Tips to get a Mortgage When You Have Loans

I’m not quite sure if this happened, but I’ve become obsessed with property — and by that, I am talking about looking at apartments on Zillow and Trulia, while daydreaming about all of the possibilities of “my new home.”

But around I must dip my toes into homeownership, I’m among the 44.7 million Americans who've student education loans, which means that getting a mortgage with favorable terms (aka a sweet rate of interest and affordable payment) can be tricky.

Still, I don’t wish to miss out.

So, Used to do some investigation and spoke with a member of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME), to come up with an agenda to improve my chances (and yours, too) of securing a home loan while juggling student debt.

How student loans could affect what you can do to buy a house

Technically speaking, having student loans won’t automatically disqualify you from the house buying race.

However, they can affect these three factors, that are crucial for getting a mortgage:

  • Your deposit.
  • Your credit rating.
  • Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Let’s examine each of these carefully.

Your down payment

One of the methods student loans can affect your ability to obtain a mortgage is as simple as inhibiting how much you can save each month for any down payment.

The guideline used to be that you needed to put at least 20% recorded on a house to obtain the loan, but that’s no more the case.

Rocket Mortgage, which is among the nation’s top mortgage lenders, reports the average deposit in the U.S. is really 6%. However, it’s easy to get a house with as little as 0% down, with respect to the kind of mortgage you get (more on that later).

There is a very valid argument, as there has been, for putting down the full 20%, though. Whenever you put more down, your housing payment will be lower, that make balancing mortgage and student loan payments much more realistic.

How much you’ll need to have saved (whether you opt for a 20% down payment or not) will ultimately depend on the need for the house you need to purchase.

For example, say you stay with a nice low quantity of $150,000 for the first home, you’d need $30,000 for any 20% down payment. Or, should you opted for the nation's average of 6%, you’d need $9,000.

How to tackle this

  • Apply for down payment assistance. There are many programs at the federal, state, and native levels that offer deposit assistance for first-time homebuyers, you should check an entire list here.
  • Tap into your IRA. The IRS enables you to withdraw as much as $10k out of your IRA, without penalty, for the purchase of the first home.
  • Borrow money from your 401(k). You’re typically allowed to borrow up to half of the 401(k) balance for that acquisition of your first home. While you can do that, drawing out of your retirement account ought to be one of your last options (you can read why within our article here). 
  • Consider refinancing private student loans or applying for an income-driven repayment schedule (IDR) for those who have federal loans. Both of these options will help you decrease your monthly obligations, and permit you to definitely spend less money every month.

Your credit score

Jamie Cavanaugh, chief operating officer at Amerifund Mortgage loans and person in the Association of Independent Mortgage experts, says that besides determining your eligibility for a mortgage, your credit score may be the sole most important factor in determining your interest rate. 

She also stresses that having student education loans isn’t necessarily harmful to your credit. In fact, if managed responsibly, your student debt can in fact operate in your favor.

The issue comes whenever you:

  • Have past late or missed payments.
  • Owe a lot more than what you originally borrowed.

Both of those things can significantly drag your credit, since your payment history, and amounts owed take into account 35% and 30% of the credit rating, respectively.

So, what’s a favorable credit record to obtain a mortgage?

If you’re taking a conventional loan, which is any kind of mortgage that isn’t backed through the government, you’ll need a credit rating of at least 620 to qualify. If you’re applying for a government-backed loan, for example an FHA loan or perhaps a VA loan, then you’ll need a score of at least 580 to qualify. Cavanaugh says:

“Anything on the 740 credit rating is considered top-tier or excellent credit. If it falls between the window of a 687 to 739, that’s where your higher rates of interest are likely to are available in.”

How to tackle this

  • Pay all of your bills on time, including your student education loans. Late or missed payments can stay on your credit rating for up to seven years. Make sure you pay everything on time or talk to creditors if you’re going to be late on a particular month, to see if they can give you a timeframe to pay for before reporting any negative activity towards the credit bureaus.
  • Keep debt away and pay off balances, if at all possible. Most students can’t manage to pay their loans while in school. Once they graduate, all that unpaid interest becomes area of the principal balance. This is how you end up owing more than what you originally borrowed. The best way to attack this really is by avoiding additional debt at all costs, plus putting any extra money that comes your way toward lowering your student loan balance.
  • Check your credit report for mistakes. Some of the most common errors you’ll find in your report are closed accounts that appear open, debts that appear more than once, or incorrect balances. Before you apply for any mortgage, request a duplicate of the credit report, to ensure everything is in order. You can aquire a free copy by visiting Contrary seems amiss, you can report it towards the bureaus, so they can correct it.

