Agents, do you know all of the financing options available to your customers?

Today’s turbulent housing market means challenges for both buyers and sellers. Real estate professionals navigating housing in 2022 and beyond need to know their way around all the financing options available. Without knowledge of lesser-known financing choices, real estate professionals can miss the chance to turn their customers into homeowners, or sellers. 

Alternative financing options are also key for homeowners who don’t want to sell. 

“With housing affordability at an all-time low and interest rates on the climb, it’s important that homeowners have alternative options to access their home equity without selling or taking on additional debt,” said Michael Gifford, CEO of Splitero, a financial technology company that helps homeowners access home equity. 

As real estate professionals keep the challenges of our current market in mind, the financing options below can pave the way to deals that may otherwise not be possible. 

FHA loans 

FHA loans aim to make homeownership possible for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and without a large down payment requirement. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans have more competitive interest rates, something that could be key for buyers in today’s market. 

Some lenders may even approve buyers with credit scores as low as 500 if they are able to make a 10% down payment. 

USDA loans 

USDA loans help both moderate and low-income borrowers buy homes in rural, USDA-eligible areas. Some USDA loans don’t even require a downpayment for eligible borrowers. 

Real estate professionals should make their customers aware of extra fees associated with USDA loans including an upfront fee of 1% of the loan amount and an annual fee.

VA loans 

VA loans provide flexible, low-interest mortgages for active military members and veterans. With no minimum down payment, mortgage insurance or credit score requirement and low closing, VA loans can provide military families with the help they need in today’s market. 

These loans also charge a funding fee and a percentage of the loan amount. This fee can be paid upfront at closing or rolled into the cost of the loan. 

2-1 buydowns 

With interest rates sitting at 7.32%, a 2-1 buydown can be ideal for today’s housing market. As the housing market shifts from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, sellers are willing to make concessions to make a deal. A 2% reduction in the first year’s interest rate followed by 1% in the second year can really motivate a buyer and can be a win for the seller as well. 

This option is increasing in popularity. As previously reported by HousingWire, Boise-based loan officer Blake Bianchi, founder and CEO at Future Mortgage, said he’s seen an increase in borrowers choosing a 2-1 temporary rate buydown.

“About 50% of our clients are utilizing this program to achieve more affordable payments,” Bianchi said. “More clients believe that they will have the opportunity to refinance within those two years.” 

3-2-1 buydowns

Similar to 2-1 buydowns, a 3-2-1 buydown allows a borrower to pay a lower interest rate over the first three years in return for an upfront payment to the lender. With these plans, the interest rate is reduced by 3% during the first year, 2% for the second year and 1% in the third year. 

Piggyback loans 

Also called an 80/10/10 loan, piggyback loans actually involve two loans: one for 80% of the home price and another for 10%. 

These loans are created to help the borrower avoid paying for mortgage insurance. While piggyback loans can be a good option for some, remember that these loans require two sets of closing costs and buyers accrue interest on two loans. This isn’t the right option for every type of buyer so it’s important that real estate professionals really educate themselves and their customers. 

Shared equity financing 

There are several models of shared equity financing. Sometimes called a partnership mortgage, the usual goal of shared equity financing is to provide a way for homeowners to obtain a home in exchange for the partnering company receiving a portion of that home’s equity. 

“Shared equity financing options can be an excellent alternative to homeowners who do not qualify for traditional financing options, but they are not all created equal,” noted Gifford. 

Since not all options are created equally, distinguishing what will be a good long-term option for customers is key. 

“Home equity investments come in two forms: home equity sharing and home appreciation share. Both work similarly in that an investor provides a homeowner a lump sum of cash in exchange for an investment in their home, but the way the equity is earned is different,” explained Gifford. 

Whether you’re working with first-time buyers, buyers with challenging credit history or someone who doesn’t fit neatly into any one box, the financing options above provide real estate professionals and their clients with room to work. They can even make the difference between making a deal and seeing a customer walk away empty-handed.