house made from money

Should You Use Your Roth IRA to Buy Your First Home?

If you are a young professional, you most likely have multiple savings goals, including retirement and buying your first home. Saving for both can be challenging while also covering your monthly expenses.

When you factor in things like student loan payments and any other debt, not to mention a bit of wiggle room to actually live your life, you might find yourself struggling to balance it all. You don’t want to spread yourself thin with all of the different payments, so it is a good idea to get an understanding of how much home you can afford.

On one hand, if you start saving early for retirement, your money has more time to grow with compound interest. On the other hand, saving for a down payment on a home in today’s market can take years depending upon the purchase price and loan program you choose. According to research by Zillow, it takes about seven years for home buyers to save a 20% down payment for the median value of a home in the U.S.

While 20% down is often thought of as the golden rule for mortgage down payments, these days it’s not required. In 2018, the median down payment on a home was around 5%, according to HousingWire.

There’s one tool of many that can help you reach both your home and retirement goals without requiring you to plan your entire life out before you turn 30: A Roth IRA.

While you’ve probably been told that you should never tap into your retirement money, using cash from a Roth IRA to fast-track your dream of home ownership can be a worthy exception.

Here are a few reasons you may consider leveraging a Roth IRA to become a first-time homeowner without having to delay your retirement goals, and some tips on how to go about it.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


The Low-Down on a Roth IRA

IRAs are designed to help you save for retirement. However, a Roth IRA is different from other retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and traditional IRAs. The main distinction is that you contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth IRA because contributions are not tax deductible.

Since you already paid taxes on the money before putting it into the account, the distributions you take when you retire can be withdrawn tax-free.

Compare that to traditional IRAs where you reap the tax benefits at the time of contribution (they’re deducted from your income on your tax return). The money is taxed when it is withdrawn in retirement, which according to IRS rules is after age age 59 ½.

Under certain circumstances, distributions can also be withdrawn tax free before retirement from a Roth IRA. So long as the account has been open for at least five years distributions can be withdrawn tax free; in the case of disability, if the distribution is made to a beneficiary after the account holder’s death, or in the case that the withdrawal fulfills the requirements for the first time home buyer exception.

But here’s the real game-changer: Unlike a traditional IRA, you can withdraw the money you contributed to a Roth IRA at any time without penalty.

Things get a little more complicated when it comes to your investment earnings. In very specific instances—buying your first home, for one—you are allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 of investment earnings from a Roth IRA with no tax or penalty. The only stipulations are that you must have had the account open for five years, and that the withdrawal is for your very first home.

Traditional IRAs also qualify for the first time home buyer exception. While this exception allows first time home buyers to avoid the 10% penalty, the withdrawal would still be charged income tax. By comparison, if you wanted to withdraw money from your 401(k), you would likely pay taxes and a penalty. However, there are certain situations that allow first-time homebuyers to withdraw from a 401(k). Whichever retirement account you decide to go with, SoFi is here to help. Start contributing to your account today by opening a online ira.

Crunching the Numbers

The best way to explain how this all works is by running the numbers. Let’s say you open a Roth IRA in 2019, contribute $6,000 per year (the current maximum contribution allowed) for five years, and hypothetically earn 7% per year on that money.

After three years, you would have made $18,000 in contributions and earned about $1,300 on your investment. If you continue to save $6,000 for two more years, your contributions would climb to $30,000 and the investment earnings would be around $4,500.

After five years, you can withdraw all of your contributions and up to $10,000 of your investment earnings—but you might not have earned that much yet.

Because this withdrawal benefit is available only once in a lifetime, ideally, you might want to time it so that you only tap into your Roth after you’ve earned the full amount allowable.

One other important thing to keep in mind: Roth IRAs have contribution limits based on your income. For example, if you are single and make less than $129,000 in 2022 , the maximum Roth IRA contribution is $6,000 , even if you participate in a retirement plan through your employer.

If you make more than that, the benefit begins to phase out. If you make more than $144,000 as a someone who is filing single, you’re not able to contribute to a Roth IRA.For more information about IRA accounts and contribution, check out SoFi’s IRA calculator.

To recap, you can withdraw from the investment earnings in your Roth IRA to buy a house if:

•   You are a first time home buyer.

•   It has been at least five years since you first contributed to your Roth IRA (the five year mark starts on January 1st of the year you made your first contribution.)

•   You only withdraw up to $10,000 within your lifetime (pre-retirement).

•   You use the funds to purchase, build, or rebuild a home.

•   You can also use the money to help fund the purchase of a home for your child, grandchild, or parent who qualifies as a first time home buyer.

•   The funds must be used within 120 days of withdrawal.

You can withdraw from the contributions you have made into your Roth IRA at any time, for any reason. There is no tax or penalty, and you can use the money however you like.

Qualifying as a First Time Home Buyer

Even if you have owned a home in the past, you may still be able to qualify as a first time home buyer and withdraw money from your Roth IRA.

According to the IRS, you qualify as a first time home buyer if “you had no present interest in a main home during the 2-year period ending on the date of acquisition of the home which the distribution is being used to buy, build, or rebuild. If you are married, your spouse must also meet this no-ownership requirement.”

So if the acquisition date (the date you enter into a contract to purchase a home or start building a home) is at least two years later than the last date you had any ownership interest in a primary residence home, you can qualify as a first time home buyer under this program.

