I Make $90,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

Earning $90,000 a year puts you in a good position to afford a home priced at around $350,000, as long as you don’t already have significant other debts to pay. That’s good news considering the U.S. average home value these days is just above $342,000. But there are many variables in play that could adjust your budget up or down. Let’s examine them to get closer to your personal housing budget number.

What Kind of House Can I Afford With $90K a Year?

Congratulations! At $90,000 a year, your salary is almost $15,000 higher than the American median household income. It makes sense that you’ve set your sights on homeownership. Making $90,000 per year may feel like a lot of money … or not so much, depending on whether you live in an affordable place. The question is less about how much house you can afford than how much you can afford to spend on housing each month.

There’s a basic rule of thumb that you should spend no more than a third of your gross income (i.e., income before taxes) on housing. (Ideally, you’d spend closer to about a quarter.) So someone earning $90,000 per year, can reasonably afford to spend between $22,500 and $29,700 on housing each year — which translates to between $1,875 and $2,475 per month.

That’s a substantial enough chunk of change to cover many mortgage payments. For example, if you took out a home mortgage loan of $310,000 at an interest rate of 7%, your monthly payment might be around $2,060, which falls into your affordable range. (This assumes you make a down payment of $40,000 on a home priced at $350,000.)

However, more factors than your income affect what size loan mortgage lenders will qualify you for — and more factors than the price of the house itself affect whether or not you can afford it.


💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage loan. When you buy a home, SoFi offers a guarantee that your loan will close on time. Backed by a $5,000 credit.‡

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


What is Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) — and Why Does It Matter?

Let’s take a second to talk about DTI, or debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI is, as its name suggests, a ratio of how much debt you currently have to how much income you make. It’s calculated by dividing your debts by your gross monthly income, and it’s one of the factors lenders consider when qualifying you for a home loan.

If you’re in a lot of debt — meaning your DTI is higher — it may be harder for you to qualify for a mortgage, no matter how much money you make. Inversely, if your DTI is lower, that’s a favorable mark even if you’re not making huge amounts of money.

Consider how much debt you currently carry before applying for a home loan. If you’re already paying off a car, student loan, credit card balance or all of the above, you may want to work on dialing down your debt; even if you qualify for a mortgage, your interest rate might be higher as a result.

Factoring in Your Down Payment

Along with your DTI and income, mortgage lenders also consider how much money you’re able to pay toward a home up front — otherwise known as your down payment. Although a larger down payment might not significantly shift your monthly payment, it can have an effect on the amount a lender is willing to offer you. (Having a significant amount of money available for a down payment can be a favorable marker for lenders.)

That said, it can take a long time to save up a substantial down payment, even for those earning good income — and you may be sacrificing the opportunity to build equity in the short term if you wait to buy a house.

In any case, remember that responsible homeownership will require a well-set savings habit. (After all, your new home is going to need repairs—and you won’t be able to just call your landlord anymore!)

How to Afford More House With Down Payment Assistance

For many would-be homebuyers — especially first-time homebuyers — the process of saving a downpayment is the single largest obstacle to owning a home. Fortunately, down payment assistance programs offer one way for buyers to give themselves a leg up. Offered through government agencies and nonprofits, down payment assistance programs offer very-low-cost loans or grants that can amplify whatever you’ve already saved up for a down payment.

There are often requirements in order to qualify, such as not out-earning a certain income threshold or having less than a given amount of liquid assets available. Still, these programs can bridge the gap for many first-time buyers trying to leap the down-payment hurdle into homeownership.

Other Factors That Affect Your Ability to Afford a Home

Along with your DTI, the size of your down payment, and the size of the loan you’re hoping to take out, your credit score — and credit history in general — has an impact on your housing budget. Even if you earn good money, a poor credit score may keep you from qualifying for a mortgage, and a score that is fair but not great may push your interest rate higher than it would otherwise be.

Additionally, lenders are interested not only in how much you make, but the stability of your capacity to earn that money. That means they’ll consider not only your job, but how long you’ve had it; most like to see a steady job history of two years. That said, it may still be possible to qualify for a home loan if your job is new to you if you’ve had consistent income over that time, especially if your other markers are favorable.

How to Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

To get the best sense of how much you can afford, consider trying an online mortgage calculator, or home affordability calculator, which will allow you to plug in all of your specific metrics and see how much of a mortgage you’re likely to qualify for (and the size of the associated monthly payment). Keep in mind that your mortgage is just the start. When you buy a house, you’ll also be responsible for any maintenance and upkeep, not to mention property taxes, utility costs, furnishings, and more.

Speaking to a lender is another great way to understand in depth how much house you’re likely to be able to afford based on their algorithm and your specific financial standing.


💡 Quick Tip: A VA loan can make home buying simple for qualified borrowers. Because the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, you could skip a down payment. Plus, you could qualify for lower interest rates, enjoy lower closing costs, and even bypass mortgage insurance.†

Home Affordability Examples

Let’s say you earn $90,000 per year and are interested in buying a house that costs $400,000. You’ve saved up $30,000 for a down payment (7.5% of the purchase price of this home), and you have a credit score of 750.

With interest rates around 7%, as they’ve been lately, your monthly payment for such a home would likely be at or above $3,200—in part because, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll need to pay for mortgage insurance, which is an additional monthly cost. That’s substantially more than a third of your gross income at $90,000, so it’s probably not a good idea.

So let’s say you take your $30,000 down payment and look at a significantly cheaper home, perhaps in a significantly cheaper state. This one costs $250,000. In that case, with everything else the same, you’d likely pay less than $2,000 per month, which is a comfortable amount for your income level.

