Condo vs Apartment: What Are the Differences?

Condo vs Apartment: What Are the Differences?

Both apartments and condominiums share quite a number of traits but differ in ownership. Apartments are often found in large residential complexes owned by a company. These complexes are often operated by professional property managers. Condos are also usually located in large residential complexes, but each condo unit is typically owned by an individual owner.

If you’re browsing the market for a rental, you’ve likely encountered a dazzling array of condos and apartments, and you might rent either type of property. The question of condo vs. apartment gets more complex if you’re debating whether to buy a condo or rent an apartment.

What Is a Condo?

A condo is a residential unit within a collective living community, where each individual condo is owned by a private owner, but the cost of maintaining communal areas is shared by all owners. While condos are often located in high-rise buildings, they can also take the form of a collection of standalone properties, each designated a “condo unit.”

One benefit to renting a condo is that you can deal directly with your landlord rather than a management office, which may mean more personalized attention for your needs.

For buyers, the purchase price for a condo can be significantly lower than the cost of most single-family homes.


💡 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.

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


What Is an Apartment?

An apartment is a rental unit within a building, complex, or community. Often, an apartment complex is managed by a property management company, which serves as both landlord and leasing agent for all of the units on the premises. In big cities, “apartment” is sometimes used as shorthand for a condo or co-op unit. If you’re choosing between a co-op and a condo to rent or buy, you’ll want to know how they differ, and whether you’re ready to buy an apartment.

Rental apartments may be located in high-rises but can also be found in larger homes that have been subdivided into separate units.

Renting an apartment offers greater mobility than buying a property, which makes it a flexible option if you’re only planning on staying in an area for a couple of years. A full-time management office or private landlord takes care of leasing, rent payments, and repairs.

Where They Differ

Now that we’ve covered the condo vs. apartment basics, let’s dive deeper into some key dimensions in where they differ.

Ownership

Each unit in a condo development is usually owned by a private homeowner. Unless the condo owner retains the services of a property manager, prospective renters can expect to deal with the condo owner directly when it comes to rental applications, monthly rent payments, and any maintenance issues that arise over the course of their lease.

Apartments are often managed by a property management company that may also own the apartment complex. Effectively, this makes the company the landlord for the entire property. Prospective apartment tenants will usually submit their application and rent payments through the apartment leasing office, while full-time maintenance staffers are on call to deal with any repairs. Of course, some apartments are in smaller buildings owned by individuals. In that case, a renter might deal directly with the property owner just as a renter in a condo does.

In either case, landlords may be amenable to your desire to negotiate rent in order to take you on or keep you. Paring the rent is the main goal in such a negotiation, but you can always ask for other benefits in lieu of a rent reduction.

Property Taxes

Renters aren’t responsible for paying property taxes, making them a non-issue in the apartment vs. condo choice. However, if you’re deciding whether to purchase a condo, understand that you’re responsible for paying property taxes for your unit every year. If you decide to rent your condo out, you should also expect to be taxed on any rental income you collect.

Design

Regardless of structure type, condo owners retain the right to make cosmetic adjustments to the interior of their properties. So if you’re interested in renting in a particular condo complex and you don’t like the design choices an owner has made, consider looking at other units that are available for rent — you may find a very different look and feel in another unit. Apartments within a rental complex, in contrast, typically share similar, if not identical, layouts and designs regardless of which unit you choose.

Amenities

The amenities of both apartments and condos vary widely and often depend on when and how they were built. Generally speaking, condos are more likely to offer customized amenities, like state-of-the-art appliances and granite countertops, that reflect the tastes and habits of their owners.

Fees

Apartments and condos of similar quality and in the same area should rent for around the same cost. Both condos and apartments often charge the following fees:

•   Application fee

•   First and last month’s rent

•   Security deposit

•   Credit and background check fee

•   Pet fees and deposit

•   Parking fee

Renters may find that condo owners are more willing to negotiate on things like fees than apartment management teams, as these are private owners trying to keep their units rented out for income purposes.

Buying a condo will mean paying monthly maintenance fees that cover insurance for and upkeep of common areas, water and sewer charges, garbage and recycling collection, condo management services, and contributions to a reserve account.

Community

Condos usually have a greater sense of community than apartment complexes, given that their residents are likely to stay around longer. In many cases, residents consist of the condo owners themselves.

By contrast, renters living in apartments often intend to stay for only a couple of years. While that’s not to say that there aren’t occasional resident get-togethers at some apartment complexes, you’re less likely to encounter the same faces over several months.

If you’re renting a condo, expect to abide by rules set by the homeowners association. These can sometimes be fairly strict. Apartments have their own set of rules that may be less stringent.

Renting and Financing

Renting an apartment involves one monthly rent payment, in addition to any utilities you’re responsible for. Of course, when you leave the apartment, you leave with just your security deposit, assuming all payments have been made and no damage has been done.

Financing a condo and purchasing the property allows you to lock in your monthly mortgage payments at a steady long-term rate and gives you the chance to start building equity. In exchange, you’ll be required to make a down payment and be responsible for any taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees, among other costs.

