Renting? You’re Still Paying a Mortgage…Just Not Your Own

Written by Posted On Monday, 30 November 2020 00:00

For those who invest in real estate, cash flow is king. Investors considering buying a rental property take into account how much rent can be charged compared to ownership costs. Those costs can include a mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance. If the expected rental is more than that, the property will cash flow. Otherwise, it’s an expense and the investor is likely to move on to another property. There are also some tax incentives for real estate investors. 

For renters, they need to consider how much they can comfortably afford each month for housing and utilities. Lenders typically view about one-third of gross monthly income should be used as a general rule of affordability. As rent is paid each month, the investor takes that cash and pays the mortgage with it. In essence, you are paying a mortgage, just a mortgage that belongs to someone else.

For first time buyers, getting financing can be a bewildering process for some. There’s lots of documents that need to be signed and reviewed. Lenders need to make sure you have enough funds on hand for a down payment, closing costs and leftover cash reserves. Credit is reviewed as is employment and income. But it doesn’t need to be an intimidating process. That’s also where a good loan officer comes into play, to walk with you side-by-side from initial prequalification to the settlement table. 

Most renters will ultimately end up owning at some point in the future. In the long run, owning compared to renting makes sense in a lot of ways. In today’s interest rate market where rates are low compared to areas where rents are steadily increasing, it’s ultimately cheaper to own compared to renting. 

Renters may have a goal of owning but not sure how to get there and when. They realize renting is not a long term solution, but their current situation makes it better to rent than own. Someone that is short term for example is probably a better renting candidate compared to someone with the intent to keep the property for the long haul.

It’s usually at this stage where renters first begin to get the urge to explore buying. They can do their own research online to get an idea on where rates are and even run a few mortgage calculators to see what monthly payments might be. Yet it’s important at this point to stop flying solo and contact an experienced loan officer. If you don’t know of anyone in the mortgage business, your real estate agent can point you in the right direction as well as friends, family and co-workers.

Your loan officer will provide you with an approximate qualifying loan amount for starters. This prequalification takes into account your gross monthly income and expenses and at some point, your credit report will be pulled along with credit scores. Your loan officer will give you an estimated amount for a down payment and associated closing costs. It’s a lot easier to be an owner than you might think. Maybe if you’re asking these questions, it’s time to get your own mortgage and stop paying for someone else’s.

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David Reed

David Reed (Austin, TX) is the author of Mortgages 101, Mortgage Confidential, Your Successful Career as a Mortgage Broker , The Real Estate Investor's Guide to Financing, Your Guide to VA Loans and Decoding the New Mortgage Market. As a Senior Loan Officer and Mortgage Executive he closed more than 2,000 mortgage loans over the course of more than 20 years in commercial and residential mortgage lending. 

He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Fox and Friends and the Today In New York show. His advice has appeared in the New York Times, Parade Magazine, Washington Post and Kiplinger's as well as in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. 

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