Tag Archives: rent my house and buy another

Short Sale, Buy and Bail, or Rent Your House and Buy Another?

Underwater mortgage

Photo credit: Joshhphoto, Flickr

Since the housing bubble burst, thousands of people have found themselves in the position of owing more on their current house than it would sell for in today’s market. A recent article from Time Magazine indicates that over 11.1 million homeowners are currently upside down in their mortgages, and that this number is growing at an alarming rate.  If you’re one of the unfortunate crowd who finds themselves in this situation, and you either need or want to move, you’re likely trying to figure out how to get out of your current house without losing any more of your hard-earned cash in the process. Here are three common strategies that many people in this position consider:

1) Doing a “short sale.”
A “short sale” occurs when a bank agrees to let a borrower sell their house for less than the outstanding mortgage, then forgives the rest of the debt. Banks may be willing to do this in scenarios where, by their calculations, they stand to lose more money by going through a foreclosure process than they would by doing a short sale. However, part of qualifying for a short sale involves submitting a “letter of hardship” that explains why you can’t continue to make your current mortgage payments or pay the difference between your home’s sales price and your outstanding mortgage balance in the event of a sale. Simply wanting to buy another house, or “needing” to move for reasons that are essentially a matter of personal choice/preference, generally won’t cut it.

2) Buying a new house before walking away from the first, a.k.a. “buying and bailing.”
The term “buying and bailing” describes homeowners who walk away from their current house with its upside down mortgage, but purchase a new house at a better price and lower interest rate before their credit tanks.   These homeowners typically tell lenders that they will rent out their old house (sometimes producing fake rental agreements), but never actually find a renter, and stop making mortgage payments on the old house as soon as their new house closes.   The problem with the “buy and bail” is that lying on your loan application (for example, about having a renter when you actually don’t) and producing false documents is mortgage fraud, which is a federal offense, which, according to a recent FBI warning, is punishable by “up to 30 years in federal prison or $1,000,000 fine, or both.”

3) Renting the current house out, then buying another.
Renting your house and buying another may be easier than you think. While lenders have tightened their guidelines surrounding this practice due to the recent spike in “buy and bail” transactions they’ve seen, if you have a fair amount of equity in your home, this may be a viable solution. Here are typical lender guidelines for renting your current house, then buying another.

  • You must qualify for both mortgages, which makes sense, because you’ll be paying two mortgages.  A central issue is whether you’ll be able to count your rental income from the current house in your income to debt ratio (see above). If you have at least 30 percent equity (for conventional loans) or 25% equity (for FHA loans) in your current house, you can include rental income on your mortgage application.
  • You must produce a signed lease on the current house, typically for a one-year term.  The lender may require that the renter has already moved in.
  • Some lenders require applicants to show that they have cash reserves to pay for the mortgages for 6 to 12 months.

If you are fortunate enough to have a good savings account and 30% equity in your current home or enough income to support two mortgages, then renting out your current home and getting into a new house at a lower interest rate, might be a viable option – and it also could be a sound investment.

| September 11, 2012 More

Can I Rent My House and Buy Another?

renting your house and buying another

If you’re thinking of renting your house out while purchasing another, you likely have a lot of questions about how to make it all work. Whether you’re contemplating becoming a landlord by choice or by necessity, financing the investment is almost certainly a key concern.

The good news is that, while purchasing a second home may seem out of reach at first, there are actually several good options that will allow you to become an  income property owner within your budget and with minimal risk. Many beginning real estate investors have to get creative when it comes to finding funds for their first purchases. Here are some of their top strategies:

1. Use a Local Bank

Local banks tend to be more community-focused than national institutions, and will often work with beginning real estate investors to provide financing, especially when there’s a solid business plan in place. In addition to knowing more about local properties than a distant corporate bank, you’re local loan officer likely knows you personally, and he or she is likely to consider your character and history when it comes to signing off on a loan. Even if you haven’t already established a relationship with a local bank, a loan officer from your community bank or credit union should be able to sit down with you and provide several options for financing the purchase of a second home.

2. Obtain Seller Financing

“Seller financing” simply means that the seller of the home you’re interested in provides you with the loan you need to make the purchase. Instead of making you a cash loan, as a bank would, the seller agrees to let you take over ownership of the house, while you pay him or her the purchase price over time, with interest. While this ties up whatever equity the seller has in the home,  it allows her to collect the interest payments that would otherwise have gone to the bank. More sellers than you might think are amenable to providing buyers with financing, especially in a down market.

Another form of seller financing is called the “seller second.” This is where the seller loans you enough money for a down payment, to allow you to qualify for a traditional mortgage that covers 80% of the purchase price. Sellers eager to rid themselves of their homes (as many are, in this economy) may well agree to this if you ask.

3. Do a Lease-to-Own Deal

There’s no reason why you can lease-to-own a second home while renting out your first home. Under the terms of a typical lease-to-own (or “rent-to-own”) contract, you’ll pay a small “option fee” (generally 1 to 5% of the property’s value) up front, which reserves your right to buy the house at the end of an agreed upon period, usually three to five years. After that, a percentage of each month’s rent will go toward the purchase price of the home. At the end of the leasing period, you’ll have amassed the equivalent of a down payment through the option fee and your monthly payments, at which point you’ll qualify for traditional financing.

There are some common contract clauses to keep in mind with lease-to-own properties. If rent is not paid on time then the portion set aside for purchasing the home may be rendered void. Also, as the intent is ownership of the property, the landlord might include that he or she will be not be responsible for any maintenance on the home.


Don’t let the challenge of financing a second home deter you from investing in rental property. With determination and a little bit of creativity, you’ll be an income property owner in no time.

| December 8, 2011 More