What Is a Portfolio Loan and How to Use It?

You may want a mortgage if you are considering buying a commercial property. Additionally, your mortgage will likely be a “conventional” mortgage that complies with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s requirements. However, you might be searching for alternative mortgage choices if you wouldn’t describe your financial condition as “conventional.” One of these choices is a Portfolio Loan. 

What Is a Portfolio Loan? 

A portfolio loan is a type of mortgage that a lender issues and keeps as part of their collection of investment holdings instead of selling to another business. Since the portfolio lender originates and retains this loan rather than selling it on the secondary market, the lender can set more flexible mortgage terms, which are often to the borrower’s advantage. 

The portfolio lender cannot sell these holdings on the secondary market because the loan is not issued under the same criteria as conventional, FHA, or VA loan guidelines. These loans offer the valuable aim of assisting potential property purchasers to be approved to borrow funds faster and more efficiently because they don’t need to meet tight eligibility conditions. 

Portfolio loans typically have higher loan interest rates and origination fees in exchange for less rigorous loan approval conditions. They also have constraints on flexibility and prepayment fees. Lenders frequently seek a higher interest rate on a portfolio loan product since they can use any criteria they choose when deciding to underwrite the loan. 

Homebuyers who use this type of loan can anticipate a quicker approval process, less onerous upfront prerequisites, and better customer support from their portfolio lender, who will handle the loan directly. Additionally, they should expect higher origination and interest rates and less flexibility with their repayment timeline. 

Can a Portfolio Loan Be Used for Commercial Real Estate? 

Yes, a portfolio loan can be used for commercial real estate. Many portfolio lenders are neighborhood banks with a local presence, which is advantageous for commercial real estate investors looking to purchase foreclosed properties to fix up and resell for a profit. So, this loan can be particularly appealing if you’re searching for finance to support your commercial real estate investing strategy. 

The Benefits of Using a Portfolio Loan 

The following are some benefits: 

Possibility of a larger loan: Compared to a traditional mortgage, you may obtain a larger loan with a lower down payment. 

Less stringent credit requirements: Poor credit borrowers may find it easier to obtain financing from portfolio lenders. 

More accommodating of variable income: The availability of portfolio loans may be greater for self-employed individuals or real estate investors. 

Flexible terms: With special terms like bimonthly or balloon payments, the lender can adjust the loan to the borrower’s demands. The lender may permit a borrower to finance more properties than would be allowed by a conventional mortgage. 

Closer ties to your lender: Again, you’ll work with the same lender for the duration of the loan because your debt won’t be sold off. You already have a relationship with them from when you bought the property, so you’ll know exactly who to contact if you ever have an issue or question about your mortgage. 

Quick funding: Portfolio loan closings typically take ten days or less. That implies you can obtain the required funds in less than two weeks. 

How to Find the Best Portfolio Loan for Your Needs 

Since portfolio loans are typically not promoted, they can be challenging to obtain. Furthermore, the loan conditions are up to the lender and could be laxer or stricter. So how does a borrower obtain a portfolio loan? Here are some pointers for finding the best portfolio lender: 

Consult a seasoned expert for advice: Find out where and how to obtain portfolio loans by consulting a financial expert. 

Develop a relationship with your financial institution: You have a better chance of getting a portfolio loan if you are a good customer and have a close relationship with your lender. With a local lender, this might be the simplest to achieve. 

Examine rates, charges, and terms: Just like you would for any loan for real estate, make sure you search around for the optimal interest rate and terms on a portfolio mortgage loan. 

How to Qualify for a Portfolio Loan? 

If a portfolio loan appeals to you, you’ll likely need to look for mortgage lenders who provide them, nearby banks and credit unions, as well as online lenders. Once you’ve identified lenders prepared to offer this type of loan, learn about their particular application requirements and procedures.  

Not everybody should use portfolio loans. However, some categories of borrowers might want to check into this type of loan further. Since these lenders are free to choose their requirements, you can be eligible for a loan even in the following situations: 

  • You have a poor credit score or minimal credit history 
  • Your ratio of debt to income is high. 
  • You’re self-employed and have little financial documentation. 
  • You are a non-resident alien. 
  • You’re trying to purchase a property that needs some work. 
  • You want to buy a property, but the price is higher than the loan cap. 

Investors may benefit from this loan because they often don’t limit the number of properties you can buy or demand a specific property condition. If you want to become a commercial property owner, this may make it simpler to finance the purchase of several properties or a fixer-upper. 

What Is the Difference Between a Portfolio Loan and a Conventional Loan? 

In most conventional mortgage loan scenarios, banks and credit unions use a set of governmental guidelines to underwrite and create loans. These guidelines place minimum down payment requirements, specified debt-to-income ratios, maximum loan sizes, and minimum credit requirements for borrowers. 

The guidelines used to determine who qualifies for portfolio loans may differ greatly from those set by government-sponsored organizations. Prospective homeowners needing help being authorized can get the financing they need to purchase real estate with portfolio loans. 

Need help finding a financial institution to grant you the loan you need to buy a home and get through the underwriting process? A portfolio loan can be a possibility you want to think about since they don’t have to adhere to private mortgage insurance requirements, down payment minimums, or conforming loan limitations. 

When Looking for a Portfolio Lender, What Questions Should You Ask? 

Many lenders do not publicize that they are portfolio lenders, and many bank employees might not even understand what a portfolio lender is. Do not quit if a bank tells you they are not a portfolio lender when you call! Request to speak with a loan officer and make detailed inquiries about the kinds of investor packages they provide. Here are some good questions to ask: 

  • What are your interest rates and the upfront fees for your loans? 
  • What loan-to-value ratios do you provide for new purchases and refinances? 
  • Do you offer loans to investors with multiple mortgages? 
  • Do you sell your loans or keep them in-house? 
  • Do you let investors with four mortgages or more refinance with a cash-out? 
  • Which financing conditions and plans do you provide to investors? ARM, 15-year, 30-year fixed, balloon? 
  • What conditioning standards do you have for refinances? 

How Much Money Down Do You Need for a Portfolio Loan? 

Depending on the lender you select and the kind of loan you’re asking for, different amounts are required as a down payment on portfolio loans. However, they often require a larger down payment compared to conventional mortgages. So, be ready to pay more money upfront if you want to obtain the loan. 

What Is the Interest Rate on a Portfolio Loan? 

The interest rates on a portfolio loan can vary greatly and are almost always higher than they would be if you were to use a conventional, government-insured loan. Private lenders must service these loans; thus, they are obliged to do so by levying greater interest rates and completion fees than banks. 

The interest rate on this type of loan generally ranges from 5% to 9%. A significantly higher rate can signify a hard-money activity with little to no documentation or verification procedures. 


Portfolio loans are a fantastic solution for borrowers who are not eligible for a conventional loan. They offer more accommodating underwriting and frequently have more liberal lending terms. A portfolio loan may be exactly what you need if you intend to invest in real estate, and Finance Lobby is the ideal place to find portfolio lenders. 

As always, you must consider your financing alternatives and assess the advantages and disadvantages of the many real estate loan options that are accessible to you before selecting what best suits your needs. 

Finance Lobby is the top real estate financing marketplace. We connect thousands of lenders and borrowers effectively to get the best deals for all parties involved with our top-notch technology. Sign up now to grow your network and make the most of the many lenders available. 

January 23, 2023