wyoming, and is licensed as a California Real Estate Note Buyer.

5 thoughts on “Selling a Real Estate Note 101: Can I only sell part of my mortgage note?”

  1. I have a $400,000 one year interest-only recourse note secured by second position deed of trust. Can I sell split-partial to multiple investors? If yes, how would it normally be structured?

  2. Hello Benjamin,

    Sorry for being so late in responding, as I did not see your message come through. We only buy performing 1st-position liens, so could not help with your 2nd lien. Normally, you would not be able to sell partials to multiple investors.

  3. Wow, this is the first time I heard of selling a note partially. I will surely keep that in mind in case of financial emergencies since it is a good course of action if I want to get back the not in the future. In a weird way, it is convenient how real estate investment makes it possible to save oneself from financial binds such as when I mortgaged a property I own to pay for medical bills after my brother got into a car accident.

  4. @Alan, question about your reply to Benjamin, why would you not normally be able to sell a partial to multiple parties? Is it due to investor preference or is there regulation against it?

  5. Hello Michael,

    Sorry for getting back to you now, as I just saw your message. Any investor that buys a partial is going to want to be in senior lien position, and there can only be one senior lien. If there was ever a need for foreclosure, it would be difficult to have multiple parties all agree on the same course of action.

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