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Why You Should Be Honest on Your Mortgage Application

By Allison Halliday | December 8, 2014

Your income is an important part of your mortgage loan application, and lenders do require specific documentation before deciding to fund you. This includes income tax returns for the past two years, or two years’ worth of corporate tax returns if you are self-employed.

The only exception to this rule is if you are refinancing using a government loan, as in this case it might not be necessary to provide any income documentation. This all seems pretty clear-cut, but an article in points out there are a few different circumstances where people may decide to omit their income from their mortgage application.

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If you are a self-employed borrower then you’ll definitely need to show two years of tax returns which include corporate returns if applicable. Nowadays federal lending requirements don’t allow lenders to choose which income years to use when deciding if you qualify for a mortgage. This means if you had one poor year followed by one exceptionally good year, then they cannot simply ignore the bad year as they will need to take a 24 month average of your income.

If you have not disclosed income this also might raise red flags to a lender. They are going to want to know why you are trying to hide income so it’s far better to come clean as this will enable you to get a mortgage.

All cash deposits to your bank account that aren’t part of your normal income must be included and fully documented if you intend to apply for government financing. If you have taken on an additional job in order to save more money, then you’ll need to explain where these additional funds came from. If you are applying for a conventional loan then your lender must be able to source and document any cash deposits that are more than 20% of your monthly income.

If you have a joint application for a mortgage then it’s worth considering which of you has the stronger chance of qualifying. Conventional mortgage lenders are able to take just one borrower’s financial information into account, but it is different for government loans where the debt of one borrower can negatively impact the primary borrower.

The bottom line is that mortgage lenders are looking for borrowers who are able to support mortgage payments. Most will want the mortgage payment and other debt to account for no more than 43% of your income, although occasionally this figure may go as high as 55%.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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