How to Buy a House Out of State

If you’re one of the millions of Americans working remotely, you might be tempted to buy a house out of state. Or maybe you just need a change of scenery.

Buying a house long distance can be a challenge, but it’s doable with a plan in place.

Why Buy a House in Another State?

There are multiple reasons to consider a house in a different state. Here are some.

Affordability

People may be lured by the cost of living of a state and its quality of life.

More than 350,000 people left California from April 2020 to January 2022 for Arizona, Texas, Florida, Washington, and other states. In the first half of 2022, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., saw more people exit than move in.

Job Relocation

Some companies move personnel out of state, and some employees are good with that. A recent Graebel report exploring the Great Resignation found that 70% of knowledge workers who resigned in the past two years may have stayed if they’d been offered the same role in a different region of the country.

Family Reasons

Some folks choose to buy a house out of state to be closer to parents, children, or grandchildren. And people in their 40s may have aging parents and financial concerns on their minds.

Retirement

Americans entering retirement may want to buy a home in a state where the weather and lifestyle are more appealing. When it comes to a home, some may want to downsize.

How to Purchase a Home in Another State

Buying a house from out of state may be a challenge, but people do do it.

It can be tough to buy a house if you have a house and a mortgage. Homeowners have been known to use a home equity loan or bridge loan to fund the down payment on another house.

A personal loan can fund travel and moving costs.

If you’re ready to move on, it might be a good idea to sell and maybe ask for a leaseback. If you’re in a hurry, learn how to sell a house fast.

1. Virtually Explore

It’s easy to research cities, states, and communities online. There’s a listicle for most everything. And data is everything, some say. There’s probably a listicle about why data is everything.

Anyway, maybe you’re interested in the safest cities in the U.S.

Or the 50 most popular suburbs.

It can be helpful to explore housing market trends by city.

Areavibes, BestPlaces, and HomeSnacks provide rankings or information. Coldwell Banker introduced Move Meter, to compare locations across the country. Or you could use Google Maps or Google Earth to study an out-of-state home’s proximity to schools, medical centers, law enforcement agencies, parks, and restaurants.

2. Link Up to Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook Groups and Nextdoor can provide a personal sense of home buying and community.

These groups are user friendly to newcomers, and many group members are happy to answer questions about life in their city or town.

3. Ask Co-Workers, Friends, or Family

If you’re moving out of state for a job, check in with future co-workers for advice about the homes and neighborhoods. If you’re moving near friends or family members, pick their brains. Is this going to be a good spot for you?

Moving is stressful enough. If you’re one of the growing number of people interested in financially downsizing, you may want to just exhale and enjoy when you land.

4. Consider Talking to a Relocation Specialist

Yes, home relocation professionals exist. And they do everything from connecting clients with a real estate agent to finding a long-distance moving company, scouring school districts, securing a storage space, and supervising a contractor’s work if the client is buying or building a house.

Relocation companies can also suggest local service providers and transport pets and vehicles across state lines.
Relocation services are often free of charge because the specialists earn their money from third-party vendors like real estate firms and employers transferring employees.

If you’re not inclined to hire a relocation specialist, here’s some helpful reading before making a big move:

•   7 common moving expenses

•   How to move across the country

•   How to move to another state

•   The ultimate moving checklist

You can look into the safety record of carriers on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

5. Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent

A brave few who are interested in buying a house out of state opt to go without an agent.

It’s true that you can buy a house without a Realtor® — but even a local home sale may be challenging without a buyer’s agent in your corner.

Partnering with an experienced real estate agent who is based in the area where you hope to move could be highly beneficial.

Besides familiarity with neighborhoods, schools, and vibe, a buyer’s agent can walk a future homebuyer through local zoning regulations and the permit process.

6. Consider Visiting IRL

It’s not that rare to buy a house sight unseen. That can work out.

But someone looking to buy a house in a new state may want a real visit. You may receive short notice on a viewing date, so it could be helpful to budget for out-of-state travel as part of the buildup to buying a home in another state.

While a real estate agent can act as a proxy for homebuyers, there may be nothing like being onsite during the home inspection of a property you’ve made an offer on.

Then again, if you adore a property and must have it, you might waive some contingencies in the case of multiple offers.

7. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

It can be easier to find a real estate agent or relocation specialist with a mortgage preapproval letter in hand.

When a lender preapproves a mortgage (a credit check and a review of financial assets is typical), it is tentatively greenlighting a specific home loan amount at a particular interest rate, which is not locked unless the lender offers a lock.

