Divorce is messy as it is. Throw in the recent changes within the mortgage industry and it may get even messier!

When a divorce involves refinancing the marital home, divorcing borrowers typically are looking to pull equity out of the home in order to buy-out the other spouse’s equity ownership. Although the divorce settlement agreement may outline the details of the transfer of ownership, it does not determine what type of financing is available for the divorcing borrower.

Two Types of Refinances:

The two types of refinances are either a Rate/Term refinance or a cash-out refinance. Rate/Term refinances typically have better terms with regards to lower interest rates and access to more equity. A cash-out mortgage, on the other hand, may carry a higher interest rate and typically only allows the borrower to access up to 80% of the home’s value, which can present a problem when the goal for the refinance is to actually access the equity, right?

In 2019, roughly 13% of homeowners with loans owned by Freddie Mac took out roughly $91 billion through cash-out refinances, according to Freddie data. Cash-out refis hit a peak in 2006, when Freddie borrowers alone tapped $320.5 billion in home equity.

The Divorce Settlement Agreement:

The divorce settlement agreement needs to be structured in such a way that the divorcing borrower can refinance as a Rate/Term – equity buy-out. The loan structure will allow the divorcing borrower to access the equity in the home without the higher pricing adjustment or even the ability to refinance at all.

There are specific requirements that the divorcing borrower needs to meet; however, in order for the refinance to be structured as a Rate/Term equity buy-out. There may be title seasoning issues, specific wording in the divorce settlement agreement among other issues.

Involving a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) early in the divorce settlement agreement can help divorcing borrowers set the stage for a successful refinance of the marital home.

Now more than ever, it is important to have a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP™) on your professional divorce team. A CDLP™ will not only understand these major changes within the mortgage industry but the impact they may play during the divorce process and obtaining mortgage financing.

Always work with a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) when going through a divorce and real estate or mortgage financing is present. For more information on mortgage lending, contact us today!

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