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Tag: Second Home

Second Homes and Investment Properties – New Regulations and Rates

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties. They will also begin to limit the number of these mortgages that they will acquire.

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the Government Sponsored Enterprise said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Lenders are now being forced to add to the cost of the loan and raise interest rates – anywhere from 50 basis points to as high as 250 bps.  That can mean an increase in rate of 1/8% to 1.25%, depending on the investor.

Finance of America, my employer, has added 50 basis points for all 2nd home and investment property purchases and refinances. This is on the low side, relative to many in the industry, as others that I’ve spoken to have added as much as 250 bps.

From Investopedia: “Basis points, otherwise known as bps, are a unit of measure used in finance to describe the percentage change in the value of financial instruments or the rate change in an index or other benchmark. One basis point is equivalent to 0.01% (1/100th of a percent) or 0.0001 in decimal form.”

Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information to see how this might impact your upcoming purchase.

March 2021 Mortgage Rate and Market Update

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As inflation rises, it typically causes mortgage rates to move higher as well.  That’s because inflation is the arch enemy of interest rates, since it erodes the buying power of the fixed return that a mortgage holder receives.

While inflation may look tame to everyone at this time, that looks like it will change when you dig a little deeper. 

Inflation Fears

But in the coming months, the inflation levels are expected to rise significantly, as the readings for the more current months replace the extremely low numbers from 2020. 

A look at the closely watched “Consumer Price Index Core Rate” of inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy sectors, shows a current reading of just 1.3% inflation for the past 12 months.  This has helped interest rates remain low.

It’s quite possible to see the rate of inflation rise towards 2.5%.  It’s likely that this will influence interest rates to higher levels.

For borrowers, the good news is that inflation is likely to become more tame later this year.  So now may be a great time for you to take advantage of the low-rate environment before these inflation readings start to move higher.

Secondly, our central banks have artificially depressed sovereign bond yields for years. Now, a small rise in yields can cause a move higher in interest rates, as well.

2nd Home and Investment Properties

Finally, Fannie Mae is tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties, the government sponsored entity said Wednesday. 

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the GSE said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Use That Equity

One other thing to consider for current homeowners – a cash-out refinance to utilize the equity in your home to eliminate all other consumer debt.  Many of my clients have saved anywhere from $500 to $1,750 per month in their overall payments.  Find out more on that here…and do reach out to me for more on this subject!

Second Homes and Investment Properties – A Mortgage Primer

I work with a wide variety of clients, from first time buyers to seasoned investors…and many in between.  However, some of the most frequent questions I receive deal with second home mortgages versus investment property financing.

Interestingly, there are specific rules and regulations for both, and I’d like to outline a number of major differences between them.

In general, whether you’re buying a vacation home or an investment property, you’ll pay slightly higher mortgage rates and have to meet stricter guidelines to qualify.

I’m linking to an article from Peter Miller at The Mortgage Reports – and you can see his entire piece here…

Interest Rate Differences

Mortgage rates are generally higher for second homes and investment properties than for the home you consider your primary residence.

In general, investment property interest rates are about 0.625% to 1% higher than market rates for primary homes.

For a second home or vacation home, they’re only slightly higher (generally .125% to .25% higher) than the rate you’d qualify for on a primary residence.

Of course, investment property and second home mortgage rates depend on similar factors as those for your primary home. Each borrower’s situation will vary based on income, credit score, assets, and down payment percentage, just to name a few elements.

Why Are Second Home and Investment Interest Rates Different?

Per Miller, “The home you live in (your “primary residence”) is seen as the least risky form of real estate. It’s likely to be the one bill homeowners will pay if times get tough. A vacation home or investment property, on the other hand, is riskier. Borrowers are a lot more likely to forego those payments when money is short.

Because of the higher risk second homes pose, they come with stricter rules about financing.”