Remember that if your credit score and income trend upward after you purchase a home, and you want to improve your mortgage loan terms, you can always look into a mortgage refinance.

How Your Monthly Payment Affects Your Price Range

As you can see, your monthly payment has a huge effect on the price range of the home you’re comfortably able to afford. Although $90,000 per year may seem like a lot of income (and is, at a national level), it may not translate to being able to afford a very large or costly home.

Types of Home Loans Available to Households with $90,000 in Income

Good news: There are many different types of mortgage loans available to those who earn $90,000. Along with conventional loans from private lenders, you may also be eligible for government-subsidized loans like VA loans, FHA loans, or USDA loans, all of which can lower the qualifying requirements and make the home loan process easier for first-time homebuyers.

The Takeaway

Although $90,000 is a large income, especially for a single person, it doesn’t translate to an unlimited home-buying budget. Aside from income, your credit history, DTI, and available down payment amount also have a significant impact on how much mortgage lenders will be willing to offer you.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Is $90K a good salary for a single person?

A salary of $90,000 is substantially higher than the national median household income, so yes, it’s a good salary for a single person. Exactly how good depends on where you live, as the cost of living varies significantly across the U.S.

What is a comfortable income for a single person?

“Comfortable” is relative! While one person may be comfortable sharing a home with multiple roommates, others might require more space or greater luxuries to feel satisfied. Personal finance is just that—personal—and only you can decide how much income you need to be truly comfortable.

What is a liveable wage in 2024?

The living wage changes substantially based on the cost of living where you live. For example, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, $14.54 per hour is a living wage for a single adult with no children in Pocatello, Idaho, but that figure goes up to $21.58 in Portland, Oregon.

What salary is considered rich for a single person?

While “rich” is relative, the top 5% of people in America earned more than $335,000 in 2021 according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. However, depending on where you live, $90,000 may feel rich — or not. Cost of living has a major impact.


Photo credit: iStock/andreswd

SoFi Loan Products
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.


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


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi On-Time Close Guarantee: If all conditions of the Guarantee are met, and your loan does not close on or before the closing date on your purchase contract accepted by SoFi, and the delay is due to SoFi, SoFi will provide you $2,000.^ Terms and conditions apply. This Guarantee is available only for loan applications submitted after 6/15/22 for the purchase of a primary residence. Please discuss terms of this Guarantee with your loan officer. The property must be owner-occupied, single-family residence (no condos), and the loan amount must meet the Fannie Mae conventional guidelines. No bank-owned or short-sale transactions. To qualify for the Guarantee, you must: (1) Have employment income supported by W-2, (2) Receive written approval by SoFi for the loan and you lock the rate, (3) submit an executed purchase contract on an eligible property at least 30 days prior to the closing date in the purchase contract, (4) provide to SoFi (by upload) all required documentation within 24 hours of SoFi requesting your documentation and upload any follow-up required documents within 36 hours of the request, and (5) pay for and schedule an appraisal within 48 hours of the appraiser first contacting you by phone or email. The Guarantee will be void and not paid if any delays to closing are due to factors outside of SoFi control, including delays scheduling or completing the appraisal appointment, appraised value disputes, completing a property inspection, making repairs to the property by any party, addressing possible title defects, natural disasters, further negotiation of or changes to the purchase contract, changes to the loan terms, or changes in borrower’s eligibility for the loan (e.g., changes in credit profile or employment), or if property purchase does not occur. SoFi may change or terminate this offer at any time without notice to you. ^To redeem the Guarantee if conditions met, see documentation provided by loan officer.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Veterans, Service members, and members of the National Guard or Reserve may be eligible for a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by VA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. VA loans typically require a one-time funding fee except as may be exempted by VA guidelines. The fee may be financed or paid at closing. The amount of the fee depends on the type of loan, the total amount of the loan, and, depending on loan type, prior use of VA eligibility and down payment amount. The VA funding fee is typically non-refundable. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
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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Should Homebuyers Wait for Interest Rates to Drop?

As painful as it can be to see interest rates topping 7% when they hovered over 2% in late 2020, waiting for them to come down again could bite would-be homeowners. Although today’s rates mean homebuyers can expect to spend more on interest over their loan’s lifetime, they’re actually close to the 50-year average — and besides, if they plummet again, the market will once again be flooded by buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines.

Still, interest rates are a big deal when it comes to how much home you can comfortably afford — and the ongoing health of your personal finances. In this article, we’ll walk through a little bit of mortgage rate history and context, as well as offering ways to decide whether you’re ready to buy or not, regardless of the market.

Why Are Mortgage Rates So High?

Since Americans just witnessed a historic mortgage interest rate drop in 2020, today’s 7% and 8% rates seem astronomical. (And, to be fair, coupled with a median national home sales price over $400,000, they can pack a powerful punch: After interest, a 30-year mortgage could easily cost twice the amount of the loan.)

Still, it’s important to remember that when you look at the big picture, today’s rates are actually not that big a deal. Yes, they’re the highest they’ve been since the year 2000, but they’re about on par (or slightly under) the rates buyers saw in the 1990s — and less than half of the 17% and 18% interest rates buyers paid in the early 1980s.

The rise and fall of mortgage rates is tied to complicated economic factors, including inflation, the Federal interest rate, and the yield of 10-year Treasury bonds. It’s not totally predictable, but one thing’s for sure: It will continue to undulate over time. What’s more, attempting to time the market to purchase a house might not be the best financial move, even if it does save you money on interest.