Obtaining preapproval tells home sellers that you’re qualified for a home loan up to a certain amount.

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


8. Handle the Closing Online?

Get ready, because closing on a house may take only 20 or 30 days.

In some cases, everyone huddles to sign closing paperwork. Other times, buyers and sellers sign separately.

But most states have approved remote online notarization, when buyers join a video call, present their government-issued IDs to a title company rep and a notary, and sign all paperwork electronically.

The Takeaway on Buying a Home in a New State

Buying a house out of state requires investigation and probably a good real estate agent. Getting preapproved for a mortgage can ease the path to a new address.

Transferred workers or people with mere wanderlust will want to see the financing options SoFi offers. With SoFi, you can look into a fixed-rate mortgage loan or a home equity loan to buy a house out of state, and a personal loan to make the move.

Get prequalified for a mortgage quickly and see your rate.


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.

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.
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.
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How Long Is a Mortgage Preapproval Letter Good For?

A mortgage preapproval letter is usually good for 30 to 90 days, and some lenders will lock the rate for that time.

Having a letter of preapproval from a financial institution can help ensure that you’re ready to snap up a home you love.

What Is Mortgage Preapproval?

Mortgage preapproval has become an essential part of the home-buying process. Real estate agents often want to see a preapproval letter before showing houses.

And a letter shows sellers that you are serious about buying their home — even if you’re a first-time homebuyer — and that a mortgage lender is likely to give you a home loan of a specific amount quickly.

The lender will review your credit history, credit score, income, debts, and assets to determine the amount you tentatively qualify for.

Preapproval will help you focus on homes that are in your price range. Knowing how much of a mortgage you can afford is important when you can’t afford to waste time reviewing homes outside your range.

Mortgage Preapproval Process

The mortgage process starts informally for many would-be homebuyers.

Some buy into the 28% rule — spend no more than 28% of gross monthly income on a mortgage payment — and play with calculators like this home affordability calculator or the one later in this article.

Seeking mortgage preapproval means you’re getting serious. First, you’ll need to understand the different types of mortgage loans — fixed rate, adjustable rate, conventional, government insured (FHA, VA, USDA), jumbo — and what you can qualify for.

Then you’ll need to apply for a loan from one to several lenders and provide a good deal of documentation. Each lender will perform a hard credit inquiry, and you’ll receive a loan estimate within three business days.

If you’re shopping for a home loan, allowing multiple mortgage companies to check your credit within 14 or 45 days, depending on the credit scoring model being used, will minimize the hit to your credit scores.

How Long Does It Take to Get Preapproved?

It usually takes seven to 10 business days to receive a preapproval letter after submitting all the requested information.

Mortgage Preapproval Letter

Other than stating the specific amount you’re preapproved for, a mortgage preapproval letter may outline stipulations to gain the loan, such as maintaining your employment or not taking on any additional debt.

How Long Does Mortgage Preapproval Last?

Some lenders will make a commitment of 60 or 90 days. That time frame tends to work, since homebuyers typically shop for a home for eight weeks, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Other lenders will issue preapproval for only 30 or 45 days.

Recommended: How Mortgage APR Works

Mortgage Prequalification vs. Mortgage Preapproval

Since they sound similar, it’s worth mapping out the difference between prequalification and preapproval.
Prequalification is a key first step, when borrowers tell lenders about their income, assets, and debts. Lenders use that unverified information, and usually a soft credit inquiry, to give a ballpark estimate of how much they might be willing to lend.

The response is quick: You can often get prequalified immediately or within a day or two. Just realize that prequalification does not mean that a lender is guaranteeing a loan.

The mortgage preapproval process is a deeper dive and requires documentation.

To gauge whether you qualify for a mortgage, lenders will scrutinize:

•   Income: Employees will need to provide pay stubs, W-2s, and tax returns from the past two years, as well as documentation of any additional income, such as work bonuses. Self-employed workers often need two years’ worth of records and a year-to-date profit and loss statement, although many lenders and loan programs are flexible.

•   Assets and liabilities: You’ll need to provide proof of savings, investment accounts, and any properties. Lenders view assets as proof that you can afford your down payment and closing costs and still have cash reserves.

Lenders also look at monthly debt obligations to calculate your debt-to-income ratio.

•   Credit score: Your credit score is a three-digit representation of your credit history.

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

Once your lender has reviewed the information, it may offer a preapproval letter. Importantly, receiving preapproval from a lender does not obligate you to use them.

