FNMA Underwriting Guidelines for Cash-Out Seasoning

Cash-Out Refinance Definition

A cash-out refinance is a transaction that replaces a first mortgage and provides cash to a borrower from the equity in his home. When a borrower refinances, any existing mortgages attached to his property are paid first. The remaining proceeds are typically used to pay closing costs and provide cash-in-hand.

Seasoning Requirements

According to guidelines, a borrower must own a home for at least six months or pay on an existing home loan for six months in order to qualify for a Fannie Mae cash-out refinance. It also is against the agency's rules to obtain a cash-out refinance then obtain a noncash-out (called a rate and term refinance) loan to secure a lower interest rate in less than six months. These rules also are enforced by Freddie Mac.

LTV Limits

Fannie Mae cash-out transactions, beginning in 2008, are capped at 85 percent loan-to-value. This means for a borrower to obtain cash, the total loan amount of new mortgage cannot exceed 85 percent of his home's value. This sometimes becomes a problem if a property is valued for less than a borrower figured when he applied for his new loan. When this occurs, a loan must be modified to accommodate a final appraised value, resulting in less cash in hand at the closing table.

Second Mortgages

Some borrowers find that obtaining a second mortgage is cheaper than a cash-out refinance. However, it is important to be aware that Fannie Mae does not insure second mortgages behind firsts that are less than 12 months old. The agency also will not allow cash-out refinances on properties containing second mortgages that have not been seasoned for at least a year.