Loan-to-Value or LTV Ratio: What You Need to Know Before You Buy?

LTV Ratio

When you are in the market to acquire a home, you will likely require a mortgage loan in order to finance the acquisition of the property. One of the key factors that lenders use to determine your eligibility for a loan is the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss what the LTV ratio is, how it affects your mortgage loan, and what you need to know before you buy a home.

What is the Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio?

The Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio is a calculation that compares the amount of the loan you’re requesting to the appraised value of the property. It’s expressed as a percentage and helps lenders find out how risky it is to lend you money. A higher LTV ratio means you’re borrowing more money relative to the value of the property, which increases the risk for the lender.

For example, if you want to purchase a home that’s appraised at $200,000 and you’re putting down $20,000 as a down payment, your loan amount would be $180,000. This means your LTV ratio is 90 percent ($180,000 divided by $200,000).

Why is the LTV Ratio Important?

The LTV ratio is important because it helps lenders determine the level of risk associated with a loan. A high LTV ratio indicates that the borrower is borrowing a large percentage of the value of the property, which makes the loan riskier for the lender. This is because if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender cannot recoup the full amount of the loan through the sale of the property.

Additionally, the LTV ratio can also affect the terms of your loan. Generally, lenders prefer borrowers with a less LTV ratio because it indicates that the borrower has a larger stake in the property and is less likely to default on the loan. Borrowers with a high LTV ratio may be needed to pay for private mortgage insurance or may be charged a higher interest rate to compensate for the increased risk.

What LTV Ratio Do I Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

The LTV ratio requirements vary based on the lender and the type of loan for which you are applying. Generally, conventional loans require a maximum LTV ratio of 80 percent, which means you need to put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. However, there are some government-backed loans, such as FHA loans and VA loans, that may allow for a higher LTV ratio.

It’s important to note that even if you meet the LTV ratio requirements, lenders will still consider other factors, such as your credit score and debt-to-income ratio when determining your eligibility for a loan.

How Can I Improve My LTV Ratio?

There are some ways you can improve your LTV ratio:

  1. Save for a larger down payment: The more money you put down, the lower your LTV ratio will be.
  2. Consider a lower-priced property: If you need help meeting the LTV ratio requirements, consider looking for a less expensive property.
  3. Improve your credit score: A higher credit score can increase your likelihood of loan approval and may result in a reduced interest rate, which can help reduce your LTV ratio.
  4. Pay down other debts: Lowering your debt-to-income ratio can improve your overall financial profile and may make you a stronger candidate for a loan.

What Are the Pros & Cons of a High LTV Ratio?

There are both pros & cons to having a high LTV ratio. Let’s take a closer look:


  1. Lower down payment: A higher LTV ratio means you can put less money down upfront, which can be helpful if you’re struggling to save for a down payment.
  2. Ability to purchase a more expensive property: With a higher LTV ratio, you may be able to afford an expensive property than if you had to put down a larger down payment.


  1. Higher interest rates: A high LTV ratio may result in a higher interest rate, which means you will end up paying more interest cost over the life of the loan.
  2. Private mortgage insurance (PMI): If your LTV ratio is above a certain threshold, you may be required to pay for PMI, which can add to your monthly expenses.
  3. Higher risk of default: A high LTV ratio indicates that you’re borrowing a large percentage of the value of the property, which makes the loan riskier for the lender and may increase your chances of defaulting on the loan.

In general, it’s best to aim for a lower LTV ratio, as this can result in lower interest rates and fewer additional fees.

What Else Should I Know About the LTV Ratio?

Here are a couple of more pointers to bear in mind when it comes to the LTV ratio:

  1. The appraised value of the property is determined by an independent appraiser hired by the lender. This appraisal was determined based on considerations such as the state of the property, its location, and the most recent sales of properties that are comparable to it in the neighborhood.
  2. If you’re struggling to meet the LTV ratio requirements, you may be able to find alternative loan options, such as a piggyback loan or a home equity line of credit, that can help you finance your home purchase.
  3. Your LTV ratio may change over time. As you pay down your mortgage, your LTV ratio will decrease, which may result in lower interest rates or the ability to refinance your loan.


In conclusion, while applying for a mortgage loan, the Loan-to-Value ratio (also known as the LTV ratio) is an important element to take into consideration. It assists lenders in determining whether or not they should extend credit to you, the conditions of any such loan, and the level of risk involved in doing so. You may enhance your chances of getting accepted for a loan and save money over the course of the life of your mortgage if you have a better understanding of how the LTV ratio operates and take action to improve it.


What is a good LTV ratio for a home purchase?

Aim for a lower LTV ratio, as this can result in lower interest rates and fewer additional fees. A good LTV ratio is typically around 80%, meaning you’re putting down a 20% down payment. However, based on circumstances such as your credit score, income, and employment history, certain lenders will likely be open to the idea of approving a loan with a greater LTV ratio.

How is the LTV ratio calculated?

To determine the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, divide the total amount of the loan by the property’s estimated market value. For example, if you’re borrowing $200,000 to purchase a home that is appraised at $250,000, your LTV ratio would be 80%.

Can I improve my LTV ratio after I’ve already purchased my home?

Yes, you can improve your LTV ratio by making extra payments towards your mortgage principal or by having your property re-appraised. If the appraised value of your home has increased since you purchased it, this could result in a lower LTV ratio and potentially lower interest rates or the ability to refinance your loan.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance, and how does it relate to the LTV ratio?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a form of insurance that safeguards the lender in the event that the borrower cannot repay the loan. If your loan-to-value ratio is more than a specific level, which is often 80%, you may be compelled to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can make your monthly costs more expensive. Once your LTV ratio drops below the threshold, you can cancel your PMI.

Can I get a loan with a high LTV ratio?

Yes, some lenders may be prepared to approve a loan with a high LTV ratio, but you must consider the potential drawbacks, such as higher interest rates and additional fees. A PMI premium may also be required if your LTV ratio exceeds a certain threshold. It is essential to consider the pros and cons and determine if a higher LTV ratio is the best choice for your particular situation.

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