All You Need to Know About Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCCs)

All You Need to Know About Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCCs)

To make homeownership more affordable, the federal government offers programs for first-time homebuyers and buyers with low to moderate incomes. The mortgage credit certificate (MCC) program is one option that helps eligible first-time homebuyers save money on their mortgage.

This guide will unpack how a mortgage credit certificate works, the pros and cons, and claiming it on your taxes.

What Is an MCC?

A mortgage credit certificate, sometimes called a mortgage certificate credit, is designed to help homebuyers recoup a portion of the interest paid on their home mortgage loan. An MCC is a dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit of up to $2,000 on the mortgage interest paid annually. It’s a nonrefundable credit, which just means that the amount of your credit can’t exceed the amount of income tax owed for that filing year.

If you take out a mortgage to buy a home, your monthly payment has four components: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. State and local housing finance agencies issue MCCs, and if you receive one you can claim the dollar equivalent as a tax deduction to reduce the amount you owe in federal taxes. (Not all states offer MCCs, however. Michigan offers one, for example, while Massachusetts does not.) Eligible homeowners can take advantage of an MCC even if they take the standard deduction rather than itemize deductions. If you are one of the few homeowners who itemizes, any remaining mortgage interest not accounted for in an MCC may qualify for the mortgage interest deduction.

Eligibility for this program is based on income and is generally only available for first-time homebuyers who qualify, though others may be able to buy a home in a “targeted area” designated by the state or Department of Housing and Urban Development and claim a mortgage tax credit.

Keep in mind that different mortgage types may have fixed or variable interest rates. Most fixed-rate loans are eligible for an MCC.

Recommended: First-Time Homebuyer Guide

How Does It Work?

Getting a handle on tax credits and deductions can be confusing as a new homeowner, and that’s OK.

To reiterate, an MCC lets you claim a tax credit for a portion of the mortgage interest paid in a year. This lowers your tax liability, which is the amount you owe to the federal government.

The portion of the mortgage interest you can claim with an MCC, known as the tax credit percentage, depends on the state you live in. Generally, the tax credit percentage ranges from 10% to 50% of a homeowner’s total annual mortgage interest.

The tax credit percentage, the mortgage amount, and interest rate are needed to calculate the total MCC. Note, however, that an annual MCC deduction is capped at $2,000 and can’t exceed a recipient’s total federal income tax liability after factoring in other deductions and credits.

It’s helpful to show how claiming an MCC works in practice. You’ll need to know some mortgage basics, like the interest rate, before getting started.

For instance, a homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage, 3.5% interest rate, and tax credit percentage of 20% could receive a first-year MCC tax credit of $1,750.

Here’s how to break this calculation down by steps:

1.    Determine the mortgage loan balance ($250,000), interest rate (3.5%), and tax credit percentage (20%)

2.    Multiply the loan balance and interest rate to calculate the total interest paid ($250,000 x 0.035 = $8,750)

3.    Multiply the total interest paid by the tax credit percentage to calculate the MCC tax credit ($8,750 x 0.2 = $1,750)

The $1,750 would be applied to your total federal tax bill, rather than deducted from your income. Let’s take a closer look at how claiming an MCC in this example would affect your federal income taxes.

With an MCC

Without an MCC

Income $70,000 $70,000
Mortgage Interest Paid $7,000 (total mortgage interest – MCC tax credit) $8,750
Taxable Income $63,000 $61,250
Federal Taxes Owed (22% tax rate) $13,860 $13,475
MCC Tax Credit $1,750 0
Total Federal Tax Bill $12,110 $13,475

In this example, a mortgage credit certificate could lower the amount owed in federal income taxes by $1,365. If you don’t have a mortgage yet, use this mortgage calculator to estimate your interest rate, loan amount, and, on the amortization chart, interest paid.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Pros and Cons

The mortgage credit certificate program was established by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 to make homeownership more affordable for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. While an MCC tax credit can provide financial benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider, too.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of MCC pros and cons to help you figure out if an MCC is right for you if you’re a first-time buyer.

Pros

Cons

You can receive up to $2,000 in savings on taxes owed every year you’re paying mortgage interest, and carry over unused portions to following years. A portion of MCC benefits may be subject to a recapture tax if you move before nine years, have a significant increase in income, or experience a gain from the home sale.
MCCs can reduce the cost of interest and decrease your debt-to-income ratio to help with mortgage preapproval and qualification. If you have limited tax liability, a MCC tax credit may not pose much benefit since it’s nonrefundable.
MCCs are eligible with most fixed-rate mortgage options, including FHA, VA, USDA, and conventional loans. Obtaining a MCC may come with processing fees, depending on the lender.
First-time homebuyer requirement is more flexible than other programs and can be waived for active military and veterans or if purchasing a home in targeted areas designated by federal and state government. The mortgage tax credit cannot be applied to a secondary residence and might not be reissued when refinancing.