💡 Quick Tip: SoFi’s Lock and Look + feature allows you to lock in a low mortgage financing rate for 90 days while you search for the perfect place to call home.

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


How Low Will Mortgage Rates Drop This Year?

While no one can fully predict the future, experts do weigh in with their predictions for the mortgage interest rate. In 2024, projections suggest a mortgage interest rate drop to about 6%, or slightly lower — but still, we’re likely to stay far from the 2% and 3% free-for-all we saw a few years ago.

How Your Interest Rate Impacts Your Buying Power

So how much do interest rates really impact how much house you can afford? Glad you asked! Let’s do some math.

Say you’re going to buy a $400,000 home — which is just a little less than the U.S. median sale price right now. You’ve saved up a 20% down payment, or $80,000, and plan on taking out a 30-year mortgage.

With a fixed interest rate of 7%, your monthly payment would be about $2,129 per month, before additional costs like homeowners insurance and property taxes. At 6.5%, that payment goes down to $2,023, and at 6% it drops to $1,919. (So a percentage point drop equates to $210 per month in savings, or $2,520 per year.)

However, it’s over the long term that interest really has the opportunity to add up. In the exact same scenario, over the 30-year lifetime of the loan, you’d pay approximately the following amount in total interest:

•   7%: $446,428

•   6.5%: $408,142

•   6%: $370,682

As you can see, just a single percent difference can save you nearly $100,000 in the long run. So while it’s not possible to perfectly time the market, it is worth shopping around for the lowest possible interest rates you can qualify for.

(Keep in mind, too, that you can always pull your own customized numbers using a mortgage calculator.)


💡 Quick Tip: Don’t have a lot of cash on hand for a down payment? The minimum down payment for an FHA mortgage loan is as low as 3.5%.1

Should You Wait to Buy a Home?

The question of whether you’re ready to buy a home — or if it makes more sense to wait — is one that depends on far more than the going market interest rate. Here are some ways for first-time homebuyers to decide what might be the right move, right now.

Reasons to Buy

These are good reasons to consider going ahead with the homebuying process, high interest rates or no:

•   You’re financially (and emotionally) ready. Your credit score is in tip-top shape, you’ve saved up a down payment, and you’re planning to stay in your new home for at least five years — which means you could feasibly refinance once interest rates drop substantially and still break even on closing costs. (A home affordability calculator can help you figure out just how much house you can reasonably afford.)

•   The market looks good to you. These higher interest rates mean the housing market is moving far more slowly than it used to, so the amount of available inventory may give buyers who are ready to buy more time to shop around and find something they really like. This dynamic can also drive home prices down, creating more value for you as the property appreciates over time.

•   It’s time to move. Regardless of the housing market, life goes on — and if you’re expanding your family or relocating, you may not have a choice about moving. If the opportunity is presenting itself and you’re financially ready, this could be a great time to get started on building equity and generational wealth as a homeowner.

Reasons to Wait

On the other end of the spectrum, there are some good reasons to wait on buying a home, even when interest rates are low:

•   You’re not financially (or emotionally) ready. If a monthly mortgage payment would leave you cash-poor, you don’t have a substantial emergency fund saved up, your job security is in question, or you’re not quite sure you’re ready to commit to a given locale, buying a home might not be the right move for you — yet.

•   You can’t get prequalified by a mortgage lender. Perhaps you’re in a decent amount of debt or have an iffy credit history. If you can’t qualify for a loan right now, take the time to work on those factors and get ready for the future.

•   The market looks meh to you. If you can’t find a home you like, you probably shouldn’t buy one. After all, it’s a major investment — and while we’re not suggesting you have to wait for an absolutely perfect house to come along, you should be happy with your purchase!

Should Interest Rates Influence Your Decision?

While interest rates are of course a relevant factor for would-be homeowners, so long as you’re financially prepared and planning on staying in your new home for at least a few years, higher interest rates shouldn’t deter you. After all, you can always refinance once rates drop.

The Takeaway

Waiting for interest rates to drop can be a bit like waiting for Godot: You might get stuck in the in-between. If your finances are in shape and you’ve found your dream home, now could still be the right time to take the leap and become a homeowner.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Is it better to wait for interest rates to go down?

Not necessarily. While lower interest rates can subtly lower a monthly mortgage payment — and save buyers potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a loan — it’s not the only factor to consider if you’re otherwise ready to buy a home. (Plus, qualified buyers can always refinance their purchase down the line when rates drop again.)

Will 2024 be a good year to buy a house?

It’s probably as good a year to buy as any. Many experts expect interest rates to drop a bit this year, from their current position between about 7% and 8% to somewhere between 5.5% and 6.5%. And it’s unlikely that interest rates will plummet back down to 2% or 3% as they did a few years ago.

What month is the best time to buy a house?

November and December tend to be favorable times to buy a home for buyers looking for the best deal possible. That’s because the holidays and winter weather may keep some buyers from shopping during this time, which means sellers might be more motivated to make a deal. You won’t get to see your new home in the height of its summer beauty for months — but you’ll get to find out whether it’s well insulated!


Photo credit: iStock/Andrii Yalanskyi

SoFi Loan Products
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.


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


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
+Lock and Look program: Terms and conditions apply. Applies to conventional purchase loans only. Rate will lock for 91 calendar days at the time of preapproval. An executed purchase contract is required within 60 days of your initial rate lock. If current market pricing improves by 0.25 percentage points or more from the original locked rate, you may request your loan officer to review your loan application to determine if you qualify for a one-time float down. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate this offer at any time with or without notice to you.

