Cash-Out Refinance in Texas | Rules & Waiting Period 2024

By: Erik J. Martin Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
January 1, 2024 - 12 min read

Does Texas allow cash-out refinancing?

If you have enough home equity, it’s absolutely possible to get a cash-out refinance in Texas.

Although Texas cash-out refinance rules are a little different than in other states, they’re no longer as strict as they used to be.

As long as you have decent credit and more than 20% home equity, you should be able to refinance your mortgage and pull cash out from your home. And with high equity levels nationwide, many Texans will easily meet those requirements.

Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

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How does the Texas cash-out refinance loan work?

Cash-out refinancing in Texas works somewhat differently from other states due to specific regulations and guidelines set by the Texas state government. We explore these in more detail below.

A Texas cash-out refinance is also called a Section 50(a)(6) loan, or simply an “A6 loan.” It replaces your existing mortgage with a new, larger loan, allowing you to access a portion of your home’s equity as cash.

Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

Much like any cash-out refi, you borrow more than you currently owe on your mortgage, and the difference between the old loan balance and the new loan amount is provided to you as a lump sum. You can use the funds for whatever you like, but typically they are used for purposes such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or other financial needs.

Texas cash-out refinance rules

Prior to 2018, state law discouraged cash-out refis. But Texas lawmakers have eased these regulations in recent years.

“Any homeowner is eligible for this Texas cash-out refinancing loan. You simply need to have earned more than 20% equity in your home,” says Herb Ziev, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist in Texas.

Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

There are still a few Texas-specific cash-out refi rules to know about, though:

  • Closing costs charged by your lender cannot exceed 2% of your loan amount. This does not apply to third-party closing costs like attorney fees, appraisal fees, and title insurance fees. It applies only to fees charged by your lender such as loan origination and processing fees
  • Your new loan amount cannot exceed 80% of your home’s value. That means you must leave 20% equity untouched when cashing out. For example, if the value of your home is $200,000, you could borrow up to $160,000. If you owed $120,000 on your existing mortgage, you could borrow up to $40,000 cash back
  • All liens (second mortgages) must be paid off. If you already have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), your new cash-out refi will have to pay off these loans as well as your primary mortgage. This could reduce the amount of equity you’re able to withdraw
  • You’ll need to wait six months to refi after initially buying the home. You’re eligible for a cash-out refinance in Texas only when you’ve had your existing mortgage loan for at least six months. Also, you can’t get a new cash-out refi unless it’s been a year since your last one
  • Waiting times after foreclosure, bankruptcy, or short sale. You’ll have to wait seven years after a foreclosure, four years after a bankruptcy, and four years after a short sale before you can qualify for a Texas 50(a)(6) cash-out refinance
  • There are no cash-out mortgages backed by the federal government. That means there’s no FHA cash-out refinance or VA cash-out refinance allowed in Texas
  • You can’t take out a home equity loan or HELOC (second lien) if you already have a Texas cash-out loan in place
  • Texas cash-out refinance loan rules apply only to your primary residence. In other words, investment properties and second homes are not bound by these rules

Prior to 2018, Texas had even stricter limitations on cash-out refinance loans for agricultural property. Current laws have eased this restriction, too.

Mary Dinkins, regional vice president with Cornerstone Home Lending in Dallas, says any primary residence qualifies so long as it doesn’t exceed 10 acres. “Rural properties can be considered up to 100 acres,” she adds.

What credit score is needed for a Texas cash-out refinance?

While requirements will vary, most cash-out refinance lenders in Texas will require:

  • A credit score of at least 620. However, we have seen some lenders require scores as high as 660
  • A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of 43% or less
Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

The state does not set these underwriting rules. Instead, private mortgage lenders can decide whether you’d qualify for a new mortgage loan based on your credit profile.

That’s not to say a bank has the freedom to approve you even if you have a bad credit score or a super high DTI. Lenders still have to stay within Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulations for conventional loans.

But mortgage lenders do have some leeway. If your credit score isn’t great but you have a low DTI, for example, a lender might make an exception and approve you. This is why it’s so important to shop around between different lenders. Current law in Texas has made shopping around a little easier for cash-out refinance customers.

