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How to Get a Loan for a House with Low-Income?

By Beni Restea | March 7, 2023

Do you believe your income is too low to afford a property? Don’t be discouraged! Numerous effective solutions exist, assisting millions of Americans in buying their dream home. 

Suppose you’re set on financing your first home in 2023. Besides, you’ve already checked your FICO credit score. Then, you may have realized that your credit history and low income might not make you eligible for a traditional loan or bank mortgage. In that case, low-income housing programs will come to your rescue!

loan eligibility

How do lenders determine your income and eligibility for a loan?

By examining your pay stubs, mortgage and loan lenders consider your gross income before taxes. And don’t forget!  Lenders grant loans and mortgages based on your area’s median income!

What factors weigh in as your income? 

Most notably, they take into account your two-year employment history, which can be registered at different working places. Training and school diplomas also count in these years! 

Primarily, credit lenders will look at your paycheck. Secondly, they will consider social security, child support, or alimony received at least six months before the application and three years of duration. At last, they will look at your retirement pension or 401k Plan. You can also be self-employed, proven by your net income tax returns after expenses.

Loans can be granted at around 43 percent of your gross income.

Your housing payments must be between forty and forty-five percent of your gross income. This isn’t a rule set in stone, and exceptions occur. Undeniably, credit, reserves, and debt-to-income ratio play a significant role in your gross income and ultimately affect the process of granting you a mortgage. 

Your monthly housing payment must cover various taxes.

Suppose that 43 percent of your monthly earnings was $500. In plain words, your monthly housing payments can’t surpass $500. Now let’s see what goes into your cost, meaning the maximum monthly expenses you can afford. This payment must cover the principal and interest on the loan, Homeowners Association fees, and various property taxes. 

Then, it should finance the homeowners’ insurance and, finally, the private mortgage insurance (less than twenty percent) on loan. All these expenses will be integral parts of that $500 housing payment. Generally, they divide the annual amount of your mandatory fees by twelve. Therefore, based on these stats, lenders will consider which property you can afford.

About the federal Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) eligibility

Suppose your income requirements are below the median income in your county. In that case, you might be eligible for an MCC IRS-granted federal tax credit. However, it’s almost exclusive for first-time homebuyers in the US. Once you receive this grant, you can claim a max $2,000 discount on the mortgage interest on your property! Also, you will pay fewer federal taxes in the same fiscal year since this MCC credit gets deducted. 

Lenders can add this as another source of income to your mortgage application and boost your chances of qualifying to buy your home.

How to deal with down payments?

Many encounter financial difficulties when trying to provide a down payment. You can use your own but always checkable resources for a down payment.

You can also receive cash reserves from family members, called gift funds or cash gifts. Still, you’ll need a signed gift letter based on which the lending institution can check the transferred money’s legitimacy. A viable alternative is requesting a family member with an excellent credit score to co-sign your loan application.

Did you know you can also take a loan from your 401K? You must contact your 401K manager and ask them how you can access money without being penalized.

Down payment assistance

You don’t have to save so much money for your down payment anymore! Every US state has private DPA programs you can verify at your local lending institution. These can grant you the necessary amount of money to back your  closing costs and down payment (in its total amount or only partial.) 

In a few instances, you might never have to pay it back (provided that you lived in the residence for several years before selling it.) Additionally, they come with a super low-interest rate or even zero. Why don’t you check our favorite, the Good Neighbor Next Door?

Methods to optimize your closing costs

You can get assistance for closing costs in several creative ways. Firstly, your deposited funds (from your personal earnings or a sold real estate, vehicle, or business income) can pay the closing expenses. 

Benefit from a seller credit!

Secondly, the homeowner (or even the homebuilder) can give you a stimulus on the closing day. In fact, this is the so-called seller credit, a financial incentive for you to buy their property. In the case of a conventional loan, you can receive a seller credit of three percent of the price. 

Then, you can get a maximum of six percent seller credit of the price if you got a government-backed home loan, such as an FHA loan. However, the seller credit (or any other credit you receive from another party in a real estate transaction, for that matter) can’t exceed the original closing cost!

Lender credit

Suppose the rate was four percent, and you want to get money to help you fund the closing costs. Seldom the lending institution can raise the interest to 4.5 percent and offer you a percentage differential to ease the burden of closing costs. By all means, this assistance depends on your loan amount, and it doesn’t carry too much extra financial weight in your thirty-year repayment period.

Government home loan assistance 

Strict lending criteria may not qualify you for a traditional loan. However, you’ll have an outstanding alternative in federal home grants, such as the FHA, VA, and USDA loans. These work with more extended loan repayment periods and significantly lower interest rates.

In addition, the down payment can go as low as only 3.5 percent instead of twenty percent in the case of conventional ones!

Bypassing the bank and the loan application process altogether.

Suppose the methods presented in this article haven’t convinced you. In that case, you can do without a bank as an intermediary. Perhaps, owner financing is what you’ve been looking for all along, but you don’t have all the details on how owner financing works.

In this particular instance, you’ll pay the monthly interest and the final balloon payment directly to the property seller. 

Or, you can find homeowners who can’t pay for their mortgages anymore. You can take over their monthly payments and obtain the property deed once the mortgage is reimbursed.


House hunters are provided with tons of information and prospects to qualify for conventional or government home loans even if they don’t dispose of a substantial income! And we can’t stress enough that improving your credit starts at an early age! Buying a house with a low income in 2023 won’t be as perplexing as in the past if you follow our guidelines.

Suppose you apply for a traditional or government home loan. In that case, you must be prepared for the lending institution to verify and determine your monthly revenues and debt-to-the-income ratio. Based on these circumstances, the lending institutions decide whether you qualify for the mortgage or loan to purchase the home of your choice. 

We know that interest rates, down payments, and closing costs can be impossible at first sight. Still, you can always find a financially reasonable solution and assistance presented in this article. Good luck with your application!

Beni is very passionate about real estate, finance and traveling, which is the motivating force behind the inspiring topics he writes about for
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