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


Estimate Your Mortgage Payment

Before you seek prequalification or preapproval, you might want to get an idea of how much your monthly mortgage payment could be. Use the mortgage calculator below to quickly see the difference in mortgage payments based on down payment, interest rate, and a 15- or 30-year term.

What Should I Do If My Mortgage Preapproval Expires?

Lenders put an expiration date on preapproval letters because they need to have your most up-to-date financial information on hand. The credit, income, debt, and asset items they reviewed for your preapproval typically need to be updated after the letter expires, and your credit may be checked again.

You can minimize the effect of “hard pulls” on your credit score by avoiding seeking a renewal when you’re not actively shopping for a home.

If your finances have mostly stayed the same, your lender is likely to renew your preapproval.

Finalizing Your Mortgage

If you find a house while your mortgage preapproval is still valid, you can choose a lender and move on to finalizing your mortgage application. At this point, in many cases, the lender will check again to see if there have been any changes in your financial situation.

The mortgage underwriter will review all the information, order an appraisal of the chosen property and a title report, and consider your down payment. Then comes the verdict: approved, suspended (more documentation is needed), or denied.

Your mortgage is officially approved when you receive a final commitment letter. A closing date can be scheduled. It generally takes 48 days to close on a house, but it could happen in as little as 20 days.

Buyers may want to minimize changes, like applying for other loans or credit, when a home loan is in underwriting.

The Takeaway

How long is mortgage preapproval good for? Often 30 to 90 days. Getting prequalified is a good precursor to getting preapproved for a mortgage.

If you’re ready to start house hunting, check out the fixed-rate mortgages SoFi offers and the current deals.

Get prequalified for a SoFi Mortgage in minutes.


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.

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.
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.
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The Cost of Buying a Fixer-Upper

It’s not your imagination: Buying a home has gotten more expensive over the last couple of years. In the fall of 2021, the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index rose a stunning 18.6% in a single year. Adding to the high cost of homeownership is the fact that home loan rates also soared. In the fall of 2022, the average interest rate on 30-year mortgages was 6.12%, while a year earlier, it was a super low 3.03%. In other words, you’re going to pay a lot more for both a house and the money you borrow to fund the purchase.

These economic fluctuations are among the reasons that many people are contemplating buying a fixer-upper. They hope to find a lower-priced house that they can rehab (or pay someone else to renovate) in order to own a piece of the American Dream for less.

However, though buying a fixer-upper home may seem like an enticingly affordable option, the cost of remodeling it could wind up being more than you’d planned.

Just how much does it cost to fix up a house? Let’s break down the most common costs associated with gutting a house and remodeling, so you can make an informed buying decision. Read on to learn:

•   What’s a fixer-upper?

•   What are the pros vs. cons of buying a fixer-upper?

•   How can you plan to renovate a home?

•   How much will a fixer-upper really cost?

•   How can you fund fixing up a home?

What Is a Fixer-Upper?

What exactly is a fixer-upper? It’s a home that’s in need of significant work. In many cases, these are older houses with much deferred maintenance or simply a lot of dated, well-worn features.

A fixer-upper might be a home from 100 years ago with an insufficient electrical and heating system, as well as a roof in need of replacement. Or it could be an apartment with a very old and dated kitchen and bathrooms. These residences might be livable, but they require an infusion of cash and work to make them comfortable by today’s standards.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper

Buying a fixer-upper home has upsides and downsides. For some people, a fixer-upper can be a terrific way to enter the ranks of homeownership. For others, it could wind up being a frustrating source of bills and stress.

First, let’s consider the pros of buying a fixer-upper:

•   Lower price. This can make it easier to become a homeowner.

•   Lesser competition. Many home-shoppers may shy away from taking on this kind of project.

•   Control. The ability to renovate a home to suit your taste.

•   Profit. The opportunity to flip, or resell, the home and make money by doing so.

In terms of negatives, consider these points:

•   Money required to renovate. Although you may be able to buy a fixer-upper at a bargain price, you’ll have to come up with funds for the renovation.

•   Going over budget. Often, when renovations get underway, you’ll hit unexpected situations that require more money to properly complete the job.

•   Taking longer than expected. Closely related to the point above about going over budget financially is the fact that remodeling may take longer than anticipated, which can create issues.

•   Living in a construction site. If you occupy the home as work is done, it can be an uncomfortable experience.

Recommended: Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

Decide If This Is Your Home or a Flip

Many times, people looking to buy a fixer-upper home are in it for the short game of a flip. This means they are hoping to purchase a home well under market value, make a few renovations, and then quickly sell the home for a profit. And that’s all good—you just need to decide which camp you’re in.

If you are hoping to flip a house and make some money, know what you are getting into. As mentioned above, renovations can run over budget and take longer than scheduled. If all you are planning on doing to a house is refresh the paint and flooring and stage it beautifully, things may work out fine. But if you get started on structural work and discover a bigger issue than anticipated, it could wreck your budget for reselling the property. That’s why it’s vital to get a thorough home inspection before you buy a fixer-upper. It’s also wise to walk through with a contractor (if you plan on hiring one) before purchase to size up costs; you’ll learn more about the potential price tag of renovations in a minute.

If you’re planning on buying a fixer-upper home and making it your forever home, you might have a longer timeline to make upgrades. You could tackle the kitchen one year; then redo the bathrooms the next. This could be easier on your budget, but it might mean living amid construction for a while.

And, of course, you don’t get the potential cash infusion by selling the home at a profit, which is the goal of many people who are searching for a fixer-upper. You do get a lovingly restored home to call your own, quite likely at a good price, which can be an excellent reward.

Recommended: How Much House Can I Afford Based on My Income?

Do Your Homework Before You Buy

It’s crucial to add up all the costs of potential renovations before you buy a fixer-upper house. You don’t want the dream of wanting your own home to cloud your judgment about the work that’s needed. If you don’t do a deep dive on pricing before you buy, you may end up in your own version of “The Money Pit” movie.

Consider the following:

•   Assess the upfront cost of the home and add up all potential material and labor needs — think both big and small, like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, all the way down to any new doorknobs you’ll buy along the way. Then, subtract that from the home’s renovated market value. Would this still be a profitable venture?

•   Keep in mind that inflation is currently running high so prices could get higher than what you believe they will cost during the time you are renovating.

•   It’s important to allow room in your budget and your timeline for overages. It’s not uncommon for home renovations to cost more and take longer than anticipated. It’s wise to have at least 3% to 5% extra in your budget (if not more) to cover additional costs, and wiggle room in your timing, too.

Recommended: How Do Home Improvement Loans Work?

Preparing to Invest in Home Renovations

Each home renovation is unique. If you buy a fixer-upper house, the price of rehabbing it can vary tremendously. One house might need new appliances, the walls painted, and the floors sanded. Another might need a new roof and a cracked foundation fixed…plus an electrical upgrade. The size of the home, its age, its location, and condition will all impact how much you’ll need to spend.

But, to give you a ballpark on costs, here are some statistics from Angi, the home renovation and repair site:

•   Renovating a three-bedroom home can cost between $20,000 and $100,000 on average.

•   Renovation costs are typically between $15 and $60 per square foot overall.

•   Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can cost $100 to $250 per square foot.

•   A kitchen renovation costs $25,000 on average, and a bathroom remodel runs $10,000, but costs can run significantly higher depending on choice of materials, fixtures, and the like. renovation will be different, Realtor.com provides a general cost breakdown for different remodel hypotheticals.

Keep in mind that pricing may be higher if you live in or near a major city, as well.

Recommended: 6 Tips for Doing Home Addition Projects the Right Way

Common Fixer Upper Project Costs

Kitchen Remodels

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2022 data, the average cost of a kitchen remodel currently sits at $25,000, but costs can range from $5,000 to $65,000 or more.

The three elements that contribute most to cost are the countertops, cabinets, and flooring. The more you lean into custom and luxury options, the higher the price will go.

Bathroom Renovation

The average bathroom renovation ranges from $3,000 for small cosmetic updates to $30,000 for a complete gut do-over, with the average price tag coming in at $11,000. A big expense is moving the plumbing lines. If you can keep the layout as-is, you’ll save up to 50%.

Roof Installation

A roof should typically last two to three decades on a home — or longer if you choose the right material. The average cost for replacing a roof is about $8,000, but that will vary with the size of the home and the material you choose.

For instance, if you opt for a premium product, like slate, you’ll find that the average costs for a 3,000-square-foot roof can be $30,000.

Recommended: How to Buy Homeowners Insurance

How to Handle the Cost of a Fixer Upper

These numbers can seem overwhelming, but remember, you’re bringing out your home’s maximum potential, whether for you to enjoy or to capitalize on via a future sale.

You have a few options for how to finance the renovation of a fixer-upper:

•   You could put less money down and take out a larger mortgage. This would allow you to have some cash on hand to pay for the remodeling.

•   You can buy the house and then take out a home improvement loan, which is a kind of personal loan used to finance your home projects.

