How Long Do I Need to Have a Job to Qualify for a Mortgage?

 In Qualifying for a Mortgage

How long do you need to have a job before you can qualify for a mortgage?  What happens if you change jobs right before applying for a mortgage? Can you qualify for a mortgage based on the income from a job that hasn’t started yet?  

Here’s what you need to know.

The standard answer is that you need to have a job for two years before you can qualify for a mortgage, BUT, there are many exceptions:

I Just Graduated from School

If you have specialized training that allows you to get a job in a particular field, that training counts as part of the two years you need to be employed. For example, if you earn a college degree in nursing and then get a job as a nurse, we can count your income as soon as you get your first paycheck. The same goes for any other job – accounting, technology, anything at all. As long as you have specialized training for the job, you don’t need to actually have the job for two years.

I Just Changed Jobs

If you change jobs before applying for a mortgage, that’s fine, too – as long as the new job is in the same field as your former job.  If you are a nurse and move from one nursing job to another nursing job, we can count your income right away. However, if you were a nurse and then decided you want to be a welder, you must work for at least a year as a welder before we can count your income from that job because welding requires specific skills that most nurses do not have.  Lenders want to see that you are going to be able to continue as a welder before they will lend you money based on the income from that job.

My Job Hasn’t Started Yet

We can also count your income from a job that has not started yet, provided you have a non-contingent offer letter from the new employer, and the job will start within 90 days of the note date (the date the loan closes).

I’ve Been Unemployed

If you have been unemployed for less than 6 months, we can count your income as soon as you get a job.  If you have been unemployed for longer than 6 months, you will need to be back at work for 6 months before we can count your income.

I’m Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, you must have been self-employed at the same job for at least two years.  However, when we run your loan file through the underwriting software, we sometimes are allowed to approve people who have only been self-employed for one year.  Although getting an approval based on only one year of self-employment is very common, there is no guarantee you will be approved. The only way to tell is to run the loan information through the underwriting software.  

As you can see, there are many rules governing how long you must be employed before getting approved for a mortgage.  The best course of action if you are not sure is to contact us for help.

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