💡 Recommended: First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide

Things to Consider Before Withdrawing from Your Roth IRA

Although using money from your Roth IRA may seem like an easy source to fund a down payment to purchase your first home, it might not be the right decision for everyone. Before you cash out your Roth IRA, think about how it might broadly impact your financial future.

Where Will Your Money Work the Hardest?

Figure out where your money will be working harder for you. Keep market conditions in mind and compare your mortgage interest rate to the expected long term return you would earn by keeping your money in your Roth IRA.

It can be difficult to predict the stock market, but in the past 90 years, the average rate of return for the S & P 500 has hovered around 7%, and that’s adjusted for inflation. When money is withdrawn from the Roth IRA, the potential for additional growth is eliminated, as is the opportunity to benefit from compounding interest.

The housing market is also subject to fluctuation. Consider things like the location and housing market where you plan to buy. In addition, it’s worth factoring in things like current mortgage rates. Another factor that could influence your decision—mortgage interest is generally tax deductible up to $750,000.

There are a lot of moving pieces to consider when determining whether or not to use your Roth IRA to fund a down payment on a house. Consulting with a financial advisor or other qualified professional could be helpful as you weigh your options.

What Mortgage Options Are Available?

Conventional wisdom suggests a 20% down payment when buying a house. And generally, a larger down payment can mean improved loan terms and lower monthly payments.

But if it requires tapping into your retirement fund you may want to think twice. Before committing to a mortgage, explore your options—some mortgages, such as Fannie Mae’s 97% program, offer as little as 3% for a down payment.

How Will Your Retirement Goals Be Impacted?

Everyone’s financial journey is different. Financial and retirement goals are deeply personal, as are the amount of money an individual is able to save each month. For most people, taking money out of a retirement account early will hinder their progress.

Plus withdrawing the money early means you’ll miss out on the tax free growth offered by a Roth IRA. These negative impacts would need to be weighed against any market appreciation you may gain through homeownership.

How Will Your Retirement Goals Be Impacted?

Everyone’s financial journey is different. Financial and retirement goals are deeply personal, as are the amount of money an individual is able to save each month. For most people, taking money out of a retirement account early will hinder their progress.

Plus withdrawing the money early means you’ll miss out on the tax free growth offered by a Roth IRA. These negative impacts would need to be weighed against any market appreciation you may gain through homeownership.

Making This Strategy Work for You

In a perfect scenario, you wouldn’t choose to become a homeowner at the expense of draining your retirement nest egg. Instead, explore other options such as opening a Roth IRA and treat it almost like a savings account, with the intention of using it for your first home purchase five years (or more) from now.

Unlike other investment accounts, your investment returns are tax free, and—contrary to other retirement products—you wouldn’t even be taxed when it comes time to withdraw, as long as all Roth IRA requirements are met.

Ideally, at the same time, you would continue to fund other retirement accounts, such as the one offered through your employer. Even though home ownership is your immediate goal, you’d likely be working toward other longer-term financial goals (like retirement) as well.

And what if you don’t end up buying a home, or you come up with another source of down payment? A Roth IRA is still a win, since you can leave that money be and let it continue to grow for your retirement.

There are a few other circumstances in which you can likely avoid penalties on a withdrawal. These include qualified higher education expenses, some medical costs, and other hardships. Be sure to consult with your tax professional to clarify any of these exceptions before you move forward.

It’s also worth noting that traditional IRAs also qualify for a first time home buyer exception. This exception allows for up to $10,000 to be withdrawn from the IRA before the age of 59 ½, to purchase a house as a first time home buyer and avoid penalties.

In this case, income tax will likely need to be paid but qualifying withdrawals won’t be subject to the additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.

For most young adults with other financial obligations and an early career-level salary, using a Roth IRA to help save for a down payment will require an examination of personal priorities.

Getting Professional Advice

Only you can determine if using money from your Roth IRA to purchase your first home is a trade-off you are willing to make. As you’re starting to make these large life decisions, it can be very useful to seek out tools and resources to help you through the process.

SoFi offers an integrated platform where you can invest toward your financial goals and get personalized advice from qualified professionals.

With SoFi Invest®, you can set up an IRA or another investment vehicle and choose between active or automated investing, depending on your personal preference and financial goals.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a SoFi Financial Planner to discuss your goals and develop a plan to help you reach them.

Learn more about SoFi Invest now, and start online investing smartly.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, LLC and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

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Loss of Use Insurance: What is It, and What’s Covered?

Loss of Use Insurance: What Is It and What Does It Cover?

When most of us think of homeowners insurance, we think about getting coverage for major home repairs — the big-ticket items the insurance company can pay out for in the event of a loss or damage. We’re talking about things like a tree falling over in a storm and wrecking your roof or a robber making off with your electronics and jewelry.

Sure, you need that kind of protection, but your homeowner’s insurance policy should also include a very important kind of coverage beyond that: loss of use coverage. This is also sometimes known as additional living expenses (ALE) coverage or Part D coverage. Loss of use coverage is an important part of your home insurance (and some rental insurance policies) that kicks in when your home is rendered uninhabitable. Let’s say in the example above, where your roof needs major repair work. You may not be able to live in your home while this is underway. Since you have “lost the use” of your typical living space, the policy will help you pay for lodging and other expenses.

Read on to learn more about the loss of use coverage, including coverage limits and policy conditions. It’s an important consideration if a worst-case scenario ever happens to your home sweet home.