•   You could purchase the fixer-upper and then apply for a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These are revolving lines of credit that may offer attractive terms (low interest, long repayment) but keep in mind you are using your home’s equity as collateral. You typically need 15% to 20% equity in your home to qualify.

•   Another option that’s similar to a HELOC is a home equity loan. The difference is that a home equity loan typically distributes a sum of money, which is repaid in installments over a period of time.

The Takeaway

A fixer-upper can be a good investment for some home shoppers, whether they want to renovate the home and live in it or sell it at a profit. However, it’s important to evaluate your costs up front, before signing a contract, to make sure you don’t wind up with a money pit and can make your renovation dreams come true.

One thing that can help you afford your fix-it-up plans is a SoFi home improvement loan. They offer the winning combination of no fees, same-day funding in many situations, and loan amounts of $5,000 to $100,000. What’s more, these are unsecured loans, meaning you’re not required to put up collateral against the loan. And with fixed monthly payments, you can better plan for the road ahead. Now, all you need is a hammer and you’re ready to go.

Thinking about renovating a fixer-upper? SoFi personal loans can help you turn your new purchase into a dream home.

3 Home Loan Tips

1.    Some pointers to keep in mind if you’re considering a home improvement loan, which is a kind of personal loan:
Before agreeing to take out a personal loan from a lender, you should know if there are origination, prepayment, or other kinds of fees. If you get a personal loan from SoFi, there are no fees.

2.    In a climate where interest rates are rising, you’re likely better off with a fixed interest rate than a variable rate, even though the variable rate is initially lower. On the flip side, if rates are falling, you may be better off with a variable interest rate.

3.    Just as there are no free lunches, there are no guaranteed loans. So beware lenders who advertise them. If they are legitimate, they need to know your creditworthiness before offering you a loan.


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.

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.
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.
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Can I Take Out a Personal Loan While Unemployed?

From unemployment benefits to hardship programs, there are a number of options out there when it comes to managing money during difficult times. One option that people may consider during unemployment is a personal loan. But one important question is: Can you get a loan while unemployed?

While there are personal loans for the unemployed available, it’s important to carefully assess the downsides and the benefits before moving forward. You’ll need to ensure you’ll be able to pay back the loan even if money gets tighter, and you should also be prepared for a more challenging approval process.

Personal Loan Basics

At its most simple, a personal loan is when a lending institution pays out a lump sum of money to a borrower, who then pays back the amount owed plus interest over a predetermined period of time.

Unlike a mortgage or student loan, a personal loan isn’t tied to a specific expense. In other words, someone might take out a personal loan to cover the cost of paying for a dream wedding, to remodel a kitchen to get rid of that hideous linoleum, or to cover living expenses during a time with low cash flow — there are a number of common uses for personal loans.

Personal loan amounts can typically vary from $1,000 to $100,000, depending on the lender’s guidelines, the amount a borrower requests, and the borrower’s creditworthiness. While the lender pays out the amount of the loan in one lump sum to the borrower (minus any origination fee), the borrower pays back the loan over time in installments, often over a period of 12 to 60 months.

Personal loans are generally unsecured loans, which means they do not use collateral to secure the loan. Instead, lenders may look at borrowers’ creditworthiness to determine the risk in lending to them and their interest rate.

The interest rate for personal loans can vary for different borrowers depending on a borrower’s creditworthiness. Rates can range anywhere from around 5% to over 35%. Interest is paid back alongside the principal amount in monthly payments that are made over the life of the loan.

When Should You Consider Taking Out a Personal Loan While Unemployed?

Ideally, you’d avoid taking on debt while you’re unemployed and don’t have regular income coming in from a job. You might first explore any other options available to you to free up funds, whether that’s taking on a side hustle, getting a roommate, or reassessing your budget. However, there are some circumstances when taking out a personal loan while unemployed may be doable, and it can be a better option than resorting to a high-interest payday loan or expensive credit card debt.

If you’re considering a personal loan while unemployed, you should first assess whether you’ll realistically be able to make on-time payments on your loan each month. Not doing so can lead to late fees and impacts to your credit score. Think seriously about what you’d do in the worst-case scenario if you really couldn’t make a payment. You may even consider crunching the numbers using a personal loan calculator to determine if a personal loan would net you any savings over another borrowing option.

