What Is a Wrap-Around Mortgage and How Does It Work?

What Is a Wrap-Around Mortgage and How Does It Work?

A wrap-around mortgage is a form of seller financing that benefits the seller financially and helps buyers who can’t qualify for a traditional mortgage.

There are risks associated with this kind of creative financing, and alternatives to consider.

What Is a Wrap-Around Mortgage?

Traditionally, a buyer weighs the different mortgage types and obtains a mortgage loan to pay the seller for the home. The seller’s existing mortgage gets paid off, with any extra money going to the seller.

With a wrap-around mortgage, a form of owner financing, the original mortgage is kept intact, and the funds a buyer needs to purchase the home are “wrapped around” the current balance.

How Does a Wrap-Around Mortgage Work?

First, the seller must have an assumable mortgage and lender permission to wrap the mortgage. The seller and buyer agree on a price and down payment.

The buyer signs a promissory note, vowing to make agreed-upon payments to the seller. The seller might transfer the home title to the buyer at that time or when the loan is repaid.

The seller continues to make regular mortgage payments to their lender, keeping any monetary overage.

To make this feasible and worthwhile to the seller, the buyer typically pays a higher interest rate than what’s being charged on the original loan (on which the seller is still making payments).

Let’s say you want to sell your home for $200,000, and you still owe $75,000 on your mortgage at 5%. You find a buyer who is willing to pay your price but who can’t get a conventional mortgage approved.

Your buyer can give you $20,000 for a down payment. The two of you will then sign a promissory note for $180,000, at, say, 7%. You’ll make a profit on the spread between the two interest rates and the difference between the sale price and original mortgage balance.

If you’re crunching numbers, a mortgage payment calculator can help.

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


What Are the Advantages of a Wrap-Around Mortgage?

Here are ways that a wrap-around mortgage can benefit the buyer as well as the seller.

Benefits for the buyer:

•   A carry-back loan allows you to buy a house that you might not otherwise qualify for, perhaps because of low credit scores.

•   As long as a seller is willing to sell to you under this arrangement, your financing is essentially approved without your needing to do anything else.

•   You’ll pay no closing costs on the loan.

•   If you are self-employed, you likely won’t need to provide statements from past income. The seller may only be interested in your ability to pay now.

Benefits for the seller:

•   You don’t need to wait for a buyer to be approved for financing.

•   You can charge a higher interest rate than what you’re paying, allowing you the opportunity to create steady cash flow and make a profit.

•   In a buyer’s market, where the supply of homes for sale is greater than demand, your willingness to offer a wrap-around mortgage can make you stand out.

Are There Risks With Wrap-Around Mortgages?

Yes. Wrap-around mortgages come with risks for both buyers and sellers.

Risks for the buyer:

•   You’ll likely want to pay an attorney to review the agreement. If you don’t, then you’re assuming more of the risks as described in the next two bullet points.

•   You are putting your trust in the seller. If they don’t keep up the mortgage payments on the original loan, the home could go into foreclosure. (You could ask to make payments directly to the lender, which the seller may or may not agree to.)

•   If the seller has not told their lender about the arrangement, this could lead to problems. If the original mortgage has a due-on-sale clause, the financial institution could demand payment in full from the seller.

Risks for the seller:

•   The buyer may not make payments on time — or could stop making them altogether. If this happens, you still owe mortgage payments to your lender.

•   Any lag in making your payments can have a significant negative impact on your credit scores, making it more challenging to get good interest rates on loans.

•   Suing the buyer for past-due funds can get expensive, and if the buyer doesn’t have the money to pay you, this may not provide you with any real mortgage relief.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, it can make sense to explore alternatives.

Alternatives to Wrap-Around Mortgages

Alternatives can include the following:

•   FHA loans

•   VA loans

•   USDA loans

Here’s an overview of each.

FHA Loans

With loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA-approved lenders can offer low down payments while easing up on credit scores required to qualify.

VA Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers low-interest-rate VA loans directly to qualifying borrowers (based on service history and duty status) and backs loans made by participating lenders.

USDA Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantees USDA loans for qualifying rural Americans who have low to moderate levels of income. The USDA also offers funding to improve homes to safe and sanitary standards.

Fund Your Property Purchase With a SoFi Home Loan

A wrap-around mortgage could sound enticing, but buyer beware. Taking time to repair damaged credit or looking into other types of loans might make more sense.

Questions about getting a mortgage? Find answers in the SoFi mortgage help center.

When you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, check out what SoFi offers. Fixed-rate mortgages with a variety of terms? Check. A down payment of just 3% for qualifying first-time homebuyers? Check. A simple online application? Check.

You can find your rate in just minutes.

FAQ

Is a wrap-around mortgage a good idea?

This type of mortgage has benefits and risks for both the buyer and the seller.

What is an example of a wrap-around mortgage?

Let’s say a buyer can’t get traditional financing but agrees to purchase a $250,000 house from the seller, with some down payment. The seller still owes $50,000. The buyer agrees to make payments to the seller on the purchase price, and the seller uses a portion of that money to make the usual mortgage payments. The seller profits from charging a higher interest rate than that of the original mortgage.

Who is responsible for a wrap-around loan?

The buyer will be responsible for making payments to the seller according to the agreement signed by the two parties. The seller will be responsible for continuing to make payments on the original mortgage until it is paid off. So both parties have responsibilities to fulfill.

Can wrap-around loans help a buyer purchase a home?

Yes. The key benefit for buyers is that seller financing helps them purchase a home that they otherwise may not have been able to do.


Photo credit: iStock/Tatiana Buzmakova

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.

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Guide to Credit Union vs Bank Mortgages

Guide to Credit Union vs Bank Mortgages

When looking for a home loan, the two main choices of financial institutions are credit unions and banks. Each option comes with pros and cons.

Here’s an overview to help you make the right choice for your situation. You might start with general tips when shopping for a mortgage.

How Credit Union and Bank Mortgages Are Similar

Common types of home loans include fixed rate and adjustable rate loans as well as conventional and government-insured loans (such as FHA and VA loans). Most of the different mortgage types are available at both credit unions and banks.

At a high level, approval processes are the same at each type of financial institution as well. Each will have mortgage underwriting guidelines, and after a borrower applies, the loan will be reviewed and approved, suspended, or denied.

Plus, both may offer mortgage pre-approvals.

Recommended: How Does the Mortgage Pre-Approval Process Work?

Differences Between Credit Union and Bank Mortgages

So, credit union or bank for mortgages? Beyond general similarities, differences exist. Let’s look at credit union mortgages and then bank home loans.

Benefits of Getting a Credit Union Mortgage

Are credit unions good for mortgages? In many ways they are. While a bank has stockholders, a credit union consists of members (account holders) who more or less serve in this role. A bank must satisfy its investors by making a profit; credit unions don’t, so they can return those dollars to members through more attractive interest rates, lower fees, and more.

To enhance their members’ financial wellness, credit unions typically provide the following benefits:

Looser Approval Criteria

In general, credit unions may approve more loans in the lower- to middle-income range for their members. Plus, when credit scores are less than ideal, a credit union loan is sometimes the better choice.

Lower Interest Rates

Overall, credit unions offer lower rates on their mortgage loans. To estimate how much money this may save you, use a mortgage calculator.

Fewer Fees

Credit unions can pass on savings to members through lower fees as well as lower rates.

The Personal Touch

Because credit unions are less likely to sell their mortgage loans to a third party, a borrower is more likely to know the loan servicer (the credit union). This can lead to more personalized service.

Disadvantages of Getting a Credit Union Mortgage

Are credit unions better for mortgages? That depends on a borrower’s needs and preferences because disadvantages of credit union mortgages also exist, including these:

Got to be a Member

In most cases, a borrower must meet certain requirements to join a credit union. This can include living in a certain community, belonging to a certain profession, or otherwise having the appropriate affiliation.

Fewer Locations

Usually, credit unions have fewer branches, which can limit their geographical range. So when away from home, outside the credit union’s range, it may be harder to conduct all the financial transactions you might like. For example, the ATM network may be smaller and less convenient.

Staler Tech

Because credit unions are often more local institutions, they typically won’t have the up-to-date technology found at larger banks. So if a borrower wants first-class online and mobile banking, credit unions may not be the best choice.

Limited Menu

Credit unions may offer fewer financial products, especially on the savings and investment side. They may only offer checking and savings accounts, for example, plus credit cards. Although that may not affect a borrower’s ability to get a mortgage, this can limit what other products they can benefit from at the credit union.

Possibly Higher Interest Rates

Sometimes credit unions can’t compete with banks, especially when a large bank offers especially good interest rates. So be sure to compare rates if you’re looking for the most attractive ones.

Benefits of Getting a Bank Mortgage

Getting a home loan at a bank has its upsides, including these:

Variety of Services

Banks often offer a significant range of savings, lending, and retirement-related financial products, making it easier for a borrower to have an all-in-one financial institution.

Multiple Branches and ATMs

Banks, especially national ones, will typically allow you to have access to multiple branches in more locations as well as a larger ATM network. This can make for a more convenient experience.

New Tech

Banks are, overall, more likely to have the latest in banking technology, including the ability to bank online and to use more sophisticated mobile apps.

Disadvantages of Getting a Bank Mortgage

Meanwhile, drawbacks of getting a bank home loan can include the following:

Higher Interest Rates

Because banks need to generate profit for stockholders — and credit unions don’t — banks may charge a higher rate on home loans. But this isn’t universally true, so it’s always a good idea to compare rates.

Higher Fees

In general, banks charge higher mortgage fees than credit unions do. Although not always true, this is something to investigate.

Less Personalized Customer Service

Because credit union membership tends to be smaller and more local, bank customers may receive less personal service, especially when using a branch outside their more typical one (perhaps while traveling). Plus, banks are more likely to sell mortgage loans to a third-party loan servicer.

With any lender, bank, or credit union, a house hunter should feel at ease asking a range of mortgage questions.

The Takeaway

Credit union vs. bank mortgage? Each has its upsides and potential downsides. Borrowers can explore the pros and cons to make the right choice for their specific situation.

SoFi offers fixed rate home mortgages with a variety of repayment terms, competitive rates, and down payments as low as 3% for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

You can find your mortgage rate in minutes.

FAQ

Is it better to get a mortgage at a credit union?

Not necessarily. It’s a good idea to look into what each route offers before making the right choice for you.

What are the disadvantages of credit unions?

Credit unions tend to be smaller and more localized than many banks, so disadvantages can include fewer locations, a smaller ATM network, and more limited financial products. Borrowers must qualify to become a credit union member; technology probably won’t be as modern as that at a larger bank; and, in some cases, costs can be higher.

Are credit unions safe for mortgages?

The National Credit Union Administration insures deposits of up to $250,000 at federally insured credit unions, protects the members who own credit unions, and regulates federal credit unions. Eligible bank accounts of the same amount are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Can I take out a HELOC or second mortgage through a credit union?

Not all credit unions offer the same products, but many of them do offer home equity lines of credit and home equity loans.


Photo credit: iStock/Lemon_tm

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.

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What Is an Apartment? Should You Consider Owning One?

What Is an Apartment? Should You Consider Owning One?

If you’re thinking about buying an apartment, you’ll probably look at co-ops and condos rather than single-family homes.

Read on to understand the difference between condos and co-ops, the forms an apartment might take, and who might be best suited to buy one.

What Is an Apartment?

An apartment is a property within a larger building, and especially in big cities, it’s not uncommon to hear that someone is buying an apartment.

When a buyer is considering different types of homes, the price of an apartment often beats that of a single-family home with land.

Both co-ops and condos allow residents to use the common areas, including pools, gyms, and courtyards. If you buy a condo, you’ll own everything within your unit and have an interest in the common elements. If you “buy a co-op apartment,” that really means you’ll hold shares in the residents’ housing cooperative, a nonprofit corporation that owns the property, and will have the right to live in one of the co-op units. Shares are based on the market value of each unit.