What Does Loss of Use Coverage Mean?

Loss of use coverage is the part of your homeowner’s insurance policy that covers the costs you’ll incur if you lose the usage of your home.

For example, if a fire destroys a significant portion of your house and it needs to be rebuilt, your typical home insurance policy will cover the cost of repairs. But (and this is a biggie) you may find yourself suddenly facing a whole lot of living expenses you otherwise wouldn’t. Hotel rooms and restaurant meals can add up quickly, and without your own kitchen and bedroom to cook in and retire to, you’d be pretty much forced to take advantage of these expensive options. Or perhaps you have to put your possessions in storage as your home is rebuilt, or even rent an apartment. These are the kinds of expenses that loss of use coverage will typically reimburse.

Recommended: Homeowners Insurance Coverage Options to Know

Coverage Limits

Like most other forms of insurance, loss of use coverage does come with certain limits — you don’t have carte blanche to go out and stay at a swanky hotel for months and eat exclusively Wagyu beef on the insurance company’s dime.

Generally, loss of use insurance is calculated and expressed as a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit — the amount of money up to which the insurer will pay out to repair or rebuild your home in the event of a qualified loss.

For example, if your dwelling insurance limit is $350,000, and your loss of use coverage is 20%, you’d have up to $70,000 to put toward living expenses during the time your home is being repaired. That may sound like a lot of money, but you’re likely to face a lot of expenses, especially since you’ll still be responsible, during that time, for paying your mortgage, insurance premiums, and other normal monthly bills.

Loss of use coverage is most commonly between 20% and 30% of the dwelling coverage limit, but it is possible to find plans with a higher loss of use limit — or a lower one.

In fact, although loss of use coverage is fairly standard, it is possible to purchase a homeowners or renters insurance policy that doesn’t include it, so always be sure to read your paperwork in full, including the fine print, to ensure you know what you’re getting.

Recommended: What Is Renters Insurance and Do I Need It?

Policy Conditions

Loss of use coverage is subject to additional conditions along with the coverage limit. For example, you’ll most likely be asked to prove your expenses to the insurance company in order to get the claim paid — so be sure to keep the receipts for all those hotel-room breakfasts!

Your policy may include other terms and conditions as well. Yet again, another good reason to get nice and cozy with that fine print.

Which Living Expenses Are Covered By Loss of Use Insurance?

Although the loss of use insurance covers many different kinds of living expenses while your home is being rebuilt or repaired, it doesn’t cover everything.

Once again, the only place to get verified information about what your specific policy covers is — you guessed it — your specific policy paperwork, but here are some of the most common covered costs.

•   Temporary housing, such as hotels, motels, or a temporary apartment

•   Moving costs

•   Public transportation

•   Grocery and restaurant bills beyond your typical expenditure

•   Storage costs

•   Costs to board a pet

•   Laundry costs

•   Parking fees

Once again, refer to your policy documentation in order to confirm which expenses are covered under your plan.

What Else Does Your Home Insurance Cover?

Loss of use coverage is only one small part of your overall homeowner’s insurance policy, which likely has several different coverages built in. A standard homeowners insurance policy offers coverage in the following categories:

•   Dwelling coverage, which covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your house up to the given limit

•   Personal property coverage, which covers the costs of replacing your belongings in the event they are stolen, lost or damaged as part of a covered event

•   Personal liability coverage, which pays out to cover the medical or legal expenses you might incur if someone is accidentally hurt on your property (for example, if they’re bitten by your dog)

•   Additional coverages, such as coverage for additional structures on the property, specific damaging events (or “perils”) that aren’t listed in the standard policy, excess coverage for expensive belongings, etc.

As you can see, homeowners insurance is about way more than insuring the four walls of your home, though it should cover that, too. Keep in mind that each of these coverages comes with its own limits and policy conditions. (We’d remind you to read the fine print again, but at this point, you’ve probably got it. Right?)

In addition, homeowners insurance generally involves — as do most forms of insurance — paying a deductible when it comes time to file a claim. That means you’ll be responsible for a certain out-of-pocket cost to cover even coverage-eligible sustained damages, although the insurance company will likely pay out significantly more. (For example, a homeowners insurance deductible might be $1,000, which isn’t nothing… but is a lot better than paying $30,000 out of pocket to replace your entire roof. In this instance, you’d pay $1,000 while the insurer would pay $29,000.)

Deductibles are charged in addition to the premiums you pay on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis simply to keep the insurance policy active. (Typically, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium, and vice versa.) Again, it may feel like a pain to have to pay so much money simply to have insurance just in case something happens, at which point you’d have to pay out your deductible as well… but for most of us, our homes are the single largest purchase we ever make and the biggest asset to our names. It’s an investment worth protecting, especially when you consider the often astronomical cost of even basic home repairs.

The Takeaway

Loss of use insurance is a type of coverage baked into most homeowners and many renters’ insurance policies. This coverage pays out toward the extra living expenses you’ll incur if your home is rendered uninhabitable by a qualified loss, such as the cost of hotel rooms, additional food expenses, pet boarding, and public transportation.

While homeowners insurance is a valuable financial tool, it’s not the only one to keep in your tool belt. If you have family members and loved ones who rely on your income in order to maintain their lifestyle and comfort, life insurance can be a great way to ensure your death is primarily an emotional, rather than financial, loss.

SoFi has teamed up with Ladder to offer high-quality life insurance plans that are quick to set up and easy to understand, and our overall policy limits go up to $8 million. You can get a decision in minutes today, right from the comfort of your home — which, after all, already has its own insurance policy. (Right?)

Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz


Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria.
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers- for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products.
Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other, Social Finance, LLC (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under Ladder Life™ policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy.
SoFi Agency and its affiliates do not guarantee the services of any insurance company.
All services from Ladder Insurance Services, LLC are their own. Once you reach Ladder, SoFi is not involved and has no control over the products or services involved. The Ladder service is limited to documents and does not provide legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and using documents provided is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Homeowners Insurance Coverage Options to Know

Homeowners Insurance Coverage Options to Know

If you’re like many Americans, your home is the single largest purchase you’ll ever make–and one you likely can’t afford to replace if disaster strikes.

That’s why homeowners insurance can be a wise investment. This type of insurance will compensate you if an event covered under your policy damages or destroys your home or personal items.

It will also cover you in certain instances if you injure someone else or cause property damage.

Although having homeowners insurance isn’t required by law, mortgage lenders often require you to insure your home until you’ve paid the loan in full.

Choosing the right coverage for your home–and understanding exactly what is (and what isn’t) covered–can be confusing though.

Some policies cover more than others, and how much coverage you need will depend on your circumstances, as well as your risk tolerance.

Here’s what you need to know about the options available for protecting your home.

Recommended: What’s the Difference Between Homeowners Insurance and Title Insurance?

What Does Homeowners Insurance Typically Cover?


Most standard homeowners insurance policies include six different kinds of important coverage.

•  Dwelling: This covers the physical structure of the home itself, including its foundation, walls, and roof, as well as structures attached to the home such as a front porch.
•  Other structures on your property: This covers things that aren’t attached to the main home structure, like garages and fences.
•  Personal property: This includes personal items including clothing, furniture, and everything else that you put inside your home.
•  Additional living expenses: This provides funds to pay for temporary living expenses, such as hotel costs and restaurant meals, while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
•  Liability coverage: This protects you against lawsuits and damages you or your family cause to other people or their property.
•  Medical coverage: This is offered to foot the bills incurred by somebody who is injured on your property, whether it’s your fault or theirs.

What Type of Events Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?


The most common type of homeowners insurance policy on the market is called HO-3 insurance.

This insurance includes coverage of 16 specifically named perils, but it may also offer “open peril” coverage, which means that anything that damages your dwelling that is not specifically excluded in the paperwork will be covered by the policy. (This coverage generally does not extend to your personal property, however.)

The 16 named perils typically include:

•  Fire or lightning
•  Windstorms or hail
•  Explosions
•  Riots
•  Damage caused by aircraft
•  Damage caused by vehicles
•  Smoke
•  Vandalism
•  Theft
•  Volcanic eruptions
•  Falling objects
•  Damage due to the weight of ice, snow or sleet
•  Water or steam overflow from plumbing, HVAC systems, internal sprinklers and other appliances
•  Damage due the “sudden and accidental tearing apart,cracking, burning, or bulging” of an HVAC, water-heating, or fire-protective system
•  Freezing of pipes and other household appliances
•  Damage due to a power surge

What Isn’t Covered by Homeowners Insurance?


Homeowners insurance typically covers most scenarios where a loss could occur. However, some events are generally excluded from policies. These often include:

•  Earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes
•  Infestations by birds, vermin, fungus or mold
•  Wear and tear or neglect
•  Nuclear hazard
•  Government action (including war)
•  Power failure

What if you live in a flood or hurricane area? Or an area with a history of earthquakes? You may want to consider a rider (which is supplementary coverage to an existing policy) for these or an extra policy for earthquake insurance or flood insurance.

Home insurance policies also typically set special limits on the amount of reimbursement you can receive in categories such as artwork, jewelry, appliances, tools, electronics, clothing, cash, and firearms.

If you own something particularly valuable, such as fine art painting or piece of expensive jewelry, you might want to purchase a rider that you will be reimbursed in full for it.

What Should I look for in a Homeowners Insurance Policy?


Homeowners insurance companies typically offer three different reimbursement models or levels of coverage.

Which one you choose can be an important decision. That’s because it will impact how you will be reimbursed in the event your home is damaged or burglarized, and also the cost of your premiums.

These are the most common homeowners policy options, listed from least to most costly.

Actual Cash Value


Actual cash value typically covers the cost of the house plus the value of your belongings after deducting depreciation (i.e., how much the items are currently worth, not how much you paid for them). If your five-year-old TV was stolen, for instance, you would not likely get reimbursed for the cost of a brand-new one.

Replacement Cost Value


Replacement value policies generally cover the actual cash value of your home and possessions without the deduction for depreciation, so you would likely be able to repair or rebuild your home and re-buy your possessions up to the original value.

Extended Replacement Cost Value


This coverage will typically pay out more than the original value of your home and belongings, up to a specified limit, if it actually costs more to fix your home and/or replace your possessions.

The limit can be a dollar amount or a percentage, such as 25% above your dwelling coverage amount. This gives you a cushion if rebuilding is more expensive than you expected.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost Value


Guaranteed Replacement Cost is the most comprehensive coverage. This inflation-buffer policy pays for whatever it costs to repair or rebuild your home and replace your possessions—even if it’s more than your policy limit.

