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What to Look for in Investment Loans for Rental Properties

What to Look for in Investment Loans for Rental Properties

San Ramon, California, is a small San Francisco Bay Area city between two mountain ranges and incredible parks. It features high quality of life, excellent schools, job opportunities, and year-round recreational activities. Residents enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle full of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, golfing, and community engagement with annual festivals and events.
Investment property is purchased to generate profit through appreciation or rental income. This type of property can range from single-family homes to commercial buildings. Investors may finance the purchase of investment property through specialized investment loans, which consider the unique risks and potential rewards of investing in San Ramon real estate. Understanding the nuances of investment property and how investment loans work can be crucial for anyone looking to build wealth through property investments.

What is an investment loan?

An investment loan is specifically designed to help investors purchase real estate for investment purposes, such as house flipping or rental property. Investment loans are more challenging to secure because they account for more high-risk factors, such as market fluctuations and potential vacancies.

Types of investment loans

Consider your specific goals and financial situation when deciding on an investment loan. There are various investment loan options, each with advantages, disadvantages, and requirements. Some investment loans for rental property include:


Conventional investment loans are a popular option for investors seeking long-term financing for their real estate investments. These loans are typically obtained through traditional financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions. Conventional investment loans offer competitive interest rates and the potential for fixed-rate terms, making them a reliable choice for investors with strong credit and stable financial profiles.


Another investment loan is FHA, backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); they are an excellent option for multifamily properties. FHA investment loans are designed for borrowers who may not have the strongest credit profiles or substantial down payments, making them an attractive option for first-time investors. These loans have lenient credit and income requirements and smaller down payment requirements, making investing in real estate more accessible for those who might not otherwise qualify for conventional investment loans. However, FHA loans come with specific guidelines and requirements, such as living in a property unit for at least one year.

Nonqualified mortgage

Private lenders offer nonqualified mortgage investment loans, catering to investors who may not meet the strict qualification requirements of other loan types. Nonqualified mortgage investment loans typically have higher interest rates and fees than conventional options. Still, they may be a viable alternative for investors with unique investment strategies or nontraditional sources of income. Nonqualified loan eligibility is based primarily on the rental income potential.

Home equity loan

Investors looking for alternative funding sources may consider home equity loans when investing in real estate. These loans allow borrowers to leverage the equity in their primary residence or other properties towards a real estate investment. While interest rates for home equity loans may be lower than other investment loan options, they come with the added risk of jeopardizing the borrower’s primary residence if they default on the loan.

Requirements for an investment loan

When preparing to apply for an investment loan, it is essential to understand the requirements you will need to meet. This may include providing documentation of your financial history, such as tax returns and credit reports, and information about the property you want to purchase. Common investment loan requirements include:

Monetary reserves

Monetary reserves are funds set aside in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies related to the property. Lenders typically require borrowers to have a certain amount of reserves based on factors such as the property type and loan amount. Accumulating monetary reserves can take time and planning, so it is essential to factor this requirement into your financial calculations when deciding on an investment loan option.

Large down payment

Investment loans often require a sizable down payment, typically ranging from 10%-30% of the property’s purchase price. This can be a significant hurdle for many investors, especially first-time buyers. However, a larger down payment can also have its benefits. For example, it can lower your monthly mortgage payments and decrease the interest you will pay over the life of the loan.

Rental income documentation

Investors applying for investment loans may also need to provide documentation of rental income. Documentation may include current lease agreements, deposit records, and other documentation verifying rental income streams. Rental income is important because it demonstrates the property’s ability to generate revenue and repay the loan. As a result, lenders typically require borrowers to establish a minimum rental income relative to the property’s purchase price.

Excellent credit score

Having an excellent credit score is crucial when it comes to applying for investment loans. Lenders are more likely to offer better interest rates and terms to borrowers with strong credit histories, and it can also increase your chances of approval. A high credit score can demonstrate to lenders that you are financially stable and can manage debt.

How to secure an investment loan

To secure an investment loan, it is important to identify your investment goals. With a clean investment plan, you can research local lenders to find loans with favorable rates and terms. Finding a trusted bank is essential as you will discuss confidential financial information and plan for your investment future. Once you evaluate properties based on their potential for appreciation and rental income, you can proceed with a loan application. Gathering documentation and critical paperwork before applying for a loan can speed up the process and ensure you can move forward quickly.

Work with a San Ramon Realtor to find an investment property

Investors looking for investment properties may benefit from working with a Realtor who has experience in the local market. Realtors can provide information about neighborhoods, property values, and rental rates in the area. They can also help investors find properties that fit their investment goals and assist with negotiating and closing. By working with a knowledgeable Realtor, investors can find a profitable investment property and secure the necessary financing to make their investment dreams a reality.
Lori Olson is a San Ramon real estate agent specializing in luxury property in the Tri-Valley area. With expert guidance and a custom real estate approach, Lori can help you find the perfect investment property.

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