Getting a mortgage for a co-op might be harder than for a condo. You aren’t actually buying real estate with the former.

And monthly fees tend to be higher at a co-op than for a condo.

Then again, the co-op fee may cover more, co-op units tend to cost less per square foot, and the closing costs of a co-op deal are often lower.

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


What Are the Types of Apartments?

Diving further into the definition, the apartment shape-shifts. While they may all technically be apartments, each comes with its own quirks and defining characteristics.

Layouts or terminology may vary by building or region.

Studio

The ultimate open-concept space, a studio is a one-room apartment with a bathroom. The bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen are all in a single room.

Alcove Studio

An alcove studio, if L shaped, has a built-in nook to signify where a bed and small dresser could go. Older units might put the alcove in the middle of the room. If an average studio is 550 square feet, the alcove might add 40 — not much, but a big dose of privacy.

Alcove studio apartments are often more expensive than studios but cheaper than true one-bedroom units.

Convertible Apartment

A step up, size-wise, from a traditional studio, a convertible apartment may have a bedroom or a flex space that could be used as an office. The space might have a sliding glass door or partial wall that has an opening instead of a door.

By some definitions, a convertible apartment is bigger than a typical studio but doesn’t quite have the square footage of a one-bedroom unit. A bedroom, according to New York City regulations, must be at least 80 square feet and have space for at least one window of 12 square feet or larger.

Micro-Apartment

The micro-apartment might be the perfect fit for a minimalist. Usually micro-apartments are even smaller than studios, at about 350 square feet, and are popular in densely populated, high-cost cities. Micro-apartments offer enough space for a bed, sitting area, kitchenette, and tiny bathroom.

A micro-apartment might have a Murphy bed or a futon that folds into a bed at night.

Loft

Lofts are typically retrofitted from a factory or other commercial building. In one open space (except the bathroom), lofts have high ceilings, large windows, and perhaps an overall industrial feel.

Garden Apartment

A garden apartment can refer to two distinct types of units, so buyers should pay attention. A garden apartment can be a unit in the basement or on the ground floor of a small apartment building.

A garden apartment can also mean apartment buildings surrounded by greenery in either an urban or suburban area. These buildings are typically no higher than three stories and have access to green space, such as a park or trail.

High-Rise

A high-rise apartment building has 12 floors or more. When apartment buildings enter high-rise territory, residents can expect one or more elevators.

Mid-Rise

A mid-rise apartment building is between five and 11 stories tall. Expect an elevator in the building.

Low-Rise

A low-rise apartment building is anything shorter than five stories. With a low-rise apartment, there’s no guarantee of an elevator.

Railroad Apartment

A railroad apartment is laid out like a train car, meaning one room leads to the next without a hallway. Railroad apartments are typically found in older buildings or converted properties.

Walk-Up

In a walk-up, residents should expect to, well, walk up to their apartment. The designation implies that the building doesn’t have an elevator.

Walk-up apartments are often more affordable than elevator-accessible units, as stairs may be inconvenient or unmanageable.

Should You Live In an Apartment? Who Are Apartments Best Suited for?

Apartment living isn’t for everyone. Those best suited to an apartment might want some or all of the following:

•   City living. Apartments are often in densely populated areas, meaning residents want to be near the hustle and bustle.

•   Limited space. Apartments typically have less space than traditional family homes, so they are often best suited for small families or singles.

•   Low maintenance. Exterior repairs and maintenance, and even some utilities, are up to the building at large, not the resident.

•   Relatively good price. Apartments are typically more affordable than nearby single-family homes, meaning they could be a good fit for the price-sensitive buyer.

•   Minimal lifestyle. Those who don’t need a lot of space may prefer a condo or co-op unit to a sprawling home.

Pros and Cons of Living in an Apartment

As with any type of home, living in an apartment comes with its benefits and drawbacks.

Pros

Cons

Outdoor space Residents aren’t responsible for maintaining exterior or green space. Limited or no private green outdoor space.
Maintenance Residents are typically responsible for their unit alone. The monthly fee can be high and on the rise.
Group living Neighborly vibe and shared amenities that could include a gym, pool, rooftop patio, and business center or community room. Close proximity to neighbors, often with one or more shared walls, floors, or ceilings.
Square footage Apartments are often smaller, which means less upkeep, from cleaning to repairs. Smaller spaces can mean less storage and room to spread out.
Affordability Apartments tend to be more affordable than single-family homes in the same area. Condos and co-op units don’t appreciate as quickly as single-family homes.

The Takeaway

If you’re interested in buying an apartment, you’re probably talking about a condo or co-op unit. Apartments come in all shapes and sizes and can be a little trickier to finance than traditional homes.

SoFi can help. Are you a first-time homebuyer? Check out the guide to first-time home buying.

Also head to the help center for home loans and learn more.

3 Home Loan Tips

  1. Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow fixed rate mortgages with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.
  2. Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.
  3. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, pre-approval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for pre-approval 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.

FAQ

What are the costs of owning an apartment?

Apartments come with a monthly fee. Condo fees are usually lower than a co-op’s, because the latter fee can include payment for the building’s mortgage and property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and security.

Is it a good idea to buy an apartment?

For a buyer focused on less maintenance and typically limited square footage, an apartment may be the right fit.

What should I look for when renting an apartment?

One of the first things to ask when renting an apartment is what is included. Does rent include any utilities, laundry in the unit, or parking?

It’s a good idea to also ask about credit requirements, application fee, security deposit, and terms of the lease.

What credit score do you need to rent an apartment by yourself?

All landlords are different, but many look for a FICO® score above 600. Not all property managers look at credit scores, though.


Photo credit: iStock/hrabar

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.


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

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

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Chattel Mortgages: How They Work and When to Get One

Chattel Mortgages: How They Work and When to Get One

Looking to buy a manufactured home, a boat, or a piece of equipment for your business? You may need a chattel mortgage.

Chattel mortgages are used to finance movable assets separately from the land they occupy. They come with a higher cost than a traditional mortgage, so manufactured home dwellers who qualify for a standard mortgage will save money by choosing that route.

Here’s what you need to know about how chattel loans work and when you might want to look for alternative financing.

What Is a Chattel Mortgage?

First of all, a chattel mortgage is used for personal property, not real property. Real property includes land and property that cannot be easily removed from the land.

When a chattel mortgage is used for a large, movable asset like a manufactured home — called a mobile home before June 15, 1976 — or a piece of equipment (the “chattel”), the asset is held as collateral on the loan. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can recoup costs by selling the asset.

A chattel loan may have a lower interest rate than an unsecured personal loan but a higher rate than a traditional mortgage.

How Does a Chattel Mortgage Work?

Chattel mortgages are used in two main instances: when an asset can be moved or when the land the asset sits on, or will, is leased. (In fewer cases, a chattel loan may be used when a borrower doesn’t want to encumber their owned land with a loan, as when land is owned jointly in a trust.)

Applying for a chattel loan is similar to applying for other types of loans, such as home equity loans and personal loans. The lender will look at your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan before making a decision.

Chattel loans are typically small, with relatively short terms, but usually require no appraisal, title policy, survey, or doc stamps.

What Are Chattel Loans Used For?

Here are some of the most common applications for chattel loans.

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes are built in a factory on a permanent chassis and can be transported in one or more sections. Formerly known as mobile homes, they’re designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation, but must be elevated and secured to resist flooding, floatation, collapse, or lateral movement.

Many are titled as personal property. Manufactured housing that is titled as personal property or chattel is only eligible for chattel financing.

When a manufactured home is titled as chattel, you’re also going to pay vehicle taxes to the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of property taxes.

Many consumers may encounter a chattel loan at the sales office of a manufactured home builder. They’re convenient with quick closing times, but come with a higher interest rate and a shorter term than most traditional mortgages.

This makes the financing cost of the manufactured home high, even if the payment is low thanks to the lower cost of a manufactured home compared with a site-built home. Around 42% of loans for manufactured homes are chattel loans, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

When you own a manufactured home and rent the land it occupies, such as in a mobile home park, you will need a chattel mortgage, except when an FHA Title I loan is used.

Tiny Houses

A chattel mortgage may be used for tiny house financing when the tiny house is not affixed to a permanent foundation and/or when the land is leased.

Tiny houses are usually too small to meet building codes for a residential home, so even if the home is on a foundation and on owned land, a traditional mortgage is almost always out of the question. Even if Fannie Mae or FHA allows the property, the lender won’t.

Tiny houses on foundations are usually classified as accessory dwelling units.

Vehicles

A chattel loan may finance assets that are not permanently affixed to the property, such as vehicles. Dump trucks and construction vehicles may qualify.

Equipment

A chattel loan can be used to purchase large equipment for a business, such as a forklift or a tractor. Even livestock can be purchased with a chattel loan.

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


How Much Does a Chattel Mortgage Cost?

Chattel mortgages are more expensive than many other different mortgage types. The Urban Institute concluded that interest rates on chattel loans were several percentage points higher than on non-chattel loans. Owners of manufactured homes would spend thousands more per year in interest compared with a traditional mortgage.

These types of mortgages are not being purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on the secondary mortgage market. When a conventional mortgage is purchased by one of these entities, the loan originator obtains more liquidity and can provide more loans to more people. This drives the cost of the mortgage down.

A chattel mortgage, on the other hand, must stay on the books of the lender, making the loan riskier and more expensive.

If you qualify, you might want to consider refinancing your chattel mortgage into a traditional mortgage.

Chattel Mortgage vs Traditional Mortgage

To qualify for a conventional or government-backed mortgage instead of a chattel mortgage, you must own the land your home sits on, the home must be permanently affixed to a foundation, and it must have at least 400 square feet of living space (600 for Fannie Mae’s conventional loan for manufactured homes).

Mobile homes built before June 15, 1976, will not qualify for a mortgage loan. A personal loan is about the only option.

You must also meet all other requirements set forth by the lender to qualify for a traditional mortgage. A mortgage calculator tool can help with this.

For some types of assets, a chattel mortgage may be a good option to consider. Take a look at the major differences.

Chattel Loan

Traditional Mortgage

For movable property only Includes the land and all attached structures
May have a lower interest rate than an unsecured personal loan Usually has a lower interest rate than a chattel mortgage
Shorter terms (e.g., 5 years) Longer terms (e.g., 15 years, 30 years)
Lower origination fees Higher loan fees
Shorter close time Longer close time
Lender holds the title, which is only given to the buyer when it is paid off Lender holds a lien on the property, not title

Pros and Cons of a Chattel Mortgage

A chattel mortgage is more expensive than a traditional mortgage, so anyone who can qualify for a traditional mortgage may wish to pursue that option first. It’s not all bad news for chattel mortgages, though, especially for other types of property where a chattel loan is desirable.

Pros

Cons

Lender only has a security interest in the movable property, not the land If you default on the loan, the lender can take your asset. Also, the lender owns the asset until the loan is paid off
Taxes may be lower on property titled as “chattel” rather than “real” property Higher-cost loan than a traditional mortgage
Possible faster close and lower loan fees than a standard mortgage Fewer consumer protections. Chattel loans are not covered by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or CARES Act
Lower interest rate than a personal loan Higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage
Pays down more quickly than a traditional mortgage Shorter term may create higher payments
Interest paid is tax deductible Interest paid is also tax deductible with a traditional mortgage

Consumer Protection and Chattel Mortgages

Chattel mortgages on manufactured homes are a special concern to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because that type of housing:

•   Serves an important role in low-income housing

•   Is typically taken on by financially vulnerable people

•   Has fewer consumer protections

Manufactured home sellers often have an on-site lender where borrowers can walk away with a chattel loan the same day as the home purchase. In certain scenarios, though, better financing options might be available.

