How To Refinance Your Condo
"Historically, we've always had three comparables on an appraisal," Metzler explains. "Today, you see four or five a lot. But when you're doing (a loan for a property) in an association, you have to pull the majority of the comps out of that same project."
That means the appraiser will have to use at least two or three comps in your complex to determine the value of your condo, even if other similar condos sold for higher prices nearby. If no useable comps exist in your complex, the appraiser will have to justify why other comps were used.
The HARP option
One way to skirt around the condo association and appraisal issues is to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program ( HARP), which can be used if you have a conventional loan, occupy your condo as your principal residence and your loan-to-value ratio is at least 80 percent.
"HARP says, 'We don't care about the status of the association,' which is nice because you don't have to go through all the rigmarole," Metzler says. "It's pretty much clear to go."
Rented outIf you've moved out of your condo, the rules change because, as Lopatin explains, your loan will be considered an investment refinance. That means your interest rate likely will be higher and you'll need at least 20 percent equity to refinance. Equity is a must because mortgage insurance generally isn't an option for non-owner-occupied properties. If you're short of equity, you can do what's known as a cash-in refinance, in which you bring cash to closing to boost your equity to the 20 percent level. "It may make sense to take $10,000 or $20,000 out of your savings -- from one pocket, so to speak, to another -- to increase the cash flow and make that investment property more profitable," Lopatin says. "That's a great strategy if it's within reach and you have the liquidity. Not everybody does."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV