Problems with Multiple Mortgages

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We have several rental properties that we own (more than 10). When we were younger, before we got married, we both moved around a lot and bought houses, moved, stayed a year or so and did it again. I of course don't have to mention why we did this (no money down, low fixed rates, etc.) However, now I am running into a dilemma. I am finding that no one wants to refi or do purchase money loans now that we have 10+ mortgages. I need good rates to make my cash flow work. I have recently herniated one of my discs and have been out of work for almost 3 months, so I need to take money out of our house that is paid for, but no one wants to do it. Any suggestions on how to get around that? My credit scores range from 763-805, so that is definately not the problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am down to crunch time in needing to get some money.

Bad situation.

The reason for this problem is that whereas nationally, vacancy rates are much lower, and here in high cost California they are only running about 2.5 percent, the bank will only allow 75 percent of rent to be used in the calculation of whether you qualify or do not. Furthermore, on the negative side they charge the full payment, taxes, and homeowner's insurance, as well as maintenance. Now, here in the high cost areas of California if there is a rental property bought within the last three years that's turning a profit, I'd like to know about it. But for properties purchased several years ago here, and nationally in many markets, there are people making money hand over fist on rental properties whom the bank believes must be cash destitute. There is no way they will qualify for a mortgage loan without tweaking something.

There are two main ways to solve the problem.

10 mortgages (assuming you still own the properties) gives one serious status as a real estate investor. The loan should then be able to be done. Not necessarily A paper, but subprime with that kind of a credit score and a prepayment penalty will give them comparable - perhaps even better rates. Furthermore, on investment properties, there's a minimum of about a 1.5 point to 2 point hit on the loan costs just due to the fact that it is investment property. So refinancing an investment property is not something you want to do often. If you can't go 10 years between refinances, something is probably wrong. Especially given the extremely narrow spread between long term loans like the 30 year fixed rate loan and shorter term fixed rate hybrids, for investment property a 30 year fixed rate loan is likely the way to go.

But the key part is "real estate investor."

This is a business. You're going to need an accountant to attest to the fact that you've been operating this business at least two years. But that gives you standing as at least partially self-employed as the operator of a real estate investment business.

Which gives you an out to do stated income, possibly even A paper. You're going to have to state that you earn more income than you do. Given the environment today, a good loan officer looking to cover themselves is going to want you to acknowledge that you can make whatever the payment is really going to be. I don't care if you need $6000 per month to qualify and you tell me that you make $12,000 per month, or $120,000. Any time you are looking at stated income, you're looking at a situation that is vulnerable to abuse, both from the point of view of a consumer being put into a loan they really cannot afford, and from the point of view of a bank lending money based upon a credit score and source of income that really may not be there. This one is especially vulnerable to the latter concern in the current market, and I would likely take a real careful look at any bank statements that pass through my hands to make certain it's not patently disprovable. If it makes a borrower uneasy, well half of the reason for qualification standards is to protect them. Stated Income may be colloquially called "liar's loans", but that is not what they are intended for, and in this case you are intentionally overstating income in order to qualify under unrealistic underwriting rules. Furthermore, not every lender will permit this.

The second approach is NINA - a No Income, No Asset loan, also known as "no ratio" - meaning no debt to income ratio. These are much easier to do for the loan officer, as they're completely driven off credit score, but carry higher rates and require larger amounts of equity, either via down payment or appreciation since purchase. Nor do you have to state a higher income than you make, as there is no debt to income ratio computation on these loans. On the other hand, especially if you're talking about your personal residence, as long as you're in a low loan to value situation, you may get a better rate from an A paper lender without a prepayment penalty, as opposed to doing a subprime loan with a pre-payment penalty.

There is serious potential for abuse in this situation, even if it is theoretically allowed under the rules. So be very upfront about what is going on with anyone you come into contact with. You, as a loan applicant, should never be dealing directly with the underwriter - as an anti-fraud measure, every lender I'm aware of prohibits it and cancels any loan in process if you to interact directly with the underwriter. But doing this is allowed by the nature of stated income and NINA loans. Self-employed people and commissioned salesfolk have to file taxes, also, and tax forms are the preferred method for documenting income. Nonetheless, because there are significant deductions that would not otherwise be allowed due to the fact that you're paying your bills with "before tax" money whereas most folks are paying with "after tax" money, it does make sense to do it this way. Provided you don't talk yourself into a loan that you cannot really afford.

Caveat Emptor.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on November 14, 2007 7:00 AM.

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