The Takeaway

Buying a manufactured home, a plane, or a dump truck? A chattel loan could be the answer. If, though, you are buying a manufactured home and own the land, a traditional mortgage makes more sense than a chattel mortgage.

Find answers to home financing questions at SoFi’s help center for mortgages.

3 Home Loan Tips

  1. Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow fixed rate mortgages with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.
  2. 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 a mortgage lender, you won’t have to pay a mortgage broker’s commission, which is usually based on the mortgage amount.
  3. Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.

FAQ

Where can I get a chattel loan?

Lenders specializing in chattel or manufactured housing loans will offer this type of loan.

How much does a chattel mortgage cost?

The interest rate of a chattel mortgage could be up to 5 percentage points higher than that of a standard mortgage loan.

What happens at the end of a chattel mortgage?

When a chattel mortgage is paid off, the borrower receives legal title to the property or asset borrowed against. It’s also possible for landowners with permanently affixed manufactured homes to refinance into a traditional mortgage to end their chattel loans.

Is a chattel mortgage tax deductible?

A chattel mortgage qualifies for the same tax deductions that a traditional mortgage does. This includes a deduction on mortgage interest paid throughout the tax year.


Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

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.

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Mortgage Loan Originators: What Do They Do?

Mortgage Loan Originators: What Do They Do?

Guide. Supporter. Educator. A mortgage loan originator wears many hats while finding a residential loan that will work for a borrower and steering the prospective homeowner or refinancer through the whole process.

The person or entity is the original point of contact for borrowers. Their role is regulated to prevent the kind of mortgage fraud that occurred during the housing crisis and financial meltdown of 2008.

Here’s what you should know about what they do, how they’re regulated, and how they can help you get the right loan to the closing table.

What Is a Mortgage Loan Originator?

A mortgage loan originator (MLO) evaluates and recommends approval of residential loan applications on behalf of customers. Some work directly for a mortgage lender; mortgage brokers offer options from several lenders.

MLOs might be paid a salary plus commission, but commission only is far more common. They must be licensed in the states where they do business or under the umbrella of the bank, bank subsidiary, or credit union that employs them.

MLOs work to find a mortgage for each borrower’s unique situation. They must be excellent communicators since they guide people through the mortgage process.

They educate the borrower about different kinds of mortgages, the application process, and how mortgages work, and ensure legal compliance and completeness to close the loan.

Since MLOs often work on commission, it’s usually in their best interests to find a compatible loan for the borrower that will make it to the closing table. They don’t get paid if the loan falls through. To get your business, it’s also in their best interests to offer the most competitive terms possible.

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


What Is the Difference Between a Mortgage Loan Originator and a Mortgage Loan Officer?

The upshot: Regulators and some others refer to mortgage loan officers employed by financial institutions as “mortgage loan originators.”

A mortgage loan originator is anyone who negotiates or takes a residential mortgage application for a client with the expectation that they will be paid for their services.

What Does a Mortgage Loan Originator Do?

MLOs are responsible for taking a loan from application to closing. They may also negotiate terms of a residential mortgage on behalf of a client.

Responsibilities of a mortgage loan originator may include:

•   Processing the customer’s application

•   Explaining the different types of mortgages available to a borrower

•   Asking for documents on the applicant’s background and financial information

•   Keeping track of documents

•   Submitting documents to underwriting

•   Relaying messages from underwriting

•   Scheduling a home appraisal

•   Addressing any home appraisal issues with the client

•   Asking for more documents as closing gets nearer

•   Scheduling the close

•   Answering questions the borrower may have

•   Ensuring compliance with applicable laws

•   Developing relationships with real estate agents, builders, and individual clients

How to become a Mortgage Loan Originator

Becoming a mortgage loan originator typically requires a bachelor’s degree and on-the-job training. Nonbank originators also need to be licensed.

