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Can You Use 401k To Buy A Home

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What Are The Requirements To Buy A Property With A 401k

How to Use Your 401k to Buy a House!

Whereas IRAs can be used to invest directly in real estate, tax laws prohibit people from using their 401k to invest directly in real estate. That said, there are still ways to purchase investment property by leveraging your 401k.

There are a few ways to do this.

The first way to invest in real estate using your 401k is by taking out a loan against it. Most plans will allow you to do so, so its important to check with your plan administrator before pursuing this route. Assuming its allowed, you are typically able to borrow half of the value of your 401k account, up to $50,000. The loan must be structured as a bona fide non-recourse loan, which is a type of loan that is secured by collateral in this case, it will usually be the rental property being purchased. This way, if the borrower defaults, the issuer of the loan can seize the collateral but cannot seek any additional compensation, even if the collateral does not cover the full value of the defaulted amount.

Most plans require you to repay the loan in full within five years, and youll be required to pay interest on that loan . That said, the interest payments are made back to the retirement account, so you are essentially just paying that interest back to yourself.

If the loan is not repaid by the deadline, the loan will be treated and taxed as though it was an early distribution resulting in a 10% penalty as well as income taxes owed based on your tax bracket.

Can I Take Out A 401 Loan To Buy A House

While not all 401 plans allow you to take out a loan from your account, a good many do. Vanguard reported that in 2018, 78% of its 401 plans allowed participants to borrow from their retirement accounts.

Check with your plan sponsor to see whats allowed. If your retirement plan allows you to take a loan from your 401, you may be able to use that money for a home down payment or closing costs.

One important distinction to note: You cant borrow money from an IRA.

Here are some things to consider before you take out a 401 home loan.

How Much Can You Withdraw From Your 401k For A Home Purchase

The maximum withdrawal amount varies depending on the method you use. Start with a 401 loan because it is the financially responsible choice. You can cover any remaining fees with a 401 withdrawal because of the 401s stricter loan requirements.

Due to a recent congress ruling, if your employer allows it, you are allowed to withdraw both your employers 401 contributions and any investment earnings as well as your contributions.

Also Check: Is An Annuity A 401k

Using Your 401k To Buy A House

When buying a home, finding a large down payment can be difficult. But if you have money saved in a 401k you might be wondering if its a good idea to use that.

Taking money out of your 401k will affect your financial situation in retirement. For this reason, advisors often warn against touching this potential source of a down payment unless you really have no other options.

Before you choose to raid your retirement plan to help buy a home, there are many things to consider, including alternatives.

Low And No Down Payment Mortgages

Using 401k to Buy a House

Instead of getting a loan for your down payment, you can look into some of the government-backed loans that offer low and no down payment mortgages.

FHA Loans FHA home loans require a low 3.5% down payment, making them a prevalent option. With a down payment this low, you may not need to use your retirement account to afford the down payment.

VA Loans If youre a Veteran, you could qualify for a VA home loan with no down payment. This is one of the greatest benefits offered to Vets in our Country. Not only do VA loans provide 100% financing, but no mortgage insurance is required.

USDA Loans The U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantees USDA loans for low-to-median income families in the countrys rural areas. TDA finances 100% of the purchase price for eligible borrowers.

Conventional 97 Loan This type of conventional loan was created by Fannie Mae to compete with the low down payment government-backed loans. As the name suggests, a conventional 97 loan offers a 3% down payment, allowing you to finance 97% of the purchase price.

Home Possible / HomeReady Loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created the Home Possible and HomeReady loan programs for first-time homebuyers who meet the income limits, have a 620 credit score and a 3% down payment. Your income must be below 100% of the area median income to be eligible.

Read Also: How To Find Out If You Have An Old 401k

Ignore The Housing Market

It doesnt matter what your home is worth at any given moment except the moment when you sell it. Being able to choose when you sell your home, rather than being forced to sell it due to job relocation or financial distress, will be the biggest determinant of whether you will see a solid profit from your investment.

How To Borrow From Your 401k Account

To borrow from your 401k loan to finance a down payment, youll need to talk to your employers benefits office or HR department, or with your 401k plan provider. You can also consult your plan document to find out if your plan permits borrowing from your 401k to purchase a home.

Youll want to find out how much youre able to borrow, the interest youll have to pay, and the repayment period. Additionally, ask about repayment options, such as whether your employer will deduct the monthly payment from your paycheck or if they will allow you to make 401k contributions while you pay back the loan.

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What Hardship Withdrawals Will Cost You

Hardship withdrawals hurt you in the long run when it comes to saving for retirement. You’re removing money you’ve set aside for your post-pay-check years and losing the opportunity to use it then, and to have it continue to appreciate in the meantime. You’ll also be liable for paying income tax on the amount of the withdrawaland at your current rate, which may well be higher than you’d have paid if the funds were withdrawn in retirement.

