Mortgage Income Requirements Explained

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From conventional to government loans, there are many types of mortgages to suit borrowers with varying credit scores and financial means. While there isn’t a standard baseline income to qualify for a mortgage, you’ll generally need enough income to repay the loan. Understanding how qualifying for a mortgage works and how your income can impact the decision is crucial for prospective homeowners.

There is no single, universal income requirement to qualify for a mortgage. It all depends on the amount you need to borrow, current interest rates, and the type of loan you’re applying for. Rather than requiring a specific amount of income, mortgage lenders review your credit and financial information to determine how much mortgage you qualify for and whether you can afford the monthly mortgage payment. Lenders evaluate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to determine these answers.

Your DTI ratio, also known as the “back-end” ratio, is a measure of gross monthly income against monthly debt payments. To calculate your DTI ratio, divide your monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. While there’s no minimum income requirement for a mortgage, there are parameters around the DTI ratio that vary by loan type. For conventional loans, the DTI should be no more than 36 percent, but it can go up to 50 percent with compensating factors like a bigger down payment or higher credit score. FHA loans typically require a DTI of no more than 43 percent, while VA and USDA loans generally require a DTI of no more than 41 percent.

A low income doesn’t have to keep you from buying a house. Several loan options cater to low-income borrowers. Conventional loan programs like Fannie Mae’s HomeReady and Freddie Mac’s Home Possible offer mortgages with a minimum down payment of 3 percent. State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) loans often have low down payment requirements and provide closing cost or down payment assistance. FHA loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, have more lenient credit score and DTI ratio requirements. VA and USDA loans, which are government-guaranteed, have no down payment requirement for those who qualify. If you are in the market and aren’t sure how much you qualify for – just go to our website and fill out our purchase quick app and we can schedule a consultation.