Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.
Given the numerous mortgage options, financing a new house can be challenging for many home buyers. Each comes with its benefits. However, one type of loan worth considering is an assumable mortgage. The buyer takes over the seller’s existing mortgage in this borrowing option. This can have certain advantages based on your needs as a borrower.
This article will explore assumable mortgages. How they work, and help you decide whether they suit you.
An assumable mortgage is a type of loan that allows the buyer to take over the seller’s mortgage loan and purchase the home. Buyers prefer assumable mortgages because they can take advantage of lower interest rates than current market rates.
This is especially true if the seller purchased the home with lower interest rates.
This can be an excellent opportunity for buyers as they can save a considerable amount of money on interest payments over the life of the loan.
It’s important to note that not all home loans are assumable.
Most conventional mortgages cannot be considered. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if someone inherits the property during someone’s lifetime or after their passing, they may be able to assume the mortgage. Additionally, it’s possible to assume an adjustable-rate mortgage after its initial fixed period ended.
Loans backed by the FHA, VA, or USDA are assumable with specific requirements. The seller must obtain lender approval for an assumable mortgage for FHA and VA loans.
If you’re considering taking over an FHA loan, knowing the specific criteria the buyer and seller must meet for an assumable mortgage is essential. For newer FHA loans, the seller must have lived in the home as their primary residence for a specific period. Also, the buyer must go through the standard application process for an FHA loan.
FHA mortgages are more accessible to buyers with credit scores above 580, making them ideal for those with less-than-perfect credit histories.
Before applying for a mortgage, enhance your credit score to boost your application.
Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a VA loan is available to eligible military members, service members, and their spouses.
In cases where a non-qualified current or former military service member wants to buy a property with a VA loan, they can apply for a VA loan assumption. However, if the loan is assumed by someone who doesn’t ordinarily qualify for a VA loan, the seller will lose their VA entitlement.
Depending on the loan setup, the lender may also need approval from the Regional VA Loan Center. This can cause additional processing time for paperwork.
It is rare for a buyer to come across a freely assumable loan that applies to any VA loan closed on or before March 1, 1988. If a seller has this type of loan, they do not need lender approval. However, they may still be responsible for making payments if the buyer fails to pay their mortgage on time. We recommend that the seller obtain a liability release from the VA to avoid any potential issues.
Buyers should think twice before taking over mortgages, which originated in the late 1980s. They tend to have higher interest rates.
It is worth noting that another party can assume USDA loans. However, in most cases, both the lender and the USDA must approve the transfer of liability.
The only instances where approval is unnecessary are those mentioned earlier with conventional loans, where the new borrower is a successor. The seller is responsible for maintaining the mortgage until the buyer accepts the liability.
Assumable mortgages function like conventional home loans, with a few limitations. The purchaser can only secure financing through the seller’s lender, and the lender’s approval is usually mandatory.
If the mortgage is taken over without the lender’s permission, the seller may have to pay off the remaining sum immediately. Furthermore, the seller runs the risk of the buyer defaulting on payments, negatively impacting their credit rating.
In these instances, the buyer can save hundreds of dollars if an appraisal is not required. However, buyers should still consider ordering a home inspection to identify any repair issues with the property. After the buyer closes on the home, the seller will no longer be liable for the mortgage payments.
When considering taking over a mortgage, weighing the advantages and disadvantages, including any extra expenses, paperwork, and timeframes required to process the loan, is crucial.
While avoiding higher interest rates with the seller’s lender may seem like a good idea, it’s better to shop around and explore other options before committing to anything. To make an informed decision, here’s what you need to know about taking on an assumable loan.
When you take over a mortgage loan from someone else, your fees can vary depending on the lender’s policy. In general, fees are associated with the assumption that they are either a percentage of the unpaid principal balance or a flat amount. It’s essential to remember that assumption fees may be subject to state laws, so it’s worth checking the regulations in your area.
In most cases, borrowers who assume VA loans must pay the VA funding fee of 0.5% of the remaining mortgage balance. However, exemptions apply to those who meet specific criteria.
There are instances when acquiring a mortgage is necessary due to unfortunate circumstances such as the passing of a family member or a divorce. In these cases, the lender needs to confirm that the individual who is now responsible for the loan still meets their minimum requirements. This ensures that the new borrower can afford to pay off the mortgage.
When a person takes over a loan, the lender must verify additional information similar to what they would do for a regular home loan application. The lender will review income statements, asset lists, and the borrower’s creditworthiness to ensure they can still make the minimum monthly payments on the loan.
It is highly recommended to seek the advice of a Home Loan Expert before committing to a loan.