What Is an Assumable Mortgage?


Susan Kelly

Apr 03, 2023

When it comes to buying a home, the mortgage process can often seem overwhelming. There are a variety of mortgage types, each with its own set of terms and conditions. One such mortgage type that may be unfamiliar to some is an assumable mortgage. We'll discuss the steps involved in assuming a mortgage, the documentation required, and the potential risks involved. Whether you're a prospective homebuyer or a current homeowner, understanding the ins and outs of assumable mortgages can help you make informed decisions about your financing options.

Definition of an Assumable Mortgage

An assumable mortgage is a type of home loan that allows the buyer of a property to take over the existing mortgage terms and payments from the seller. Essentially, the buyer assumes the mortgage responsibility of the seller, including the remaining balance, interest rate, and repayment period.

Types of Assumable Mortgages - Qualifying and Non-qualifying

A qualifying assumable mortgage requires the new borrower to meet the same credit and income requirements as the original borrower. A non-qualifying assumable mortgage, on the other hand, does not require the new borrower to go through the same qualification process.

The key difference between assumable and non-assumable mortgages is that in the former case, the buyer takes over the existing mortgage with the same terms and conditions, while in the latter case, the buyer must obtain a new mortgage with new terms and conditions. This means that an assumable mortgage can offer several advantages to buyers, including lower interest rates, lower closing costs, and a faster qualification process.

Advantages of an Assumable Mortgage

Lower interest rates: If the interest rate on the existing mortgage is lower than the current market rate, the new borrower can assume the mortgage and save money on interest payments over the life of the loan. This can be particularly beneficial if interest rates have risen since the original mortgage was taken out.

Fewer closing costs: Assuming an existing mortgage can also save the buyer on closing costs. Since the original mortgage is already in place, the buyer does not need to pay for a new appraisal, title search, or other closing costs associated with obtaining a new mortgage.

Easier qualification process: Qualifying for a new mortgage can be a lengthy and complex process, requiring extensive documentation of income, credit score, and other financial factors. Assuming an existing mortgage can be a simpler and faster process, especially if the mortgage is non-qualifying.

Faster processing time: Assuming an existing mortgage can also result in a faster closing process. Since much of the documentation and underwriting has already been completed for the original mortgage, the process of assuming the mortgage can be faster than applying for a new mortgage.

How to Assume an Assumable Mortgage

First, you'll need to find a property with an assumable mortgage. Not all mortgages are assumable, so you'll need to specifically look for properties that have this type of mortgage. You can start by contacting a real estate agent, checking online listings, or asking the seller directly.

Once you've found a property with an assumable mortgage, you'll need to confirm the terms of the mortgage with the lender. This may involve obtaining a copy of the original mortgage agreement and reviewing the interest rate, payment schedule, and other details.

Assuming an existing mortgage can affect the purchase price of the property. The seller may be willing to accept a lower price since the buyer is taking over the existing mortgage. Alternatively, the seller may ask for a higher price to compensate for the benefits of the assumable mortgage. Negotiating the purchase price is a key step in the process.

Once the purchase price has been agreed upon, you'll need to complete the paperwork for assuming the mortgage. This may involve filling out an assumption application, providing financial documentation, and paying any fees associated with the assumption process.

The lender will need to approve the assumption of the mortgage. This may involve a credit check and other verification of the new borrower's financial status. Once the lender has approved the assumption, the closing process can proceed.

Finally, the sale can be closed with the buyer assuming the existing mortgage. The seller will receive payment for the sale, and the new borrower will take over the mortgage payments and responsibilities.

Risks of an Assumable Mortgage

Potential for higher interest rates

While an assumable mortgage may have a lower interest rate than the current market rate, it's also possible that the interest rate on the existing mortgage is higher than the current rate. If this is the case, the new borrower may end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

Restrictions and limitations

Even if a mortgage is assumable, the lender may have restrictions or limitations on who can assume the mortgage. For example, the lender may require the new borrower to meet certain credit score or income requirements. There may also be restrictions on how the mortgage can be assumed or what terms can be changed.

Limited negotiating power

When assuming an existing mortgage, the new borrower has limited negotiating power over the terms of the mortgage. The interest rate, payment schedule, and other terms have already been set by the original borrower and lender. This can limit the new borrower's ability to negotiate better terms or lower rates.

Potential for hidden costs

Assuming an existing mortgage can also come with hidden costs. For example, the lender may charge an assumption fee or require the new borrower to pay for a new appraisal or other fees. These costs can add up quickly and reduce the overall savings of assuming the mortgage.

Responsibility for the original borrower's debt

When assuming an existing mortgage, the new borrower is taking on the responsibility for the original borrower's debt. If the original borrower defaults on the mortgage or fails to make payments, the new borrower could be held responsible for the debt and potentially face foreclosure.


An assumable mortgage can be a valuable option for homebuyers who are looking for ways to save money on their mortgage payments. By assuming an existing mortgage, homebuyers can take advantage of lower interest rates and potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

However, it's important to carefully consider the risks and limitations of an assumable mortgage before making a decision. Homebuyers should be aware of potential restrictions on who can assume the mortgage, the possibility of higher interest rates, and the potential for hidden costs.

Overall, assuming an existing mortgage can be a viable option for homebuyers who are willing to do their research and carefully weigh the pros and cons. As with any major financial decision, it's important to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, lender, or financial advisor to ensure that you make an informed and confident decision.


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