Second Home Mortgage Regulations

There are a few key things a buyer needs to know about mortgage requirements if they are considering a second or vacation home.  First of all, one you will essentially live in for part of the year, but not full time.

Lenders expect a vacation or second home to be used by you, your family, and friends for at least part of the year. However, you’re generally allowed to rent the house out when you’re not using it.

If you plan to rent the property when you are not there, you cannot use expected income from that property to help income qualify for the loan.

Down Payment of 10% or More

Most lenders will want at least 10 percent down for a vacation home. If your application isn’t as strong (say you have a lower credit score or smaller cash reserves), you may have to put 20 percent or more down.

Also, gift funds are generally allowed for a portion of the down payment, but at least 5% of it must come from the borrower’s own funds if bringing in less than a 20 percent down payment

Credit Score

The purchase of a second home or vacation home requires higher credit scores, typically in the 640 or higher range. Lenders will look for less debt and more affordability, think of tighter debt-to-income ratios. Strong reserves (extra funds after closing) are a big help.

Investment Property Mortgage Regulations

If you are planning on purchasing an investment property there are specific rules that apply.

If you’re financing a home as an investment property, and you plan to rent it out full-time, you are not personally required to live in the building for any amount of time.

Down Payment of 15% to 25%

Down payment requirements for an investment property range from 15 percent for a one-unit property to 25 percent for a two- to four-unit property. You may also be required to make a bigger down payment depending on your application and the type of loan.

No gift funds are allowed for investment property purchases, so most lenders will require down payment funds “seasoned” for at least 60 days in the borrower’s personal account.

Using Expected Rental Income to Help Qualify

The good news about utilizing an investment property loan is that the borrower can use expected rents as income to help in qualification.

Here are some of the guidelines:

  • If the property is leased, then copies of the current signed lease agreements may be required.
  • If the property is not currently leased, then the lender may use “market rent” information provided by the appraiser.
  • When there is no rental income for the subject property on the borrowers tax returns, the rental income will be reduced to 75% of the gross rental income provided on the lease.

You can find more on this subject here…

Credit Score

Lenders generally require borrowers to have a credit score above 640 for an investment property loan. With that said, rates can run very high for low credit scores.

The Bottom Line

When you apply for a mortgage, you are required declare how you intend to use the property. Lenders take such declarations seriously because they don’t want to finance riskier investment properties with residential financing.

Make sure to find a lender who truly understands the differences and requirements between second homes and investment properties.  I’d be more than happy to share other resources I have on the subject, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions!

How to use a cash-out refinance to purchase another home

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I work with a fair amount of second home buyers and investors – and am asked how to best go about financing these properties (and second homes), as well as their required down payments.

I recently ran across this article from Peter Miller at The Mortgage Reports – and it’s a great read for those looking to tap into home equity to purchase another home.

I’d invite you to read the full article here – and I’ll mention a few key highlights:

How much equity do you have?

At first, it may seem that the equity issue is simple. You bought a house for $150,000 and it’s now worth $275,000.

You’ve paid down principal, too, so your current equity is $190,000.

Can you really get a check for almost $190,000 from lenders?

Lenders generally will allow cash-out refinancing equal to 80 percent of your equity. They will see a property value of $275,000 and subtract 20 percent ($55,000). That will leave around $220,000. This money will be used to first repay the existing loan of $85,000. The balance – $135,000 – represents the cash available to the borrower.

With some program, you might do better. The VA cash out mortgage allows qualified borrowers to refinance up to 100 percent of their equity while the FHA cash out loan will go to 85 percent. However, these programs come with various charges and insurance costs that many borrowers with equity will want to avoid.

Cash-out refinance to buy another home

With cash-out refinancing, you can use the equity in your home for many things — but not for all things. For instance, you can use the money to pay for college tuition, to purchase a business, or buy another property.

Buying a second home or investment property

In terms of real estate, you can use real estate equity to immediately buy a second home or to purchase an investment property.

