Investment Properties: Frequently Asked Questions About What to Expect

Investment Properties: Frequently Asked Questions About What to Expect While many people consider owning a primary residence a feather in their cap, there are folks out there who want to take the next step and own an investment property as well.

If you’re a novice, it’s likely you have questions.  If you’ve done it before, it doesn’t hurt to review some investment property basics and sharpen your property-owner skills.

Below, we address some frequently asked questions about investment properties. Once you’ve read the list, if you still have any questions please ask them in the comment section, and we’ll be happy to answer them:

What loan-to-value (LTV), credit score, and income is required for an investment property loan?

  • LTV - Typically, for a 1-unit, investment property purchase, a 20% down payment is required (an LTV of 80%).  For a 2-4 unit investment property purchase, a 25% down payment is required for an LTV of 75 percent.
  • Credit Score – The minimum credit score needed (for Quicken Loans) is at least a 620.
  • Income – The required income varies depending on the amount of the house payment and other debt.  The total debt-to-income ratio (including the house payment) generally cannot exceed 45%.

Is it true that I must have two years of landlord experience?  What if this is my first time?

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae differ on this rule.  Freddie requires a borrower buying an investment property to show two years of landlord experience, through tax returns, in order to count projected rent as income. Fannie Mae says it’s still possible to buy an investment property and use a portion of income to qualify without having a two-year history.  Quicken Loans does not impose the two-year rule on the majority of investment property purchase transactions.

Can I buy with partners that I am not related to?   Is there a maximum number of partners allowed?

Yes you can buy with partners who aren’t your relatives.  Quicken Loans places a cap of four borrowers on a loan application, but there is no limit to the number of people on the title.

Can I buy in an LLC?

No, the general rule is that homes may only be purchased by individuals, not LLCs or other business structures.

Are gift funds allowed?

No gifted funds are allowed.  The minimum 20-25% down payment for an investment property must be 100% from the borrower’s own money.

How much is needed in reserves?

While some lenders require investors to show four months worth of principal, interest, taxes, insurance and homeowners association dues, some lenders require more.  Quicken Loans requires six months of house payments (including taxes and insurance) plus an additional two months of house payments in reserves for every non-primary residence that a person owns.

Are the requirements different if I want to buy a condominium?

There are some added hurdles in the loan process if you’re considering a condominium.  First, 51% of the complex needs to be either owner-occupied or a second home, since the agencies will not allow you to buy a share of a complex that is solely for investment. Next, the condo association must prove that it’s in good financial standing or that it has enough in reserves if repairs are needed.  In addition, a statement from the condo association is required to show no lawsuits exist among current owners and/or the association.

How is the rental income counted?

For new investment property purchases, income will be calculated based on the lesser of the rental income stated on the lease agreement or the appraiser’s opinion of what can be expected for a specific market. Once that’s established, the lender will reduce that amount by another 25% to determine qualifying income.  This provides the lender with a conservative amount that factors in potential vacancy periods.

What mortgage rates do I qualify for?

Keep in mind each mortgage lender may tweak their qualifying standards so be sure to ask about their guidelines. Mortgage rates for investment properties are typically higher than that of primary residences and second homes. Both Fannie and Freddie have adjustments that could affect your principal and interest payments depending on your loan amount and other factors.

Since most online information does not take into account rental property adjustments, it’s best to speak directly to a Quicken Loans mortgage banker to obtain an accurate interest rate and mortgage payment.


We hope this info helps investors wishing to take advangage of the great opportunities and deals available in today’s real estate market. Still have questions? Leave us a comment and we’ll be in touch!

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6 Responses to Investment Properties: Frequently Asked Questions About What to Expect

  1. wtf March 26, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    Thanks for all the useless and wrong information.

  2. colleen August 6, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    For a new investment property loan,. is there a limit to how many mortgage loans I currently have before qualifying for a new investment loan?

  3. Anthony January 6, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    I am in the military and when we move to a new location I purchase a home as our primary residence. When we move we hire a management company for that location and start the process over again. We currently have three homes. We would like to move these homes under a LLC or another business model, because when we look to finance another home these houses skew our debt to income ratio. Is it possible to move these homes on paper or would we need to go through refinancing? We have good interest rates on all of them and would not want to jeopardize that. Thank you in advance for your support.

  4. Keith Guyot January 6, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Hey Anthony, very interesting question. I’m going to send your question to our Home Loan Experts who should be in touch with you soon.

    Thanks for reading!

  5. Jay February 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Is that true… can you not purchase a home through an LLC? How is that even possible?

  6. Mr. Michel March 15, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    I really good to read that blog about investment property which is really good. thanks for it.

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