Do Some Investors Pay Par Pricing When Buying Mortgage Notes?

Mortgage Note Discount Par PricingRecently we received a question in the Finding Cash Flow Notes training course related to “par pricing” or “discount” when buying mortgage notes.

First off, here is the Note Broker Question…

Hello and thank you two for all your help. My question is why would a note investor pay par for a note?

I’ve been speaking with a person who helps their clients use OWC (Owner Will Carry). I was informed they are working with a note investor that is willing to buy a note for par.

I don’t understand why an investor would do that since they aren’t making any return. Do you have any insight into this?

And Now The Note Buyer Answer:

It is not impossible for a note investor to pay par, just very rare.

First off, there are some costs to close the deal (appraisal, title, recording fees, etc). So at the very least there is a discount to cover those expenses.

Let’s say it cost the note buyer $1,500 in closing costs. They are going to at least discount the note $1,500 to help cover those costs.

That said, the only reason an investor would pay par is that they are happy with the face rate of the promissory note as their return.

If they buy a note that has the face rate of 12%, they will earn 12% on their money (minus the closing costs).

Par Pricing Example When Buying Mortgage Notes

For example, let’s say someone has the following note (with an acceptable LTV and ITV):

  • 200 payments remaining
  • $525.00 monthly payment
  • $40,576.92 – Current Balance
  • 14% face rate

If an investor purchased the above note for par (100 cents on the dollar) they would pay $40,576.92.

Now, let’s assume the investor had $1,500 in closing cost (that they did not pass on to the seller of the note). The investor’s “real” return would look like this….

  • 200 payments remaining
  • $525.00 monthly payment
  • $42,076.92 – Amount Invested ($40,576.92 Purchase Price + $1,500 Closing Costs)
  • 13.33% Rate of Return

So, if an investor were to pay “par” for the 14% note, after paying closing costs, the investor would still realize a yield of over 13%. Not a bad return.

The reason you don’t see this often is threefold:

  1. There are very few notes written at a rate private mortgage investors want to earn;
  2. If the note pays off right away a note buyer wants to at least recoup their costs since they won’t be able to earn a return over time; and
  3. Most sellers will accept some reasonable level of discount or pay costs.

There are many ways to get closer to par pricing that don’t involve a “full purchase.” Front-end partials, split partials, and even staged payouts are several options, but those are topics for another day (or check out the Mastering Partials Module in the Finding Cash Flow Notes Training)!

Additional Articles on Discounting Mortgage Notes

How Partials Reduce Note Discount When Selling Mortgages

Calculating Cash Flow Notes for LTV and ITV

What is the Face Rate of a Note?

What’s Your Discount?


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