Deciding whether it’s better to buy a condo or to rent — or to get a house or condo — is a complicated decision that depends on your personal finances and your lifestyle. If you’re thinking about settling down, have a stable job with steady income, and have enough saved up for a down payment with an emergency fund to spare, buying a condo or house may be the right choice for you. However, if you’re still exploring the area or have variable income with limited savings, it may be best to continue renting. For those trying to decide between renting an apartment and financing a condo or house, a mortgage help center can help provide answers.


💡 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.

Maintenance

Most apartment complexes have an on-site building supervisor who can address maintenance issues. Given that the owner of a large apartment complex oversees all of the units, they’re incentivized to employ someone full time to attend to the day-to-day affairs. This often means that apartment owners can react faster than condo owners, who sometimes don’t even live on the premises.

By contrast, condo units are usually owned by landlords, and most of them hire a third-party contractor to come in and make repairs as necessary. In some cases, condo owners may be handy and handle the repairs on their own.

If you buy a condo, you’ll have a regular maintenance fee that covers the shared parts of the property, but because condo owners typically own just the interior of their unit, any repairs in the condo unit will be separate. (It’s a good idea to pore over the covenants, conditions, and restrictions to see exactly what is part of your unit or part of the common elements.)

Condominium vs Apartment: A Side-by-Side Comparison

To help sum it all up, here’s a quick guide to the condo and apartment traits discussed above.

Condo

Apartment

Ownership Private owner Property management company, if a large complex; private owner if a smaller building
Property taxes Paid by condo owner Paid by building owner
Design Customized by owner Uniform across all units
Fees

First and last month’s rent

Security deposit

Credit and background check

Application fee

First and last month’s rent

Security deposit

Pet fees

Community Typically condo owners and long-term residents Typically shorter-term renters
Renting & Financing

Condo renters:

Monthly rent

Utilities

Condo owners:

Mortgage payment

Utilities

Property taxes

Maintenance fees

Property insurance

Monthly rent

Utilities

Renter’s insurance

Maintenance Private owner hires third-party contractors for repairs and maintenance On-site maintenance staff

Condo vs Apartment: Which One May Be Right for You?

Whether a condo or apartment is right for you depends on your preferred rental experience. If you’re looking for something that feels a little more akin to home and don’t mind dealing directly with your landlord when discussing repairs and rent payments, a condo (or an apartment in a small privately owned apartment building) may be the better option for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer dealing with a full-time staff of property managers, want something more structured, and don’t mind cookie-cutter corporate apartments, an apartment may be the better rental option for you.

Prospective condo buyers will want to keep their finances and monthly budget in mind when deciding if they want to rent or buy. While the idea of building equity is appealing, settling down and committing to a mortgage isn’t for everyone. You’ll want to thoughtfully evaluate your ability to make monthly payments and whether you want to stick around an area.

The Takeaway

In the condo vs. apartment comparison, you’ll pay similar costs when renting properties of similar quality. Things get more complex if you’re debating whether to buy a condo or rent an apartment, as there are myriad added costs for condo owners in exchange for the chance to build equity.

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

Why are condos more expensive than apartments?

In general, condos and apartments of comparable quality cost around the same amount to rent. A condo owner, however, will likely face higher monthly costs than an apartment renter, thanks to the added costs that come with owning a property, including mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees. Over time, the added expense may be offset by the equity built through mortgage payments.

Which retains more value, condos or apartments?

Over the long run, both a condo and an apartment in a co-op building can lose or gain value. Whether your specific property appreciates will depend on local market factors and on upkeep of your unit as well as of the larger complex.

Can I get a loan to buy a condo or co-op apartment?

A qualified buyer can finance a condo with a government-backed or conventional mortgage loan. Getting a loan for buying into a housing cooperative can be more difficult. The buyer is purchasing shares that give them the right to live in the unit — personal property, not real property. That’s one reason that some lenders do not offer financing for co-ops.


Photo credit: iStock/Michael Vi

*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.


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


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.

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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A Guide to Large Personal Loans

A Guide to Large Personal Loans

Personal loans can be an important financial tool. They typically allow borrowers to access funds to spend as they see fit, with few exceptions, and do so at a lower interest rate than would be charged if they used a credit card.

To be more specific, with money from a large personal loan, you could cover higher-cost expenses like a single, substantial expense or several smaller debts consolidated into one large one. For example, If you plan to purchase a used car or some land to build on in the future, you might choose to finance it with a personal loan. Or perhaps you want to eliminate your credit card debt, buy a new laptop, and pay off the bill for some dental work. Those could also be paid off with a single, more substantial personal loan.

To help you understand whether a large personal loan could be the right next step to suit your needs, read on.

What Is a Large Personal Loan?

A large personal loan is exactly what it sounds like — a loan for a lot of money. There is no specific figure that makes a personal loan cross over into that “large” territory. To one person, $50,000 might be a large personal loan. To another, it might be $100,000. But typically, it’s a number that’s well into the five-figures realm.

A large personal loan is a form of credit that can be used to make large purchases or consolidate other high-interest debts. Personal loans generally have lower interest rates than credit cards and are sometimes used to consolidate high-interest debt.

