What Type Of Loan Is Best For Investment Property? Here Are 10 Options

Aug 15, 2022 | Mortgage Guides

Are you looking to generate income through investing? Often, real estate proves to be a lucrative investment. For example, rental properties and house flipping were once sources of a side income. In today’s climate, they can be profitable enough as a primary source of income. The only catch is that investment property loans aren’t easy to attain, given the various types of loans and fluctuating interest rates across states.

Borrowers must adhere to stricter requirements for investment and rental property loans. However, with many options, investors can often find something to suit their needs. This guide will examine ten investment property loan options, including information on mortgage rates and the cost associated with each option.

What Is an Investment Property Loan?

This type of mortgage is necessary to purchase property intended to produce income. Whether it’s a short-term investment of renovating and flipping the property or a long-term rental plan, a loan is often necessary. While similar to a traditional home loan for a primary residence, investment properties pose a greater risk of default and, therefore, are more challenging to acquire.

Requirements for Investment Property Lending

Investment property loans differ from typical home loans. Compared to a primary residence, lenders view investment properties as being riskier. As a result, the eligibility requirements demand more financial stability. A loan for an investment property will have specifics, such as:

  • Higher Minimum Credit Score: A minimum credit score 620 is common for a conventional home loan. Since investment properties pose more risk, lenders often raise the minimum requirement to 640 or even higher for more extensive, multi-family homes.
  • Higher Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio: Lenders also increase their standards for a borrower’s DTI ratio to be below 36 percent. Alas, some lenders allow for rental income from the purchased property to be added to help qualify.
  • Proof of Rental Income: Lenders request evidence when using rental income to qualify for a loan. That includes copies of leases, rent roll history, and tax returns accounting for revenue.
  • Proof of Mortgage Reserves: Also known as cash reserves, these are monthly payments in the borrower’s bank. Depending on the loan and property, lenders might want to see between two and six months’ worth of mortgage payments in reserves.
  • Larger Down Payment: While a 20 percent down payment is recommended, sometimes a down payment of as little as 3.5 percent will suffice. With investment properties, most lenders enforce that 20 percent down payment.

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10 Loan Options for Investment Properties and How They Work

When investing in real estate, several excellent loan choices are available. Traditional banks and credits are the most common lending source with many options, but other financiers also focus on providing specific loans to investors. When purchasing an investment property, the following are the loan options to consider:

1. Conventional Bank Loan

Current primary residence owners might be familiar with conventional loans, considering they absorb over half of the housing market. The federal government does not back conventional mortgage financing; therefore, one does not have to live on the property. Instead, this type of loan adheres to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations.

For a conventional home loan, a 20 percent down payment is often the standard to avoid added expenses such as mortgage insurance. Lenders tend to increase that figure with investment properties, sometimes up to a 30 percent down payment. Each state’s conventional loan program differs from the next, so confirm the requirements with your local real estate market beforehand.

2. FHA Multi-Family Loan

Traditional mortgage lenders and brokers offer Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. An FHA loan is government-backed and often has lower credit scores and down payment requirements. Plus, income from an existing rental property can help meet eligibility.

Since this loan is federally insured, the investor must live on the property for at least 12 months. An FHA loan is ideal for multifamily housing, whether new construction or renovated, where the buyer can use other units as rentals to qualify.

3. VA Multi-Family Loan

Another government-backed loan program offered by traditional lenders, banks, and credit unions is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA joint loans are exclusive to active duty military personnel, veterans, and eligible spouses.

If you meet the requirements, you have some advantages to using a VA loan for an investment property. One is that they are guaranteed without the minimum credit scores or down payments. These loans allow military borrowers to buy up to seven units of multi-family property as long as they live within one of them as their primary residence.

4. Hard Money Loan

A typical loan for flipping investment properties is a hard money loan. Fast approval, short-term lending, and funding for finalizing a property sale are attributes of this type of loan. These loans are for short-term investments, catering to homeowners and people looking for quick financing solutions. A hard money loan is sometimes easier and faster to qualify for with the help of a broker. With this option, a property’s estimated after-repair value is a more prominent factor than credit and income, making it a potentially successful choice when time is of the essence.

Sometimes, lenders expect borrowers to pay off hard money loans within less than a year. Therefore, they are costly, and borrowers should follow strict guidelines to make things easier. A 25 percent down payment, additional upfront points, high-interest rates, and increased closing costs are often standard.

5. Private Money Loan

A private money loan is from another individual rather than an institutional lender. Most private money loans are from the initial investor’s relatives or close associates. However, when no relative is in a position to lend money on investments, local real estate networking events are great places to connect with investors, ask questions, and potentially secure funding.

Interest rates and terms for private money loans vary. Those new to real estate investing should consider who they accept money from to avoid damaging relationships. These loans are often protected by a legal agreement giving the lender the right to foreclosure due to default payments.

6. Blanket Mortgage Loan

Real estate investors wishing to buy and subsidize numerous rental properties into one loan may consider a blanket mortgage loan. Both private lenders and mortgage companies offer these loans. Terms such as the length, interest rates, and requirements on credit scores and down payments deviate with every creditor.

With a blanket mortgage loan, rental properties are often cross-collateralized, meaning each property serves as collateral. Requesting a release clause is easy to prevent that and market one or more of the properties covered by the blanket loan without refinancing the others.

7. Portfolio Loan

Although not exclusive to investment properties, portfolio loans are standard for real estate investing. These include mortgages on small multifamily and single-family properties held by the same lender. While each unit will have a separate loan, lenders often provide a discount for multiple loans.

Tailoring a portfolio loan’s terms to the borrower’s needs is possible. Since these loans are easier to qualify for those possessing multiple properties, they often include higher fees and potential prepayment penalties.

8. Home Equity Loan / HELOC

Another approach in acquiring an investment property is to use the equity in your primary residence. By taking out a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC), or cash-out refinance, borrowers can fund up to 80 percent of their home’s equity value. That can go toward purchasing, refinancing, or renovating.

Depending on the financing, utilizing home equity to fund a real estate transaction has advantages and disadvantages. For instance, with a HELOC, one may borrow against the equity as they would with a credit card, paying interest each month. On the other hand, a cash-out refinance has a fixed rate but could make your primary mortgage last longer and entail more interest.

9. Seller Financing

There are situations when sellers can act as a lender. That can be true for sellers who own the property or have minimal mortgage debt. With a seller carry-back or owner financing, the lender can generate interest income and a mortgage payment instead of collecting their profits simultaneously.

Seller financing makes sense for landlords who wish to disperse their capital gains tax payments throughout their loan. That contrasts with completing a 1031 tax-deferred exchange, although it requires similar underwriting criteria.

10. Commercial Loans

Commercial real estate is a lucrative investment. The loans mentioned above are suitable for residential properties but are not as accommodating for commercial locations. On top of the typical requirements, such as good credit, a commercial investment property loan mandates a well-thought-out business plan.

These loans have various requirements. Commercial real estate offers conventional, hard money, and small business loans. These loans can go toward office space, retail, and industrial use. 

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Bottom Line

Financing an investment property is an excellent way to diversify one’s portfolio and create a new source of profit. Income-producing real estate pays off with monthly rent, property appreciation, and tax benefits. It’s difficult to find these advantages with other assets. With so many loans, investors will find something suitable.

To learn more about what mortgage and financing resources are available, consult a Wesley Mortgage representative today. Our team of experienced loan officers can help you with your mortgage needs, including primary residences and investment properties, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

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