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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How Does an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Work?

An adjustable-rate mortgage (also called an ARM) is a mortgage where the interest rate changes. Monthly payments may go up or down.

Borrowers may be looking to save money with this type of mortgage because there’s usually an introductory period where the interest rate is lower than what they could get with a fixed-rate loan. The monthly payment is lower as a result.

Adjustable-rate mortgages can make sense in certain situations, such as when buyers only plan to own a home for a few years or for those looking to buy a home in a high-interest-rate environment. However, they’re not your only option if you’re looking at getting a mortgage in a high-interest-rate environment.

In this article, we’ll cover

•   What exactly is an adjustable-rate mortgage and how do they work?

•   What are the different types of ARMs you can apply for?

•   Pros and cons of an ARM

•   How the variable rate on an ARM is determined

•   How an ARM compares with a fixed-rate mortgage

•   Examples of when it does and doesn’t make sense to get an ARM

What Is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)?

An adjustable-rate mortgage is a type of mortgage loan where the interest rate can change periodically throughout the life of the loan. This means your monthly payment might increase or decrease over time.

They typically come in shorter terms, such as five, seven, or ten years and adjustment periods (how often the interest rate is evaluated and changed) of six months or one year. They may be useful as a financing tool for short-term situations, but there are some things to consider before taking on a mortgage like this.

How Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Work


The terms of an adjustable-rate mortgage are determined at the outset of the loan. You’ll decide on a type of ARM, apply with the lender of your choice, and start making payments once the loan closes.

What’s different about an ARM from other home mortgage loans is the interest rate will adjust periodically and your monthly payment will change. It’s typical to see an introductory period (a number of years) where your interest rate doesn’t change, however.

Types of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages


If you’ve started to look into financing a home purchase, then you’ve probably seen loans labeled with different numerals. Maybe you’re wondering, what is a 5/1 ARM? When you’re choosing mortgage terms, the different types of ARMs you can get correspond to the different terms (with 5, 7, and 10 year ARMs being the most common) and adjustment periods (typically 1 year or six months). An ARM is labeled with two numbers, first with the number of years in the introductory period, followed by the period when the interest rate will reset. A 5/1 ARM, for example, has a 5-year introductory period followed by one adjustment per year to the interest rate.

Here are some other examples:

•   5/6: A five-year term with an adjustment period of six months.

•   7/1: A seven-year term with an adjustment period of one year.

•   7/6: A seven-year term with an adjustment period of six months.

•   10/1: A ten-year term with an adjustment period of one year.

•   10/6: A ten-year term with an adjustment period of six months.

Recommended: Is a 10-Year Mortgage A Good Option?

Pros and Cons of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages


If you’re considering an ARM, you’re probably weighing the lower payment against future financial positions you’ll need to take. There are some other pros and cons to consider.

Pros

•   Many different term lengths to choose from

•   Low annual percentage rate

•   May start with a lower monthly payment than a fixed-rate mortgage

•   May be slightly easier to qualify for

Cons

•   Interest rate can change

•   You could end up with a higher monthly payment

•   If you’re unable to afford the higher monthly payment, your home could be in danger of foreclosure

Recommended: Cost of Living by State

How the Variable Rate on ARMs Is Determined

To fully understand how does an adjustable-rate mortgage work, it helps to see what’s going on behind the scenes of an ARM and how the rate is determined. You’ll be looking at these four components:

   1. Index

   2. Margin

   3. Interest rate cap structure

   4. Initial interest rate period

Index

The cost of an ARM is tied to a market index, generally the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR). These can increase when the federal funds rate rises.

Margin

The margin is the percentage points added to the cost of the index. It is disclosed when you apply for the loan and can vary from lender to lender, so be sure to shop around!

The interest rate on your ARM is equal to the index plus the margin.

Interest rate cap structure

There are three types of rate caps: initial, periodic and lifetime. For the initial period, the cap is on how much interest you’ll be charged in the first period of your loan. For example, in a 5/1 ARM, you’ll have an interest rate that stays the same for the initial period of 5 years.

When your initial period is over, you’ll have periodic adjustments. These will have a separate cap for how much your interest rate can increase over the defined period (usually six months or a year).

You’ll also have a cap on how much your interest rate can increase over the life of the loan.

Initial interest rate period

The cost of an ARM is also determined by how long the interest remains constant for the initial period. ARMs with longer initial periods generally have higher rates. A 7/1 ARM will have a higher APR than a 5/1 ARM, for example.



💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage vs. Fixed-Interest Mortgage

When it comes to fixed-rate vs adjustable-rate mortgages, the mortgages are structured very differently. Here’s a quick breakdown of the major differences:

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Interest rate adjusts Interest rate stays the same
Terms are usually shorter, such as 5 to 7 years Terms are usually longer, such as 15 or 30 years
Loans are often refinanced at a later date Loan can be paid off
May have lower interest rate initially Interest rate does not change
Monthly payment changes Predictable monthly payment
Interest rate you pay is tied to economic conditions Interest rate determined at the origination of the mortgage

The main difference between fixed-rate and adjustable mortgages is in how you pay interest on the loan. With a fixed loan, the interest is paid with regular monthly payments, which are fairly set (except for fluctuations with escrow items). With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest you pay can change.

The other major difference between the two types of mortgages is the term length. Fixed mortgages are often financed at 15- or 30-year terms. ARMs are usually held for shorter periods of time.



💡 Quick Tip: A major home purchase may mean a jumbo loan, but it doesn’t have to mean a jumbo down payment. Apply for a jumbo mortgage with SoFi, and you could put as little as 10% down.

Example of When Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Makes Sense


There are a few scenarios where an ARM makes sense.

•   If you’re only planning to keep the home (or keep the mortgage) for a few years.

•   Interest rates are very high.

In each of these situations, borrowers — including first-time homebuyers — don’t plan to hold onto the mortgage long-term. They’re looking to sell the property or refinance at a future date.

However, there are times where an ARM doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Example of When Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Doesn’t Make Sense


An ARM may not make sense when the interest rate for a fixed-rate mortgage is low. This was common just a few years ago, and buyers who have these low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages don’t need to worry about getting another mortgage.

If you’re considering purchasing a home with an ARM, you may also want to look at buying down the interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage with points, especially if you plan on staying in the home long-term.

Can You Refinance an ARM?


Many borrowers get an ARM with the expectation that they will be able to refinance into a different mortgage at a later date. Refinancing any mortgage, including an ARM, will depend on your ability to qualify for it. If your credit score or income take a serious hit, for example, you may not be able to refinance an ARM to get a more attractive rate. It’s also possible market conditions may change and the property could decline in value to the point that it isn’t a good candidate for a refinance.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Tips


To keep your ARM manageable, you may want to consider some of the following tips:

•   Look at the rate cap structure. Make sure you can handle the monthly payment all the way to the cap rate, which is the limit on how much your interest rate will increase.

•   Watch for fees or penalties. If you pay off the ARM early, you may be subject to several thousand dollars in penalties or fees. Be aware of what you could be on the hook for.

•   Shop around for mortgage rates. The interest rate caps and margins will be different from lender to lender. Get a loan estimate to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples.

•   Work with someone you trust. It’s incredibly valuable to work with a lender you trust to give you good advice.

The Takeaway


Many borrowers may be considering an ARM at the moment, but you still need to make sure it’s the right financial tool for you. Adjustable-rate mortgages can increase when interest rates increase and make your monthly mortgage payments unmanageable. However, it is possible that an ARM could be the right solution for buyers who don’t plan on keeping the home long-term, or for those who believe they’ll be able to refinance into a less expensive mortgage in a few years.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Is it ever a good idea to get an adjustable-rate mortgage?

You should get in contact with a lender if you’re wondering about whether or not an adjustable-rate mortgage is right for you. Some borrowers find it makes sense if they’re looking for financing that’s geared toward short-term situations.

What is the main downside of an adjustable-rate mortgage?

Adjustable-rate mortgages have interest rates that can rise periodically, either at 6 months or a year. You could end up with a higher mortgage payment.

What is the major risk of an ARM mortgage?

The major risk of an ARM is when it becomes unaffordable after an adjustment period. If a payment can’t be made, the risk is going down the path to foreclosure. This can happen after the introductory period ends or if an adjustment significantly raises the monthly payment.


Photo credit: iStock/Andrii Yalanskyi

SoFi Loan Products
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.


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


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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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How Does Buying a House at Auction Work?

Buying a house at auction could be a great opportunity to scoop up a deal on a property. When homes are auctioned off, either due to foreclosure or other reasons, the highest bidder gets the property. Once the property is yours, you could move in, rent it out, or fix and flip it.

How does a house auction work? In terms of the mechanics, they’re not that different from other types of auctions. If you’ve ever been to an estate auction or charity auction, for example, then you might already have an idea of what to expect. But the dollar amounts are likely higher than you would encounter in a typical auction, so if you’re considering buying a house at auction, it’s wise to study the landscape before you start. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are House Auctions?

An auction is a sale that’s open to the public in which something is sold to the highest bidder. House auctions are regulated by state laws. An auction house or company can run the auction on behalf of whoever owns the home, which may be a bank, lender, or individual. How does an auction house work? Auction companies typically get a share of the sale proceeds in exchange for running the auction.

Real estate auctions can save buyers the time and stress of house-hunting for weeks or months on end. If you’re paying cash for the home — and most auction winners do — you don’t have to go through the home mortgage loan process either.

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


Why Are Some Houses Sold at Auction?

There are different reasons why a home may be sold at auction, but it’s often due to financial hardship on the part of the owner. For example, a home could be auctioned for sale if the owner:

•   Defaulted on the mortgage payments and the home is in foreclosure

•   Agreed to a short sale with the bank in order to avoid foreclosure

•   Failed to make property tax payments

•   Had their property seized as part of a government forfeiture

•   Didn’t pay homeowners association fees as agreed

In other instances, a homeowner may decide to put a property up for auction simply to unload it quickly. If someone inherits a home, for instance, they might decide to auction it off so they can walk away with cash in hand rather than listing the property on the market and waiting for it to sell.

Recommended: What Is a HUD Home?

How Do Auctions Work?

How does an auction work for a house? It’s not that different from any other type of auction. The auction company can announce the date and time of the auction beforehand, giving prospective bidders a chance to research the details of the property. People place bids on the property, either in person or online, by a prearranged deadline, and the person submitting the highest bid wins.

Types of Auctions

House auctions can be absolute, minimum bid, or reserve. How the auction is structured can depend on the seller’s preferences. Here’s how each type of auction works.

•   Absolute auction. In an absolute auction, the property is sold to the highest bidder. Unless there are no bidders at all, a sale is guaranteed.

•   Minimum bid auction. In a minimum bid auction, the auction company sets a minimum bid amount. Bidders must then submit starting bids that are equal to or above that amount.