It’s also important to understand what lenders will look for when determining whether to approve you for a loan while unemployed. You’ll generally need a strong credit history and credit score to qualify. Additionally, lenders will want to see some income in order to prove you’ll be able to make monthly payments. Without a regular paycheck coming in during unemployment, this could be Social Security benefit payments, disability income, money from investments, or even your spouse’s income, among other alternatives.

Are There Downsides to Taking Out a Personal Loan While Unemployed?

Taking out a personal loan may seem appealing to someone who is temporarily out of work because it might be relatively quick to secure and can come with lower interest rates than credit cards. But as with all financial decisions, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of taking out a personal loan while unemployed before applying.

Here are the downsides of taking out a personal loan while unemployed:

•   It will likely be harder to qualify for a loan while unemployed. While you can get a personal loan without a job, it may be more difficult to qualify. Lenders look at a variety of factors when determining whether to offer a borrower a loan, like income, debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and credit score. This data helps them determine how likely it is the borrower will pay back the loan. If a borrower is unemployed, they won’t necessarily have income to show, and their debt-to-income ratio might be much lower than it would be with a stable income. Of course, different lenders have different criteria for lending, and the ultimate decision is determined by that specific lender.

•   Lenders may charge higher interest rates. Some lenders may offer higher interest rates to unemployed personal loan borrowers. This is because of the additional perceived risks of lending to someone who is unemployed.

•   Borrowers are taking a risk. The risk isn’t just for lenders when getting a loan while unemployed. When deciding whether to apply for a personal loan during unemployment, it’s important to consider your ability to pay a higher interest rate or make monthly payments. If a borrower is struggling to make ends meet, a loan payment could be impossible to pay on top of other expenses. And defaulting on a personal loan can be even more expensive: Borrowers could face late fees for missed payments and fees if the loan is sent to collections, not to mention a hit to their credit score if they’re unable to make payments.

Are There Benefits to Taking Out a Personal Loan While Unemployed?

There may be upsides for someone who is unemployed to take out a personal loan. Benefits of personal loans for unemployed individuals can include:

•   Personal loans can be more flexible than other types of loans. Borrowers can use the money from a personal loan for almost anything. This might make it an appealing choice for borrowers who may not have their normal income coming in due to unemployment.

•   It may be less costly than other borrowing options. A personal loan may come with lower rates than a credit card, which can be a major benefit when it comes to saving money. Additionally, the fixed term of a personal loan could help borrowers save over the life of a loan. This is because unlike with a credit card, you’d pay a set amount monthly over a set term, which means payments don’t roll over and continue to accrue interest.

•   You could consolidate existing debt. Another potential benefit of taking out a personal loan during unemployment could be consolidating other debts. In fact, a common reason borrowers may choose a personal loan is to consolidate credit card debt. Sometimes called debt consolidation loans, this type of personal loan can help borrowers save money if they can secure a lower interest rate than they’re currently paying on their credit cards. Additionally, debt consolidation loans can streamline multiple payments into one monthly payment. Keep in mind, however, that continuing to use credit cards after obtaining a credit card consolidation loan can lead to debt continuing to pile up.

•   They can help you deal with unexpected expenses. Personal loans may be an option for borrowers who are facing unexpected expenses, like medical bills or moving costs. If your current financial situation or a change in jobs has necessitated a move, a personal loan may be a way to pay for those unexpected costs without relying on credit cards.

To recap, here’s a rundown of the downsides and benefits of personal loans for unemployed individuals. While you potentially can get a loan while unemployed, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of and comfortable with both the pros and the cons:

Downsides and Benefits of Personal Loans While Unemployed
Downsides Benefits
Qualifying can be more difficult. Personal loans offer flexibility in how you use the funds.
Interest rates may be higher due to unemployment status. It could be less costly compared to other choices.
Borrowers are taking on a risk amid existing financial uncertainty. You could use a loan to consolidate debt, and potentially save money.
It could help you cover unexpected costs, like medical bills or moving.

Awarded Best Personal Loan of 2022 by NerdWallet.
Apply Online, Same Day Funding


Does SoFi Offer Personal Loans for Unemployed People?

SoFi does offer personal loans for unemployed individuals, assuming applicants meet other conditions. If you are not currently employed, it’s necessary to meet one of the two following eligibility criteria:

•   Have sufficient income from other sources

•   Have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days

Beyond these conditions regarding employment and income, SoFi also has a number of other requirements that borrowers must meet. Additionally, SoFi will consider an applicant’s financial history, credit score, and monthly income vs. expenses.

Improving Your Chances of Getting Approved for a Personal Loan While Unemployed

If you’re hoping to get a personal loan while unemployed, there are steps you can take to increase your odds of getting your personal loan approved.

