Can You Get A Mortgage Loan With Bad Credit?

by Alexis A. on 2010-07-1510

Can you qualify for a mortgage loan with bad credit? These days, it sounds like a stupid question with an obvious answer, but let’s explore this topic. Some will say “of course not!” While others will say it’s impossible. But even if you have bad credit today, aren’t there ways to work towards getting that loan you want? Some thoughts on this below.

So much for eliminating the marriage penalty for filing taxes. Did you know that there could be a marriage penalty when it comes to getting a home loan? There can be, if one of the spouses has bad credit. Not only could a spouse’s credit score make a mortgage more expensive, it can disqualify a couple from buying a home — period, even if the other spouse has stellar credit. Why? You can thank the free love and “mortgage for all” era for this one.

Current credit underwriting guidelines, the ones published AFTER the subprime mortgage crisis, state that a mortgage lender must base his or her decision (regarding whether or not to issue a mortgage and how to price it) on the spouse with the lower credit score. This means that while one spouse has an 800 credit score, if he or she applies for a mortgage with a spouse with a 600 credit score, they will probably be turned down for the loan. Underwriters no longer have the luxury of doing a real time analysis of a couple’s credit profile. It’s now all based on the good old credit score. Note that a credit report is not the same as a credit score, but you can get your report for free through

Tip: Check out Equifax, a leading provider of credit scores.

Tips To Get A Mortgage Loan For Those With Bad Credit

So what can you do to secure a mortgage loan while avoiding having to pay insanely high interest rates? Try these tricks.

mortgage loan, bad credit

Apply Alone For A Home Loan

Simply leave your spouse and his or her cruddy credit out of the picture. The one drawback of this approach is that in order to exclude the spouse’s bad credit, you also have to exclude their income. This can make getting a mortgage tough if there is other existing debt in the applicant’s name. Try to transfer as much of this debt out of the mortgage applicant’s name before applying, in order to reduce the debt to income ratio. The other consideration is to make sure that the couple’s savings is in an account that is listed under the applicant’s name. Open a bank account offering a high yield under the mortgage applicant’s name and transfer the savings into this account.

Delay Applying for a Mortgage

As exciting as the thought of owning your home is, it is a big responsibility. Having a spouse with bad credit may indicate that you and your spouse aren’t quite ready to buy yet. Work on building your savings and improving your credit score. Sure, you’ll probably miss out on those “historically low” interest rates, but odds are, you probably wouldn’t have qualified for them anyway. Only the most qualified applicants are seeing these rates right now due to insanely tight credit requirements. As far as interest is concerned, you’ll actually be better off if you wait until your credit situation improves rather than if you try to take advantage of rates that you may not qualify for.

Regardless of whether you attempt to apply for a loan on your own or as a couple, you and your spouse should make credit improvement a top priority. Your credit score will affect your ability to do just about anything in the future, and having a good score will ensure your financial stability. Understand that making your payments on time each month has the largest impact on your credit score. As a matter of fact, 60% of your score is based on this metric alone! I know from personal experience how having a bad credit score will hold you back from realizing your dreams. What’s great is that credit scores CAN be improved over time with good habits. Understanding what got your credit into the toilet to begin with and correcting those behaviors will go a long way in raising your score. Get a copy of your credit report and begin making those changes today!

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jimmy July 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Haha you can’t even get a loan with good credit!

Silicon Valley Blogger July 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Agreed! These days, getting a loan can seem like an impossibility. The only way to get a huge loan? Make yourself look good. If you’ve got bad credit, clean it up. No other way out of it, unless your dad owns the bank.

Benjamin Bankruptcy July 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Alot of my work in insolvency is based on couple’s debt. Fully 14.5% of all the bankruptcies we do is because of debt due to a partner or spouse. Generally the story is “my partner had bad credit so I got the loan in my name”. If your partner has bad credit, it’s like him or her saying “the doctors are biased against me can you go ask for some vicodin I’ve got a sore back”

If your partner’s got bad credit you got to get them rehabilitated FIRST.

After working in the family insolvency business I’ve come to the opinion that ALL finances should be separated. You shouldn’t be able to take out a joint loan or a joint credit card. July 16, 2010 at 4:22 am

Anyone know if it helps to have 20% down or is it a requirement? How does that factor in the picture? I have heard some lenders requiring it as well. Obviously the days of 0% down and interest only loans is over.

I agree with the writer. Work to improve your credit and save for your downpayment.

Good luck!

kt- lifedividend July 16, 2010 at 7:42 am

you must be careful with teaser rates where the interest rates for the mortgage are very low for the first few years and then they change to much higher ones that you cannot afford. It is something that money men use to make cash out of people that cannot afford to pay their mortgages the old fashioned way.

James July 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm

You definitely need to be aware of your partners credit score when applying for a loan. I used to work in the mortgage industry and I saw time after time that couples would fall into a certain bracket due to the lack of good scores tied to one of the partners scores.

Remember you are a team and it is important to make sure your credit is in good standing.

Greg McFarlane July 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

If your financial situation requires the lender to get resourceful in approving you for a loan, that’s a pretty good indication that you need to get into the least exotic loan available.

Financial professionals can’t hazard a guess at to where interest rates will be in 2015, when your 5-year ARM will adjust. If you’re contemplating such a loan because the introductory rate is so low, do you really think you’ll be able to outsmart the money market when the rate changes.

And by “changes”, I mean “rises”. 30-year fixed rates are hovering around 4.6% right now, which is close to a historic nadir. Financial freedom means peace of mind. Get a 30-year fixed rate and the certainty of constant payments. If the payments are too much for you, you’re looking at houses that are too expensive.

John September 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I think its best to improve your credit and save for your down payment. It’s hard, but worth it. Good luck!:)

peter dunin September 8, 2010 at 7:07 am

I haven’t been able to get credit for at least eight years all because of a phone contract I didn’t pay when I was younger, I’d like to have good credit again but I don’t know how.

Phil Harris September 29, 2010 at 9:40 am

“Sure, you’ll probably miss out on those “historically low” interest rates, but odds are, you probably wouldn’t have qualified for them anyway.”

That is very true. Such a small percentage of people who apply get approved for these low rates. I do suggest in looking into FHA loans if you are seriously looking to buying a home and remember to do your homework before you speak with anyone.

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