Licensing

MLOs who are employed by banks, bank subsidiaries, or credit unions do not have to obtain a loan originator license. All others must be licensed in the states they do business in and register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS).

General state license requirements include:

•   At least 20 hours of pre-licensing education

•   Authorization to provide a credit report and criminal record

•   General character standards and demonstrated financial responsibility

•   Passing the NMLS written test

•   Sponsorship by a company already registered with the NMLS

Licensing became required in 2008 following the housing collapse. It increases consumer protection and reduces mortgage fraud.

Average Salary

The median pay for mortgage loan officers in 2021 was $63,380 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But because mortgage loan originators typically work solely on commission, earnings can vary widely based on the area, the number of closed loans, and the amount of the closed loans. The commission averages 1% of the loan amount.

Do I Need a Mortgage Loan Originator?

A mortgage loan originator is needed when you need a new mortgage. Few mortgages are assumable by a buyer.

You will most likely need a new mortgage for your purchase or refinance and will need a mortgage loan originator.

How Do You Find a Good Mortgage Loan Originator?

A good mortgage loan originator may be able to secure a loan that works for your situation and aptly guide you through the process. Want to know how to find a good loan originator? Here are a few tips.

Shop Around for a Mortgage

One of your most powerful tools for finding a good mortgage loan originator is to shop around for a mortgage. Meet the people who will work with you on your mortgage and get loan estimates for the specific type of mortgage you’re looking for.

•   Ask for quotes from your bank or credit union. Your existing relationship with a bank may be valuable to them and they may offer good terms.

•   Get recommendations from family or friends. From people who have been there and done that, you may find an originator that has great rates and is incredible to work with.

•   Conduct an internet search. You’ll find plenty of mortgage loan originators listed on the internet with a bounty of reviews. Try calling a few and you may find a competent loan officer with competitive rates.

Compare a Direct Lender With a Mortgage Broker

When you’re looking for a good mortgage loan originator, you’ll come across two main ways to find a mortgage for your home: mortgage brokers and direct lenders.

•   Direct lenders are the providers of the mortgage. When you go to a lender and apply for a loan, you’re working directly with the lender, which makes a decision without a middleman.

•   Mortgage brokers work for borrowers to find the best loans and terms for their individual situations. They may be able to point clients to a lender they would not have known about otherwise and save them money in the process. Lender commissions to brokers may span 0.50% to 2.75% of the loan amount, but lenders typically add the costs to the borrower’s loan. It’s a good idea to check credentials with the NMLS.

Both can help get you a mortgage that may work for your situation, but you may find that you prefer one over the other when you’re looking for a good loan mortgage originator.

If you apply for a mortgage with several, it’s smart to compare the loan terms being offered in the loan estimate that you will receive.

Have an Idea of What Type of Mortgage You’re Looking For

Some lenders may specialize in a certain type of mortgage, so if you know what you’re looking for, you may be able to find a good loan originator more easily.

If you’re looking for a renovation loan, for example, you might want to seek out a lender specializing in that type of loan.

Be Wary of Deals and Offers You See in Ads

Some lenders might advertise low payments or low interest rates, but those may not be what you’d end up getting. By law, lenders are required to disclose the loan terms to you on a standard form called a loan estimate after you’ve applied for a mortgage.

Using this form can help you compare loans fairly as it will list the mortgage APR, term, points, and all fees you’ll need to pay to engage the services of a particular lender.

Know What Questions to Ask

If you interview mortgage originators, certain questions can help you determine if you’ll be a match or not. Don’t know what to ask? Take a look at these mortgage questions.

The Takeaway

Finding a good mortgage originator is worth the time it takes to explore your options and interview potential candidates. After all, finding the right mortgage, as an initial borrower or a refinancer, can mean significant savings — not just at origination but over the life of the loan.

Looking for the right mortgage partner? Give SoFi a look. SoFi offers refinancing as well as home mortgage loans with competitive rates, flexible terms, and low down payment options.

Explore the advantages of SoFi Mortgages and find your rate in minutes.


Photo credit: iStock/David Gyung

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.

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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