How to Get a Mortgage Credit Certificate

Borrowers are issued an MCC through their lender before closing. Thus, it’s important to discuss options early in the process and when shopping for a mortgage.

Eligibility for an MCC varies by location. State housing finance agencies (HFAs) have established requirements for obtaining an MCC, if one is offered. These include limits on household income, loan amount, and home purchase price.

Other criteria to get an MCC include the following:

•   HFA-approved lender: The HFA may require borrowing from an approved list of lenders.

•   First-time homebuyer status: Borrowers must not have owned a principal resident in the past three years.

•   Primary residence: Only owner-occupied homes are eligible for an MCC.

•   Homebuyer education: HFAs may require borrowers to participate in education courses during the purchase process.

Claiming a Mortgage Credit Certificate on Your Taxes

To claim the MCC each year on your taxes, fill out IRS Form 8396. You’ll need to know the amount of interest you paid on the mortgage that year and the tax credit percentage set for the MCC.

Once complete, you’ll also know if any credit can be carried over for the following tax year.

The Takeaway

What is a MCC? A mortgage credit certificate is a federal income tax credit on a portion of the mortgage interest paid annually for low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers or people purchasing a home in a targeted area.

The home buying process is a serious undertaking, especially for first-time homebuyers. To get up to speed, SoFi’s mortgage help center is a useful place to start and have your mortgage questions answered.

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

Who gives you the mortgage credit certificate?

A mortgage credit certificate program is administered by state-level housing finance agencies and issued by mortgage brokers or lenders.

Does everyone get a mortgage credit certificate?

No, mortgage credit certificates have borrower income limits and other eligibility requirements. For context, only 10,836 MCCs were issued in 2022, down from 22,298 issued in 2019, likely due to the fact that some states have discontinued their MCC program.

Can I refinance with a mortgage credit certificate?

A mortgage credit certificate does not prevent you from refinancing, but you’ll lose the MCC on your current loan. Many programs, though, allow borrowers to apply to receive a new MCC issued with their refinanced mortgage.

How do I know if I have an MCC?

Borrowers apply for an MCC prior to closing and receive a physical copy with a unique certificate number from their local or state government.

Do I lose my mortgage credit certificate if I refinance?

The original mortgage credit certificate becomes void if you refinance, but you may be able to have the MCC reissued if the principal balance on the refinanced loan is lower than the original.


Photo credit: iStock/Morsa Images

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.

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.

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.

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

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How Much a $400,000 Mortgage Will Cost You

The monthly payments on a $400,000 mortgage could range from about $2,300 to more than $3,700, depending on the loan’s interest rate, term, and other factors. But hopeful homebuyers would be wise to consider how much that mortgage could cost over time as well as what the monthly payments might be. Read on for a breakdown of what some of your home-buying costs might be, and how they could affect the total cost of a $400,000 mortgage.

What Will a $400,000 Mortgage Cost?

There are several different costs you may run into when taking out a mortgage. Most of the time, they can be divided into three main categories.

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


Closing Costs

Closing costs are expenses you’ll pay upfront when you get a loan. They can include things like loan processing fees, third-party services such as appraisals and title insurance, and government fees and taxes. You also may decide to pay mortgage points (also called discount points) upfront on your loan to lower the interest rate. Closing costs can vary significantly from one loan type and lender to the next, but they generally range from 3% to 6% of the mortgage amount.

Monthly Payments

Monthly mortgage payments, which are paid over the life of your loan, typically include two main parts:

•   Principal: This portion of your mortgage payment goes directly toward paying back the amount you borrowed.

•   Interest: This is the fee the lender will charge you for borrowing money. The amount of interest you pay each month will be calculated by multiplying your interest rate by your remaining loan balance.

Escrow

Some homebuyers may also have a third amount, called escrow, included in their closing costs and/or monthly payments. Lenders often collect and hold money in an escrow account so they can be sure critical bills like homeowners insurance and property taxes are paid on time. (Curious about the most budget-friendly places to buy? Check out this list of the most affordable cities in each state.)


💡 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.

What Would the Payment Be on a $400,000 Mortgage?

We’ll keep things simple and eliminate the costs associated with an escrow account to calculate what the payment on a $400,000 mortgage’s monthly payments might be.

