What Is a Note in Real Estate and When to Use It

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Written By Tommy

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

As someone interested in real estate investing, you may have come across the term “real estate notes” and wondered what they are. So, what is a note in real estate? Here is what you need to know about real estate notes.

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What is a Note in Real Estate?

What is a note in real estate? A note is a legal agreement between a lender and a borrower. It states the repayment terms and amount of the loan. It includes the amount borrowed, the period for repaying it, and the annual interest rate.

The borrower promises to repay the lender the principal and interest. The lender, in turn, agrees to lend the money to the borrower. The promise to pay is secured by a mortgage on the property.

The buyer agrees to make the monthly payments and to keep current on the property taxes and insurance. The buyer can lose the property to foreclosure if the buyer defaults on the payments.

While real estate investments through notes are a great opportunity, it’s crucial to understand the implications of missed payments. Use this guide to better understand how mortgages work so you can make more informed decisions when investing.

How Real Estate Notes Work

Real estate notes are created when a borrower takes out a loan to buy or refinance a property. The borrower then makes payments to the lender and records these payments as a promissory note. When the loan is paid off, the borrower receives the promissory note back from the lender.

If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can foreclose on the property and sell it to recoup the money owed. However, the investor may be responsible for the difference if the property is sold for less than the loan amount.

Before offering a seller-financing option, you should hire a real estate attorney to draw up your contract. The terms may seem simple, but the wording of a contract can greatly affect your legal rights and obligations. You should also make sure that your contracts comply with any state and federal laws that apply.

Additionally, before obligating yourself to a property with a loan, you should fully understand the terms of your loan. It is important that you can live up to your end of the deal because defaulting on a loan usually results in an acceleration of the payments and the loss of the property.

Why Would You Invest in a Real Estate Note?

With note Investing, you can experience these benefits:

  • Passive income (you don’t have to deal with any of the hassles that come with owning and managing a property).
  • The opportunity to work with struggling homeowners in offering them more flexibility on their mortgage.
  • Many investors who buy notes prefer to hire a servicing company to handle their payments, which costs them a small, nominal fee.
  • You can negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates, possibly resulting in a better return on your investment.

Disadvantages of Real Estate Note Investing

Some of the downsides to investing in notes are:

  • If the home buyer defaults on the mortgage, the lender can foreclose on the property. If this happens, the home will be sold at an auction, and the money will go to the mortgage lender. The investor will lose money on the investment if the home sells for a lower price than what they paid.
  • Determining the profitability and success of a note purchase is difficult because so many variables are involved. For example, investors can make money with mortgage notes through many different means, but all of the ways require cooperation from the borrower. Therefore, it is difficult to determine this before purchasing the note.

Consequences of Missing Loan Payments

As an investor, it’s important to be aware of the consequences of missing loan payments. If a borrower defaults on their loan, the investor may be responsible for the difference if the property is sold for less than the loan amount. In addition, the investor may also have to pay late fees, legal fees, and other associated costs.

How to Use a Note in Real Estate

While a note is not required for all real estate transactions, it can be a helpful tool in certain situations. For example, if you are taking out a loan to purchase a property, the lender will likely require that you sign a note. This document will outline the terms of your loan, including the interest rate and repayment schedule.

A note can also be used in other situations, such as when two parties enter a joint venture or partnership. In this case, the note can outline the terms of the agreement, such as each party’s share of the profits or losses.

If you are involved in a real estate transaction requiring a note, read it carefully and understand the terms before signing. Once you sign a note, you are legally bound by its terms, so you must know what you agree to.

When to Use a Note in Real Estate

There are many different types of notes in real estate, and each has its purpose. Generally, a note is used to record an agreement between two parties, usually involving the exchange of money. Here are some common situations when a note might be used in real estate:

  1. When a buyer is taking out a loan to purchase a property.
  2. When a seller is carrying back a loan for the buyer.
  3. When an investor is selling property subject to a mortgage.
  4. When two investors are exchanging properties.
  5. When an owner is refinancing a property.

In each of these cases, the note will specify the terms of the agreement, such as the interest rate, repayment schedule, and any other conditions that apply. If you’re involved in any type of real estate transaction, it’s important to clearly understand the role that notes play.

Is Real Estate Note Investing Right for You?

Investors typically buy real estate notes because the interest rates are lower than traditional real estate transactions. This can provide a higher return on investment and more cash flow for the investor. In addition, real estate notes are a more secure investment than other types of real estate investments because the property itself backs them.

Ultimately, whether or not investing in notes is the right fit will depend on your financial goals and risk tolerance. Suppose you’re looking to invest your money relatively safely, with the possibility of earning some passive monthly income. In that case, buying and holding onto a few promissory notes might work for you. If, however, you’re looking for a higher-yielding investment opportunity, you might want to consider other alternatives.


So, what is a note in real estate? A note in real estate is a legal document that outlines the terms of a loan or other agreement between two parties. Notes are typically used when one party borrows money from another and include information such as the interest rate, repayment schedule, and other relevant details.

While investing in real estate notes can be a great way to earn a higher return on investment, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Be sure to research and consult a financial advisor to ensure that investing in real estate notes is the right move for you.