You make money in real estate when you buy, not when you sell. That’s why the type of loan product you choose for your real estate financing is so important. In this blog post, you’ll learn three key tips to get the best rate on a loan for investment properties and personal homes. Read until the end for some valuable dos and don’ts during the loan process!
Tip #1: Know What Loan Products are Available
There are multiple types of loan products available, and the key to real estate financing is knowing how to pick the best one for you. If you’re an investor, it’s important to know what type of loan is best for an investment property. If you’re a homeowner, the best option for you might look a little different. Generally, your options come in the form of fixed-rate, adjustable rate, or government loans.
The interest rate of a fixed-rate loan won’t change over time, and they typically come in 15-year and 30-year intervals. This makes it a safe option for homeowners. If you do a fixed-rate mortgage as a real estate investor, I strongly encourage you to do a 30-year rate.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) change their interest rate over time. This may sound risky, but it can be a great solution for you depending on your time frame. For instance, if you know that you will only keep a property for five years or so, ARMs have something called a 5-1 product. Your interest rate is locked in for five years then it changes every year after that in accordance with a particular index. There several other types of ARMs, such as 3-1 and 10-1 products, as well.
Government loans (such as FHA loans) are great for people like first-time home buyers. They only require borrowers to put down 3 percent of the purchase price. As an investor, government programs tend to have a difficult qualification process. It’s certainly not impossible, but it does help to have an experienced broker or loan officer on your team!
Tip #2: Negotiate the Cost of a Loan
You can always try to compromise on the terms of your loan. A good rule of thumb is that your closing costs should be well less than 1% of your loan. You should also look at your good faith estimate (also called the settlement statement.) This is the list of costs to the buyer and the seller. Scan this document for junk fees such as administrative costs, doc prep fees, etc.
Many loans have an origination fee that goes directly to the broker shop. A mortgage broker may make 1% of the loan and, in my opinion, you should never pay more than that unless the broker isn’t making anything else on the backside of the loan. (That’s called a yield spread.)
Tip #3: Purchase Mortgage vs. Refinance Mortgage
A key aspect of real estate financing is to know the difference between a purchase mortgage and a refinance mortgage. When you do a purchase mortgage, you purchase a property that you need to have a down payment for. On a refinance mortgage, the property must have already been in your name for six to twelve months.
You can get cash out because refinancing replaces the debt of one loan with another that’s under possibly better terms. If you refinance, you might be able to get a better interest rate. It’s something to consider whether you are about to buy a property or you have been in one for the necessary amount of time. Be careful, though—when you refinance, your credit can take a hit.
Bonus: Dos and Don’ts During a Loan Process:
- Don’t apply for new credit anywhere else.
- Don’t close any credit accounts (you can pay them off, though.)
- Don’t max out or overcharge your cards. Never spend more than 50% of your credit limit.
- Don’t consolidate debt
- Don’t cosign on another loan or change your address. This raises red flags to underwriters.
- Do join a credit watch program.
- Do stay current on your credit payments.
- Do continue to use your credit responsibly.