The state now allows savings and loan associations, credit unions, bank subsidiaries, mortgage companies, and mortgage bankers to offer cash-out refinance loans. So you can shop around with a wide range of lenders to find the best rate and terms on your cash-out loan.

Verify your cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

Texas cash-out refinance process

While the steps involved can vary from one Texas lender to the next, here’s what you can often expect.

1. Check your credit

Check your credit score before applying for any loans. There are free and low-cost services available online. If you haven’t done so in the last 12 months, you can also request a free copy from the three major credit reporting agencies.

2. Home appraisal

Depending on the lender, you may be required to pay for a home appraisal to confirm the property’s value, which could cost you a few hundred dollars. Don’t forget to let your lender and the home appraiser know about any repairs or improvements you’ve made to the house since you bought it.

3. Lock your rate

You might prefer to lock in the interest rate quote as soon as possible. This protects you during the closing process, which could take up to 45 days to finish. However, if interest rates drop during that time, you may end up paying a higher rate than necessary. Additionally, some lenders may charge a fee for locking in your interest rate.

4. Sign a 12-day letter

In order to get a cash-out refinance in Texas, homeowners have to sign a letter that explains how the process works. Even though cash-out loans may take less time to finish, the law requires that there be a 12-day wait between the application and the loan closing.

5. Underwriting and closing the loan

The loan will proceed to the closing stage once all required documentation and verifications have been completed. The closing agent will coordinate the signing of final documents, funds disbursement, and recording of the new mortgage with the county recorder’s office. This procedure can take several days to several weeks.

How soon can I replace my Texas cash-out refi?

In Texas, there is a specific waiting period before you can replace your cash-out refinance with another refinance transaction. According to Texas law, you must wait at least 12 months from the closing date of your cash-out refinance before you can refinance your mortgage again, whether it’s another cash-out refinance or a rate-and-term refinance.

It’s important to note that even if you are refinancing without taking cash out after completing a cash-out refinance, the transaction will still be considered a cash-out refinance due to the “once a Texas cash-out, always a Texas cash-out” rule. This means that the 80% loan-to-value (LTV) limitation will apply to any future refinancing, regardless of whether you take additional cash out or not.

Pros and cons: Texas cash-out refinance

When considering a cash-out refinance in the state of Texas, it’s important to weigh both the advantages and drawbacks to determine if this financial decision aligns with your needs as a home buyer and your current mortgage situation.

Benefits of a Texas cash-out refinance

1. Tap home equity: Texas cash-out refinance allows homeowners to access the equity built up in their homes, providing a lump sum of cash that can be used for various purposes.

2. Mortgage refinance: This option replaces the current mortgage with a new one, potentially at a lower interest rate or better terms, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments.

3. Debt consolidation: Homeowners can use the cash from the refinance to pay off high-interest debts, like credit cards or student loans, consolidating them into a single, lower-interest loan.

Disadvantages of a cash-out refinance in Texas

1. Risk of foreclosure: Since Texas cash-out refinance uses the home as collateral, failure to make mortgage payments can risk foreclosure.

2. Closing costs and fees: This process involves closing costs and fees, which can be significant and add to the total loan amount.

3. Loan application process: Any mortgage refinance will require another loan application, and a Texas cash-out refinance can be complex, requiring thorough documentation and interactions with a loan officer.

4. Potential for higher interest rates: Depending on the market and the borrower’s credit score, the interest rate for a Texas cash-out refinance might be higher than the current mortgage.

Texas cash-out refinance alternatives

When exploring options beyond a Texas cash-out refinance, it’s beneficial to consider several alternatives that can also meet your financial needs.

Rate-and-term refinance

A rate-and-term refinance is an alternative to Texas cash-out refinancing, focusing on adjusting the interest rate and term of your current mortgage. It’s an ideal choice for homeowners looking to secure a lower interest rate or change the loan duration without extracting cash from their home equity.

Check your mortgage refinance options. Start here

Streamline Refinance for FHA, USDA, or VA Loans

If you currently have an FHA, USDA, or VA loan, considering a Streamline Refinance might be beneficial. This refinancing option can help you obtain a new mortgage with potentially lower interest rates, while saving on time and closing costs. It’s designed for simplicity and efficiency, often requiring less paperwork and fewer upfront costs compared to traditional refinancing.

