How to Buy Another House When You Already Have a Mortgage

By Dana Webb · December 20, 2023 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

How to Buy Another House When You Already Have a Mortgage

Are you sick of pouring money into summer rentals or booking vacation houses online, sight unseen? If you’re managing to make the mortgage payments on your primary residence without straining your budget, you could be ready to invest in a second home. Here are some ideas on how to get an additional mortgage loan to potentially purchase another home.

Key Points

•   A second mortgage is a loan taken out on a property that already has an existing mortgage.

•   It can be used for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or funding large expenses.

•   Second mortgages can be obtained through banks, credit unions, or online lenders.

•   The interest rates on second mortgages are typically higher than those on first mortgages.

•   Borrowers should carefully consider the costs and risks associated with a second mortgage before proceeding.

Consider All the Costs

If you already own a house, you understand that the costs of home ownership go beyond mortgage payments. Remember that you’ll now have a second set of costs, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and the cost of travel to the second location.

You may also face some expenses with a vacation property that you wouldn’t face with a primary residence. For example, a house on the beach might need flood insurance to protect it against hurricanes.

All of these costs factor in on top of a second mortgage payment. Before you dive into owning a second home, consider whether or not you can afford them.

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

Determine if You Want a Vacation Home or a Rental Property

Before beginning to shop for a mortgage, you’ll need to decide whether you want to potentially earn rental income on the property. The answer to this question will determine the type of mortgage you qualify for.

However, if you require rental income in order to qualify for the additional home purchase, you may need to document existing rental income derived from the property (if the seller will share that information) or the lender may require a rental appraisal from a local property manager or real estate agent specifying the likely rental income. Keep in mind that the lender may only use a certain percentage (likely 75%) of the lease amount as a credit toward your qualifying income.

To qualify for a loan on a rental property, you will likely need a higher down payment, typically at least 20% or more. Non-owner occupied loans allow you to use the home when it’s not rented. Investment property mortgage rates may be higher than those for a primary residence. Another factor to consider is that a rental property may affect your income tax deductions differently than a vacation home.

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

Factors to Qualify for a Mortgage

If you’re ready to buy a home, and you’ve decided whether you’re looking for a vacation home or a rental property, you’ll want to consider many of the same factors needed to secure a first mortgage. Utilizing a home affordability calculator can be important when understanding how much home you can afford.

Credit report and FICO® score: Your credit report is essentially a report card that shows lenders how responsible you are about managing your debt, including your existing mortgage. It shows whether you make payments on time and whether you’ve missed payments or defaulted on debt in the past.

Your FICO score is a number that reflects your consumer credit risk. Make sure that you keep your credit score healthy by making on-time payments. Also check your credit report to be sure everything has been reported correctly. Mistakes can drag your score down, so it’s important to alert the credit reporting bureaus immediately if you find incorrect information.

Debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a measure of how much debt you carry each month compared to your monthly income. If you have $2,000 a month in debt payments and make $6,000 a month in income, your DTI is $2,000/$6,000, or 33%. If your DTI is too high, lenders are less likely to give you a mortgage, or you may not be able to secure a mortgage with favorable terms. The DTI required by your lender can vary based on factors such as your credit score, type of home, and the size of your down payment but most lenders like to see a DTI of no more than 43% for a second home purchase.

One way to get your DTI low is by paying off old debts and avoiding taking on new ones. “It’s important to cut spending as much as you can while you’re tackling your debts,” said Kendall Meade, a Certified Financial Planner at SoFi. You may also consider refinancing loans you already have, including the mortgage on your first house, if you can take advantage of potentially lower interest rates. A lower interest rate could mean paying less over the life of the loan, which could help you lower your DTI sooner than you thought.

If you are purchasing a rental property, and you can show an existing tenant’s fully executed lease agreement and other supporting documentation the lender may require, it is likely that the lender will calculate 75% of the monthly lease amount toward your qualifying income.

Down payment: Required down payments on second homes are typically higher than on primary residences. For a second home purchase, lenders may require a down payment of at least 10% or more. If you put less than 20% down, you may be required to have private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender if you stop making payments.

The more you can pay upfront with a down payment, the more favorable your mortgage terms are likely to be. Your interest rate and monthly payments may be lower, and if your DTI or credit score is less than ideal, a higher down payment could potentially help you compensate for these factors.

Though making a large down payment can be a financial boon, you may want to make sure that you don’t deplete your savings so much that you no longer have extra cash to cover other expenses like closing costs.

Income and assets: Your lender will typically want to see that you have two years worth of steady and ongoing income to qualify for a mortgage. They also may want to see recent statements from any monetary assets you have such as a checking account, savings account, CD, IRA, 401(k), etc. Lenders may also want to see reserve funds. The amount of required reserves will vary from lender to lender and loan program to loan program, but each month of reserves is equal to one month’s worth of payments on your first and additional mortgage. One month of mortgage payments is defined as principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and other miscellaneous costs (such as flood insurance or HOA dues).

💡 Quick Tip: To see a house in person, particularly in a tight or expensive market, you may need to show the real estate agent proof that you’re preapproved for a mortgage. SoFi’s online application makes the process simple.

Estimate How Much You Can Afford

This home affordability calculator helps estimate the cost of purchasing a home and what your monthly payment would be — including closing costs, insurance, and property tax.

The Takeaway

It’s usually a good idea to shop around. As you search for an additional mortgage, consider checking out multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you on interest rates, terms, and fees.

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.

*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.

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

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 Equal Housing Lender.

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


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender