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Rental Property Financing – How to Close Your First Deal

Learn the best ways to finance your next rental property investment today.
Learn the best ways to finance your next rental property investment today.

Rental property investing is a tried-and-true method of real estate investing that offers the potential for passive income, tax benefits, and long-term appreciation.

However, financing your first rental property can be a challenge for many aspiring investors.

This article discusses the basics of rental property financing and how you can close your first deal this year to make passive income and build wealth with real estate investing.

Benefits of Rental Property Investing

Rental property investing can be beneficial due to income streams, hedging against inflation, and investment diversification.
Rental property investing can be beneficial due to income streams, hedging against inflation, and investment diversification.

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that there are tons of benefits of investing in rental properties. Here are some of the highlights:

Steady Income Stream

Rental properties offer a reliable and steady income stream, making them particularly appealing to investors seeking consistent cash flow. 

Unlike some other investments that might be more susceptible to market volatility, rental income tends to be more predictable.

This income can help cover mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and other expenses associated with property ownership. 


One of the unique advantages of real estate investing is the ability to use leverage. By financing a portion of the property’s purchase price with a mortgage, you can control a more significant asset with a smaller upfront investment. 

This potential for outsized returns is valuable if the property appreciates in value over time or if property upgrades lead to forced appreciation.

Hedge Against Inflation

Real estate has historically acted as a hedge against inflation, which causes the purchasing power of money to decline over time. As inflation occurs, property values and rental prices often increase in response. 

This increase in property values can help protect your investment from the effects of inflation by providing a tangible asset that appreciates in value along with the rising cost of goods and services. 

This means rental property owners can charge more in rent and build equity in the home as the value continues to increase over the years.


Rental property investing provides an effective way to diversify your investment portfolio. 

Diversification is a risk management strategy that involves spreading your investments across different asset classes to reduce the impact of a single asset’s poor performance.

During times of market volatility, having a portion of your investments in rental properties can help mitigate potential losses in other areas.

» MORE: How Many Rental Properties Do You Need to Retire?

Challenges With Rental Property Financing

It's important to be aware of the challenges you may face when investing in rental properties.
It’s important to be aware of the challenges you may face when investing in rental properties.

Financing a rental property can be a complex process with several challenges to navigate.

Here are some common challenges that individuals often face when it comes to rental property financing:

Qualification Requirements

Qualification requirements stand as one of the initial hurdles in the path to financing a rental property. Unlike traditional home loans, investment property loans often come with more stringent criteria for approval. 

Lenders typically demand excellent credit scores and favorable debt-to-income ratios. These requirements serve to mitigate the perceived risk associated with investment properties. 

However, meeting these criteria can pose a challenge for some potential investors, especially those who may have excellent credit but lack the financial history necessary to fulfill the stringent prerequisites.

Down Payment

Coming up with a down payment is another challenge for individuals looking to invest in rental properties. 

Investment property loans typically require a more substantial down payment than primary residence loans, commonly falling within the range of 15% to 25% of the property’s purchase price. This can be especially difficult for those who are just entering the real estate market or who are seeking to expand their investment portfolio rapidly. 

The larger down payment places a significant strain on the investor’s available capital and can impact overall financial flexibility.

» MORE: Down Payment Requirements for Rental Properties

High Interest Rates

Interest rates present another challenge in rental property financing. 

Investment property loans generally attract higher interest rates compared to those for primary residences. This elevated interest rate landscape can substantially affect the financial viability of the rental property investment. 

Over the long term, higher interest payments can lower potential profits and reduce the property’s overall return on investment. 

Investors need to carefully consider how these elevated interest rates factor into their financial projections and weigh them against the property’s income potential.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio plays a crucial role in determining an investor’s eligibility for financing a rental property. 

Lenders closely evaluate your DTI ratio, which assesses the proportion of your monthly debt payments to your income. 

Acquiring an investment property loan changes an investor’s existing debt, and maintaining a healthy debt-to-income ratio while juggling multiple financial obligations can be difficult. 

Investors often find themselves managing this challenge by optimizing their existing debts and income sources to meet lenders’ expectations.

» MORE: Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio


The appraisal process is another potential challenge for rental property investors for various reasons. 

