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Seller vs. Lender Financing in the Seattle Market

Understanding Seller Financing

Written by Christi Lagasse

SENIOR ADVISOR Christi fills her bucket with making memories with her family and philanthropy. You can find her relaxing at Alki and watching the sunset.

May 24, 2023

Understanding Seller Financing vs. Lender Financing in Today’s Seattle Market

As a real estate investor, understanding the different financing options available can be crucial in ensuring your investment endeavors are successful. Two of the most popular options are seller financing and lender financing. While they may appear similar, there are significant differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore what seller financing and lender financing are, their pros and cons, and when they may be appropriate real estate investing, whether your primary home or an investment property.

What is Seller Financing?

Seller financing is a financing method where the homeowner or property owner directly finances the buyer’s purchase of the property. This is typically done when a buyer is unable to secure financing from a traditional lender.

A seller who offers financing will act as the lender and finance the buyer’s purchase directly. The buyer makes scheduled payments (with interest) to the seller directly until the loan is paid in full.

One of the significant benefits of seller financing is that the process is typically faster and easier as the homeowner does not have to go through a bank or other financial institution.

What is Lender Financing?

Lender financing, on the other hand, is a financing method where a traditional financial institution, usually a bank, finances the purchase of a property, and the borrower makes monthly payments to the lender over time until the loan is paid in full. Lender financing can be a secure long-term investment with low-interest rates and manageable monthly payments.

One of the significant advantages of lender financing is its availability and flexibility. Most people choose lender financing due to its professionalism, straightforward process, and reliability.

Pros and Cons of Seller Financing

One significant advantage of seller financing is that it allows buyers to purchase a property that they would not have been able to afford traditionally.

Moreover, the buyer can quickly close on the sale of the property, and there may be less paperwork and costs involved.

However, one significant disadvantage is that the interest rates charged by sellers are often higher than those charged by traditional financial institutions. Additionally, there are risks associated with seller financing, such as the seller foreclosing or taking possession of the property if the borrower falls behind on payments.

Pros and Cons of Lender Financing

One significant advantage of lender financing is that it offers lower interest rates than seller financing and provides homeowners with the opportunity to build equity over time. With lender financing, the homeowner will typically have a larger pool of potential buyers since most people will be buying from traditional financial institutions. Additionally, the likelihood of encountering legal problems reduces significantly when dealing with established lenders.

One significant disadvantage of lender financing is that the process may be longer and more complex compared to seller financing. The borrower also may not be approved by the lender due to factors such as their credit scores and financial history.

When is Seller Financing Appropriate?

Seller financing is often used when traditional financing options are unavailable, such as if the property requires repairs, it has a unique characteristic or if the homeowner is in a rush to sell. Price and Equity calculators such as Zillow can be a beneficial resource for sellers and buyers alike in determining fair financing options. Due diligence should be conducted to ensure that the seller has true ownership of the property and there are no liens on the property.


When is Lender Financing Appropriate?

Lender financing is appropriate for most homeowners who have good credit and a stable financial history. Lender financing provides a sense of security and structure with predictable monthly payments. Borrowers should consider researching different lenders and comparing interest rates through websites such as BankRate to receive the best financing options before applying for a loan.



There is no one-size-fits-all financing option when it comes to buying or selling a property. Understanding the differences between lender financing and seller financing can help homeowners and potential buyers make informed decisions. If you are unsure which financing option is right for you, consult with a real estate agent or financial advisor. Additionally, you can use online FHA loan calculators or similar sites to determine what specific financing options will work best for your financial needs. Remember that both seller financing and lender financing have their pros and cons, so it is vital to find an option that suits your unique situation.

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