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How To Qualify For A Mortgage

Are you ready to move from a rented house or apartment to a home of your own? The first step is to apply for a mortgage, but how do you know if you'll be approved?

We'll go through some of the considerations that lenders weigh when evaluating mortgage applications. We'll also give you some pointers on how to improve your submission.

Qualifying For A Mortgage: The Basics

Let's start with the most important considerations that lenders weigh when determining whether or not you apply for a loan.

The amount of debt you have, your credit score, your savings, and the type of property you own all play a part.


When lenders consider your loan application, one of the first items they look for is your household income. To purchase a house, you do not need to receive a certain amount of money. Your broker, on the other hand, may like to ensure if you have enough money coming in to support your mortgage payment and other expenses.

It's also important to note that when lenders measure your net revenue, they don't just look at your wages. Lenders often take into account other sources of consistent and stable profits, such as:
  • Military benefits and allowances
  • Any extra income from a side hustle
  • Alimony or child support payments
  • Commissions
  • Overtime
  • Income from investment accounts
  • Social Security payments

Lenders want to see if the income is reliable. They won't accept a source of revenue until it's guaranteed to last at least two more years. When your child support checks are due to expire after six months, your lender is unable to accept them as revenue.

Property Type

Your desire to obtain a loan would also be influenced by the form of property you want to purchase. A primary residence is the simplest form of property to purchase. When you purchase a primary house, you are purchasing a house that you want to live in for the majority of the year.

Lenders are less reckless when it comes to primary homes, which allows them to lend to more individuals. What happens if you miss a source of income or get an unwelcome charge, for example? You're most likely to put the mortgage payments first. Certain government-backed loans can only be used to buy a primary home.

Let's presume you'd rather purchase a second home or an investment property. You'll have to follow stricter credit, down payment, and debt requirements. This is due to the fact that these kinds of properties are more risky for lenders to finance.


Your lender wants to know if you can afford your premiums even though you have a financial emergency. This is where investments come into play. Assets are valuable possessions that you own. For example:
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  • IRAs, 401(k)s or any other retirement account you have

Your lender may need paperwork to validate these properties.

Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit numerical assessment of your creditor reliability. A good credit score indicates that you pay your bills on time, don't take on excessive debt, and keep a close eye on your expenses. A poor credit score might mean that you often get behind on payments or you have a history of taking on more debt than you can handle. Mortgage borrowers with good credit can choose from a wide range of loan options to pay the lowest interest rates.

To apply for most forms of loans, you'll need a FICO credit score of at least 620 points. If your credit score is below 620, you should consider an FHA loan. FHA loans are government-backed loans with less stringent interest, revenue, and credit requirements.
Debt-To-Income Ratio

Mortgage lenders like to trust if you'll be able to pay enough of the debts from the funds you get in. Since determining this based solely on your income can be daunting, most lenders put a greater emphasis on your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is a percentage that shows lenders how much of your monthly gross income goes toward needed expenses.

Calculating the DTI ratio is easy. Begin by adding up all of your recurring monthly payments. Include only costs that do not change. You may include fees such as rent, credit card minimums, and student loan payments, for example. If you have revolving loans on which you make monthly payments? Include only the bare minimum in each installment. For example, if your student loans total $15,000 but you only need to pay $150 per month, only use $150 in your calculations. Utilities, entertainment costs, and life care premiums are not included.

After that, split your gross monthly costs by your total household revenue before taxes. Include all daily and accurate revenue from all sources of your calculations. To calculate your DTI ratio, multiply the result by 100.

As a creditor, the lower your DTI ratio, the more appealing you are. To qualify for most loans, you'll need a DTI ratio of 50% or less as a general rule.

Other Factors To Consider

The considerations that lenders weigh when you apply for a mortgage aren't the only things you can think about when submitting an application. When calculating the expense of a house, don't forget to factor in private mortgage insurance and closing expenses.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Many people feel that buying a house without at least a 20% down payment is impractical. This isn't entirely accurate.

Depending on the loan form, you can purchase a house for as little as 3% down. Some government-backed loans encourage you to purchase a home with no money down. However, if you want to stop paying PMI, you'll need at least a 20% down payment.