Let’s say you wanted to purchase a home for $500,000, and you had $100,000 for a down payment. If your lender offered you a 7% annual percentage rate (APR) on a 15-year loan for $400,000, you could expect your monthly payment — principal and interest — to be about $3,595. If you had a 30-year loan with a 7% APR, your payment could be about $2,661.

Here are some more examples that show the difference between a 15-year loan vs. a 30-year loan, using SoFi’s Mortgage Calculator:

APR Payment with 15-year Loan Payment with 30-year Loan
5.5% $3,268 $2,271
6.5% $3,484 $2,528
7.5% $3,708 $2,796

Where Can You Get a $400,000 Mortgage?

Homebuyers may have a few different options when deciding where to go for a mortgage, including online banks and lenders, and traditional banks and credit unions. Because the rates and terms lenders offer may vary, it can be a good idea to shop around for a mortgage that’s the right fit for your individual needs.

Before you start looking for quotes, though, you may want to sit down and review the different types of mortgages you can qualify for. How would a 15-, 20-, or 30-year mortgage affect your monthly payments? Are you looking for a fixed or adjustable mortgage rate? Would you be better off with a conventional mortgage or a government-backed loan? (Some loans may have more flexible requirements for down payment amounts or a borrower’s credit score.)

Once you start comparison shopping, you can note the pros and cons of various offers and narrow down your choices. You also may want to read some online reviews of the lenders you’re considering.

Recommended: 2024 Home Loan Help Center

How Much Interest Will You Pay on a $400,000 Mortgage?

The interest rate your lender offers can make a big difference to the overall cost of your mortgage. So can the mortgage term you choose.

On a $400,000 mortgage at a 7% APR, for example, your total interest costs could range from $247,156 to $558,036, depending on the length of the loan you choose (15 vs. 30 years).

Spreading out your mortgage payments over a longer term can lower your monthly payment, but you can expect to pay more for the loan overall. Your financial circumstances at the time you take out your loan may dictate which is a priority for you. (If you go for a longer loan, and your situation changes, you may decide to refinance your home mortgage to a shorter term down the road.)


💡 Quick Tip: If you refinance your mortgage and shorten your loan term, you could save a substantial amount in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

How Does Amortization Work on a $400,000 Mortgage?

Though your payment will remain the same every month (if you have a fixed-rate loan), the amount you’ll pay toward interest vs. principal will change over the life of your home loan. In the first years, the majority of your payment will go toward interest. But as your balance goes down, more of your payment will go toward principal.

Your lender can provide you with a mortgage amortization schedule that shows you how the proportions will change as you make payments on your loan.

Here’s what the amortization schedules for a $400,000 mortgage with 30- and 15-year terms might look like. (Keep in mind that your payments may include other costs besides principal and interest.)

Amortization Schedule, 30-Year Loan at 7% APR

Year Amount Paid Interest Paid Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $31,934.52 $27,871.28 $4,063.24 $395,936.76
2 $31,934.52 $27,577.55 $4,356.97 $391,579.79
3 $31,934.52 $27,262.58 $4,671.94 $386,907.85
4 $31,934.52 $26,924.85 $5,009.67 $381,898.18
5 $31,934.52 $26,562.70 $5,371.82 $376,526.36
6 $31,934.52 $26,174.37 $5,760.15 $370,766.21
7 $31,934.52 $25,757.97 $6,176.55 $364,589.66
8 $31,934.52 $25,311.46 $6,623.06 $357,966.60
9 $31,934.52 $24,832.68 $7,101.84 $350,864.76
10 $31,934.52 $24,319.29 $7,615.23 $343,249.53
11 $31,934.52 $23,768.78 $8,165.74 $335,083.80
12 $31,934.52 $23,178.48 $8,756.04 $326,327.76
13 $31,934.52 $22,545.51 $9,389.01 $316.938.75
14 $31,934.52 $21,866.78 $10,067.74 $306,871.01
15 $31,934.52 $21,138.98 $10,795.54 $296,075.46
16 $31,934.52 $20,358.57 $11,575.95 $284,499.51
17 $31,934.52 $19,521.74 $12,412.78 $272,086.73
18 $31,934.52 $18,624.42 $13,310.10 $258,776.63
19 $31,934.52 $17,662.23 $14,272.29 $244,504.35
20 $31,934.52 $16,630.49 $15,304.03 $229,200.31
21 $31,934.52 $15,524.16 $16,410.36 $212,789.95
22 $31,934.52 $14,337.85 $17,596.67 $195,193.28
23 $31,934.52 $13,065.79 $18,868.73 $176,324.55
24 $31,934.52 $11,701.76 $20,232.76 $156,091.79
25 $31,934.52 $10,239.14 $21,695.38 $134,396.41
26 $31,934.52 $8,670.78 $23,263.74 $111,132.66
27 $31,934.52 $6,989.04 $24,945.48 $86,187.18
28 $31,934.52 $5,185.73 $26,748.79 $59,438.39
29 $31,934.52 $3,252.05 $28,682.47 $30,755.92
30 $31,934.52 $30,755.92 $1,178.60 $0

Amortization Schedule, 15-Year Loan at 7% APR

Year Amount Paid Interest Paid Principal Paid Remaining Balance
1 $43,143.76 $27,504.57 $15,639.19 $384,360.81
2 $43,143.76 $26,374.01 $16,769.75 $367,591.06
3 $43,143.76 $25,161.72 $17,982.04 $349,609.02
4 $43,143.76 $23,861.80 $19,281.96 $330,327.06
5 $43,143.76 $22,467.90 $20,675.85 $309,651.21
6 $43,143.76 $20,973.24 $22,170.51 $287,480.69
7 $43,143.76 $19,370.54 $23,773.22 $263,707.47
8 $43,143.76 $17,651.97 $25,491.79 $238,215.68
9 $43,143.76 $15,809.16 $27,334.59 $210,881.09
10 $43,143.76 $13,833.14 $29,310.61 $181,570.48
11 $43,143.76 $11,714.28 $31,429.48 $150,141.00
12 $43,143.76 $9,442.24 $33,701.52 $116,439.48
13 $43,143.76 $7,005.95 $36,137.80 $80,301.67
14 $43,143.76 $4,393.55 $38,750.21 $41,551.47
15 $43,143.76 $1,592.29 $41,551.47 $0

How to Get a $400,000 Mortgage

If you’re feeling intimidated by the whole home-buying process, breaking it down into some manageable steps may make things a little less overwhelming.

First, Determine What You Can Afford

Reviewing your income, debts, monthly spending, and how much you’ve saved for a down payment can be a good place to start. This will help you decide how much of a down payment you can handle and how much house you can afford.

Compare Different Loans and Lenders

Once you know what you can afford, you can start looking for the loan type, interest rate, loan term, and lender that meet your needs.

Consider Getting Preapproved

If you’ve decided on a loan and lender, it can be a good idea to go through the preapproval process. Getting a letter from your lender that says you’re preapproved for a certain loan amount lets sellers know you’re a serious buyer. (And it can come in handy if you get into a bidding war for your dream home.)

Get Ready to Go House Hunting

When you have your loan lined up, you can look for and potentially make an offer on a house. And since you already know how much you can afford, you can target homes in that range.

Submit a Full Mortgage Application

Once your offer is accepted and you’re ready to move forward, your lender will ask you to complete a more formal loan application and provide additional financial information and documentation.

Prepare for Closing

While you’re waiting for a final loan approval and a closing date, you can shop for homeowners insurance, get a home inspection, and make sure you have all the money you need for your down payment and closing costs.

Take Ownership of Your New Home

At the closing you can sign all the necessary paperwork, hand over the funds needed to make the purchase, and — congratulations! — get the keys to your new home.

Recommended: First-Time Homebuyer Guide

The Takeaway

Researching the different costs you might have to pay if you plan to take out a $400,000 mortgage can help you stick to your budget and avoid unpleasant surprises.

The choices you make about the type of loan you get, the interest rate, loan term, and other costs, will all play part in how much you pay every month — and over the length of the loan. So it can be a good idea to run the numbers before you decide on a particular lender or loan.

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 much is a $400,000 mortgage a month?

The monthly payment for a $400,000 mortgage could range from about $2,300 to more than $3,700, depending on several factors, including the interest rate and loan term.

How much income is required for a $400,000 mortgage?

Lenders will look at several factors besides your income to determine if you can afford a $400,000 mortgage. You can expect to be asked about your debt, credit history, assets, and the down payment you plan to make.

How much is a down payment on a $400,000 mortgage?

Your down payment may vary depending on the price of the house you choose, the type of loan you get, and if you want to avoid paying private mortgage insurance as part of your borrowing costs. Traditionally, lenders like to see a 20% down payment, which on a $500,000 home would be a $100,000 down payment and a $400,000 mortgage. But many lenders accept lower down payments.

Can I afford a $400,000 mortgage with a $70,000 salary?

Since your housing costs (monthly payments, insurance, etc.) would likely be more than half your monthly salary, it could be a challenge to afford a $400,000 mortgage on a $70,000 salary.


