How Much Harder Is It to Get an Investment Property Loan vs. a Home Loan?

Real Estate Technology with SparkRental

While homeowner mortgages and investment property loans are both mortgages secured by real property, lenders treat them differently. 

Keep the following in mind as you explore borrowing money to buy an investment property. 

What is an Investment Property Loan?

An investment property loan is a type of mortgage loan specifically designed for individuals looking to purchase properties solely for investment purposes. These properties can be single-family homes, multi-unit properties, commercial buildings, or any other real estate property that generates income for the investor.

Unlike a traditional home loan, where the property serves as the primary residence of the borrower, investment property loans are more complex because the borrower is looking to generate revenue from the property. These loans generally have higher interest rates, larger down payments, and stricter requirements than traditional home loans.

What is a Home Loan?

A home loan, or a mortgage, is a type of loan used to finance the purchase of a primary residence. Home loans come in many different forms, including fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, and government-backed loans like FHA and VA loans.

Home loans are typically easier to obtain than investment property loans because the property serves as the borrower's primary residence, and the borrower is usually more financially stable when purchasing a primary residence.

Types of Investment Property Loans

There are several different types of investment property loans available to borrowers, each with its own set of requirements and benefits. Here are some of the most common types of investment property loans:

Conventional Loans

A conventional loan is a type of mortgage loan that is not backed by the government. These loans are typically more difficult to obtain than government-backed loans because they require higher credit scores and larger down payments.

Equity Loans

An equity loan is a type of loan that allows the borrower to borrow against the equity in their property. This type of loan is generally used for short-term financing needs, such as renovations or repairs, and is secured by the equity in the property.

Short-Term Loans

Short-term loans, also known as bridge loans, are used to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an existing property. These loans are typically used by investors who need quick access to capital to purchase a new property before selling their existing property.

Private Lenders

Private lenders are individuals or companies that lend money to investors for the purchase of investment properties. These lenders generally have more lenient requirements than traditional lenders, but their interest rates and fees are often higher.

Other Financing Options

Other financing options for investment properties include seller financing, hard money loans, and crowdfunding. Each of these options has its own set of requirements and benefits, and investors should carefully consider their options before choosing a financing method.

Requirements for Obtaining an Investment Property Loan

Obtaining an investment property loan can be challenging, as lenders have stricter requirements than they do for traditional home loans. Here are some of the requirements that investors will need to meet to qualify for an investment property loan:

Minimum Credit Score

Investors will need to have a good credit score to qualify for an investment property loan. The minimum credit score requirement varies by lender but is generally between 620 and 680.

Income Ratio and Payment Requirements

Investors will need to demonstrate that they have sufficient income to cover the mortgage payments on the investment property. Lenders will typically require investors to have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less.

If you take out a conventional mortgage loan, that is. Portfolio lenders typically use debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) to calculate the property’s cash flow, rather than looking at your personal debt-to-income ratio. 

Types of Security Required for Collateral

Investors will need to provide collateral for the investment property loan, which can be in the form of the property itself or other assets. Lenders will generally require the collateral to have a value equal to or greater than the loan amount.

Reserves and Cash on Hand Requirement

Investors will need to demonstrate that they have reserves or cash on hand to cover unexpected expenses associated with the investment property, such as repairs or vacancies. Lenders may require investors to have several months' worth of mortgage payments in reserve.

Comparing Home and Investment Property LoansInterest Rates

Interest rates for investment property loans are generally higher than those for home loans. The exact interest rate will depend on the borrower's credit score, the size of the down payment, and other factors. On average, interest rates for investment property loans are around 1-2% higher than those for home loans.

Down Payment Comparison

Investment property loans generally require larger down payments than home loans. While homebuyers can often put down as little as 3% or 5% of the purchase price, investment property loans typically require a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price.

Additional Fees Comparison

Investment property loans also come with additional fees and costs, including appraisal fees, origination fees, and closing costs. These fees can add up quickly and should be factored into the overall cost of the loan.

Approval Time Frame Comparison

Approval for investment property loans may take longer than approval for home loans. This is because lenders have stricter requirements for investment property loans and may need more time to review the borrower's financials and assess the property's income potential.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining an investment property loan is more challenging than getting a traditional home loan due to the higher risk involved. However, with the right financial planning and research, investors can secure a loan and start generating income from their real estate investments.

Investment property loans require larger down payments, higher credit scores, and more collateral than home loans. Investors should be prepared to pay higher interest rates and additional fees associated with the loan.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in real estate should be based on a careful analysis of the potential return on investment and the overall financial goals of the investor. With the right mindset and financial planning, real estate investing can be a lucrative and rewarding venture.

Comments (1)

Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!
Joe Jackson, Realtor-KWCP

May 09, 2023 05:25 AM