To start with the basics, a personal loan is defined as a set amount of money borrowed from a lending institution. Unlike a mortgage loan or auto loan, which is used for a specific purpose, funds from a personal loan can be used to pay for a variety of expenses such as medical bills, K-12 private education costs, or to consolidate multiple debts. Typically, however, you can’t use a personal loan for business expenses or higher education tuition.


💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders can release funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. SoFi personal loans offer same-day funding for qualified borrowers.

How Do Large Personal Loans Differ From Other Personal Loans?

Personal loans function in the same way, no matter their size because they are borrowed sums of money that are paid back with interest. This is true regardless of the amount of money borrowed.

However, there are some differences between larger personal loans and their smaller counterparts depending on the lender you choose.

Small Personal Loans

Large Personal Loans

Loan amounts approximately $1,000 to $5,000 Loan amounts approximately $50,000 to $100,000
Including fees, may not be cost effective compared to larger loans With good to excellent credit scores, applicants may qualify for low interest rates
Typically have shorter repayment terms Repayment terms are typically longer

Average personal loan interest rates may change depending on the size of the loan.

When Is a Large Personal Loan a Bad Idea?

A large personal loan may be a bad idea if you already struggle with your current debts or monthly expenses.

When considering financing, it’s important to know both the pros and cons of a personal loan. Whether a loan is a right choice for you depends on your unique financial situation. Here are some of the risks to consider:

•   If you fall behind on payments, your credit score could be negatively affected.

•   If you miss enough loan payments, your large personal loan may go to a collections agency. Some lenders will charge off a debt, meaning they gave up on being repaid, but you’re still legally responsible for the debt.

In the right situation, however, a large personal loan can be helpful. If you’re approved for the loan, you’ll have the funds to make a big purchase and can repay it over time. Those smaller, monthly installments mean that the burden is more manageable.

What Are Common $100,000 Loan Qualification Requirements?

Typically, lenders have stricter requirements to qualify for a large loan than one with a smaller limit.

Credit Score

Generally, you need a minimum credit score of 720 to qualify for a $100,000 loan. However, it’s ideal to have a score of 750 or above. Depending on your score, your lender may offer you varying loan terms.

Checking your credit report before applying for any loan is a good idea. You will be able to find any errors or discrepancies and have an opportunity to correct them before you begin applying for a loan.

Checking your credit score counts as a soft inquiry and doesn’t negatively impact your credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually. You can find yours at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Recommended: Does Checking Your Credit Score Lower Your Rating?

Employment Status

One of the factors your lender will consider is your employment status. They want to see how much income you earn and if you have the resources to repay the loan. In addition, the lender wants to be assured of your job stability. It may be a good idea to avoid making any sudden career changes while you’re applying for a loan.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a number that compares the total amount of debt you owe per month to your monthly earnings. You can find yours by taking your total recurring monthly debt and dividing it by your gross monthly income. Your recurring debt includes your mortgage, student loans, and other loans, and your gross income is everything you earn before taxes or other withholding.

Lenders use this number to help them predict a borrower’s ability to repay current and future debt. In general, lenders look for a DTI under 36%, but borrowers with a higher DTI may be approved if they are well qualified in other areas.

What Is the Application Process for a Large Personal Loan?

Getting approved for a personal loan is a multi-step process. Different lenders may have different processes, but typical steps are as follows.

Compare Rates

Some lenders may offer loan prequalification. This allows you to see, based on a soft credit check, potential interest rates for your personal loan and terms you might qualify for. It can be a good way to compare your lending options and find the best offer.

Gather Documents

Applying for a loan requires several documents. Before completing your personal loan application, collect all the paperwork you need.

Approaching this step proactively will help you streamline your application process, saving you time. It will also make it easier for your lender to review your eligibility and creditworthiness.

Personal loans usually require similar documents, no matter the lender, though. A few you should include are:

•   Proof of identity such as a driver’s license or passport.

•   Proof of current address such as a current lease agreement, utility bill, or proof of insurance.

•   Verification of stable income and employment such as W-2s, bank statements, paystubs, or tax returns.

Waiting for Approval

Once you submit all the necessary paperwork, the last thing to do is wait. Approval times vary between lenders and may be quick or lengthy depending on how complicated the application is. Some approvals happen within a day, while others may take up to 10 days.

After your lender approves your large personal loan, you’ll receive it in the form of a lump sum. Lenders may deduct any fees, such as origination fees, before disbursing the loan proceeds. A personal loan calculator can help you estimate your loan payments.


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

What Can You Expect When Repaying Your Loan?

Regular installment payments begin once your large personal loan is approved and you receive the funds. The loan agreement will state the loan terms, interest rate, and what each payment will be, in addition to other details about the loan.

Can You Borrow $100,000 if You Have Bad Credit?

While it might not be impossible, borrowing a large loan with bad credit won’t be easy. Lenders tend to favor low-risk borrowers who are more likely to repay their loans on time and in full. A strong credit history provides some assurance that a borrower will do that. But poor credit or no credit at all may look to lenders like a likelihood to default.

Lenders willing to loan to borrowers with bad credit typically require different data to evaluate their application, however. For example, they might ask the borrower to show a history of utility payments or information from their bank account. Lenders may also limit borrowing amounts and charge higher interest rates to applicants with bad credit.

Additionally, borrowers with poor credit can improve their chances by opting for a secured personal loan, one for which they pledge collateral to guarantee the loan. This may work well for someone who struggles with credit but has assets and sufficient income to make loan payments. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has the right to seize the asset pledged as collateral.

Are There Alternatives to Large Personal Loans?

After some research, you might decide a personal loan isn’t right for you. Or, you may struggle to get the level of financing you want. In that case, there are alternatives to a personal loan. For example, you could consider these choices if you have equity in your home or other real estate:

•   Cash-out refinancing: A cash-out refinance allows you to replace your existing mortgage with a new, larger loan. After the original mortgage is paid off, you can use the difference as you like. This option works best if you have a significant amount of equity built up in your home and have a high credit score.

•   Home equity loan: Like a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan depends on your built-up home equity. However, it is a second, additional, mortgage, rather than one new mortgage. By borrowing against your equity, the loan has collateral behind it, making it a secured loan.

•   Home equity line of credit (HELOC): Like a home equity loan, you use your home equity to access a HELOC. It acts as a line of credit you can tap into when you need it, and you only pay interest when you borrow. This works best for a homeowner who needs smaller amounts of money over a longer-term, rather than just one lump sum.

The Takeaway

A large personal loan is one that is typically in the range of more than $50,000. It can allow you to pay off debts or make significant purchases. However, it may require a high credit score, a solid employment history, and other factors to qualify, and it can bring its own set of pros and cons as well.

Finding the right large personal loan for your financial needs and situation may take some time, but comparing lenders is a good way to get started. Not every lender offers large personal loans. If you are looking for a sizable loan, consider SoFi Personal Loans, which range from $5,000 to $100,000 for eligible applicants.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


Photo credit: iStock/vladans

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.


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

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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

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What Is a Guarantor Loan and How Do I Get One?

What Is a Guarantor Loan and How Do I Get One?

If so, a guarantor loan might be an option worth looking into. With this type of loan, the guarantor (often a close friend or family member) agrees to repay the loan if the borrower can’t. Since this reduces risk to the lender, guarantor loans can make it possible for those with poor or limited credit to qualify for an unsecured personal loan.

However, guarantor loans come with risks and costs — for both the borrower and the guarantor. Here are some things to consider before you apply for a guarantor loan.

What Is a Loan With a Guarantor

A guarantor loan is typically an unsecured personal loan that requires the primary borrower to have a financial backer, or guarantor. A guarantor may be required because the borrower has not yet established credit or has had credit issues in the past (such as a history of late or missed debt payments). It’s still considered the borrower’s loan, but the guarantor is legally obligated to cover payments and any other fees if the borrower defaults on the agreement.

This guarantee reduces the lender’s risk and enables them to advance the money at a reasonable annual percentage rate (APR). However, APRs for guarantor loans are generally higher than APRs for regular personal loans.


💡 Quick Tip: Need help covering the cost of a wedding, honeymoon, or new baby? A SoFi personal loan can help you fund major life events — without the high interest rates of credit cards.

How Do Guarantor Loans Work?

Guarantor loans work in the same way as other types of personal loans — you borrow a lump sum of money from a lender, which you are able to use for virtually any purpose. You then pay it back (plus interest) in monthly installments over a set period of time, which may be anywhere from one and seven years.

The only difference is that a third party (your guarantor) is part of the loan agreement. The guarantor is legally bound to make payments on the loan in the event that you default. A loan default is generally defined as missing payments for several months in a row but the exact meaning will depend on the lender.

While the guarantor bears responsibility for repaying the debt, this individual doesn’t have any legal right to the loaned money or anything purchased with the loan proceeds.

Are You Guaranteed to Get a Loan With a Guarantor?

Although it can certainly help your case, there’s no guarantee that you’ll qualify to take out a loan with a guarantor. Approval depends on the financial profiles of you and your guarantor and the eligibility requirements of the lender.

Who Can Be a Guarantor for Loans?

A guarantor doesn’t need to be anyone specific — it could be a parent, sibling, friend, or even a colleague. You generally want to choose someone you trust and feel comfortable openly discussing your finances with. That’s most likely going to be a family member or a close friend.

Guarantors also need to have a good credit history and typically be at least age 18 (though some lenders require a higher minimum age). Some lenders also require the guarantor to be a homeowner. As part of the application process, guarantors will need to undergo a credit check and provide proof of identification and income, as well as bank details and statements.

What Should I Look for in a Guarantor Loan?

Like any other loan, it’s generally a good idea to look for a guarantor loan with a competitive APR and low or no fees. You’ll also want to carefully consider the monthly payments and be sure you can comfortably afford to make them. While this is crucial with any loan, it’s particularly important with a guarantor loan, since your guarantor will be on the hook for repayment if you fall behind. This could impact your credit as well as put a significant strain on your relationship with your guarantor.

How Much Can I Borrow for a Guarantor Loan?

