How to get an apartment building loan

By Marcie Geffner -

Apartment building loans are a lot like other residential real estate financing. It all starts with a property, borrower and lender, and it all ends, if all goes well, with a closed loan and newly purchased or refinanced property.

Here's a guide to what borrowers need to know about how to buy and finance apartment buildings:

What constitutes an apartment building?
Detached homes, condominiums, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes typically are classified as one-to-four-unit properties, or one-to-fours. Properties that have five or more dwellings are categorized as apartment buildings or multifamily housing.

A loan for a duplex, triplex or fourplex doesn't differ much (if at all) from a loan for a detached house, but loans for larger properties involve "a little different underwriting, a little higher qualification," says Dan Borland, office manager for commercial real estate at Wells Fargo in Orange County, California.

Read more:

How to be a mortgage lender's favorite borrower

By Marcie Geffner -

Getting a mortgage isn't just about whether you can qualify. It's also about whether you can work well with your loan officer, making the process smoother and easier for both of you.

Ideal customers are not only financially well-positioned, they're also knowledgeable, realistic and cooperative, says Joe Metzler, mortgage consultant at Mortgages Unlimited in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Conversely, no matter how qualified you are to get a mortgage, your loan might never close if you ignore instructions and treat your mortgage lender like a misbehaving puppy.

"Some people get it. Some don't," says Jay Dacey, mortgage broker at Metropolitan Financial Mortgage in Minneapolis. "You don't have to have perfect credit or super-high income to qualify. It's really more about their attitude than their finances."

Read more:

What is FHA mortgage insurance?

By Marcie Geffner -

FHA loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), are one of the most popular choices for people who want to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage.
FHA loans require only a very small down payment and have relatively relaxed guidelines for borrowers to qualify. But FHA loans aren’t the best choice for every borrower, in part because they require mortgage insurance, which adds an additional cost to the loan for the borrower.
Read more:

Your new home: farther out or closer in?

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource

Some brand-new homes are built in city centers. Others are constructed farther out in new-home communities of hundreds or even thousands of homes.

These days, those farther out houses can be an especially good buy for home shoppers.

That’s because city-center houses generally have rebounded in value significantly faster than suburban houses in many cities since the low of the Great Recession, says Lance Ramella, a senior vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a real estate industry consultancy headquartered in Irvine, Calif.

The slower appreciation of farther-out houses suggests there’s an open window of opportunity for buyers to purchase new-construction homes at relatively more affordable prices in many farther-away towns.

Read more: