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"How Do I Qualify for a Mortgage?"

Jay Marks

Jay has been selling real estate since 1993 and has had the opportunity to help several thousand clients buy and sell real estate over those 25 years ...

Jay has been selling real estate since 1993 and has had the opportunity to help several thousand clients buy and sell real estate over those 25 years ...

Dec 11 3 minutes read

Buying a home can seem daunting. So we're here to make it as simple as possible.

These are just some general guidelines when it comes to qualifying for a loan. Keep in mind that there are all kind of programs lenders can offer with a variety of requirements and qualifications.

"How much of a down payment do I need to have?"

Depending on which kind of loan you have, you can have anywhere from a 0%-20% down payment. VA loans do not require a down payment; FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment with a certain credit score; and Conventional loans require anywhere from a 5-20% down payment.

If your down payment is less than 20%, your lender will require private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect themselves. (However, there are some loan types available that do not require PMI, such as VA loans).

"What does my credit score need to be?"

The easy answer? A good one. Most lenders ideally want you to have a score of 680 or higher for "A" loans, but some have programs for those with lower scores. In your initial conversation with a lender, they can also recommend actions you can take to improve your credit score if necessary. Also keep in mind that the better your credit score, the better interest rate you'll receive.

"How much money do I need to make?"

When pre-approving you for a loan, a lender will take into strong consideration your debt-to-income ratio. They'll take into account your housing ratio (anticipated monthly house payment plus other costs of home ownership) as well as your debt ratio (monthly installments or revolving debt in addition to housing expenses). 

In order to qualify for a loan, you need to be able to prove that your income is sufficient to cover the cost of your mortgage as well as other expenses. If you have a salaried job, this is generally easy to prove. If you are self-employed or have a commission-based job, your lender will require additional documentation to prove that your income is sufficient and consistent enough.

"What will I need to provide to my lender?"

Each lender will require different documentation for each type of loan and each personal situation. However, as a general rule of thumb, you'll need to provide the following:

  • W2’s from the past 2 years 
  • 3 months worth of pay-stubs 
  • Bank statements (past 3 months) 
  • Previous 2 years of tax returns 
  • List of your debts and assets 
  • Additional income documentation


The best way to find out if you qualify is to speak with a lender! We'll set you up with a lender off our preferred list for a consultation.

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