Q: I would like to shop around for a mortgage lender that will refinance an investment property that I own.
The problem is I have a 500 score credit score. But I just started a business and I need to get out from under some of the debt.
I am looking to borrow $60,000 against this property, which is currently appraised at $85,000. I owe $25,000 on the property, and pay interest on the loan at 17 percent to a private investor.
I have a primary residence valued at $280,000. I’ve lived here for 3 years. The interest rate on the house is 5 percent, so I don’t want to disturb that, but I’d like to tap into the equity in my home to pay off $50,000 in credit card debts. I’m paying very high interest rates on the credit card debts.
Can you help me?
A: You are trying to make the most of what you have, but you have extremely high debt and a very low credit score — that’s not a particularly good combination.
I don’t know of any lenders who will lend you 100 percent on your investment property that won’t charge you 17-20 percent — or more — for the cash. But it doesn’t hurt to shop around. You can start at BankRate.com, but I urge you to contact only big brand name lenders. The last thing you need is to wind up with a lender who won’t report your on-time payments to the credit reporting bureaus.
If you want to keep this property, the best thing you can do is to see if you have any equity built up in your primary residence. If you do, I’d try to take out a home equity loan at 7 or 8 percent (your credit score is very low, so the interest will be higher) and use that to pay off the $25,000 you owe to the investor.
You might want to check with the current lender on your home to see if they would offer you an equity line of credit at current competitive rates, perhaps at Prime Rate plus one percent.
You should use the monthly payment you would have made on your investment property to start paying down your credit card debts. If you at least pay the minimum monthly payment each month, your credit score should slowly start to improve.
After your credit score starts to rise, you can try to find a legitimate lender who will refinance your investment property and use that cash to completely pay off your credit card debts.
The faster and perhaps better way to do this, however, is to simply sell the investment property. Use the $60,000 in equity to pay off your credit card debts entirely. You may even have something left over to invest in your new business. But you may have to pay taxes on the gain from the sale of the investment property.
Instead of taking on new debt, you’ll retire your old debts, and free up a lot of extra cash each month to pump into your new business. Or, after you clear the slate, and raise your credit score, you can look into buying another investment property.