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What Is an Assumable Mortgage?

October 04, 20232 min read

Our advice is based on our extensive experience in the mortgage industry and we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goal of home ownership.

An Assumable Mortgage:

An assumable mortgage offers significant advantages to home buyers in a rising interest rate climate. When a prospective buyer acquires a home and takes over the seller's existing mortgage, they inherit the mortgage's interest rate, loan duration, and outstanding balance. The true advantage surfaces when the assumable mortgage's interest rate is lower than the prevailing market rate.

Assumable mortgages prove most beneficial during periods of rapid interest rate escalation, such as those experienced in 2022 and 2023.

To illustrate, consider a homeowner in 2023. They could secure a new mortgage for a home at nearly 7 percent interest. Alternatively, they could opt to assume the existing 2020 mortgage with a rate of 2.75 percent, resulting in a 39% reduction in their monthly payments.

As of October 30, 2023, only FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages allow assumption, with buyers needing to meet the qualifications of the mortgage they wish to assume.

Common Questions Regarding Assumable Mortgages for Home Buyers:

  1. What are the advantages of assuming a mortgage for buyers?

    • Buyers who assume a mortgage benefit from lower interest rates, reduced closing costs, and quicker closing times compared to obtaining a new home mortgage.

  2. Can all mortgages be assumed?

    • Not all mortgages are assumable. Government-backed loans like FHA and VA loans can be assumed, but conventional loans, such as those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, include a "due-on-sale" clause that prohibits assumption.

  3. Is it risky to take over a seller's mortgage?

    • Generally, assuming a mortgage is a safe process. However, buyers should conduct a thorough title search to identify any undisclosed liens and ensure that the assumable mortgage terms are more favorable than those of a new mortgage. First-time buyers should also check with their lender, as they might lose access to first-time homebuyer programs and cash grants when assuming a mortgage.

  4. Do I need a cash down payment when assuming a mortgage?

    • When a buyer assumes a seller's mortgage, the seller can gift part or all of their home's equity to the buyer or request cash reimbursement. While this cash payment resembles a down payment, it doesn't precisely fit the traditional definition. Buyers can also use a second mortgage, such as a Home Equity Line of Credit or a Home Equity Loan, to reimburse the seller.

  5. Do lenders typically require a credit check for an assumable mortgage?

    • Lenders must underwrite a buyer's mortgage assumption, necessitating a credit score check and other verifications.

  6. Can assumable mortgages be refinanced?

    • After assuming a mortgage, buyers can refinance the loan with new terms and conditions, contingent on lender approval and prevailing market conditions.

Additional Resources on Assumable Mortgages

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Consumers wishing to file a complaint against a banker or a residential mortgage loan originator should complete and send a complaint form to the Texas department of savings and mortgage lending, 2601 North Lamar, suite 201, Austin, Texas 78705. Complaint forms and instructions may be obtained from the department’s website at www.sml.texas.gov. A toll-free consumer hotline is available at 1-877-276-5550. The department maintains a recovery fund to make payments of certain actual out of pocket damages sustained by borrowers caused by acts of licensed residential mortgage loan originators. A written application for reimbursement from the recovery fund must be filed with and investigated by the department prior to the payment of a claim. For more information about the recovery fund, please consult the department’s website at www.sml.texas.gov. State Licenses page, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use