Can the grant earnings be used for a mortgage?

Does grant income count for a mortgage?

When applying for a mortgage loan, borrowers must provide evidence of sufficient income to demonstrate that they can repay the loan.

But not every borrower earns a classic salary or an hourly wage. Some borrowers receive income grants from a company, school, or organization.

Lenders do not typically count grant income toward a mortgage because it is temporary. However, if your scholarship is sustained over the long term, it can help you qualify.

Here's what you need to know in order to earn a scholarship and buy or refinance a home.

Check Eligibility for Mortgage Loans (June 8, 2021)

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Grant income and mortgages

Typically, lenders do not consider short-term grant receipts for mortgage applications because the receipts are temporary.

"However, long-term grant income may be considered by lenders to help you qualify for funding," said Rocky Foroutan, CEO of LenderHomePage.

"For example, for a Fannie Mae-backed loan, Fannie Mae needs proof of earnings for the past 12 months and proof that will last at least three years for the scholarship to count towards an application."

Joe Pirro, CEO and founder of the Sovereign Lending Group, agrees.

Scholarship income can help you qualify for a mortgage if it has been in place for at least three years.

“If you can provide documents confirming that you have continuous monthly grant payments that have been in place for at least three years, you can use your grant to qualify for a mortgage loan if the lender allows it,” he notes.

General Living Grants can be used to potentially qualify for a mortgage loan with certain loan providers.

“People in the healthcare industry are often given a living grant that could be considered reliable and sufficient to be considered on a loan application. And members of the clergy or the charity or non-profit industry receive such living grants as they are classified as charitable organizations, ”Foroutan continued.

"However," he warns, "few lenders accept this form of income for loan applications."

Check Eligibility for Mortgage Loans (June 8, 2021)

Scholarship income explained

If you are a grantee looking to obtain a mortgage loan, it is important to understand what lenders consider grant income.

Scholarship income is a form of payment granted or granted by a company, institution or other organization for the provision of a service or the maintenance of a certain status – for example as a student at a university or as an intern in a company.

This income does not represent a paid wage; it is separate from the salary and is intended to help reduce the financial burden on the recipient. Housing benefit, for example, is a type of grant.

“Employers sometimes provide scholarships for things like additional education, travel, room and board, food, and health insurance,” explains Foroutan.

“The key to understanding a grant is that it is a form of payment that is usually made in exchange for the provision of a service. Generally, a scholarship is given to people who are not eligible for a salary but need money to cover their living expenses. Therefore, the most common scholarship holders are interns, scholarship holders, clergy, apprentices, civil servants, research assistants and medical students. "

Pirro adds that a scholarship is often given in a fixed amount each month and is usually considered taxable income.

"Pensions, disability benefits, withdrawals from retirement accounts, child benefits and alimony are not considered scholarship income," says Pirro.

"Instead, these are classified as unearned income that can be weighed as offsetting factors that can help you qualify for a mortgage loan."

How Scholarship Income Can Help You Qualify

Remember, lenders don't just look at income when deciding whether to approve a mortgage loan.

Instead, they look at income in relation to your monthly debt. This is known as the “debt-to-income ratio” or “DTI”.

Brian Martucci, finance editor at Money Crashers, says that grant income generally cannot be added to the amount of income that lenders consider when calculating your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and when deciding whether to approve your mortgage application .

Most loan programs have a strict DTI ratio threshold that doesn't allow you to exceed 43 percent. The more income you make, the higher the mortgage you can qualify for based on your DTI.

Scholarship income is not directly counted as income and therefore does not reduce your debt ratio.

"But," says Martucci, "it can be used as a balancing factor, which in practice can increase your chances of getting a loan."

Understand compensation factors

"Offsets are adjustments that lenders can make to a loan application to make a borrower look cheaper based on their financial history," says Foroutan.

In other words, it is financial strengths that offset any weaknesses in a mortgage application.

As a compensation factor, grant income can be used, which in practice can increase your chances of getting a loan.

There are several types of compensating factors that can help you qualify for a home loan.

For example, if you have savings ("cash") of 3-6 monthly mortgage payments plus other housing costs, your lender may be able to allow a higher DTI.

Other compensating factors are rent and consistent payment history, additional income such as bonuses or overtime, residual income and long-term grant income.

Scholarship income as a compensating factor

"Scholarship income can also be referred to as a compensating factor that allows your lender to stretch your DTI rate a bit to make adjustments," says Foroutan.

“But using scholarship income as a compensating factor can only go so far. If you have poor credit, bad repayment history, or really high debt, something like a scholarship isn't going to improve your credit or lower your interest rate. "

In order to receive the best possible offer, you would like to strengthen your application in other areas.

This could include increasing your credit score, saving for a larger down payment, or paying off existing debts such as credit cards or student loans.

Of course, it's hard to do all of these things at the same time. However, choose the areas where you can make the most impact. Even a small improvement in your personal finances can go a long way in lending.

Types of income that can be used on a mortgage

Since scholarship income is only used as an offsetting factor for mortgage qualification, you will need a primary source of income in order to be eligible for the loan.

However, that doesn't mean you need a traditional W-2 job. Many different types of income can be taken into account when applying for a mortgage

These include:

"Scholarship income is one of the few types of recurring income that normally cannot be used to apply for a mortgage loan unless it is a continuous, long-term type of scholarship," warns Martucci.

"Windfall income, like winnings from gambling or lottery winnings, is another broader category of income that mortgage lenders will not consider unless it is proven to repeat itself."

If you are unsure whether your income counts on a home loan, speak to a lender or mortgage broker.

Your loan officer will review every source of income you earn and determine your mortgage eligibility.

Check Eligibility for Mortgage Loans (June 8, 2021)

Buying a home with a co-borrower

First-time home buyers who earn a scholarship may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage on their own.

If you are not eligible for a salary and are only earning a scholarship, lenders likely cannot approve you.

This is where a co-borrower can help.

If you are buying with a spouse, family member, or close friend who is a full-time employee, you can both qualify for the loan based on your combined income and credit history.

You could buy a home based on your co-borrower's income, with your own scholarship income potentially acting as a compensating factor.

In that case, you and your co-borrower would both be responsible for the monthly home payments and share in any equity gains.

Eligibility for a non-traditional income mortgage

If you are self-employed or a gig worker, you will earn a non-traditional income. In these cases, you may need to apply for an unqualified (non-QM) mortgage loan. These types of loans are for those who have the cash to buy a home but no proof of constant income.

“There are a few things that loan officers evaluate to verify income for unqualified mortgage loans. This includes your personal tax returns, trade tax returns and signed profit and loss statements from the last few years, ”says Foroutan. "Lenders can also look closely at your bank statements."

Overall, prepare to provide validating records that demonstrate three years of continuous non-traditional income as well as compensatory factors such as healthy reserve savings.

“Documentation is the key. You want to be able to demonstrate that your income streams are consistent and relatively long-lasting, and you may need to demonstrate that you have an obligation to receive that income – including the scholarship – in the future, ”adds Martucci.

Check your eligibility for the home loan

Every mortgage borrower is unique. Depending on your financial situation, grant income may or may not be offset against your mortgage loan.

Only a mortgage lender can tell you for sure if you are eligible. So when you are ready to start looking for a home, your first step should be to get pre-approved a home loan.

Pre-approval from a mortgage lender will verify your eligibility to buy a home, as well as your budget and mortgage interest rate. When you are ready to start buying a home in earnest, then you can start below.

Confirm your new price (June 8, 2021)

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