Many lenders offer personal loan amounts ranging anywhere from $500 to $50,000 (and sometimes up to $100,000 for borrowers with excellent credit). Loan amounts for guarantor loans will depend on which lender you choose as well as your financial situation and your guarantor’s credentials (such as their credit score and income).

Guarantor Loan Requirements

Guarantor loans have eligibility requirements such as minimum credit scores and income thresholds that the guarantor will have to meet. Here’s a closer look.

Credit Score

While the borrower’s credit score might be poor or fair, the guarantor’s credit score should be considerably higher in order to secure the loan.

Proof of Residency

A guarantor will need to provide proof of residency. This can be done by showing documents such as a utility bill, a mortgage or rental agreement, or bank statements.

Income

The guarantor will need to verify a consistent income that’s sufficient to make payments on the loan if the primary borrower cannot. They will need to be able to show proof of income through bank account statements, pay stubs, invoices, and/or tax returns.

Age Requirements

The guarantor must be at least 18 years old, though some lenders have an age requirement of 21 or 22. They will need to show proof of age (and identity) with a government-issued photo ID.

Recommended: How to Apply for a Personal Loan

Types of Guarantors

Guarantors aren’t just for personal loans, and they don’t always take on the full financial responsibility of the agreement they’re entering into. Here’s a look at some different types of guarantors.

Guarantors as Certifiers

A guarantor may act as a certifier for someone looking to land a job or get a passport. These guarantors pledge that they know the applicant and they are who they say they are.

Limited vs Unlimited

Acting as a guarantor doesn’t always mean you’re responsible for the entire loan if the primary borrower fails to repay it. Limited guarantors are liable for only part of the loan or part of the loan’s timeline. Unlimited guarantors, however, are responsible for the full amount and full term of the loan.

Lease Guarantor

A guarantor may be required to cosign an apartment lease if the renter has limited credit and income history. In the event that the tenant is unable to pay the rent or prematurely breaks the lease agreement, the guarantor is responsible for paying any money owed to the landlord.

Guarantors vs Cosigners

Guarantors and cosigners play similar roles in a lending agreement — they pledge their financial responsibility for the debt to strengthen the primary borrower’s application. And, in both cases, these individuals may become responsible for repaying the debt.

However, there are some key differences between a guarantor and a cosigner. The main one is that a cosigner is responsible for repayment of the debt as soon as the agreement is final and will need to cover any missed payments. A guarantor, on the other hand, is only responsible for repayment of the debt if the primary borrower defaults on the loan.

There are also differences in terms of credit impacts. A cosigner will have the loan added to their credit report and any positive or negative payment information that the lender shares with the consumer credit bureaus can have a positive or negative impact on their credit. Becoming a guarantor, on the other hand, will typically not have an impact on an individual’s credit unless the primary borrower defaults on the loan. At that point, the loan will appear as part of the guarantor’s credit report.

Pros and Cons of Guarantor Loans

Pros of Guarantor Loans

Cons of Guarantor Loans

Offers a lending option for people who cannot qualify for a loan on their own Can be more expensive when compared to a standard personal loan
Helps borrowers avoid expensive and risky predatory loan products Less choice of lenders compared with the wider personal loan market
Can help borrowers build their credit Defaulting on the loan could strain your relationship with the guarantor

A guarantor loan can allow you to borrow money even if you have limited or less-than-ideal credit. It can also help you avoid expensive and risky subprime loans that are marketed to borrowers with bad credit. In addition, the proceeds of a guarantor loan can be used for virtually any purpose, including emergency expenses (such as a car repair or medical bill) and lifestyle expenses (like a wedding or home improvement project).

As with all forms of credit, getting a guarantor loan can help you establish or build your credit, provided you manage the debt responsibly and keep up with your payments. Stronger credit can give you access to loans with better rates and terms in the future, without the need for a guarantor.

But these loans also come with some downsides. For one, guarantor loans can be expensive, often with higher APRs than other types of personal loans. Also, you’ll want to make sure you can keep up with the payments. Should you default, you’ll not only be hurting yourself but also the person who signed on as your guarantor.

Another downside is that there are fewer guarantor loans on the market than traditional personal loans. This can lead to less choice of lenders, making it harder to shop around and find a good deal.


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

What Happens if a Guarantor Cannot Pay?

A guarantor is legally obligated to repay the loan if the primary borrower defaults. If the borrower defaults and the loan is a secured loan, then the guarantor’s home could be at risk if the borrower defaults on the repayments and the guarantor is also unable to pay. This is not the case for unsecured guarantor loans, but the lender will still pursue the guarantor for the repayment of the debt, possibly through the courts.

Alternative Options to a Guarantor Loan

What if you don’t have a trusted person to ask to be your guarantor or you don’t want to ask anyone to take on this responsibility? Here are some alternatives to a guarantor loan that you could consider.

•   Secured credit card: If you have some cash, you could pledge that as collateral on a secured credit card. Responsible use of this type of credit card could help you build your credit history so you can improve your chances of future loan approval. Interest rates on secured credit cards can be higher than regular credit cards, and there may be fees associated with their use.

•   Flex loan: A line of credit that is similar to a credit card, a flex loan can also be used to build credit. Borrowers can use funds up to their credit limit, repay those funds, and borrow them again. Interest rates on flex loans tend to be high, and there may be fees assessed daily or monthly or each time the loan is used.

•   Loan from a friend or family member: Perhaps the person you ask to be a guarantor doesn’t want to take on that responsibility, but they are willing to directly loan you the money. A loan from family or a friend can be an option to consider, but you’ll want to be sure to have a written agreement outlining the expectations and responsibilities of both parties. This will go a long way to minimizing miscommunication and hurt feelings. Keep in mind that this is not an option that will help you build your credit history.

The Takeaway

Getting approved for an unsecured personal loan is more likely if you have a solid credit history, an above-average credit score, and sufficient income to satisfy a lender’s qualification requirements. If you’re lacking one or more of these things, you might consider other types of loans, which might include a guarantor loan.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

What are guarantor loans?

A guarantor loan is typically a type of personal loan that requires the primary borrower to have a financial backer, or guarantor. The guarantor agrees to pay the debt if the primary borrower defaults on the loan agreement.

How do I get a guarantor for a loan?

You might consider asking a trusted friend or family member to be a guarantor. This person should be someone who has solid credit and sufficient income to cover the loan payments should you default on the loan.

Are you guaranteed to get a loan with a guarantor?

No. Having a guarantor may strengthen a loan application, but it’s up to each individual lender to assess the qualifications of both parties.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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.


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

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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

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Personal Loans, Mortgages, and How They Can Interact

Personal Loans, Mortgages, and How They Can Interact

When you apply for a mortgage, any outstanding debts you have — including personal loans, credit cards, and auto loans — can impact how much of a mortgage you can get, and whether you even qualify in the first place.

If you’re planning to buy a home in the next couple of years, applying for a personal loan could potentially reduce how much you can borrow. A personal loan can also affect your credit — this impact could be positive or negative depending on how you manage the loan.

Whether you’re thinking about getting a personal loan or currently paying one off, here’s what you need to know about how personal loans interact with mortgages.

How Do Personal Loans Work?

A personal loan is a lump sum of money borrowed from a bank, credit union, or online lender that you pay back in fixed monthly payments, or installments. Unlike mortgages and auto loans, personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning there’s no collateral (an asset that a borrower pledges as security for a loan) required.

Lenders typically offer loans from $1,000 to $50,000, and this money can be used for virtually any purpose. Common uses for personal loans include:

•   Debt consolidation

•   Home improvement projects

•   Emergencies

•   Medical bills

•   Refinancing an existing loan

•   Weddings

•   Vacations

Personal loans usually have fixed interest rates, so the monthly payment is the same for the term of the loan, which can range from two to seven years. On-time loan payments can help build your credit score, but missed payments can hurt it.


💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders can release funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. SoFi personal loans offer same-day funding for qualified borrowers.

Can Personal Loans Affect Mortgage Applications?

Yes, getting a personal loan could impact a future mortgage application. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will look at your full financial picture. That picture includes your credit history (how well you’ve managed debt in the past), how much debt you currently have (including personal loans, credit cards, and other debt), your income, and credit score.

Depending on your financial situation, getting a personal before you buy a house could have a positive or negative impact on a mortgage application. Here’s a closer look.

Negative Effects

A personal loan could have a negative impact on your mortgage application if the loan payments are high in relation to your income. A lender may worry that you don’t have enough wiggle room to cover your current expenses and debts, plus a mortgage payment.

A personal loan also impacts your credit score. If you’ve missed payments or paid late, this impact could be negative. A lower credit score can make it more difficult to get a mortgage, especially one with a competitive interest rate.

Positive Effects

If you have a personal loan that is a reasonable size (relative to your income), your personal loan payment history shows that you regularly pay on time, and you’re consistently paying down any other debts, a mortgage lender could see that as a positive indicator that you’d likely be a low-risk investment.

How Personal Loans Can Affect Getting a Mortgage

Here’s a closer look at the ways in which getting a personal loan can affect your ability to get a home mortgage.

Credit Score

Your credit score is one indication to a lender of how likely you are to be to repay a loan — or, in other words, how much risk your represent to the lender. A personal loan can affect your credit score in several different ways. These include:

Payment History

Your bill-paying track record has the most weight when it comes to your credit score. That means if you make regular, on-time payments on a personal loan, it could have a positive impact on your credit. That, in turn, could have a positive impact when applying for a mortgage.

Not making regular, on-time payments on your personal loan, on the other hand, can negatively impact your credit, leaving you with higher-rate interest rate options on a mortgage.

New Credit

When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will run a hard credit inquiry. This type of credit check can have a small negative impact on your credit for 12 to 24 months. As a result, applying for a personal loan (or any type of new credit) can negatively impact your credit score in the short term.

Credit Mix

Having a variety of different account types can be good for your credit. If your credit report only has revolving accounts, like credit cards, getting a personal loan (which is a type of installment credit) could diversify your credit mix and have a positive influence on your credit score.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio refers to the total amount of debt you carry each month compared to your total monthly income. Your DTI ratio doesn’t directly impact your credit score, but it’s an additional factor lenders may consider when deciding whether to approve you for a new credit account, such as a mortgage. Having a personal loan will increase your debt load and, in turn, your DTI ratio.

