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What You Need to Know About Using a Jumbo Loan for a Second Home Feature Image
Posted on September 20, 2023 5 minute read

What You Need to Know About Using a Jumbo Loan for a Second Home

What's in this article?

A quick refresher on jumbo loans
Using jumbo loans for second homes
Jumbo loan, second home: conclusion
Are you considering a jumbo loan?

Considering purchasing a vacation home in a high-price area? You may need a jumbo loan for that second home.  

Jumbo loans are a type of mortgage that are specifically designed to finance high-value properties— regardless if they are used for your primary residence or other purposes. 

Unlike conventional mortgages, jumbo loans have stricter requirements, including specific criteria for property type, down payment, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. 

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of jumbo loans for second homes, and help you understand the key factors to consider when financing your dream vacation property.

A quick refresher on jumbo loans

When it comes to purchasing a second home or a property with a higher price tag, you may find that a traditional mortgage doesn’t quite cover your needs. That’s where jumbo loans come into play. 

Definition of a jumbo loan

Jumbo loans are types of mortgages that exceed specific loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government-sponsored enterprises that purchase loans from lenders. 

These loan limits are determined by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and vary depending on the county in which the property is located. 

For 2023, the loan limit average rose from around $647,200 to $726,200, providing an additional $79,000. Furthermore, higher-cost areas saw a new loan limit average of $1,089,300, which equates to 150% of the baseline loan limit.

How do jumbo loans differ from conventional mortgages?

Good question. 

  1. Loan amount: The most notable difference is the loan amount. Conventional mortgages have set limits, and any loan amount that exceeds those limits falls into the jumbo loan category. Jumbo loans, on the other hand, are designed to finance properties with higher purchase prices that exceed the conventional loan limits.
  2. Underwriting requirements: Because of the higher loan amounts involved, jumbo loans often have stricter underwriting requirements compared to conventional mortgages. Lenders want to ensure that borrowers have a strong financial history and a low debt-to-income ratio to mitigate the risks associated with larger loans.
  3. Interest rates: Due to an increased risk for lenders, jumbo loans often carry higher interest rates compared to conventional mortgages. The interest rate on a jumbo loan varies based on the borrower’s credit score, financial stability, and the overall market conditions at the time of borrowing.
  4. Down payment: Jumbo loans usually require a larger down payment compared to conventional mortgages. While conventional loans may have down payment options as low as 3% or 5%, jumbo loans often require 20% or more. This is because lenders want borrowers to have more initial equity in the property, reducing the risk of default.

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Using jumbo loans for second homes

Owning a second home is a dream for many individuals and families. Whether it’s a vacation home or a future retirement destination, purchasing a second home can be an exciting investment. 

However, second homes often come with a higher price tag. Because of government regulations regarding what Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will or will not insure, these types of loans may require specialized “jumbo loans.” 

Overview of property types covered by jumbo loans

Depending on the type of property you’re interested in purchasing, jumbo loans may or may not apply to your purchase goals. 

Common property types covered by jumbo loans for second homes include:

  • Luxury condominiums
  • Single-family homes
  • Townhouses
  • Vacation properties
  • Resort residences

Down payment requirements for second homes

When it comes to purchasing a second home using a jumbo loan, a larger down payment is typically required compared to a conventional loan, ranging from 10% to 30% of the property’s purchase price. 

The exact percentage depends on various factors, including the borrower’s credit profile and the lender’s guidelines. A higher down payment can also help improve the loan terms and may even lower the interest rate.

Credit score requirements for second home jumbo loans

Lenders offering jumbo loans for second homes generally have stricter credit score requirements compared to conventional loans. 

Qualifying for a jumbo loan means borrowers typically need a good to excellent credit score—700 or higher is often considered favorable. 

Maintaining a solid credit history and managing debts responsibly can greatly increase the chances of approval for a jumbo loan.

Debt-to-income ratio requirements for second home jumbo loans

Lenders evaluate a borrower’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to determine their ability to manage monthly mortgage payments in relation to their overall income. 

Lenders often look for a DTI ratio below 43% for jumbo loans, although some may allow slightly higher ratios based on other compensating factors such as substantial reserves or a high credit score. 

Jumbo loan, second home: conclusion

Obtaining a jumbo loan for a second home can be a viable option for those who meet the specific requirements of these non-conforming loans. 

Second-home jumbo loans also allow for flexible property types, including primary residences, vacation houses, and investment properties. 

However, it’s important to note that jumbo loans typically have higher down payment requirements than conforming loans—a 20% down payment for single-family units is common, and even higher percentages for second homes and multifamily units. 

Additionally, credit score and debt-to-income ratio play crucial roles in obtaining approval for a jumbo loan. 

Meeting the minimum credit score and maintaining a low debt-to-income ratio are essential factors for lenders. 

By understanding and fulfilling these requirements, individuals can navigate the jumbo loan process more effectively.

Are you considering a jumbo loan?

Understanding the requirements for securing a mortgage on a high-value property is crucial. We know that cost can mean the difference between a house and a home.

With the right advice and guidance, you can streamline the qualification process by knowing how to meet second home jumbo loan criteria.

Get started with our dedicated team of loan officers at Homefinity

We’re ready to help you every step of the way.

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