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Should You Buy That Home in Your Name?

mortgage individual name


Most mortgage lenders specializing in residential mortgages will not extend financing unless you own the property in your personal name. This is usually a requirement of the investor who purchases the mortgage from the lender who closes on your loan. And this is the case whether the property is your primary residence, second or vacation home, or rental/investment property.

Why would you create an LLC or corporation to hold title to your real estate?

The main reason is usually to limit your personal liability – say, in case someone slips and falls while on your property. For example: If title is in your LLC, you are more likely able to shield your personal assets against a claim (however you should always consult with your attorney).

If you decide not to purchase a residential property in your personal name, however, the loan will be deemed a commercial loan – not a residential loan. While there are many community banks that will lend to an LLC or corporation, you would generally always need to personally guarantee the loan in any event. Also, commercial loan interest rates tend to be a little higher than a residential loan in your name.

Some people acquire their residential properties in their personal name, but then later transfer title via quit claim deed to an LLC. As a general rule, this is not permitted within the loan documentation – but residential lenders do not typically audit title (especially if you continue making your monthly mortgage payments on time).

Here’s the Point: ​The interest rate will usually be more favorable when you purchase a residential property in your individual name.

OOPS: I Bought My Rental Property in an LLC…

If you own title to a residential rental property via an LLC (“limited liability company”), then you better have owned this asset for at least 24for rent months and reported it on Schedule E of your 1040 tax return – otherwise you will have a tough time utilizing the income from this property to qualify for a loan.  Without the 24-month seasoning period, there is a good chance the net rental income cannot be used in calculating your Debt-to-Income ratio (DTI) unless you elect to transfer title from the LLC to your individual name.

Now don’t rush out and transfer the ownership from the LLC to yourself personally without first consulting with your accountant and lawyer – especially because of the potential tax ramifications and liability risks.  But you won’t get conventional residential financing for your LLC rental property, because the lender will treat it as if it were a commercial property (which means lower LTV requirements and higher pricing – even if you personally guarantee the loan).

On the other hand, if title is in your name, then typically 100% of the income and expenses on Schedule E can be used to calculate your DTI – without having to comply with the 24-month rule.  In addition, if the property is so new that it has not yet been reported on your previous tax return, then some lenders will allow you to use 75% of the revenue (confirmed via the lease) less PITI, with only 75% used to account for other standard expenses you will incur.

Here’s the Point: Many of my clients can’t conventionally finance their LLC-owned residential rental properties because they haven’t owned them long enough. If you plan to finance the purchase of one or more of these assets, then in conjunction with your advisor you might consider owning them in your name as opposed to in an LLC.