For one, it helps to familiarize yourself with your own financial situation. Check your credit to see if it falls within a lender’s requirements, assess your current sources of income now that you’re unemployed, and take a look at how your current monthly debt payments compare to your monthly income. These are all factors that lenders will take into account when determining whether to approve the loan application, so the better they look, the better your chances that the lender’s answer will be a yes.

If you’re not confident you can get approved for a personal loan with your financial situation as is, you might consider taking some of the following actions:

•   Increase your income: While this might seem like a no-brainer if you’ve recently lost your job, there are other ways to approach adding to your sources of income while you’re on the job search. You could pick up a side hustle or get a roommate. Also take the time to review what counts as income for credit card applications — you might find you’ve forgotten to include something. (Remember, unemployment benefits count as income.)

•   Minimize your debts: If your debt-to-income ratio is way out of whack, that could lower your odds of approval. Consider ways you could cut costs, whether that’s downsizing your home, moving in with a friend or family member in the meantime, or selling off a car that’s saddling you with monthly payments.

•   Consider adding a cosigner: In this situation, another option could be to ask a friend or family member with good credit and a steady income to serve as a cosigner. Adding them to your application may make it likelier that a lender will view you favorably. Just remember that if you fail to make timely payments on your loan, you could damage your cosigner’s credit and stick them with the payments — not to mention the harm it could do to your relationship.

Choosing a Personal Loan

Borrowers interested in a personal loan might want to consider all the pros and cons before taking one on during unemployment. If a personal loan sounds like it might be the right solution, borrowers may want to do a little bit of preparation beforehand. It’s never a bad idea for a borrower to figure out exactly much they want to borrow in advance. But remember — borrowers should only borrow the amount they need.

Taking a look at the affordability of monthly payments may also help a borrower determine how much to borrow. Additionally, borrowers may wish to pull up their financial documents and take a peek at their current credit score and overall financial health before applying for a personal loan.

If a borrower is ready to apply, it’s important to look for one that meets their specific needs. For one, they’ll need to find a lender willing to work with unemployed borrowers, if that’s their current situation.

With SoFi, the next step in applying is to get prequalified. Prequalification with SoFi doesn’t affect your credit score and lets you see what interest rate you may qualify for. While SoFi offers easy online prequalification, it’s important to look around and determine which, if any, personal loan is the best for you.

With SoFi, you may qualify for a personal loan for between $5,000 and $100,000 with no origination fees or unexpected costs. Plus, if you take out an unsecured personal loan and then lose your job, you may be eligible for forbearance on your payments and assistance finding a new job in the meantime.

The bottom line: While applying for a personal loan with SoFi is possible, you should properly assess the associated risks first — especially if you’re getting a loan while unemployed.

FAQ

Can you use a personal loan as an unemployment loan?

Yes, it is possible to use a personal loan as an unemployment loan. However, in order to qualify for a personal loan while unemployed, you’ll still need to meet a lender’s eligibility requirements. This generally includes demonstrating some type of regular income.

What are the benefits of using an unemployment loan?

While risky, personal loans for unemployment do offer a number of benefits, including flexibility in how you use the funds, potentially lower costs than other borrowing options, and the choice to consolidate existing debt. A personal loan could also come in handy if unexpected expenses arrive, such as a surprise medical bill or an unanticipated move.

Are there any fees associated with unemployment loans?

Personal loans taken out during unemployment can absolutely carry fees. Whether and which fees apply will depend on the lender. Common fees you could face include origination fees, late fees, and prepayment penalties.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
.

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.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
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.

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What You Need to Know About the Challenges to Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness

What You Need to Know About the Challenges to Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness

Challenges to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan have created uncertainty and confusion for the more than 40 million borrowers (including college students who were enrolled before June 30, 2022) who may be eligible for debt relief through the program.

On Thursday, Nov. 11, a U.S. District judge in Fort Worth, Texas, ruled in a lawsuit that the plan is unconstitutional. As a result, the Department of Education has stopped accepting applications for student loan forgiveness and is holding the applications it has already received. The Biden administration is appealing the judgment.

To help borrowers in the meantime, on Nov. 22, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections to let the Supreme Court rule on whether the forgiveness plan can go into effect. Federal student loan payments may now be extended as long as 60 days after June 30, 2023. The pause is meant to “alleviate uncertainty for borrowers,” according to the administration.