This type of coverage can be ideal since you typically don’t need just enough insurance to cover the value of your home, you will likely need enough insurance to rebuild your home, preferably at current prices.

Understanding Homeowners Insurance Deductibles


Homeowners policies typically include an insurance deductible — the amount you’re required to cover before your insurer starts paying.

The deductible can be a flat dollar amount, such as $500 or $1,000. Or, it might be a percentage, such as 1 or 2 percent of the home’s insured value.

When you receive a claim check, an insurer typically subtracts your deductible amount from the total claim.

For instance, if you have a $1,000 deductible and your insurer approves a claim for $8,000 in repairs, the insurer would likely pay $7,000 and you would be responsible for the remaining $1,000.

Choosing a higher deductible will usually reduce your premium. However, you would likely have to shoulder more of the financial burden should you need to file a claim.

A lower deductible, on the other hand, means you might have a higher premium but your insurer would likely pick up a greater portion of the tab after an incident.

The Takeaway


Of the many types of insurance coverage out there on the market, homeowners insurance is one of the most important–it literally protects the roof over your head, which very well might also be your most valuable asset.

Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home and its contents. It also typically reimburses you for losses due to theft and pays out if visitors to your property are injured.

Your policy may also pay for living expenses, such as a hotel stay, if your home becomes uninhabitable.

In some cases, you can get additional policies or riders for events not covered by your regular home insurance, such as flooding, as well as extra coverage for any highly valuable possessions.

Because choosing the right homeowners insurance company and right amount of coverage can be overwhelming, SoFi has partnered with Lemonade to help bring customizable and affordable homeowners insurance to our members.

Prices start as low as $25 per month, and Lemonade gives back leftover money to charities of your choice.

Check out homeowners insurance options offered through SoFi Protect.


SoFi offers customers the opportunity to reach the following Insurance Agents:
Home & Renters: Lemonade Insurance Agency (LIA) is acting as the agent of Lemonade Insurance Company in selling this insurance policy, in which it receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Top 30 States with Foreclosures in February 2021

Despite the economic fallout and job loss from the pandemic, the number of US properties with foreclosure filings in February was 11,281, down 77% from last year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions . This is likely thanks to the COVID-19 foreclosure moratorium for federally guaranteed mortgages, which has been extended to June 30, 2021. (Note: President Joe Biden’s executive order also extended the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window to June 30, 2021.)

While foreclosures were down for the month compared to last year, they were up compared to the previous month: specifically, foreclosures in February were up 16% compared to January. Read on for the top 30 states with foreclosures in February 2021—plus top counties within those states.

States with the Highest Foreclosure Rates: 1 -10

The top 10 states are not located in any one region. That said, the South had five states in the top 10: Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Northeast had none.

1. Utah

With a total 1,087,112 housing units, Utah’s foreclosure rate was 1 in every 3,883 homes in February. The 31st most populated state in the country, the state saw a total 280 foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions). The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Utah, Ulintah, Beaver, Juab and Carbon.

2. Delaware

With a total 433,195 housing units, Delaware’s foreclosure rate was 1 in every 5,219 homes. Ranking 45th for population, the state had 83 foreclosure filings in February. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Kent, Sussex, and New Castle.

3. Florida

The third most populated state, Florida was also third for most foreclosures. Of its 9,448,159 homes, 1,516 went into foreclosure–making the state’s foreclosure rate 1 in every 6,232. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Highlands, Levy, Hendry, Madison and Taylor.

4. Illinois

With a total housing unit count of 5,360,315, Illinois had 846 homes go into foreclosure, resulting in the state’s foreclosure rate of 1 in every 6,336. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Power, Boundary, Fremont, Payette, and Bannock.

5. Louisiana

With the 25th largest population in the country, Louisiana’s foreclosure rate of 1 in every 7,923 homes put it in the number five spot. Of its total 2,059,918 housing units, 260 went into foreclosure. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Washington, West Baton Rouge, Caddo, Jackson, and Union.

Recommended: Tips on Buying a Foreclosed Home

6. Indiana

With a total 2,886,548 housing units in the state, Indiana’s foreclosure rate was 1 in every 7,930 homes. Ranked the 17th most populated, the state ranked 6th for foreclosures with a total 364 filings. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Vermillion, Clinton, Jasper, Fountain, and Huntington.

7. Ohio

Just like Florida, Ohio’s population ranking (7th) matches its foreclosure rate ranking. With 1 in every 8,310 households going into foreclosure, the state had 626 homes of a total 5,202,304 go into foreclosure. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Lake, Fairfield, Trumbull, Marion, and Cuyahoga.

8. South Carolina

With 1 in every 8,565 homes going into foreclosure, South Carolina was a close eighth to Ohio. Ranked 23rd for population, South Carolina has 2,286,826 housing units and saw 267 foreclosure filings. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Mccormick, Allendale, Fairfield, Darlington, and Bamberg.

9. Wyoming

Though it’s the least populated state in the country, Wyoming ranks 9th for foreclosures with 1 in every 8,651 homes. Of its 276,846 homes, 32 homes were foreclosed on. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Weston, Carbon, Uinta, Campbell, and Lincoln.

10. Georgia

Eighth for most populated state, Georgia was tenth for most foreclosures. It has 4,283,477 housing units, of which 472 went into foreclosure—making the state’s foreclosure rate 1 in every 9,075 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Berrien, Baker, Terrell, Oglethorpe, and Candler.