To calculate your DTI ratio, you add up all your monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income (that’s your income before taxes and other deductions are taken out). Next, convert your DTI ratio from a decimal to a percentage by multiplying it by 100.

In general, the highest DTI ratio you can have and still get qualified for a mortgage is 43% (including the mortgage payment). However, lenders prefer a DTI ratio lower than 36%, with no more than 28% of that debt going towards mortgage payments.

Recommended: First-Time Home Buyer Guide

Should You Pay Off Your Personal Loan Before Applying for a Mortgage?

If you already have a personal loan, are close to the end of your repayment term, and can afford to pay off the remainder before applying, eliminating the debt could improve your chances of getting the mortgage amount you’re looking for.

Another reason why you may want to pay off your personal loan before buying a home is that home ownership generally comes with a lot of additional expenses. Not having a personal loan payment to make each month can free up cash you may need for other things, like mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, and more.

That said, if paying off a personal loan will use up money you had earmarked for a downpayment on a home or leave you cash poor (with no emergency fund), it might be better to keep making your monthly payments, rather than pay off your personal loan early.


💡 Quick Tip: If you’ve got high-interest credit card debt, a personal loan is one way to get control of it. But you’ll want to make sure the loan’s interest rate is much lower than the credit cards’ rates — and that you can make the monthly payments.

Tips To Help Your Mortgage Application

Generally speaking, having a personal loan won’t make or break your odds of getting a mortgage. If you’re concerned about being approved, however, here are some steps that can help.

•   Review your credit report and correcting any errors or any discrepancies.

•   Consider paying down debt to lower your DTI ratio.

•   Avoid applying for new credit leading up to your mortgage application.

•   Consider taking some time to increase your down payment amount (the more you can put down, the less risk you pose to a lender).

•   Research and compare lenders and their products, rates, and terms before deciding who you’ll work with.

•   Lock in your interest rate when you get an offer that works for your financial situation.

Recommended: 5 Tips for Finding a Mortgage Lender

The Takeaway

A personal loan can have a negative or positive impact on your mortgage application. If you’re not planning to apply for a mortgage right away, and can comfortably manage the personal loan payments (and possibly even pay off the loan early), getting a personal could have a positive effect on your credit and make it easier to get a mortgage.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004

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.


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

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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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Is It Hard to Get a Personal Loan? Here’s What You Should Know

Is It Hard to Get a Personal Loan? Here’s What You Should Know

Getting a personal loan is typically a simple process but many lenders require at least a good credit rating and a stable income for approval. Banks tend to have stricter qualification requirements than private lenders. The type of personal loan you get — secured or unsecured — can also have an impact on how hard the loan is to get.

Once approved, a personal loan offers a lot of flexibility — you can use the funds for a wide variety of expenses, from planned home repairs to unexpected medical bills. Unlike loans with a specified purpose, like an auto loan or mortgage, personal loan funds can be used for virtually any type of expenditure.

Here’s what you need to know about personal loans and how to increase the chances that you’ll qualify.

Types of Personal Loans

A personal loan is essentially a lump sum of money borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that you pay back in fixed monthly payments, or installments. Lenders typically offer loans from $1,000 to $50,000, and this money can be used for virtually any purpose. Repayment terms can range from two to seven years.

While there are many different types of personal loans, they can be broken down into two main categories: secured and unsecured. Here’s how the two types of personal loans work:

•   Secured personal loans are backed by collateral owned by the borrower such as a savings account or a physical asset of value. If the loan goes into default, the lender has the right to seize the collateral, which lessens the lender’s risk.

•   Unsecured personal loans do not require collateral. The lender advances the money based simply on an applicant’s creditworthiness and promise to repay. Because unsecured personal loans are riskier for the lender, they tend to come with higher interest rates and more stringent eligibility requirements.


💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

Getting a Personal Loan From a Bank

In addition to the type of personal loan you choose, the lender you borrow from can have an effect on how hard the loan is to get. For many borrowers, their bank is an obvious first choice when the time comes to take out a personal loan.

Banks sometimes offer lower interest rates than other lenders, particularly if you’re already an account holder at that bank. However, they may also have steeper eligibility requirements, such as a higher minimum credit score. Compared to an online lender, banks tend to have a more time-consuming application process, and the loan may take longer to disburse.

Still, the convenience of utilizing the bank you’re already familiar with and the comfort of in-person customer service may be worth the trade-off for qualified borrowers.

Getting a Personal Loan From a Private Lender

A private online lender is a non-institutional lender that is not tied to any major bank or corporation. Online lenders are less regulated than banks, allowing faster application processes and more lenient eligibility requirements. However, some online lenders will have higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional banks, so it’s key to shop around. One of the biggest advantages of a private online lender is convenience. You can complete the entire process online and funding is typically available within the week.

Recommended: What Are Personal Loans & How Do They Work?

