Last Updated on February 25, 2022 by Mark Ferguson
A cash-out refinance is one of the best tools an investor can use to take money out of their rental properties. A refinance is when you replace the current loan on your home with a new loan, and when you complete a cash-out refinance, you get cash back after getting the loan. One of the biggest roadblocks an investor runs into is finding the cash for down payments on new rental properties. A cash-out refinance is a great way to get cash to buy more properties. When I purchased my first long-term rental, I was able to buy the property from proceeds that came from a cash-out refinance on my personal residence. I was able to take out $40,000 in equity from my personal house, only one year after I bought the home. I have also refinanced multiple rental properties, which has allowed to buy more rentals and I now have 16 rental properties total.
How can you take a cash-out refinance?
Most people get loans on their homes when they buy them. At some point, you may want to consider refinancing that loan for a number of reasons:
If interest rates are much lower now than when you got the loan it may make sense to refinance your current loan into a mortgage with a lower interest rate.
There are many cases where you can get cashback after refinancing. A house could go up in value, you could get a different type of loan, you could make repairs, or make an improvement to a house to increase its value.
The video below goes over a refinance I did on one of my rentals.
How much does a refinance cost?
The downside to refinancing your home is it costs money. You are getting a brand new loan that will cost about as much as the first loan you got on the home. That can be from 2% to 3% of the loan amount. You have to pay for an appraisal, origination fee, processing fees, flood certificate, and some other fees as well. The good news is that you will most likely skip a mortgage payment after the refinance, but don’t think you are getting an amazing deal because of that as the interest is still charged to you, just upfront in those loan costs.
How can houses increase in value?
Values are going up across the country, and that has created an opportunity for homeowners to do a cash-out refinance. Most banks are using stricter guidelines for qualifications and lower loan to value ratios than before the crash. However, if you bought your home at a great price or have owned it for a while, you still may be able to get cash out.
I do not like to depend on prices to go up. I buy all my properties below market value. I try to buy all my properties at least 20% below what they are currently worth. If they need work, I buy them for much less than 20% below market value. The BRRRR method is a great way to refinance properties and get cash back out by getting great deals and repairing them.
How much money can you take out?
Many banks will require an 80% or lower loan to value ratio when refinancing a rental property and they will use an appraisal to determine that value. It is imperative that you have a lot of equity in your property if you want to complete a cash-out refinance with an investment property. If you are refinancing an owner-occupied home, you may be able to refinance up to 95 percent or more of the value of the home. You must live in the house for a year after refinancing in most cases to get an owner-occupied loan.
What are the risks?
A cash-out refinance will increase the amount of the loan you have on your rental property. For some people who are averse to risk, paying off their home is a great option and they may not want more debt. However, I am not averse to risk and I want to maximize my returns. Debt can be a very bad thing if it is used for the wrong things, but if you use debt to buy cash producing investments it can be a great thing!
In my market, I can get a cash on cash return of 15 percent or higher on rental properties, while interest rates are below 5 percent. It makes more sense to me to refinance for 5 percent and use that money to buy properties that will give me over a 15 percent cash on cash return! That 15 percent return does not even include possible appreciation, tax benefits or mortgage pay down.
Yes, it is possible that values could go down and a cash-out refinance would reduce the equity in your home. If you don’t need to sell your home, then it will not matter how much equity you have in your home. However, if you are pushing how much you can afford with a monthly payment it may not be wise to refinance if it increases your payment. If you have a lot of cash flow and are comfortable with a higher payment, use that money to make more money.
If you increase your debt with a refinance, then you may be decreasing the amount you can qualify for on future homes. If you max out the amount of money a lender will loan to you with a refinance, then you won’t be able to get a loan on a new rental property. Before you refinance, make sure you know how much you will be able to qualify for.
How does a refi work on a rental property?
I recently did a cash-out refinance on one of my rental properties and I was able to pull out about $26,000 with my payment only increasing $136 a month. The terms are usually more restrictive and it can be difficult to refinance if you have more than four mortgaged properties. I was able to do a cash-out refinance with more than four mortgages because I used a portfolio lender. They are a local bank and are much more flexible than big banks.
When I did a cash out refinance on my investment property, the max they would lend was 75 percent of the value of the home. I also could only do a 5 or 7 year ARM or a 15 year fixed loan. I chose the 7 year ARM because I plan to pay off my homes quicker than the 7 year fixed term and the rates and payments are lower than the 15-year loan.
On the property, I paid $92,000 and put about $18,000 into it for repairs. I was able to turn it into a 5 bed, 2 bath and rented it for $1,100 (low because it is rented to my brother-in-law). I had to wait a year to do a cash-out refinance and the current value was determined by an appraisal. The appraisal came in at $140,000 which I thought was low, but I had to go with it. After all the lender fees, interest and miscellaneous costs of the cash out refinance, I was able to cash out over $26,000. My payment went up, but I am still able to cash flow every month and I took out more than enough money for a down payment on another rental property.
What about seasoning periods?
One restriction to completing a cash-out refinance is the seasoning period. Most banks, will not complete a cash-out refi right after you buy the home. They will complete a refinance but loan the lower of the appraised value or what you paid for the home in the last year or 6 months. If you bought the home for $100,000 three months ago, and it appraised for $150,000 last week, the bank will still only lend on the $100,000 purchase price if they have a seasoning period longer than three months.
If they will lend 75% of the value, that means they will only lend $75,00 on the home. Some banks have 6 month seasoning periods, some a year, and some will have none. Make sure you know what your bank will do before you make plans.
Is a HELOC better?
A HELOC (home equity line of credit) is much different from a refinance, because you may not have to pay off your current loan. If you have a $100,000 loan on your house, but your home is worth $200,000 you may be able to get an $80,000 line of credit and keep the $100,000 loan in place. When you take out a line of credit you do not have to use the money right away or ever. You can use as much of the money as you want and pay it back when you like. You can borrow the money again after you pay back the line. A refinance is a mortgage where once you pay off the loan or pay extra money into it, you cannot borrow it again.
A HELOC will have closing costs like a cash-out refinance, but many times they will be less. Depending on if you are getting a line on an investment property or a personal residence the terms and fees will differ. The term of the HELOC could be two years, five years or longer, but not 30 years like a refinance could be. The rates on a HELOC are also usually higher and can go up or down as interest rates go up or down.
It may be tough to get a line of credit on a rental as most banks only want to give lines of credit on primary residences.
Do you pay taxes?
One of the best things about a refinance is you do not pay taxes on it. You can buy a house for $100,000, and refinance it for $150,000 a few months later and the money you take out is almost always tax-free. You are not making any money, you are borrowing it so there is no income tax.
The more properties you can buy, the more cash flow builds up and the more wealth you can create. A cash-out refinance can help you purchase more properties and increase your wealth. Make sure the houses you purchase are bought below market value, and it will make a future cash-out refinance much easier. Make sure your payments are not so much that you are no longer seeing positive cash flow every month.