•   Reserve auction. In this scenario, a minimum bid is not published but the seller reserves the right to reject any bids that don’t meet their reserve price — sometimes as much as several days after the auction concludes. This means there is no guarantee that the property will actually be sold, even to the highest bidder.

House auctions can be held online or in person. The format may depend on the auction house or again, the seller’s preferences.

Most auctions, including house auctions, also involve a buyer’s premium in addition to the so-called “hammer price” (the winning bid). The buyer’s premium is typically a percentage of the hammer price, usually under 10%. The premium is not part of your bid, but you should know what it is and factor that into your overall budget for bidding so that you don’t exceed your resources.

Types of Bids

In addition to there being different types of house auctions, there can also be different types of bids. The seller has the option to choose whether they’d like bids to be blind or open.

•   Blind bids. In a blind bid auction, bids are not disclosed. In other words, you won’t know what the person next to you is bidding. This type of bidding requires buyers to be able to make an educated guess in order to avoid overpaying for a property.

•   Open bids. In an open bid auction, bidders can see what price everyone else is offering for a property. This type of arrangement offers transparency and makes it less likely that you’ll overbid, however, it can lead to a bidding war if there’s a lot of competition for a property.

If you’re researching how buying a house at auction works, it’s important to know which type of bid arrangement the auction house uses beforehand. Otherwise, you could end up in a situation where bidding gets tricky and you risk going over budget or losing the property.

How Much Should I Bid?

There is no simple answer to this question, as the amount you’ll need to bid to win a house at auction can depend on the terms of the auction itself. If you’re in a minimum bid auction, for instance, then you’ll need to bid at least enough to meet the seller’s base requirements. However, you may need to bid well above the minimum to win the auction.

Doing your research before auction day can help you get a better idea of how much to bid on a house at auction. If you know, for example, that there’s still $100,000 remaining on the mortgage of a foreclosed home then you might set that amount as your maximum bid if there is no minimum.

However, you’d also want to know what the home is worth. If the property’s appraised value is only $70,000, then you’d likely want to adjust your maximum bid down. The more you know about the property, the easier it becomes to establish your minimum and maximum thresholds for bidding.

Example of a House Auction

How does buying a house at auction work in real life? Again, it can depend on several factors, including the state the auction is being held in, the auction company that’s being used, the seller’s preferences, and the home itself. Here’s an example of what an absolute, open-bid auction might look like.

You, along with other prospective buyers, are bidding on a home with no minimum. You know from your research that the property has an appraised value of $80,000 so you decide your maximum bid will be $70,000. Another buyer makes an opening bid of $30,000, which is followed by bids of $35,000, $42,000, $53,000, and $60,000 from the remaining bidders.

At this point, you decide to bid $63,000, which is still under your maximum bid threshold. As the auction continues, buyers one and two stop making new bids. Buyer three counters with $65,000 and you bid $67,000. Buyer three bumps their bid to $69,000, which prompts you to go to $70,000.

If there are no more bids, then you win the property and move on to the next step, which is to arrange payment with the auction company. If buyer three counters with $72,000, you’d need to decide if you want to go above your maximum bid or let the property go.

Buying a House at Auction: In Person vs. Online

Auction companies can host home auctions in person or online. The process is still largely the same, though there are some differences to know.

In Person

At an in-person auction, you and other interested bidders will meet at an appointed date, time, and place to make your bids. An auctioneer will run the auction and accept bids, according to the seller’s preferences. Should you win an in-person home auction, you’ll need to make arrangements for payment that day.

Attending an in-person auction can be more stressful if you’re in an open bidding situation and it starts to get competitive. You might be driven by emotion to make a bid that you otherwise wouldn’t if you felt less pressure to secure a particular property.

Online

Online house auctions also require you to show up at an appointed day and time to place your bids but you’re able to do it from the comfort of home or wherever you happen to be at the moment, as long as you have a strong internet connection. You and other buyers can make bids on the property and again, the winner gets the home.

Buying a house at auction online may be more convenient if you’re not able to go to the auction site in person. You could bid on homes on your lunch break at work or while you’re waiting in the carpool line to pick up kids from school. You may feel less pressure since you’re not surrounded by other eager buyers shouting out bids.

How to Find Real Estate Auctions

There are several ways to find real estate auctions near you, starting with an online search. You can visit real estate auction websites and filter for properties near you by your current location. Auction websites may also allow you to filter by property type or opening bid so you can narrow down your search to find properties that fit your budget. The number of properties available is driven in part by foreclosure rates in each state.

You can also look for home auctions near you using other means, including:

•   Craigslist

•   Facebook

•   Local newspaper advertisements

•   County treasurer or tax assessment notices online

•   County court websites

If you know a local real estate agent, you might also contact them to ask if they know of any upcoming property auctions. Finally, you can ask around with friends, family, or coworkers to see if anyone in your circle has a lead on a home that may be going up for auction.

What Bidders Need to Know

Before buying a house at auction, there are a few rules to be aware of. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or investor, here’s what you’ll need to know.

•   You don’t need a real estate agent to buy a house at auction, though it might be helpful to talk to one informally about how the auction works or the details of a home you’re interested in.

•   Houses sold at auction are usually as-is, meaning that if you buy a home that needs repairs, you’re responsible for making them.

•   Depending on the reason for the auction and who the seller is, you may not be able to get a full home inspection (or any inspection) before buying.

•   You may need to bring cash to the auction house to make a down payment or pay in full for any properties you win.