As soon as you close the cash-out refi, you can use those funds as a down payment on another home — or to buy the house outright — if you plan to keep the current home as your primary residence.

How to Go About a Refinance

Reach out to your lender to begin the application process.  He or she should be able to coach you through the process – and identify the key pieces that will help you make an informed decision.

I’ve helped numerous investors with this process, and I’d be glad to see if this option might work for you, as well!  Give me a call for more….

Second Home Purchasing – What You Need To Know

Hotels are great, but they are certainly not a good investment….unless your last name is Hilton.

Second homes, on the other hand, potentially yield a return while providing a vacation spot over which you have 100% control.

Source: The Mortgage Reports – Lisa Pogol

A Second Home Purchase Could Be a Brilliant Play

According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, home prices are up nationwide by more than 5% since last year. That means your vacation home might pay for your vacation.

Nearly one million buyers purchased 2nd homes last year, as no doubt they had grown weary of spending excessively on hotels and vacation rentals.

But buying a vacation home can be a bit trickier than you think – and it’s different than purchasing a primary residence. Make sure you have the right lender on your side – and here’s what you need to know before making that plunge.

Be Clear on All of the Costs

Affording the total cost is different than qualifying for the mortgage. Mortgage underwriters only look at expenses for principal, interest, property taxes, insurance, and, if applicable, HOA dues. If these expenditures check out (along with your current mortgage, if you have one), they approve your loan.

One thing to know is that you should plan carefully before getting started. Owning a second home comes with extra responsibility.

You’ll be maintaining two households, and that could be more expensive than you planned for.

You must consider travel costs, regular maintenance, repairs, utilities, furnishings and household items.

On the plus side, you might offset some or even all of the costs if you rent your home part-time. Make sure to check with your lender, as some loan programs don’t allow you to rent out a second home. You may also be able to write off your mortgage interest and property taxes to reduce overall cost.

What’s the Difference Between a Rental and Vacation Home?

Rental homes and vacation properties are financed differently.

If you can qualify for your purchase without the property generating any income, buy it as a vacation home. You’ll get a better interest rate, and qualifying is more straightforward when rental income is off the table.

However, if you need to rent out your place to afford it, it becomes an investment property, not a second home.

In this case, your lender will want to see an appraisal with a comparable rental schedule. This document tells the underwriter the property’s potential income.

The lender counts 75 percent of the anticipated rents as income to you, and the monthly mortgage, taxes and insurance are added to your expenses when calculating your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Please note that investment property mortgages almost always require at least 20 percent down and their mortgage rates can be 50 basis points (0.50%) percent or higher than rates for primary residences.

Know Your Down Payment Requirements

You can buy a primary residence with just three percent down in many cases, but it takes at least ten percent down to buy a vacation home, and that’s if your application is very strong.  Otherwise, your lender may require at least 20 percent.

If you don’t have a lot of cash on hand, you may be able to borrow your down payment. The National Association of REALTORS® says that about one-fifth of buyers tap into equity from their primary residence to make the down payment on the second home.

Your loan of choice will probably be a conventional loan, offered by lenders nationwide, and underwritten by standards set out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

What Are the Assets Needed to Qualify?

When you buy a vacation property, you’ll more than likely need reserves. Reserves are funds available to pay your mortgage if you experience an interruption in income.

You’ll need at least two months of reserves if you’re a well-qualified wage earner, and at least six months if you’re self-employed or have any weaknesses in your file.

One month of reserves is equal to the amount of money it would take to make one months’ payment on both your primary residence and future second home.

Choose Wisely – and Do the Math

It is tempting to jump into a vacation home purchase, but first, weigh the benefits and costs.

Ensure that it makes long-term financial sense to buy. While there are upfront costs, a second home purchase can be a nice addition to your real estate portfolio or retirement plan.

To make ownership even more affordable, shop around for rates by calling at least three lenders. Most, if not all, lenders who offer primary residence loans also offer second home mortgages.

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