What does it take to qualify for a home loan?

The days of the easy money, and just about everyone getting a home loan are long gone. Today, mortgage lenders are required to prove and document your ability to safely afford the house payment, and show that you are responsible with OK or better credit.

So you’ll usually need these things in order to get a home mortgage loan:

  • Enough money for the Down Payment (3% is realistically your minimum)
  • Two years of good steady employment
  • OK or better credit score (640 or higher is your target)
  • Monthly income that’s about 3 times higher than your expected monthly mortgage payment
  • Keep your debt low (especially credit card balances)
  • Any major negative item be OLD (bankruptcies, foreclosure)
Apply Online
No Obligation to apply, and see what YOU qualify for.

Don’t meet that basic criteria today? Consider these additional options.

  • Down payment assistance is potentially available (You still need a few thousand dollars MINIMUM).
  • No Down payment is possible if you are US Military (VA Loan) or want to buy a home in a rural area (You still need a few thousand dollars MINIMUM)
  • Apply anyway. Don’t assume you can’t get a mortgage. There may be a loans option. Even if it is a not today, they can let you know where your deficiencies are so you can work towards qualifying in the future.
  • Use a Mortgage Broker. A mortgage broker represents lots of different lenders, not just the offerings of one bank. They simply have more options than banks and credit unions.
  • Get a co-signor. See if a family member or very close friend with a higher income and better credit than yours will cosign a loan for you.
  • Lack of Down Payment.  Many program allow you to get a gift for down payment from your family. You can also borrow money for down payment from your 401k
  • No proof of income?  True no proof of income loans don’t exist anymore, but you can possibly get a non-conforming loan by using your bank statement deposits as qualifying income. These loans come with higher interest rates, so you should always try for a traditional loan first.

Plan for the future. 

Even if you can’t buy a home right now, one fact I know, is if you do nothing, nothing will change. If you understand the guidelines and work at it, there is no reason why anyone can not be a home owner in the not too distant future.

USDA Loan Eligibility Map Changes effective Oct 1, 2012

USDA is changing the property eligibility map effective Oct. 1, 2012.

Cities and towns that formally qualified for the Zero Down USDA Rural Development Loans may no longer qualify.

This change is due to a number of reason, including larger populations, elimination of special consideration zones, or they no longer meet the definition of rural.

The effected cities in MN are listed here.

Click this link to view the full list of cities across the county that are losing their ability to get a USDA Rural Development loan.

 USDA INCOME Eligibility Check
USDA Property Eligibility Check





Minneapolis, MN: One of the biggest difficulties many first-time home buyers face is a lack of down payment, and the necessary money to pay closing costs. Most “zero down payment programs” disappeared with the mortgage market meltdown that started in 2007, so in most parts of the country, the only true no money down programs are just the VA home loan for Veterans or the USDA Rural Development Loan.

Guaranteed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), this program might make you think that you have to buy farmland or live “in the country” to qualify, but this is often not the case. In fact, you might be surprised to see just how many neighborhoods actually do qualify as rural development areas. For this program, the term “rural” really applies to those areas with a lower population, or fewer homes, not necessarily those areas or farmland far outside of the city. To see what areas qualify for the USDA Loan, click here for the property eligibility map.

There are several benefits of the USDA loan program besides no money down. The program has very low private mortgage insurance costs compared to other loans, and the seller is allowed to pay all of your closing costs and pre-paid items up to 6.00% of the total sales price of the property. While this is great news for first-time home buyers, it’s important to note that you don’t have to be a first-timer to qualify for a USDA loan.

Other than the location of the property you’re seeking to buy, there is one other important aspect to the USDA loan.  It has income guidelines. Click here to see if your family incomes qualifies for the USDA loan. Luckily, however, these numbers have recently increased to allow more potential buyers to take advantage of this special program.

For the USDA program, a great rule of thumb is no major metropolitan areas, and any town with less than 20,000 population.