•   If you’d like to attend a house auction online, you may first need to demonstrate to the auction company that you’re a qualified, legitimate buyer.

•   Failing to follow through on the purchase after winning can result in the loss of any down payment or deposit you’ve made and you could also be barred from participating in future auctions.

It’s usually a good idea to read through the auction company’s policies beforehand so you know what obligations you have in attending the auction and if you win a bid.

Pros and Cons of Real Estate Auctions

Should you buy a house at auction? There are some advantages and disadvantages involved. On the pro side, you could buy a home for much less than what you could purchase one for on the open market. Homes that sell at auction may sell for below their appraised value, which could make it easier to find a bargain on a property. That might appeal to you if home prices are where you live have put home buying out of reach.

How much money you can save when buying a house at auction can depend on how motivated the seller is to get rid of it as well as the overall demand for properties in that area. When you compare the cost of living by state, the cost of living in California is much higher than other areas, largely because of how competitive the housing market is.

In terms of the downsides, most homes at auction are sold as-is. You run the risk of buying a home that looks like a great deal on paper, only to find out that it needs extensive repairs in order for it to be livable. If you’re trying to make some quick money with a fix and flip investment, for example, the final profit may fall short of your goals.

Another concern is ensuring a clear title on the property, particularly if it is in foreclosure or bank-owned. Order a title report on the property and look for secondary mortgage or tax liens. Sometimes the auction agreement will make the buyer responsible for these costs, so it’s a good idea to read the agreement carefully and to buy title insurance as well.

Unless the auction house offers a financing option, you’ll need to have cash on hand to complete the purchase. Coming up with tens of thousands of dollars to buy a home in cash may not be realistic for the average buyer. Last but not least, house auctions aren’t guaranteed. You’ll still need to go through escrow and closing on the property and, during that time, if the original homeowner is able to work out an agreement with the lender or bank that allows them to keep the home, your efforts to try to buy it could come to nothing. Think of winning a house auction as winning the right to buy the house, not winning the house itself.

Recommended: What Is a VA Loan?

Tips to Buying Auction Homes

If you’re interested in how to buy a foreclosed home or bank-owned property at auction, it pays to do your research as mentioned. For example, you might ask these questions before the auction.

•   Why is the home being sold?

•   Is it a foreclosure or bank-owned?

•   Will I be able to inspect the property beforehand or is it being sold as-is?

•   What type of auction is it and are bids open or blind?

•   How much cash will I need to bring? How much would I need to have easily at hand in the event that I have the winning bid?

•   Does the auction house allow financing?

•   What happens if the owner is able to reclaim the property?

The other tip to keep in mind is to know what you can comfortably bid, based on your budget. A real estate agent can also give you some valuable insight into the condition of the local housing market, which may make it easier to identify a good or bad buy.

If you go into a house auction without a firm limit set, it’s easy to go over budget and potentially end up paying too much for a property.

Risks of Buying Houses at House Auctions

House auctions are not risk-free, as you’re not always guaranteed total transparency. Some of the biggest risks to be aware of include:

•   Buying a home as-is, only to find out it needs a lot of work to make it livable. Big-ticket problems that may not be immediately visible might include mold, a defective septic system, or electrical problems.

•   Getting caught in a bidding war and paying too much for a property

•   Tying up all of your cash in an investment property that may take months to become profitable

•   Having your bid superseded if the homeowner is able to work out a last-minute agreement with the bank or lender

Being aware of the risks can help you to decide if buying a house at auction is right for you. And remember that there are other ways to invest in property, without having to own it directly. For example, you might collect dividends from a real estate investment trust (REIT), hold real estate mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in your brokerage account, or buy property alongside other investors through a real estate crowdfunding platform. If you are open to investing in commercial real estate, real estate options contracts are, well, another option.

The Takeaway

If you’re interested in how to buy a house on auction for yourself, it’s important to know what the risks are and what the process involves. At the end of the day, you might find that it’s easier to go the traditional route for buying a home.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

What are the advantages of buying a house on auction?

Buying a house at auction could save you money if you’re able to pay less for a property than you would on the open market. Home auctions can offer opportunities for investors or would-be first-time buyers to save money on the purchase of a property.

What is the benefit of an auction house?

Houses sold at auction can be more affordable than homes sold on the open market. That’s an advantage if you’d like to buy a home, either to live in or as an investment property, but high prices are keeping you out of the housing market.

What happens when you bid at an auction?

When you make a bid on a house at auction, your bid can be topped by another prospective buyer or accepted if it’s the highest bid. If you make a winning bid, then you can move to the next phase, which involves signing the necessary paperwork and arranging payment to assume ownership of the home. \


Photo credit: iStock/bymuratdeniz

SoFi Loan Products
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.


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


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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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How to Write an Offer Letter for a House

The total number of homes for sale hit a record low in August 2023. That means home sellers may get several offers when they put their house on the market.

To help stand out from the pack, some buyers choose to write an offer letter. They may believe an offer letter could help personalize the negotiation and possibly make a connection with the seller. But writing an offer letter comes with potential risks buyers should be aware of.

Thinking about writing an offer letter? Read on to learn how to write an offer letter for a house, what to say in the letter, what to avoid, how long the letter should be, and the risks that may be involved.

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


What Is a House Offer Letter?


A house offer letter is a personal letter written in hopes of helping to convince the seller to choose the buyer’s offer, especially when there are multiple offers on a house.

Offer letters have become more popular in recent years due to the high number of real estate bidding wars.

In an offer letter, a buyer, whether they’re a millennial homebuyer or any homebuyer, is trying to show the seller why they’re the ideal candidate for the house.

When writing a real estate offer letter, buyers often include certain details to help make a connection with the seller, such as:

•   Introductions. The potential buyer will want to say who they are, of course.

•   Contract details that might help. Buyers may want to briefly note that they’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, are flexible with the closing date, or can otherwise meet the seller’s needs.

•   Compliments about the house. If there’s a well-tended garden or custom wall finishes, a buyer may want to note how much they like those things.

•   Points of connection. If a buyer noticed something in the house that could help them relate to the seller, like fishing gear in the garage or a piano in the living room, they might mention that they share those hobbies.

•   Explanation about their offer. A buyer could include the reason why they offered what they did for the house, but anyone who does this should be careful. Review it with your agent first to make sure you’re not saying something that might jeopardize the deal.

•   Thank them. Express gratitude to the seller for considering the offer.



💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage. Look for a mortgage lender who’s dedicated to closing your loan on time.

How Does a House Offer Letter Work?


Since an offer letter is an informal gesture, writing such a letter is optional. Plus offer letters do have drawbacks (more on that below).

If a buyer does write an offer letter, it would typically be sent, along with the formal offer on the house, to the seller’s agent.

Recommended: How to Write a Letter of Explanation for a Mortgage

Is It Worth It to Write a Letter With a House Offer?


A personal letter could help you stand out from others who are bidding on a house, but there’s no guarantee of that. Plus, an offer letter could cause problems. The National Association of Realtors is wary of offer letters because they might run the risk of violating the Fair Housing Act, even unintentionally. The Fair Housing Act seeks to create a level playing field for all people renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, or seeking housing assistance.

For that reason, your real estate agent may advise against writing an offer letter. Instead, they may suggest that you choose another strategy for making your offer on a house more attractive.

How Long Should a House Offer Letter Be?


If you do decide to write an offer letter, the letter should be short and succinct. One page is plenty. And if your bid isn’t competitive enough to be on the seller’s radar in the first place, the offer letter probably won’t even be read.

What Should Not Be Included in a House Offer Letter


Perhaps even more important than what you write in your offer letter is what you should not include. Stay away from:

•   Overly saccharine statements. Sellers may get overwhelmed by buyers who are too profuse about their love for the property. Be complimentary, but don’t overdo it.

•   Letters that are too long. The seller doesn’t need to know everything you love about the house. Offer letters are more effective when they’re a page or less.

•   Too much personal detail. If you mention your partner or children, be aware that familial status is protected against discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. It’s wise not to share too much.

•   A picture of yourself or your family. This is another red flag. Race and gender, among other things, are protected against discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.



💡 Quick Tip: Not to be confused with prequalification, preapproval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for preapproval to within the same 14- to 45-day period, since many hard credit pulls outside the given time period can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn affects the mortgage terms you’ll be offered.

How Do You Write a Strong Offer Letter?


First, make sure your home contracts offer is strong. You want to submit a strong offer before you work on a letter.

Then, when you sit down to write the letter, consider this: If you were having a conversation with your seller about the house, what would you want to tell them? Explain briefly why you love the home, and thank them for considering your offer. Keep the focus of the letter on the house, and avoid giving too many personal details. Use a friendly tone, and be genuine and sincere.

Keep the letter to one page or less.

Recommended: Guide on How to Save Money for a House

Tips for Buying a Home

Rather than an offer letter, you may want to consider one of the following strategies instead:

•   Submit a higher offer. Winning a bidding war often comes down to one factor: price. Offering a higher price for the house is an option to think about. You might also want to add an escalation clause, which can automatically increase your offer above other offers.

•   Offer all cash. That is, if you have the resources to do this. Data from Redfin suggests buyers who offer all-cash are two to four times more likely to be chosen.

•   Waive the financing contingency. Waiving this contingency could potentially increase your odds of winning the contract over other buyers, according to Redfin. Keep in mind, however, that waiving the financing contingency means you forfeit your earnest money if you can’t get financing before the contract deadlines.

And, finally, if you’re a first-time home buyer, you may want to look into first-time homebuyer programs that could be helpful to you in your quest to buy this particular home — or any home.

The Takeaway


Offer letters have become popular in recent years as the real estate market has heated up, but these letters do have drawbacks. They could even run the risk of violating the Fair Housing Act. Discuss it with your real estate agent and weigh the pros and cons carefully before writing an offer letter.

Also, consider other options that might help improve your chances of becoming a homeowner. For instance, you may decide that offering a higher price on the house, getting preapproved for a mortgage, or being flexible about the closing date is a better way to go.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

How do you write a strong offer on a house?

In addition to making a strong offer on a house, you can write an offer letter. To write a strong offer letter, focus on the property. Tell the seller why you love the home, and thank them for considering your offer. Use a friendly tone, be genuine and sincere, and keep the letter to one page or less.

How to write an offer letter for a house for sale by owner?

In a house that’s for sale by owner, you’re likely dealing directly with the seller. In that case, you can address the seller by name in the letter and tell them why you like the house. Also, if you know there’s something they’re looking for, like a quick transaction, you could indicate that you’re flexible with the closing date. And if you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you could mention that as well.

How do you write a good offer letter?

Be succinct, genuine, and sincere in your offer letter. Focus on the house and why you like it, and avoid giving personal details. Thank the owner for considering your offer.


Photo credit: iStock/Gorica Poturak

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


SoFi Loan Products
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.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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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