First, appraisals are heavily dependent on market influences and volatility. Property values often fluctuate on factors like supply and demand, local trends, and economic conditions, and appraisers must consider these variables and use comparables to estimate the value of the property.

Additionally, a property’s condition and any recent upgrades or renovations play a role in determining its value.

Appraisers need to accurately assess these factors and consider how they impact the property’s rental income potential.

The Bottom Line

While there are plenty of challenges with rental property financing, they can be overcame with the right financing strategy for your individual situation.

Keep reading for the most common rental property financing methods you can use to get started.

6 Ways to Finance a Rental Property

Learn the most common ways to finance a rental property this year.
Learn the most common ways to finance a rental property this year.

There are several main ways to finance a rental property, each with its own advantages and considerations. 

Here are six of the most common methods:

Traditional Mortgage

Obtaining a traditional mortgage is a common way to finance a rental property. 

This method involves working with a bank or mortgage lender to secure a loan for the property’s purchase. Just like with your primary residence, you’ll need to make a down payment, usually around 15% to 25% of the property’s purchase price. 

The terms and interest rates for these mortgages can vary based on your credit score, income, and other factors. It’s important to carefully compare options from different lenders to find the most favorable terms.

Investment Property Loans

Usually meant for real estate investors, investment property loans consider the potential rental income of the property when determining eligibility and terms. 

While these loans might come with slightly higher interest rates and down payment requirements than traditional mortgages, they can be more accommodating to investors who plan to generate rental income from the property. 

Lenders may also consider your experience as a landlord or property manager and the property’s income potential when evaluating your loan application.

Cash Purchase

If you have substantial capital available, you can opt for a cash purchase of a rental property. This means buying the property outright without the need for a mortgage. 

While this eliminates monthly mortgage payments and interest costs, it ties up a significant amount of capital in the property, which might limit your ability to invest in other opportunities.

Private Financing

Private financing involves securing funds from private investors or individuals, often referred to as private lending or hard money lending. 

These arrangements can offer more flexibility in terms compared to traditional lenders, as you negotiate directly with the private lender. However, interest rates tend to be higher, and the repayment periods are typically shorter. 

Private financing might be useful for those who can’t qualify for traditional loans due to credit or other issues.

» MORE: Understanding Hard Money Loan Requirements

Home Equity Loan or HELOC

If you already own a primary residence with built-up equity, you can tap into that equity through a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This allows you to borrow against the value of your home and use the funds to purchase a rental property. 

While this method can provide access to relatively low-interest funds, it’s essential to consider the risks of using your primary residence as collateral. 

Potential downsides to home equity loans and HELOCs include the risk of foreclosure, high interest rates, debt accumulation, and market fluctuations.

Seller Financing

In a seller financing arrangement, the property’s seller acts as the lender, providing financing for the buyer’s purchase of the property.

This can be an option when traditional financing is challenging to secure or when the seller is willing to offer more flexible terms. 

The buyer makes regular payments to the seller, often including interest, over an agreed-upon period. Seller financing can benefit both parties by facilitating the sale and potentially offering better terms than traditional lenders.

Alternative Financing Options

The above six methods of rental property financing are the most common and most practical for new investors. However, here are some alternative options:

  • Real Estate Syndication: This involves pooling funds from multiple investors to purchase and manage a rental property. Each investor contributes a portion of the required funds and shares in the profits and risks.
  • Self-Directed IRA or 401(k): If you have a self-directed IRA, you might be able to use it to invest in real estate, including rental properties. This can offer tax advantages, but there are strict rules and regulations to follow.
  • 1031 Exchange: If you’re selling a property that has appreciated in value, you can use a 1031 exchange to defer capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds into another investment property.
  • Crowdfunding Platforms: Online crowdfunding platforms allow multiple investors to pool their money to invest in real estate projects, including rental properties. This can provide access to real estate investments with smaller capital requirements.

Final Thoughts

Real estate investing is attractive for so many reasons. Investors make passive income on their properties while spending their time growing their portfolios to increase their cash flow and buy more properties.

Using the information discussed in this article, you’ll be on your way to make a splash in the real estate investing world this year with your first rental property.

Related: 6 Steps to Start a Short-Term Rental Business

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