Is It Harder to Get a Personal Loan From a Bank or Private Lender?

Generally speaking, it may be more difficult to get a personal loan from a bank than a private lender — but your best bet is to shop around and compare a variety of personal loan options, then see where you’ll get the best interest rate.

Here are the basic differences between getting a personal loan from a bank versus a private lender at a glance:

Bank

Private Lender

Interest rates may be lower, though eligibility requirements may be more stringent Interest rates may be higher, but eligibility requirements may be more lenient
You could get lower rates or easier qualification requirements if you have an existing relationship with the bank Some private lenders market personal loans specifically to borrowers with poor or fair credit — though at potentially high interest rates
You may have the option to visit the bank in person for a face-to-face customer service interaction The entire process may be done online
Loans typically take longer to process and you may have to visit a branch in person to finalize the paperwork Funds might be disbursed the same day or within a day or two

Is It Easier to Get a Small Personal Loan?

Generally, yes. Loan size is another important factor that goes into how hard it is to get a personal loan. It’s much less risky for a lender to offer $1,000 than $50,000, so the eligibility requirements may be less stringent — and interest rates may be lower — for a smaller loan than for a larger loan.

That said, there are exceptions to this rule. Payday loans are a perfect example. Payday lenders offer small loans with a very short repayment timeline, yet often have interest rates as high as 400% APR (annual percentage rate). Even for a smaller personal loan, it’s generally less expensive to look for an installment loan that’s paid back on a monthly basis over a longer term.

Recommended: How Much of a Personal Loan Can I Get?

What Disqualifies You From Getting a Personal Loan?

There are some financial markers that can disqualify you from getting a personal loan, even with the most lenient lenders. Here are a few to watch out for.

Bad Credit

While the minimum required credit score for each lender will vary, many personal loan lenders require at least a good credit score — particularly for an unsecured personal loan. If you have very poor credit, or no credit whatsoever, you may find yourself ineligible to borrow.

Lack of Stable Income

Another important factor lenders look at is your cash flow. Without a regular source of cash inflow, the lender has no reason to think you’ll be able to repay your loan — and so a lack of consistent income can disqualify you from borrowing.

Not a US Resident

If you’re applying for personal loans in the U.S., you’ll need to be able to prove residency in order to qualify.

Lack of Documentation

Finally, all of these factors will need to be proven and accounted for with paperwork, so a lack of official documentation could also disqualify you.

How to Get a Personal Loan With Bad Credit

If you’re finding it hard to get a personal loan, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of approval. Here are some to consider.

Prequalify With Multiple Lenders

Every lender has different eligibility requirements. As a result, it’s worth shopping around and comparing as many lenders as you can through prequalification. Prequalification allows you to check your chances of eligibility and predicted rates without impacting your credit (lenders only do a soft credit check).

Consider Adding a Cosigner

If, through the prequalification process, you find that you don’t meet most lender’s requirements, or you’re seeing exorbitantly high rates, you might check to see if cosigners are accepted.

Cosigners are family members or friends with strong credit who sign the loan agreement along with you and agree to pay back the loan if you’re unable to. This lowers the risk to the lender and could help you get approved and/or qualify a better rate.

Include All Sources of Income

Many lenders allow you to include non-employment income sources on your personal loan application, such as alimony, child support, retirement, and Social Security payments. Lenders are looking for borrowers who can comfortably make loan payments, so a higher income can make it easier to get approved for a personal loan.

Add Collateral

Some lenders offer secured personal loans, which can be easier to get with less-than-ideal credit. A secured loan can also help you qualify for a lower rate. Banks and credit unions typically let borrowers use investment or bank accounts as collateral; online lenders tend to offer personal loans secured by cars.

Just keep in mind: If you fail to repay a secured loan, the lender can take your collateral. On top of that, your credit will be adversely affected. You’ll want to weigh the benefits of getting the loan against the risk of losing the account or vehicle.


💡 Quick Tip: If you’ve got high-interest credit card debt, a personal loan is one way to get control of it. But you’ll want to make sure the loan’s interest rate is much lower than the credit cards’ rates — and that you can make the monthly payments.

The Takeaway

You can use a personal loan for a range of purposes, such as to cover emergency expenses, to pay for a large expense or vacation, or to consolidate high-interest debt. Personal loans aren’t hard to get but you usually need good credit and a reliable source of income to qualify. The better your financial situation, generally the lower the interest rate will be.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Is it hard to get a personal loan?

Personal loans aren’t necessarily hard to get but you typically need good credit and reliable income to qualify. Secured personal loans (which require pledging something you own like a savings account or vehicle) are generally easier to qualify for than unsecured personal loans

Is it hard to get a personal loan from a bank?

Banks tend to have more stringent qualification requirements for personal loans than private online lenders. Getting a personal loan from a bank can be a good move if you have good to excellent credit, an existing relationship with a bank, and time for a longer approval process.

What disqualifies you from getting a personal loan?

You will be disqualified for a personal loan if you do not meet a lender’s specific eligibility requirements. You may get denied if your credit score is too low, your existing debt load is too high, or your income is not high enough to cover the loan payments.


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.


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

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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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