Photo credit: iStock/svetikd

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.

+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.

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

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I Make $100,000 a Year. How Much House Can I Afford?

On a salary of $100,000 per year, as long as you have minimal debt, you can afford a house priced at around $311,000 with a monthly payment of $2,333. This number assumes a 6.5% interest rate and a down payment of around $30,000.

The 28/36 rule is often used as a guide when deciding how much house you can afford. The rule stipulates that you should not spend more than 28 percent of your salary on overall housing costs and no more than 36 percent on housing costs and your debt. On a salary of $100K with debts of about $250 per month, a house costing $311,000 just fits in your budget.

However, how much home you can afford depends on other factors also, such as where you intend to live and how much you have saved as a down payment.

This article looks at how all of these factors affect your home purchase and gives some examples of how much home you can realistically afford on a salary of $100,000.

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


What Kind of House Can I Afford With $100K a Year?

Another rule of thumb often applied when buying a home is to not spend more than three times your annual income on a home. If you earn $100,000 a year, that would be $300,000.

A salary of $100,000 is well above the national median income (according to Census data, the national median income was $74,580 in 2022). That puts you in a good position if you want to buy a home, particularly if the cost of living is low in the area that you are targeting. If you have substantial savings for a down payment and little debt, you’re even better positioned. Debt is important because lenders look at how much debt you have when they qualify you for a mortgage.

Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the amount of income you receive relative to the amount of payments you make each month to cover your debt. You’ll get better loan terms, and your monthly mortgage loan payments will be less, if you have less debt.

That’s why many experts also recommend the 28/36 rule. So, if you earn $100K, your housing costs should be less than $28,000, $2,333 a month, and your debt and housing costs should not exceed $36,000, or $3,000 a month.

Your Down Payment

Unless you qualify for a zero-down USDA or VA loan, most lenders will expect a down payment of between 3% and 20%. The more you put down, the more house you can afford, but as you think about your down payment amount, make sure you reserve funds for closing costs, moving costs, and an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

Home Affordability

Homes are more affordable in certain areas. Some areas have a higher cost of living and higher property taxes.

Your credit score will also affect how much home you can afford. If you have a high credit score, you will qualify for a lower interest rate loan. If you pay less interest, you can borrow more and still meet your monthly payments.

Depending on where you want to live, the housing market might dictate how big a home you can afford. House prices are affected by the economic conditions, and low unemployment rates and healthy economic growth gives buyers more purchasing power. If buyers have more purchasing power, they can afford bigger loans, and this will push up house prices.


💡 Quick Tip: When house hunting, don’t forget to lock in your home mortgage loan rate so there are no surprises if your offer is accepted.

How to Afford More House with Down Payment Assistance

Some people, such as first-time buyers or certain professionals like nurses and teachers, can qualify for down payment assistance from federal, state, and local government, private entities, and charitable organizations. Assistance might be in the form of a low-rate loan, cash grant, tax credit, or a reduced interest rate.

Applying for down payment assistance can add weeks or months to your home buying timeline, but for more information, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) keeps a list of programs listed by state, county, and city.

Here are typical down payment amounts for various types of mortgages.

•   Conventional mortgages require a 3% down payment for first-time buyers

•   FHA mortgages require 3.5% down

•   VA mortgages require 0% down

•   USDA: These zero down payment loans serve low-income borrowers in rural areas.

Home Affordability Examples

Let’s take a look at some hypothetical examples for those wondering, “If I make $100K how much home can I afford?” These examples assume an interest rate of 6.5% and average property taxes.

Example #1: Low Down Payment and Significant Debt

Gross annual income: $100,000
Down payment: $10,000
Monthly debt: $1000

Home budget: $238,441

Monthly mortgage payment: $2,000

Payment breakdown:

•   Principal and interest: $1,444

•   Property taxes: $208

•   Private mortgage insurance: $264

•   Homeowner’s insurance: $83

Example #2: Bigger Down Payment, Less Debt

Gross annual income: $100,000
Down payment: $40,000
Monthly debt: $300

Home budget: $333,212

Monthly mortgage payment: $2,333

Payment breakdown:

•   Principal and interest: $1,853

•   Property taxes: $208

•   Private mortgage insurance: $188

•   Homeowner’s insurance: $83

How to Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

You need a budget to find out how much house you can afford. Keeping a budget will show you how much you are spending each month versus how much income you have. Whatever you have leftover after paying essentials like food, clothing, and utilities is how much you can afford to spend on housing.

You can also use a mortgage calculator to help you. Just plug in your own numbers to find out what your monthly payments would be.


💡 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 Your Monthly Payment Affects Your Price Range

The more you can afford to pay each month for your mortgage and other housing expenses, the more house you can afford. However if you have significant debt payments each month, or you have a poor credit score that results in a higher interest rate for your loan, that will reduce the amount of loan you can afford and the price range.

Types of Home Loans Available to $100K Households

Four types of loans are the most common. These are conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA, and VA loans.

Conventional loans typically require a credit score of 620 or more, but the down payment can be as low as 3 percent. Remember that a lower down payment means higher monthly payments because you will have to borrow more.

FHA loans. With an FHA loan, home buyers with a credit score over 580 can borrow up to 96.5% of a home’s value. Home buyers with a lower credit score, between 500 to 579, can still qualify for a loan as long as they have a 10% down payment.

USDA: USDA loans are zero down payment financing for low-income borrowers in designated rural areas.

VA: VA loans also require no down payment and are available to qualified military service members, veterans, and their spouses.

The Takeaway

If you are looking to buy a home and would like a more realistic idea of what you can afford, first find out how much you are spending on necessities like food, clothing, transportation, and, most importantly, debt. What you have leftover is how much you can spend each month on housing expenses.

Once you have a grasp on your finances, you can use an affordability calculator to see how much of a house you can afford. The size of home that the amount will buy depends on the local housing market and the cost of living where you want to live.

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 $100K a good salary for a single person?

A salary of $100k is above the national median income (according to Census data, the national median income was $74,580 in 2022). This is a good salary, but you still might struggle to buy a home in areas with a high cost of living. The larger down payment you have, and the better your credit score, the bigger house you can buy.

What is a comfortable income for a single person?

A comfortable income for a single person is dependent upon where that person lives. The findings from a study using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the cost of necessities to determine a living wage shows wide variance existing among states. According to the study, Hawaii is the most expensive state, and singles require an annual salary of $112,411 to live comfortably. In Mississippi, you can live comfortably on $45,906 a year.

What is a liveable wage in 2023?

A liveable wage will vary depending on where you live. However, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology determined that $104,07 per year was a liveable wage before taxes in 2022. This was for a family of four with two working adults and two children.

What salary is considered rich for a single person?

According to Internal Revenue Service data, an income of $540,009 per year puts a person in the top 1% earnings category.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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.

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.

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.

+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.

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.

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.
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.

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What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage? All You Need to Know

When you pay off your mortgage, you may have some paperwork and account switching (such as property taxes) to take care of. And you may look forward to greater cash flow.

But is paying off a mortgage always the right move? In some cases, a person who is about to pay off a mortgage may want to consider a couple of options that could make more sense for their particular financial situation.

Learn more about the payoff path and alternatives here.

Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage

Paying off your mortgage is a fantastic milestone to reach, but it’s not without trade-offs. Here are a few considerations to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Pros of Paying Off a Mortgage

Cons of Paying Off a Mortgage

No monthly payment May lose tax deduction
No more interest paid to the lender Your cash is all tied up in your home’s equity
More cash in your pocket each month If you pay extra to pay off your home, you may miss out on investment strategies
You’ll need less income in retirement Lost opportunity costs for other uses for your money
Greatly reduced risk of foreclosure No tax deduction for mortgage interest, if you’re among the few who still take the deduction



💡 Quick Tip: Thinking of using a mortgage broker? That person will try to help you save money by finding the best loan offers you are eligible for. But if you deal directly with an online mortgage lender, you won’t have to pay a mortgage broker’s commission, which is usually based on the mortgage amount.

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


What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

Here’s how mortgage payoff works:

•   To get the amount you need to pay off your mortgage, the first thing you need to do is request a mortgage payoff letter. If you pay the amount on your last statement, you won’t have the right amount. A mortgage payoff letter will include the appropriate fees and the amount of interest through the day you’re planning to pay the loan off.

•   Know that the payoff letter is only good for a set amount of time, and make sure to get your payment in on time.

•   Follow the instructions you’re given about where and how to submit the payment.

•   Once you’ve sent the payoff amount, your mortgage lender is responsible for sending you and the county recorder documentation to release the mortgage and lien on your home.

•   You should be sent any funds remaining in escrow.

•   You will want to contact your insurance company about this change if your insurance was paid along with your mortgage payment and have the bills switched over to you directly.

•   If your property taxes were paid as part of your mortgage, you will want to contact your local tax collector about shifting those bills to you as well.

What Documents Do You Get After Paying Off a Mortgage?

After paying off your mortgage, you should receive (or have access to) documents proving you paid off the mortgage and no longer have a lien attached to your home. These include:

•   Satisfaction or release of mortgage. This document will be filed with the county recorder (or other applicable recording agency). It states that the mortgage has been satisfied and the lien released.

•   A canceled promissory note. When you closed on your home, one of the documents you signed was called a promissory note. Now that the mortgage has been satisfied, you may receive this document back with a “canceled” or “paid in full,” though it’s also possible you may have to call and request the document.

•   A statement on the paid-off loan balance. Your lender should send you a statement showing that your loan has been paid in full.

What Should You Do After Paying Off Your Mortgage?

After you pay off your mortgage, you’ll need to take care of a few housekeeping items (a couple are mentioned above).

•   Close your escrow account. Since you’re no longer sending a mortgage payment to a mortgage servicer, you’ll need to take care of the items in your escrow account, primarily your taxes and homeowners insurance.

•   Contact your county recorder’s office to double-check that the mortgage satisfaction paperwork has been filed. Once that has been filed, you will have a clear title on the property.

•   Make plans for the extra money. Whether you want to make a bigger push in your retirement account, enlarge your emergency fund, or pay off other debts, you now likely have more cash to do it with. If you don’t make plans for the extra money, it might just evaporate.

Recommended: 2024 Home Loan Help Center

Is Prepaying a Good Idea?

Generally, paying off your mortgage early is a great idea. It reduces the principal, which in turn reduces the amount you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan. Still, there are reasons that some homeowners consider not paying their mortgage off early.

Most lenders do not charge a prepayment penalty, but home loans signed before January 10, 2014, may include one. Nonconforming mortgage loans signed after that date may have a prepayment penalty that applies within the first three years of repayment. (The different types of mortgage loans include conforming and nonconforming conventional mortgages.)

The best way to find out if prepayment is subject to a penalty is to call your mortgage servicer. The terms of your mortgage paperwork should also outline whether or not you have a prepayment penalty.

Should You Refinance Instead?

Another option you may consider is refinancing your mortgage. There are several reasons you may want to refinance instead of paying off your mortgage.

Lower monthly payment. Getting a lower rate or different loan term may lower your monthly payment. Be sure to check out current rates, and use a calculator for mortgages to find out what a possible new payment would be.

Shorter mortgage term. Refinancing a 30-year mortgage to, say, a 15-year mortgage can keep you close to paying off your mortgage while also providing financial flexibility.

Spare cash. Whatever your need is — home renovations, college funding, paying off higher-interest debt — a cash-out refinance might be an option.



💡 Quick Tip: Compared to credit cards and other unsecured loans, you can usually get a lower interest rate with a cash-out refinance loan.

The Takeaway

What happens when you pay off your mortgage? After doing a jig in the living room, you’ll need to take care of a few housekeeping tasks and make plans for the extra money.

An option to consider: Would a refinance to a shorter term make more sense, or pulling cash out with a cash-out refi? It can be wise to review all your options as you move toward taking this major financial step.

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 paying off your mortgage a good idea?

The answer depends on an individual’s situation. If you have the money and you’d love to shed that monthly obligation for good, paying off a mortgage is a good idea. But if you’re worried about funding your retirement or losing opportunities to invest, paying off your mortgage may not be a good idea for you.

What do you do after you pay off your mortgage?

Ensure that you have received your canceled promissory note, and update your property tax and insurance billers on where to bill you. Since you no longer will have a mortgage servicing company, you must pay your insurance and property taxes yourself.

Is it better to pay off a mortgage before you retire?

Paying off a mortgage could give you more money to work with in retirement. But if your retirement accounts need a boost, most financial experts contend that allocating money there is a better idea than paying off your mortgage. Paying off a mortgage when you have low cash reserves can also put you at risk.

Does paying off your mortgage early affect your credit score?

Surprisingly, paying off your mortgage early won’t affect your credit score much. Your credit score has already taken into account the years of full, on-time payments you made each month.


Photo credit: iStock/katleho Seisa

*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 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.


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.

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

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What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement or Letter?

What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement or Letter? All You Need to Know

If you’re thinking about refinancing your home loan or paying off your mortgage early, you might request a mortgage payoff statement. The amount due on this document is likely to be different from your current balance because it includes interest owed until the payoff date and any fees due.

Read on to learn more about what a mortgage payoff statement or letter is and when you might need one.

What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement?

Starting with mortgage basics, a mortgage is a loan used to purchase different types of real estate, including a primary home. A bank or other lender agrees to lend money, which the borrower commits to pay back monthly for a set period of time and with interest.