If you are younger than 59½, it’s also very likely you’ll be charged at 10% penalty on the amount you withdraw.

Scenario: Comparing 401k Returns Vs Real Estate Returns

Can I Use My 401k To Buy A House

In this video we break down a real world, side by side, comparison on ROI over 10 years. Watch the video to see what performs the best. Here are the highlights to consider.

Real estate offers the ability to factor in leverage. In a 401k your ROI percentage is calculated on the value of your overall cash portfolio. What does that mean? That means that if you have $50,000 in a 401k and your are earning 10% per year, you are earning $5,000 in interest on your money. However in real estate you may put $50,000 as a down payment into a property that is worth $500,000 and with an average appreciation of 3% , you are earning on the overall value of the property not just your cash value. 3% on a $500,000 property is $15,000 per year. In essence you are buying a bigger bank account to earn appreciation and interest on.

There is a lot more details to compare. Check out the full video above for the entire side by side comparison.

Be sure to ask us for a free quote on your next mortgage. Well personally work with you and help you through the whole process.

Signature Home Loans LLC does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. Signature Home Loans NMLS 1007154, NMLS #210917 and 1618695. Equal housing lender.

Read Also: How To Make 401k Grow Faster

Can You Use Your 401 Funds For Purchasing A Second Home Without Tax Penalties

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A 401 is a tax-qualified retirement account that provides tax benefits to employees and the self-employed. By charging a 10 percent penalty on early withdrawals, the accounts are structured to discourage you from withdrawing money before retirement.


You can use withdrawals from your 401 to purchase a second home, but you could be slapped with a 10 percent tax penalty. However, there are a several exceptions you might be able to use to sidestep the penalty. Withdrawals are not state-specific regarding penalties, but your state income tax may be affected.

Rollover To A Roth Ira

You can avoid the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty and restrictions imposed on a 401 distribution by rolling over as much as $10,000 that you’ve earmarked for building or buying your first home into a Roth IRA. However, because 401 funds are pre-tax contributions and Roth IRA contributions are post-tax, you must pay income tax on the money transferred to the Roth IRA. That means increasing your federal withholding, which will reduce your take-home pay.

Read Also: How Much Does A Solo 401k Cost

Pros And Cons Of Using A 401 Loan

How do you know if the strategy will work for you? You have to weigh the alternatives:


  • If the numbers work, a 401 down payment loan might have advantages. Compare what a monthly mortgage would cost with and without mortgage insurance, then compute how much you would have to pay back to your 401 each month if you were to borrow from it. Remember that mortgage insurance isnt tax deductible, so anything you spend on it is a loss. A 401 loan is money youre borrowing from yourself, so you dont lose anything.
  • A home is an investment that typically appreciates over time, and the equity you build in it is an asset. When you eventually sell it, you usually can pocket a lot of its appreciated value tax free. If its an investment that makes sense to you, arranging the best finance package should be part of the equation.
  • Mortgage insurance isnt cheap. Its a good idea to avoid paying it, but you need to consider your ability to repay the 401 before using it as a solution.


How Much Mortgage Do You Qualify For

Can You Take Money From 401k To Buy House

Before you start shopping, its important to get an idea of how much a lender will give you to purchase your first home. You may think you can afford a $300,000 home, but lenders may think youre only good for $200,000 based on factors like how much other debt you have, your monthly income, and how long youve been at your current job. In addition, many real estate agents will not spend time with clients who havent clarified how much they can afford to spend.

Make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before placing an offer on a home. In many instances, sellers will not even entertain an offer thats not accompanied by a mortgage pre-approval. You do this by applying for a mortgage and completing the necessary paperwork. It is beneficial to shop around for a lender and to compare interest rates and fees by using a tool like a mortgage calculator or Google searches.

Mortgage lending discrimination is illegal. If you think youve been discriminated against based on race, religion, sex, marital status, use of public assistance, national origin, disability, or age, then there are steps you can take. One such step is to file a report with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development .