States with the Highest Foreclosure Rates: 11 – 20

With the next group of states, the trend of the South (North Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi) dominating foreclosure rates continues. The Northeast appears with Maine and New Jersey and the West Coast debuts with California.

11. Maine

Ranked as the 9th least populated state, Maine saw a total 81 foreclosures in February. With a total 742,788 housing units, its foreclosure rate was 1 in every 9,170 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Oxford, Penobscot, Franklin, Waldo, and Somerset.

12. California

The most populated state is only 12th for foreclosures. Of its 14,175,976 homes, 1,427 went into foreclosure, making for a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 9,934 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Calaveras, Sutter, Trinity, Kern, and Butte.

13. North Carolina

The 9th most populated state has 4,627,089 homes, of which 462 homes went into foreclosure. That makes the state’s foreclosure rate 1 in every 10,015 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Hyde, Anson, Lenoir, Onslow, and Bertie.

14. Missouri

Of Missouri’s 2,790,397 housing units, 265 homes went into foreclosure in February. The 18th most populated state’s foreclosure rate is 1 in every 10,530 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Moniteau, Pike, Montgomery, Greene, and Adair.

Recommended: What Is a Short Sale?

15. Iowa

The 30th most populated state, Iowa is 15th for most foreclosures. Of its 1,397,087 homes, 128 were foreclosed on. That puts the state’s foreclosure rate at 1 in every 10,915 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Guthrie, Wayne, Hamilton, Davis, and Adair.

16. Oklahoma

With 154 of its 1,731,632 homes going into foreclosure, Oklahoma’s foreclosure rate is 1 in every 11,244 households. In the 28th most populated state, the counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Roger Mills, Pawnee, Pontotoc, Muskogee, and Choctaw.

17. Alabama

Ranked 24th for most populated, Alabama was 17th for foreclosures. Of its 2,255,026 homes, 198 went into foreclosure, making for a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 11,389 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Marshall, Jefferson, Coffee, Autauga, and Shelby.

18. New Jersey

New Jersey has a total of 3,616,614 housing units and 317 homes are in foreclosure. While it’s ranked 11th most populated state, its foreclosure rate of 1 in every 11,409 homes puts it in 18th place. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Salem, Atlantic, Sussex, Gloucester, and Cumberland.

19. Alaska

The third least populated state, Alaska has 314,670 homes, of which 26 went into foreclosure in February. That means its foreclosure rate is 1 in every 12,103 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Matanuska-Susitna, Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star, Juneau, and Kenai Peninsula.

20. Mississippi

In the number 20 spot for most foreclosures,Mississippi ranks as 33rd for most populated–and has 1,322,808 homes. A total 107 went into foreclosure in February, making the state’s foreclosure rate 1 in every 12,363 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Scott, Simpson, Lawrence, Bolivar, and Pike.

States with the Highest Foreclosure Rates: 21 – 30

The remaining states (21 to 30) in our rankings of the highest foreclosure rates are mainly located in the Northeast: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The Midwest and Southwest were tied with two states each: Wisconsin and Nebraska and Texas and Arizona.

21. Connecticut

With housing units totaling 1,516,629, Connecticut saw 116 homes go into foreclosure. That puts the 29th most populated state in 21st place, with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 13,074 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Windham, Litchfield, Tolland, Hartford, and Middlesex.

22. Arizona

Though ranked as the 14th most populated state, Arizona’s total 228 foreclosures (out of 3,003,286 total housing units) puts it in 22nd place for most foreclosures. The state’s foreclosure rate is 1 in every 13,172 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Apache, Mohave, Pima, Santa Cruz, and Pinal.

23. Pennsylvania

With a total 5,693,314 housing units, Pennsylvania saw 421 homes go into foreclosure. That puts the foreclosure rate for the 5th most populated state at 1 in every 13,523 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Philadelphia, Lycoming, Cambria, Luzerne, and Wyoming.

24. Maryland

The 19th most populated state ranks 24th for foreclosures. Of its 2,448,422 housing units, 170 went into foreclosure, making for a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 14,402 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Somerset, Allegany, Prince George’s County, Caroline, and Baltimore City.

25. Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the 20th most populated state, there were 179 foreclosures (out of 2,694,527 housing units.) That puts its foreclosure rate at 1 in every 15,053 homes. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Florence, Ashland, Langlade, Vernon, and Grant.

26. Massachusetts

Ranked 15th for most populated, Massachusetts came in as 26th for foreclosures. With 2,897,259 housing units and 172 homes in foreclosure, the state’s foreclosure rate was 1 in every 16,845 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Hampden, Franklin, Berkshire, Worcester, and Barnstable.

Recommended: Home Buying 101: How Much House You Can Afford

27. Texas

The second most populated state was 27th for foreclosures. Of 10,937,026 homes, 636 went into foreclosure, making for a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 17,197 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Liberty, Atascosa, Franklin, Mills, and Mcculloch.

28. New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s total number of foreclosures was only in the double digits: 35. But in a state with the 10th smallest population (and 634,726 housing units), that number put it in the 28th spot for foreclosures, making for a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 18,135 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Cheshire, Sullivan, Merrimack, Belknap, and Strafford.

29. Nebraska

With 46 of a total 837,476 housing units in foreclosure, Nebraska’s total number is also in the double digits. But with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 18,206 households, the 14th least populated state holds 29th for foreclosures.. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Cuming, Nemaha, Red Willow, Scotts Bluff, and Antelope.

30. Virginia

Last but not least, Virginia saw 192 homes go into foreclosure in February. That nabbed the 12th most populated state the 30th spot on our list. With 3,514,032 total housing units, the state’s foreclosure rate was 1 in every 18,302 households. The counties with the most foreclosures per housing unit were (in descending order): Emporia City, Norton City, Nottoway, King William, and Lancaster.

The Takeaway

Of the top 20 states with the highest foreclosure rates, half were in the South: Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi. Of the top 30 states, Florida had the most number of foreclosures (1,516) and Alaska had the least (26).

Looking to buy a home? SoFi offers competitive rates, exclusive member discounts, and guidance from mortgage loan officers and member specialists.

Discover more about home loans at SoFi.



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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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What Is LIBOR?

This month’s to-do list may include submitting a student loan application for a child starting college next year, shopping for a used car now that the old one is making that sputtering sound again, paying a mortgage bill, and paying a credit card statement balance. (Plus a little extra because there weren’t enough funds last month to pay off the statement balance.)

These are fairly run-of-the-mill chores for any adult’s to-do list. But there’s something out there that affects each of those four tasks. It’s called the LIBOR.

Every item on that list—a student loan, car loan, mortgage payment, and credit card bill—comes with an interest rate. The London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, affects interest rates across the globe.

Chances are, the LIBOR rate has affected almost every American today, either directly or indirectly. So, what is this LIBOR rate that is affecting everyone’s finances?

LIBOR is the interest rate that serves as a reference point for major international banks. Just as average joes might take out loans that carry interest rates, banks loan each other money at an interest rate. This rate is the LIBOR.

The LIBOR rate is recalculated every day and published by the Intercontinental Exchange, aka ICE, an American financial market company.

The LIBOR rate should not be confused with the US prime rate. The LIBOR rate is floating, meaning it changes every day. The US prime rate is another benchmark interest rate, but it stays fixed for an extended period of time.

The LIBOR is an international rate, so it’s based on five currencies: the American dollar, British pound, European Union euro, Swiss franc, and Japanese yen.

It also serves seven maturities, or lengths of time: overnight (also referred to as “spot next”), one week, one month, two months, three months, six months, and one year.

The combination of five currencies and seven maturities results in 35 separate LIBOR rates each day. Borrowers might hear about the one-week Japanese yen rate or six-month British pound rate, for example.

The most common LIBOR rate is the three-month U.S. dollar rate. When people talk about the current LIBOR rate, they’re most likely referring to the three-month U.S. dollar LIBOR.

Every day, ICE polls a group of prominent international banks. The banks tell ICE the rate at which they would charge fellow banks for short-term loans, which are loans that will be paid back within one year.

ICE takes the banks’ highest and lowest interest rates out of the equation then finds the mean of the numbers that are left. This method is known as the “trimmed mean approach,” or “trimmed average approach,” because ICE trims off the highest and lowest rates.

The resulting trimmed mean is the LIBOR rate. After calculating the LIBOR, ICE publishes the rate every London business day at 11:55 a.m. London time, or 6:55 a.m. in New York.

How LIBOR Is Calculated

So far, we know that a group of international banks submits interest rates to ICE, and ICE calculates the trimmed mean to find the LIBOR rate. But there’s more to it than that. Which banks are involved, and how do the banks decide what rates to submit?

ICE selects a panel of 11 to 16 banks from the countries of each of its five currencies: The United Kingdom, United States, European Union, Switzerland, and Japan. This group of banks is redetermined every year, so banks may come and go from the panel.

The chosen banks must have a significant impact on the London market to be selected. (The L in LIBOR does stand for London, after all.) Some of the current US banks are HSBC, Bank of America, and UBS, just to name a few.

The banks have a pretty complex way of determining their rates called the “Waterfall Methodology.” There are three levels to the waterfall. In a perfect world, every bank from the panel would be able to provide sufficient information in Level 1, and that would be that. But if a bank can’t provide adequate rates for Level 1, it moves on to Level 2; if it doesn’t have submissions for Level 2, it moves on to Level 3.

•   Level 1: Transaction-based. A bank determines rates by looking at eligible transactions that have taken place close to 11 a.m. London time.

•   Level 2: Transaction-derived. If a bank doesn’t have rates based on actual transactions, they provide information that’s been derived from reliable data, such as previous eligible transactions.

•   Level 3: Expert judgment. A bank only gets to Level 3 if it can’t come up with transaction-based or transaction-derived rates. In this case, its bankers submit the rates they believe the bank could afford to charge other banks by 11 a.m. London time.

Seems complicated, doesn’t it? And bankers from every bank on the panel go through the Waterfall Methodology every business day.

After the ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) receives all the banks’ rates, they cut the lowest and highest numbers and use the remaining data to find the “trimmed mean,” and—tada!—that’s the LIBOR for the day.

Why LIBOR Matters

Wondering why people should care about LIBOR? If they don’t work at a bank, who cares? Well, LIBOR actually affects almost every person who borrows money. Many lines of credit, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and more, are tied to LIBOR.

All federal student loans come with fixed interest rates. Once the government sets interest rates, that rate remains fixed regardless of what happens with LIBOR because it’s based on the 10-year Treasury note instead.

When it comes to things like private student loans and mortgages, however, Americans can choose between fixed-rate loans and variable-rate loans. With variable-rate loans, the borrower’s rate may increase or decrease along with the LIBOR rate.

That may seem like a scary way to determine rates. What if the LIBOR rate increases to, say, 10%? Many lenders place a rate cap on loans so variable-rate loans can’t become expensive to the point that many borrowers may feel they have no choice but to default on their loans.

So while the LIBOR does affect many variable-rate loans, borrowers shouldn’t worry about rates spiraling out of control.

When the LIBOR rate is low, it could be a good time for consumers to take some steps toward achieving financial goals.

They might consider consolidating or refinancing their loans, or even taking out a personal loan. If their income is steady and credit score is good, a low LIBOR rate could help them land a competitive interest rate.

Someone with no debt or a fixed-rate loan might think, “Phew! It looks like the LIBOR doesn’t affect me.” Actually, LIBOR affects everyone. When the LIBOR rate continues to increase, borrowing can become so expensive that many Americans can’t afford to borrow money anymore.

When people stop taking out loans or using their credit cards, the economy slows down and the unemployment rate could rise as a result. After a while, this could lead to a recession.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008? LIBOR played a big part in that tumultuous time for America.

Subprime mortgages started defaulting, and the Federal Reserve had to bail out insurance companies and banks that didn’t have enough cash. Banks were afraid to lend to each other, so the LIBOR rate surged and investors panicked, leading the Dow to drop by 14%.

And think about what is currently going on in the economy right now. Because of the coronavirus pandemic unemployment rates have skyrocketed and interest rates have dropped dramatically.

But, interest rates will no longer be tied to LIBOR in the near future. 2021 has been set as a deadline for financial firms to move away from using LIBOR. Financial firms are looking to tie to other rates, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), instead.

The History of LIBOR

How LIBOR Began

Why does LIBOR exist in the first place? Well, in the 1960s and 1970s, demand for interest rate-based goods such as derivatives started to increase.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) represented London’s financial services industry at the time, and the association decided there should be a consistent way to determine rates as demand grew. This led to the creation of the BBA LIBOR in 1986.

The BBA doesn’t control LIBOR anymore. In fact, the BBA doesn’t even exist. The association merged with UK Finance a few years ago. After some struggles and scandals took place on the BBA’s watch, ICE took over LIBOR in 2014. The BBA LIBOR is now the ICE LIBOR.

LIBOR Scandals

Bankers in ICE’s group of banks have been found guilty of reporting falsely low LIBOR rates. In some cases, these lies benefited traders who held securities tied to the LIBOR rate.

In other instances, the banks raked in the dough by keeping LIBOR rates low. People tend to borrow more money from banks when rates are low, so by deceiving the public, banks conducted more business.

In 2012, a judge found Barclays Bank to be guilty of reporting false LIBOR rates from 2005 to 2009, and the CEO, Bob Diamond, stepped down. Diamond claimed other bankers did the exact same thing, and a London court found three more bankers guilty of reporting false LIBOR rates.

After the 2008 financial crisis and 2012 scandal, it became clear that there were some flaws in how LIBOR was determined.

The Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom started overseeing LIBOR, and in 2014, the ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) took over LIBOR and started changing how things were done.

How LIBOR Is Changing

LIBOR has gone through a lot of changes since 1986. In 1998, the bankers were told to change the question they asked themselves each morning before reporting their rates. Bankers used to base rates on the question, “At what rate do you think interbank term deposits will be offered by one prime bank to another prime bank for a reasonable market size today at 11 a.m.?”

Now they should ask themselves, “At what rate could you borrow funds, were you to do so by asking for and then accepting interbank offers in a reasonable market size just prior to 11 a.m.?” The questions may seem similar, but the change in wording showed that the BBA was trying to keep them honest.

In 2017, the IBA held a three-month test period of LIBOR standards in an attempt to limit further scandal.

LIBOR has changed currencies over the years. There used to be more than the remaining five currencies and more than the seven maturities, but some were added and removed after the financial crisis of 2008.

But despite all the attempts at improvements over the years, CEO of the FCA Andrew Bailey has announced that he hopes to stop using LIBOR by the end of 2021.

Some say LIBOR is becoming less reliable as banks make fewer transactions that depend on its rate. The Federal Reserve is proposing American banks use alternative benchmark rates, one option being an index called the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) .

Competitive Interest Rates With SoFi

It’s difficult to know what will happen with the LIBOR rate next week, next month, or even at the end of 2021. But one thing’s for sure: benchmark rates continue to affect the US economy and consumers’ loan interest rates.

When members apply for a loan through SoFi, borrowers can choose between variable rates (which would be more directly affected by fluctuations in benchmark rates) or fixed rates on a variety of loan products.

SoFi offers variable-rate or fixed-rate mortgage, variable rate or fixed rate private student loans, or fixed rate personal loans. They may also be able to refinance their student loans or mortgages for more competitive rates if they qualify.

SoFi members can receive other discounts when they borrow through SoFi. For example, when student loan borrowers set up automatic payments, they are eligible to receive a reduction on their interest rate.

Whatever happens with LIBOR, SoFi members can benefit from perks like unemployment protection, exclusive member events, and member discounts.

Searching for a loan with competitive rates? SoFi offers home loans, student loans, and personal loans, as well as refinancing.



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If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.


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Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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