Check your Streamline Refinance options. Start here

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit is another option, offering flexibility and access to funds up to a certain limit based on your home equity. Unlike the lump sum of a cash-out refinance, a HELOC provides a revolving credit line, usually at a lower interest rate. This makes it a useful choice for ongoing expenses or projects where total costs might vary.

Check your HELOC options. Start here

Home equity loans

Home equity loans are a straightforward alternative to Texas cash-out refinance loans. They offer a fixed lump sum, based on your home’s equity, while keeping your original mortgage intact.

Check your home equity loan options. Start here

Home equity loans typically come with fixed interest rates and a set repayment schedule, making them a suitable option for homeowners who need a specific amount of money for large expenses but wish to retain their current mortgage terms.

Texas cash-out refinance FAQ

Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility. Start here

Does Texas allow cash-out refinancing?

Yes, homeowners in the state of Texas who have built enough home equity can get a cash-out refinance loan. The Texas constitution has eased its regulations on this type of loan, making them even easier to use.

What is a Texas 50(a)(6) loan?

A Texas 50(a)(6) loan is essentially a Texas cash-out refinance option, governed by Section 50 of Article XVI of the Texas constitution. Often, lenders will refer to Texas cash-out refinances as A6 loans, highlighting their unique status in the state’s real estate and mortgage regulations.

How does a cash-out refinance work in Texas?

In the state of Texas, a cash-out refinance not only settles your primary mortgage but also clears any secondary mortgages or credit lines you might hold against your property. This type of refinance can provide a cash sum if your home equity supports it, after settling all existing liens. Legally, a Texas cash-out refinance must leave a minimum of 20% of your home’s equity untouched, affecting the loan terms and possibly your monthly payments.

What is the maximum cash-out refinance amount in Texas?

The amount you can borrow through a cash-out refinance in Texas is capped at your county’s conforming loan limits, and you’re limited to borrowing up to 80% of your home’s value. This is known as the loan-to-value ratio (LTV). For example, on a $500,000 home, you might be eligible for a $400,000 loan under a Texas cash-out refinance. If your existing mortgage balance is $300,000, you could potentially receive $100,000 in cash.

Is an appraisal required on a Texas cash-out refinance?

Yes, cash-out refinance loans require a new appraisal to find your home’s current market value.

Can you cash-out refinance an FHA loan in Texas?

Yes, replacing an FHA-insured loan with a Texas cash-out refinance is possible, provided you adhere to lender guidelines and state laws. While FHA loans offer competitive mortgage rates for those with average credit scores and include ongoing mortgage insurance premiums (MIP), a Texas cash-out refinance can help eliminate these premiums.

How much equity do you need for a cash-out refinance?

You’ll need more than 20% equity in your home to benefit from a cash-out refinance loan in Texas. That’s because you’ll have to leave at least 20% of your home’s equity untouched. For instance, on a home valued at $400,000, a Texas cash-out refinance would allow you to borrow up to $320,000 (80% of the home value), with the remaining 20% ($80,000) preserved. The amount of cash you can receive depends on your existing mortgage balance.

How many times can you use a cash-out refinance in Texas?

The Texas Constitution does not limit the number of cash-out refinance loans you can get on one home. But it does require you to wait at least a year between cash-out refinancing. In practice, you couldn’t likely get Texas cash-out refinance loans every year anyway. You’d need to wait long enough for your equity to build back up before you could benefit from a second cash-out refinance. That could take years unless property values are rising dramatically in your area.

Check your Texas cash-out refinance eligibility

Not everyone will qualify for a cash-out refinance in Texas, but for those who do, it can be a great program.

Check your eligibility with Texas-approved lenders, and be sure to shop around with at least three or four lenders to make sure you’re getting a good rate.

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Erik J. Martin
Authored By: Erik J. Martin
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Erik J. Martin has written on real estate, business, tech and other topics for Reader's Digest, AARP The Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.
Ryan Tronier
Updated By: Ryan Tronier
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Ryan Tronier is a personal finance writer and editor. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.