Read Also: How Much Can You Put Into A 401k Per Year

Alternatives To Borrowing From Your 401

Before you borrow from a 401 to buy a home, consider whether there are other options available. For example:

  • Down payment assistance programs: Down payment assistance programs are designed to help eligible buyers with down payment and closing costs. Some programs offer grants to qualified buyers that don’t have to be repaid. Others offer matching savings programs, similar to a 401, that match every dollar you save towards your down payment, up to a certain amount.
  • Down payment gifts: If you have family members who want to support your efforts to buy a home, consider asking them to gift money for a down payment. The amount of money that can be gifted and the amount you have to put towards the down payment out of your own funds may vary based on the type of mortgage. The most important thing to remember with down payment gifts is that they must be thoroughly documented. Otherwise, the lender might not allow you to use those funds for your down payment.
  • IRA withdrawal: If you have an IRA, you can withdraw up to $10,000 from your account towards a down payment on a home without incurring the 10% early-withdrawal penalty. Be aware that if you’re withdrawing from a traditional IRA, you’ll still owe income tax on the amount you withdraw.

A Quick Review Of The 401 Rules

A 401 account is earmarked to save for retirementthat’s why account holders get the tax breaks. In return for giving a deduction on the money contributed to the plan and for letting that money grow tax-free, the government severely limits account holders’ access to the funds.

Not until you turn 59½ are you supposed to withdraw fundsor age 55, if you’ve left or lost your job. If neither is the case, and you do take money out, you incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the sum withdrawn. To add insult to injury, account holders also owe regular income tax on the amount .

Still, it is your money, and you’ve got a right to it. If you want to use the funds to buy a house, you have two options: borrow from your 401 or withdraw the money from your 401.

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Ask For Money From The Seller

Whether or not you decide to pull from your 401 for your home purchase, if you truly feel that youre unable to afford the upfront costs of buying a home, it may be a good idea to ask for money from the seller. In this scenario, the seller will pay for a portion of your closing costs upfront and raise the sale price of the home accordingly, which will allow you to pay for your closing cost overtime in the form of a slightly- higher mortgage payment.

While this may sound like a good deal, its important to note that its usually not recommended to go this route unless its absolutely necessary. Often, asking for a seller concession makes your offer appear weaker in the eyes of the seller and may make you less competitive in a hot market.

Alternatives To Using Your 401 To Buy A House

How To Use Your 401K To Buy A House

Many homebuyers assume they need a 20%down payment, which can make it seem nearly impossible to save enough cash tobuy a house.

But home buyers no longer need 20%down.

In fact, theres a long list of low- and no-down payment home loans that can lower the barrier to homeownership.

Some of the most popular low-downpayment mortgages are:

  • FHAloans allow as little as 3.5% down andonly require a 580 credit score
  • Conventional97 loans start at 3% down and require a 620+credit score
  • VAloans available to veterans and servicemembers with 0% down
  • USDAloans can be used in certain rural areaswith 0% down
  • HomeReady and Home Possible loans only require 3% down and have flexible requirementsfor first time home buyers who have little cash

But what if you dont have a 3%down payment? After all, 3% of $300,000 is $9,000 thats still a lot ofmoney.

If you need help making your downpayment, there are other places to turn before your 401. For example:

Most of these programs are specifically designed for first-time, lower-income, or lower-credit home buyers. So if youre having trouble saving for a down payment for any of these reasons, theres a good chance you could qualify.

Recommended Reading: Should I Transfer 401k To New Employer

What Is A 401k

A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that many, but not all, companies establish for their employees and often contribute some amount too. Upon enrollment in the plan, you can choose how much youd like to contribute either a set dollar amount or a percentage of your salary. That amount is then deducted from your paycheck and goes into your 401k investment plan on a pre-tax basis. As of 2019, people can invest up to $19,000 in their 401k each year.

Each plan has its own limited list of available investment options for you to choose from. If you do not select a specific plan, you will be auto-enrolled into a default investment selected by your plan provider.

The big thing to understand about a 401k is that you will be taxed upon withdrawing money from your account in retirement. It doesnt matter if the funds you withdraw came from your own contribution or the earnings from your investment in either case, the funds will be considered part of your gross income on your tax return and taxed accordingly.

Pros And Cons Of Using A 401 To Buy A House

Here are the pros and cons of using a 401 to buy a home, at a glance:

Pros of Using a 401 to Buy a House Cons of Using a 401 to Buy a House
Individuals may be able to purchase a home that they might otherwise not be able to afford. Individuals cant make regular contributions to their 401 while making loan payments.
When using a 401 loan, individuals are borrowing money from themselves, so they dont owe interest to a bank or other institution. Borrowed or withdrawn funds arent growing inside the 401 account, potentially derailing an individuals retirement savings.
Interest rates are generally low. If a person doesnt qualify for a hardship withdrawal and theyre under age 59½, withdrawals would be subject to income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.
You dont have to meet any credit requirements. If a person leaves their job before the loan is repaid, the balance owed could be deducted from the remainder of their 401 funds as an offset. For those under 59½, the amount of the offset would be considered a distribution and the borrower would owe taxes and a 10% penalty .

Also Check: How Do I Invest In My 401k

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