Afraid to Sell Because You’re Not Sure You Will Find Your Replacement Home? What If We Could Buy and Then Sell

The decision to buy first or sell first, has always been a little of the “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” type of question.  Is it better to buy another home before you sell your current one or sell the current one before you buy the replacement?

Some buyers don’t have a choice because they need the equity out of the current home to purchase the new one and possibly, their income limits their ability to qualify for having both mortgages at the same time.  However, some buyers, with sufficient financial resources, may have other options available to facilitate the move.

A home equity line of credit, HELOC, is a type of loan that a traditional lender like a bank will loan up to the difference in what is currently owed on the home and 75-80% of the value.  A borrower is approved for the line of credit and then, can borrow against it as needed. A homeowner with sufficient equity, would want to secure a HELOC prior to contracting for the new home or listing their current one.  Typically, the interest will be due monthly.  When they sell the home, the loan would be paid off along with any other liens on the property like the first mortgage.

A bridge loan is different in that it is usually a specific amount of money for a short term used to “bridge” the time frame necessary to acquire the replacement property and sell the existing home.  The amount available is like the HELOC, usually, up to 80% of the home’s value less the existing mortgage.  Some lenders may require being in the first position which may require retiring the existing first mortgage from the proceeds from the bridge lender.

Hard money lenders are a little more flexible in some of their requirements compared to typical lenders, but it comes at a cost.  They could charge two to three percent, called points, of the money borrowed and it is paid up-front.  The interest rate is typically higher than long-term mortgage money. 

Another alternative is to find a conventional lender who has a program that allows you to recast the loan in a specified period.  The borrower would get a low-down payment mortgage on the new home and after the original home is sold and closed, the lender will apply a lump sum toward the principal amount owed on the new home and recalculate the payments and amortization schedule.  By recasting the loan, the borrower does not go through the process of getting a new mortgage by refinancing and therefore saves the costs involved.  Most conventional loans and conforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans allow a recast after 90-days.  FHA, VA, GNMA loans do not allow recasting.

Borrowers with 401(k) retirement accounts may consider borrowing against that asset which could be a lower interest rate than other temporary options.  Depending on the size of the 401(k), the amount available to borrow could be up to half the balance or $50,000 whichever is less.   If the loan isn’t repaid in a timely fashion, there can be taxes and penalties.

In each of these options, the seller is involved in borrowing money to accommodate a purchase and sale of a home.  There will be expenses involved but the advantage is that they have a better chance of realizing most of their equity to complete a purchase before they sell their current home.  This is particularly helpful in markets that are low in inventory.  It can also make moving from one house to another much easier.

One last option is to consider selling your existing home to an iBuyer or private investor.  The attraction to this alternative is that they will make you an instant offer to buy your home and you’ll have cash to use to purchase your new home.  These companies or investors, intend to resell the property, so they must discount the price they pay for your property taking into mind they will be responsible for repairs, maintenance, selling fees and other expenses.  While it may sound appealing, you may discover that the amount you will realize will be substantially less than if you sell your home in a conventional manner.

If you have questions about Buying First and Selling Later we can do a comprehensive market analysis to indicate market value and the net proceeds you can expect to have.  This will assist you in determining which option makes sense for you at this time.  We can also recommend lenders and approximate timelines for each alternative.

Removing or Adding a Person to a Loan

In divorce it is common, for the spouse who keeps the home to refinance to remove the other spouse from the loan.  Equally as common, first-time buyers who don’t have enough income to qualify may ask a parent to co-sign and must add their name to the mortgage.

Another situation that requires removing or adding a person to a loan could be to qualify for a better interest rate.  The difference in a minimally acceptable credit score and something that might be considered “good” could be as much as a 0.5% higher rate for the term of the mortgage.

Consider that a couple is buying a home with a conventional loan, and they have individual credit scores of 760 and 670.  The underwriters will price the loan based on the lower of the two scores.  A half percent interest on a $400,000 30-year mortgage could have close to $110 a month difference.

A possible solution to this dilemma could be available, assuming the borrower with the higher credit score had enough income to qualify for the mortgage separately.  If so, that person would be eligible for the lower rate. The property could still be titled in both names and if so, both would be liable for the mortgage should the named borrower default on the loan.

Another scenario that may arise is perhaps a couple has enough income to qualify for a mortgage but because one of the parties has a lower credit score, it will be priced higher.  Consider having a parent or relative added to the mortgage as a non-occupying borrower to help with the credit score.  Interest rates are determined on the lowest middle of three scores for the borrowers applying for the loan. Assuming the parent’s score was higher than the lowest score of the couple, it could improve the rate applied to the mortgage loan.

The value of a trusted mortgage professional is very important.  They can offer alternatives to situations that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage and in some cases, can make the difference in being approved at all. If you have questions about real estate finance let us know. We have mortgage professionals that have been part of our team for over 20 years.

Is Now A Good Time For A Cash-Out Refinance?

With the rapid appreciation that homes have had in the last two years, most homeowners have equity.  A common way to release part of the equity is to cash-out refinance but some homeowners may not be eligible currently.

This type of loan replaces the current mortgage by paying it off and an additional amount of cash for the owner.  Generally, lenders will consider a new mortgage up to a total of 80% of the current value.

Typically, the rate on a cash-out refinance will be slightly higher than a traditional purchase money mortgage.  As is in any lending situation, the rate depends on the borrower’s credit and income.  The best interest rates are available to borrowers with higher credit scores, usually over 740.

Loan-to-value can affect the rate a borrower pays also.  A 70% loan-to-value mortgage could be expected to have a lower interest rate than an 80% LTV because there is a larger amount of equity remaining in the property and therefore, less risk for the lender.

There are no restrictions on how the owner can use the money.  It can be used for home improvements, consolidating debt, other consumer needs or for investment.

Eligibility Requirements as found in FNMA Selling Guide B2-1.3-03 Cash-Out Refinance Transactions

“Cash-out refinance transactions must meet the following requirements: 

  • The transaction must be used to pay off existing mortgages by obtaining a new first mortgage secured by the same property or be a new mortgage on a property that does not have a mortgage lien against it. 
  • Properties that were listed for sale must have been taken off the market on or before the disbursement date of the new mortgage loan. 
  • The property must have been purchased (or acquired) by the borrower at least six months prior to the disbursement date of the new mortgage loan except for the following:
    • There is no waiting period if the lender documents that the borrower acquired the property through an inheritance or was legally awarded the property (divorce, separation, or dissolution of a domestic partnership). 
    • The delayed financing requirements are met. See Delayed Financing Exception below.
    • If the property was owned prior to closing by a limited liability corporation (LLC) that is majority-owned or controlled by the borrower(s), the time it was held by the LLC may be counted towards meeting the borrower’s six-month ownership requirement. (In order to close the refinance transaction, ownership must be transferred out of the LLC and into the name of the individual borrower(s). See B 2-2-01, General Borrower Eligibility Requirements (07/28/2015) for additional details.) 
    • If the property was owned prior to closing by an inter-vivos revocable trust, the time held by the trust may be counted towards meeting the borrower’s six-month ownership requirement if the borrower is the primary beneficiary of the trust. 
  • For DU loan case files, if the DTI ratio exceeds 45%, six months reserves is required.”

If you are are interested in a referral to a great loan officer, give us a call at 206-979-9632 or send me an email to David@TheHarlanTeam.com