PMI is a form of protection that safeguards your lender in the event you default on your loan. Despite the fact that PMI provides you with no guarantees as a homeowner, most mortgage lenders expect you to pay it if you put down less than 20% at closing. Through paying down your principal each month before you hit 20% equity in your house, you will get rid of your PMI.

Closing Costs

When applying for a mortgage, you must also consider closing expenses. That are the payments you pay to your lender in return for the loan being finalized. Closing expenses vary depending on where you work and the kind of loan you're taking out.

Appraisal fees, solicitor fees, and escrow fees are also typical closure costs. Closing costs usually range from 3% to 6% of the overall loan amount. Before you apply for a loan, make sure you have enough funds to fund these expenses.

How To Strengthen Your Application

Are the financial circumstances less than ideal? There are a few things you can do to boost the strength of your home loan application and increase your odds of acceptance.

Improve Your Credit

Your credit score has a huge impact on your ability to obtain a mortgage. Take a few measures to boost your reputation to increase your lending options and lower your interest rates. Here are three simple steps to being on the road to better credit.
  • Make all your payments on schedule. Building a history of on-time payments is the most straightforward way to improve your credit score. Have a note of when each of your loan and credit card payments are due, and always make the minimum payment.
  • Watch your credit utilization. Do you overspend on your credit cards every month? If this is the case, lenders would see you as a higher-risk prospect. To make the most improvement in your credit score, try to use no more than 30% of your total available credit per month.
  • Pay down your debt. Paying down loans demonstrates that you have good financial management skills and don't spend more money than you can expect to repay. Have a commitment to pay off your loans as soon as possible, and your credit score will skyrocket.

Lower Your DTI Ratio

Reduce your debt-to-income ratio to free up enough cash for a down payment – it makes you a more attractive candidate to lenders. There are two primary methods for lowering the DTI ratio:
  • Reduce your bills.Use all of your excess monthly revenue to pay off loans and downsize your home to save money.
  • Increase your income. Request a raise at work, start a side business, or aim for more hours on each of your paychecks.

Both of these approaches are difficult, but they will greatly increase the odds of getting a loan.

Save For A Bigger Down Payment

A larger down payment lowers the amount you'll need to borrow from your lender. This reduces the lender's liability and they will lose less revenue if you default. Saving for a bigger down payment will make you a more attractive choice for a loan, and it can also persuade a lender to give you a break in some aspects of your application. To help you save money for a down payment, consider the following suggestions:
  • Budget for savings.Examine your financial spending to figure out how much you can save per month. Keep the down payment money in a special bank account to not using all of it.
  • Pick up a side hustle.It's never been easier to supplement your income outside of your regular work in the on-demand "gig" market. Drive with a ridesharing app, collect meals for local companies, or use a platform like TaskRabbit to pick up a few extra jobs.Online marketplaces such as eBay, Poshmark, and ThredUp make it easier to sell items you no longer need. Look around the house for anything you think you should sell and put them on the market.
  • Sell some of your things.Online marketplaces such as eBay, Poshmark, and ThredUp make it easier to sell items you no longer need. Look around the house for anything you think you should sell and put them on the market.

Explore Government-Backed Loans

Government-insured loans are a form of lending that is backed by the federal government's insurance. This ensures that if you default on your debt, the governing authority pays the bill on behalf of your lender. Lenders take less chances of government-backed loans, and borrowers must meet less requirements. Government loans, on the other hand, have their own set of requirements that must be met before you can apply.

Government loans are divided into three categories:
  • USDA loans: The United States Department of Agriculture insures USDA loans. They loans will help you buy a home with no capital down in a qualified rural or suburban environment.
  • VA loans: The Department of Veterans Affairs backs VA loans. With a VA loan, you can buy a home with no money down.
  • FHA loans: The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA loans. FHA loans have lenient collateral and income conditions, allowing you to get a mortgage with as little as a 3.5 percent down payment.


Ready for a mortgage? The first move is to obtain preapproval for a loan. Preapprovals tell you how much money you can borrow for a house that can help you start looking for your ideal home.