Refinancing a mortgage: Need 20% equity?

Question by Walter Carlos: Refinancing a mortgage: Need 20% equity?
Don’t know much about refinancing. I am currently on a mortgage alone, but would like to add my wife through a re-finance down the road. I went FHA because I didn’t have a down payment of 20%. If I try to go to my local credit union, are they likely to require that the home appraises above 20% of what I owe?

For example, let’s say I bought my home, through FHA and finance at $ 200,000. If market conditions improve by the time I’ve paid the principal down 5%, will a bank appraise at market values or will they appraise at the value I owe on the former loan? i.e. even if comps in my area appraise at $ 228,000+ they will appraise my home at my current mortgage encumbrance of $ 190,000?

I know appraisers typically “hit the target” or base their appraisals on the asking price of the sale. Not sure what happens with refinances. Do they try to hit the target of over 20% of what you owe or just outright deny the refinance if haven’t paid down 20% of the principal?

Best answer:

Answer by A Hunch
Yes, to refinance you will need at least 80% equity.
You can get this by the house increasing in value = so you have increased equity because it is worth more
Or you can get this by paying down the mortgage.

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