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Are mortgages getting easier or harder to qualify for?


For many potential homebuyers in South Florida, applying for a mortgage is the least appealing part of buying a home. There are many reasons why: all the documentation that is needed, the verification of income and the scrutiny that comes from a potential lender attempting to determine whether or not the applicant will be a reliable borrower. And, since the so-called "housing bubble" burst a few years back, applying for a mortgage isn't like it was 10 or even 20 years ago. So, as of right now, are mortgages getting easier or harder to qualify for?

The answer really is "it depends" -- just as it always has been. For well-qualified borrowers, applying for a mortgage and being approved really isn't all that difficult. But, for those who may not have a sterling credit score, it can be more difficult to be approved. However, there are some programs that make it easier.

For instance, the old way of buying a home with financing was to put as much as 20 percent of the purchase price upfront as a down payment. Now, some borrowers may be able to find a mortgage with a down payment as low as 1 percent. And, in the past borrowers who couldn't put up 20 percent as a down payment were required to have something known as "mortgage insurance premium charges." Now, that may not be the case.

Qualifying for a mortgage is different for everyone. However, the reality is that the vast majority of people simply could not own a home without a mortgage. Buying property anywhere is usually the biggest financial transaction of a person's life. Going into the process with the best information is crucial.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "New programs ease homebuyers' path to mortgages," Kenneth R. Harney, Oct. 11, 2016

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