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  • Writer's pictureChris Goff

Understanding Balloon Payments and Amortizing Loans in Seller Financing

When it comes to real estate transactions, seller financing is a popular alternative to traditional bank financing. In this arrangement, the property's seller acts as the lender, allowing the buyer to make payments until the full purchase price is paid off. One common feature of many seller-financed deals is the balloon payment. But what exactly is a balloon payment, and how does loan amortization work? Let's delve deeper.

What is a Balloon Payment?

A balloon payment is a large, lump-sum payment made at the end of a loan term. This payment is significantly larger than your regular payments and is designed to pay off the remaining balance of the loan.

In seller financing, a balloon payment is often used to shorten the loan term. For instance, the buyer might make regular payments for five years and then pay off the remainder of the loan in one large balloon payment. This can be advantageous for sellers who want their money back sooner rather than later.

Why Use Balloon Payments?

There are several reasons why a seller might prefer a balloon payment structure. Firstly, it allows them to recoup a large portion of their money in a shorter period. Secondly, it can reduce risk by ensuring that the loan is fully paid off within a specified period.

For buyers, a balloon payment can make sense if they anticipate having more funds available in the future, perhaps from selling another property or from an expected increase in income. However, it's important to note that there is a risk involved: if the buyer cannot make the balloon payment when it's due, they could lose the property.

How to Amortize Loans

Amortization refers to the process of paying off a loan over time through regular payments. An amortized loan includes both interest and principal in the monthly payments, so each payment reduces your loan balance and covers your interest expense.

To amortize a loan with a balloon payment, you would calculate the payments as if the loan were going to be paid off over a longer period (say 30 years). However, the loan term is actually shorter (for example, 5 years). So, at the end of the 5 years, the remaining balance of the loan is due as a balloon payment.

REIPro's mortgage calculator is a powerful tool for understanding balloon payments and amortizing loans. This calculator simplifies the complex calculations involved in these financial mechanisms, helping users determine their monthly payments, overall cost, and the balloon payment at the end of the term. It uses an amortization schedule to illustrate how each payment affects the loan balance over time. By inputting key details like purchase price, down payment, interest rate, and loan length, users can gain a clear picture of their financial commitment and plan accordingly. The REIPro mortgage calculator is a valuable resource for anyone navigating seller financing in real estate.

Step 1: Enter Loan Terms

In this scenario, we have decided to spread out the loan payments over a 30-year period to ensure that the monthly installment remains affordable. However, we have also added a balloon term of 5 years. This means that after 5 years, the outstanding balance of the loan will need to be fully paid off. This can be done either by paying in cash or by refinancing the loan. This is necessary in order to close out the loan with the seller.

Mortgage Calculator in REIPro when determining the terms of a seller finance

Step 2: View the Payment Schedule and Loan Balance

At the end of 5 years, the balance can be seen.

Amortizing a loan in REIPro Software


Balloon payments and loan amortization are important concepts in seller financing. They can provide flexibility for both buyers and sellers. As always, it's wise to seek professional advice before entering into any financial arrangement.

Remember, understanding these financial terms and how they work can help you make better decisions when it comes to seller financing. So, don't hesitate to dig deeper and learn more about these crucial aspects of real estate financing in REIPro’s Education Center. Click here to learn more.


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