How to Finance Your Rental Property

How to Finance Your Rental Property

As a real estate investor, financing your rental property is one of the most critical steps to ensuring your success. You have worked hard to find the right property and tenants, now you need to secure funding to purchase or refinance the asset. There are several options to consider based on your financial situation and investment goals. A mortgage loan is a common choice, whether you opt for a traditional bank mortgage or explore alternative lenders.

You could also consider a home equity line of credit if you have substantial equity in your own residence. For a shorter-term solution, a hard money loan or private money loan from an individual investor may meet your needs. Once you determine the best path forward, make sure you understand all terms and conditions fully before signing on the dotted line. With the proper financing in place, you can reap the rewards of a steady income stream and long-term property appreciation.

Your Options for Financing a Rental Property

To finance your rental property, you have several options to consider:

Mortgage Loans

The most common way to finance a rental property is with a mortgage loan. You’ll need to provide a down payment, typically 20% of the purchase price, and the lender will loan you the remaining amount, secured by the property. Interest rates and terms will depend on your credit, income, and property details.


If you have enough cash on hand, you can purchase the rental property outright. This avoids interest charges and provides full ownership control. However, it ties up your capital and prevents leveraging your money.

Private Financing

You may be able to obtain financing from a private lender, like a family member or friend. They charge interest but often have more flexible terms than a traditional mortgage. Make sure to document the loan details thoroughly.


Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow multiple investors to fund your rental property. You give up some ownership and control but can raise funds more quickly. Returns are split between you and investors. Do extensive research to find a reputable crowdfunding company.

Commercial Loans

For multi-family or commercial properties, commercial real estate loans offer longer terms and higher loan amounts than residential mortgages. However, they also typically have higher interest rates and down payment requirements. Commercial lenders will evaluate the property’s income potential and your financials.

In summary, evaluate your needs and financial situation to determine the best option for financing your rental property. Make sure you understand all terms, rates, and requirements before moving forward. With thorough research and planning, you can find financing that allows you to purchase an investment property with confidence.

Mortgage Loans for Rental Property Investments

To finance an investment in rental property, the most common option is obtaining a mortgage loan. There are a few types of mortgages suitable for rental or investment property:

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages are provided by private lenders and are not government-backed. They typically require a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price and have more stringent approval requirements. Interest rates may be higher, but qualification is often easier for investment properties.

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Commercial Mortgages

Commercial mortgages are for business or investment purposes. They usually have variable interest rates, require a large down payment, and have shorter loan terms of around 5-10 years. Commercial lenders will evaluate the property’s income-generating potential to determine approval and terms.

Portfolio Mortgages

Portfolio mortgages are held privately by lenders instead of being sold on the secondary market. They tend to have more flexible qualification requirements and terms but higher interest rates. Investors may find it easier to obtain financing through portfolio mortgages when traditional mortgages are not an option.

Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans are short-term, high-interest mortgages provided by private investors. They are riskier but quicker to obtain, making them popular when the speed of financing is a priority or traditional mortgages are not possible. Interest rates are typically higher due to the increased risk, but loans can close within a week. Hard money loans may be a “last resort” option but can work for the right investment.

In summary, there are several mortgage options for financing rental property, each with different requirements, terms, risks, and rewards. Doing thorough research on the available options and how they fit your investment goals is key to obtaining the right financing for your needs.

Pros and Cons of a Conventional Mortgage for Rentals

Pros and Cons of a Conventional Mortgage for Rentals

A conventional mortgage is a popular option for financing a rental property. However, there are some factors to consider before choosing this route:

Lower Interest Rates

Conventional mortgages typically offer lower interest rates than other loan types like FHA or VA loans. The lower your interest rate, the less you pay in interest charges over the life of the loan. This can save you thousands of dollars for a rental property mortgage.

Stricter Qualifying Criteria

Conventional mortgages have more stringent approval requirements. You’ll need a solid credit score, a stable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio. If your credentials are not quite up to par, you may face higher interest rates, more fees, or even denial of your application. Make sure your financial profile is in good shape before applying.

Higher Down Payment

Most conventional mortgages require a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price. This means for a $200,000 rental property, you’ll need at least $40,000 upfront. A larger down payment does reduce your interest charges and monthly payments, but saving enough for 20% down can be difficult, especially if you have multiple investment properties.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If your down payment is less than 20%, your lender will require you to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI protects the lender if you default on the loan. The insurance fees are included in your monthly mortgage payment and can add hundreds of dollars per year to your costs. You can often cancel PMI once you reach 20% equity, but it still represents an added expense, at least for the first few years of the loan.

In summary, while a conventional mortgage does have advantages like lower rates, you need to make sure you fully understand all requirements and potential fees before deciding if it’s the right choice for financing your rental property. Carefully weighing the pros and cons will help ensure you make a well-informed decision.

Should You Use a Hard Money Loan to Finance Your Rental?

Should you use a hard money loan to finance your rental property? Hard money loans are short-term, asset-based loans typically used by real estate investors to fund the purchase and renovation of investment properties. While hard money loans charge higher interest rates than traditional mortgages, they do offer some advantages for the right borrower and situation.

A hard money loan can be a good option if you need to close quickly on a property or don’t qualify for a traditional mortgage. The approval process is typically faster since the loan is secured by the value of the property rather than your credit score or income. Hard money lenders are also often more flexible in the types of properties and situations they will lend on. They may consider lending for properties that need extensive renovation or don’t meet the lending criteria for a standard mortgage.

However, hard money loans are more expensive, with higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms, usually around 6-24 months. You will need to pay off the loan when it comes due, often by securing long-term financing or selling the property. The interest rates, which can be double or triple a traditional mortgage, mean your payments will be higher and more of your payment will go toward interest rather than paying down the principal.

Before pursuing a hard money loan, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions as well as your responsibilities and risks as the borrower. Have a realistic exit strategy in place to pay off the loan to avoid penalties and potentially losing the property. While hard money can be the right tool for the right deal, for most standard investment properties, a traditional mortgage will likely provide better terms and more affordable payments. Think carefully about your needs, financial situation, and investment goals to determine if a hard money loan makes sense for you.


As you can see, there are several options available to finance your rental property investment. Whether you choose to put down a large down payment and take out a smaller mortgage, utilize private lending, tap into your retirement funds, or find an angel investor, make sure you go in with a solid plan. Carefully calculate expenses, research the real estate market, and determine how much you can afford in mortgage payments or how much return you need to generate for lenders.

While financing a rental property can be complicated if you do your homework, develop a strategic plan, and explore all your options, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful real estate investment portfolio. The work you put in now will pay off for years to come through steady rental income and long-term property appreciation. You’ve got this! Now go take the next step toward financing your first or next rental property.

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