The different types of mortgage loans include conventional and government-insured mortgages and reverse mortgages.

There are jumbo loans, which exceed the dollar limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and home equity loans.

Say you have a mortgage and want to know exactly how much you’d need to pay to satisfy the loan. A mortgage payoff letter will tell you that magic number. Unlike your current balance, the payoff amount includes interest owed up to the day you intend to pay off the loan. It may also include fees that you’re on the hook for and haven’t paid yet.

Your monthly mortgage statement, on the other hand, only shows your loan balance and the amount due for your next monthly payment.


💡 Quick Tip: You’ve found an award-winning home. Enjoy an award-winning mortgage experience, too. SoFi has knowledgeable Mortgage Loan Officers to guide you through the process.

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


How Does a Mortgage Payoff Statement Work?

You can request a payoff statement from your loan servicer at any time. Note: Your mortgage servicer may be different from your lender. The company that manages your loan handles billing, accepts loan payments, keeps track of your principal and interest, and fields questions from borrowers.

You may request a payoff statement for any type of loan, including mortgages, student loans, personal loans, and auto loans. However, if you need your mortgage payoff statement, go to your mortgage servicer directly. The name and contact information of your mortgage servicer is included in your monthly statements.

When you make the request from the company that handles your mortgage servicing, you’ll need to provide the following details:

•   Your name

•   Address

•   Phone number

•   Your loan number

•   The date you want your payoff to be effective if you’re seeking to pay off your mortgage early.

Asking for a payoff statement does not necessarily mean that you intend to pay off your loan immediately. You may simply be determining whether or not paying off your mortgage early is feasible, for example. The request itself does not initiate the prepayment process.

Traditional lenders, such as brick-and-mortar banks, may mail you a paper mortgage payoff statement. Online lenders may send a payoff statement online.

Recommended: 5 Tips for Finding a Mortgage Lender

What Information Do Mortgage Payoff Letters Contain?

All mortgage payoff letters tend to contain similar information, including:

•   Payoff amount: The amount of money that would satisfy the loan.

•   Expiration date: The date through which the payoff amount is valid. The letter may also include an adjusted amount should you pay before or after the expiration date.

•   Payment information: The letter will also usually tell you who to make the final check out to and where to mail it.

•   Additional charges: You will be alerted to any additional fees and charges that you’ll need to include.



💡 Quick Tip: Your parents or grandparents probably got mortgages for 30 years. But these days, you can get them for 20, 15, or 10 years — and pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Do You Need a Mortgage Payoff Statement?

There are a few common situations in which you might need a payoff statement.

•   Refinancing a mortgage: When you refinance your mortgage, your chosen lender pays off your old home loan with a new one, preferably with a lower interest rate and possibly a new term. When you seek to refinance, your new lender may ask you to provide a payoff statement on your current loan.

•   Prepaying a mortgage: It’s possible to pay off a mortgage early. A payoff statement will show you exactly how much you’d need to pay to do so. Most prepayment penalties for residential home loans that originated after January 10, 2014, are prohibited. Still, check before you decide to prepay.

•   Working with a debt relief company: If you’re having trouble managing your debts, you’ve fallen behind on payments, or you otherwise need mortgage relief, you may choose to work with a debt relief company that can help negotiate with your lenders. The company will need to see payoff statements to get an idea of the scope of your debt.

•   Collections and liens: A lender might send you a payoff statement if you’ve fallen behind on your payments and they are sending your debt to a collection agency. In this case, the payoff statement may tell you how much you need to pay to stop the collection action.

   If your lender decides to seize your home to recoup unpaid mortgage payments, they may place a lien on the property. They may send a payoff statement that alerts you that your property will be seized if the specified amount isn’t paid in full.

There are other ways to figure out how much you owe on your mortgage loan. You can talk to your lender and ask for a verbal payoff quote. This will provide an estimate, but understand that it is not a legal agreement and isn’t binding.

The Takeaway

If you have a home loan, you may want to request a mortgage payoff statement, especially if you’re thinking about refinancing or paying off your mortgage early. Requesting the mortgage payoff letter does not initiate any formal processes, so it’s fine to think of it as an information-gathering exercise.

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 I get my mortgage payoff statement?

Contact your loan servicer to request your mortgage payoff statement.

When should I get my mortgage payoff statement?

Request your mortgage payoff statement when planning to prepay your mortgage, refinance, or consolidate debt.

How long does it take to get a mortgage payoff statement?

Generally speaking, you should receive your mortgage payoff statement within seven business days of your request.


Photo credit: iStock/Vadym Pastukh

*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 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.


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.

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

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