Legal Challenges to the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

The President’s debt relief plan calls for up to $10,000 in forgiveness for federal student loan borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples) and up to $20,000 in relief for Pell Grant recipients. As mentioned earlier, current students who were enrolled before June 30, 2022, may be eligible for this one-time forgiveness. (Borrowers of private student loans are not eligible.)

The Biden administration determined that the president has the authority to wipe out this kind of student debt under the Heroes Act of 2003. Passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act gives the Secretary of Education the authority to change federal student aid provisions in the event of a war, military operation, or national emergency.

Because the pandemic was declared a national emergency in March 2020, the administration believes that the Education Secretary has the legal authority to provide debt relief under the act. Both former President Trump and President Biden used the Heroes Act to pause student loan payments during the pandemic. The extension that was just announced on Nov. 22 extends the pause well into 2023.

Six lawsuits have been filed against the plan resulting in two blocks against it. Opponents challenging Biden’s student loan forgiveness program make three primary legal arguments against the administration’s premise:

The No-Worse-Off Clause

Some politicians and legal experts question whether using the Heroes Act is appropriate. Among other things, they point to a clause in the act that says action on student financing can only be taken to ensure people “are not placed in a worse position financially” because of the emergency. The student loan pause, for instance, is designed to make sure that borrowers are no worse off when repayment starts than they were when the pandemic began. However, opponents argue that forgiveness puts borrowers in a better position financially because they will no longer have to pay all or part of their student loans.

Congress Controls the Money

Many lawmakers opposed to the program also say the Biden administration is overstepping its reach. The debt cancellation program could cost as much as $519 billion dollars over 10 years, according to some recent estimates. The Constitution states that Congress controls government funds, and the president and federal agencies may not spend money that has not been appropriated by Congress. Although Congress itself has enacted several specific student loan forgiveness programs — such as those for teachers or permanently disabled borrowers — it has not passed a broad student loan program forgiveness plan.

A Recent Supreme Court Decision

Activities of federal agencies like the Department of Education may come under more scrutiny in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. That decision clarified the “major questions doctrine,” which says that federal agencies are limited in making decisions that have “vast economic and political significance” without guidance from Congress. Proponents of the loan forgiveness plan worry this doctrine will be used against the program. Opponents believe they have legal precedent.

Recommended: Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

What Happens Next With the Legal Challenges?

On November 14, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction request by six states to halt the debt relief plan. The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to put that decision on hold as well as the November 11th Texas District Court ruling. The U.S. Justice Department also suggested that the Supreme Court separately take up the case of student debt relief during its current term.

Whether Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will happen is still up in the air. As the legal challenges play out, borrowers can sign up for updates at the DOE’s Student Aid site.

Recommended: Will My Federal Student Loan Payment Change in 2023?

Logistical Challenges to the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

In addition to the lawsuits, there are other challenges to overcome in implementing the program. Dealing with millions of dollars of canceled debt at numerous different loan servicing companies may be difficult if the plan proceeds. Right after the August announcement of the student loan forgiveness plan, the Department of Education’s financial aid website crashed, as did the sites of many loan servicers. That raises questions about how prepared the government and the private loan servicers are to handle the onslaught of forgiveness activity.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

The Takeaway

The Biden administration’s plan to forgive a large chunk of federal student debt was welcome news to borrowers. But it came with significant legal challenges, resulting in six lawsuits (so far). The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether the plan can go into effect. To help borrowers, the pause of student loan repayment has been extended again. SoFi will continue to keep you updated on developments with the student loan forgiveness program.

In the meantime, you may want to consider how best to handle your student loan debt. Even if you are eligible to have a portion of it forgiven, you will still need to pay off the remainder of your loans. Or perhaps you have private loans, which don’t qualify under the forgiveness program. Refinancing your student loans might lead to lower monthly payments. And that’s especially important to think about now, as interest rates continue to rise. Explore student loan refinancing with SoFi to see what your options are.

FAQ

Will Biden student loan forgiveness stand in court?

It’s uncertain whether the student loan forgiveness plan can stand in court. Currently, six lawsuits have been filed against the plan, and the administration has asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether the plan can go into effect.

Who would challenge Biden’s student loan forgiveness?

Many Republican lawmakers, some Democratic lawmakers, and some economists and education experts are against the plan. Six lawsuits have currently been filed against it.

What are the possible delays to Biden’s student loan forgiveness?

Legal challenges have put the plan on hold. The Department of Education has stopped accepting applications for student loan forgiveness and is holding the applications it has already received.


Photo credit: iStock/Inside Creative House

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.


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.

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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