Your DTI

The debt-to-income ratio or DTI is really a percentage that compares your monthly debt payments for your monthly gross income — in other words, how much you've left after spending money on everything else. This is through essential for lenders as it allows them to be aware of mortgage payment you’d have the ability to afford.

Cavanaugh states that,

“the debt-to-income ratio is a pass or fail scenario. The loan is either approvable with that DTI or otherwise.” 

In this particular case, your education loan balance doesn’t matter as much as your monthly obligations. If they are around the higher side, or compromise a significant portion of your monthly income, this could basically enable you to get denied for a mortgage.

So, what’s a perfect DTI to obtain a mortgage?

According towards the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you’ll need a DTI of 43% or less, to become approved for any conventional mortgage. However, government-backed loans tend to be more flexible with this measure.

You can calculate your DTI with the addition of all of your minimum debt payments (excluding utilities and subscriptions) and dividing it from your monthly revenues. You can also use our calculator making your lifetime much easier.

How to tackle this

  • Pay off debt. Much like together with your credit score, one way to enhance your DTI is as simple as reducing just how much you owe. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to pay off all your debt before you apply for any mortgage but simply enough to reduce your minimum due, to free up a bigger portion of your monthly income.
  • Apply for an income-driven repayment plan for those who have federal loans. By having an income-driven repayment schedule (IDR), your student loan payments derive from just how much you get, which could ultimately result in a lower payment per month and DTI.
  • Refinance your private student loans. For those who have private student education loans, you can try refinancing these to lower your payment per month, which could also help your DTI. However, there’s a caveat: refinancing financing implies that you’re transferring these to a new account that doesn’t have any payment history, or isn’t well-established. This might temporarily lower your credit score by a few points, based on Cavanaugh, so if you do this, give it a few months to “marinate” before you apply for any mortgage.

Additional ideas to purchase a house with student loans

Avoid coming to a huge life changes right before you apply

I’m all about supporting everyone in their quest for their dream job; however, if you’re trying to get a home loan, now may not be the best time for you to switch careers.

Cavanaugh says that one of the qualifying factors lenders look at when you obtain a mortgage is the employment history.

She says that switching jobs won’t necessarily affect your odds of getting approved for that loan, so long as you stay within the same line of work, are now being compensated in a similar way, or earning more, and you’re still a W-2 employee.

The issue comes whenever you switch lines of labor. Should this happen, then you’ll have to wait a little longer to apply for a mortgage, so that you can convince the lending company that you've a steady job and income.

Other stuff you should avoid right before you apply for a mortgage

  • Applying for brand new credit lines.
  • Closing accounts you’ve paid off.
  • Refinancing debt.

These things could affect your credit rating temporarily, therefore if you’ve done any of the above as of recently, it’s best to wait two months before taking the plunge.

Explore all sorts of mortgage

There are two main types of mortgages: conventional and government-backed. Conventional loans are usually stiffer when it comes to credit requirements and the quantity of the deposit than government-backed loans, as they are originated according to risk.

Government-backed loans, like FHA, VA, and USDA are more lenient, as they are insured by a particular government agency. Quite simply, if you default, these agencies will require the fall. 

When searching for a mortgage, Cavanaugh says to understand more about all your options, while you may potentially save money, plus improve your chances of approval, particularly if you obtain a government-backed loan.

With a government-backed loan, you can qualify with a credit rating as little as 580, plus you’ll be required to pay a lower deposit. For example, FHA loans typically require 3.5% down, while VA loans don’t need you to put anything down at all. 

Set up an appointment with your new closest friend: the home loan officer

Before you call your realtor and go house hunting, be sure you book an appointment having a home loan officer to get pre-approved.


Getting pre-approved will give you a concept of just how much house you can borrow, plus can accelerate the home shopping process since you’ll cover the cost of an offer faster.

Here are some of the things you’ll need for this part:

  • Your driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID.
  • Copies of the two newest pay stubs.
  • Your social security number.
  • Tax returns in the past 2 yrs.
  • 60 days of bank statements.
  • Asset account statements (retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc.).

Of course, you may also get pre-approved online, and shop and compare rates by yourself utilizing a website such as the cherry on the top? Cavanaugh states that most mortgage officers won’t charge you anything at all for just about any of those services. They merely get paid once the loan closes, and also the money comes out from the lender’s pocket, not yours


When you've student loans, purchasing a house can seem to be like a balanced exercise. But with meticulous planning and an ounce of patience, you are able to successfully overcome many of these hurdles, and, before very long, possess a spot to call your personal.

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