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8 Ways To Lower Debt Ratios & Qualify for More

8 Ways To Lower Debt Ratios & Qualify for More

We repeat this topic from time to time because “Debt Ratios” weigh so heavily in our pre-approval process and because tight debt ratios so often prevent borrowers from buying the property they want.

I explain what debt ratios are and how we calculate them in this past blog.

8 Ways to Lower Debt Ratios:

#1 – Put less money down, and use down payment funds to pay off consumer debt.

Mortgage debt has lower payments than consumer debt b/c mortgage debt is spread out over 30 years.

#2 – Find a non-occupant or occupant co-signer or co-borrower.

Both FHA and Conventional lenders allow for non-occupant co-borrowers.

#3 – Get a 7/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage instead of a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

7/1 ARMs usually have lower rates than 30-year loans, allowing borrowers to qualify for more.

#4 – Buy down the interest rate by paying points.

This, however, is as not as effective as many people think. Buying the rate down 1/4% on a $400,000 loan, for example, may only reduce a payment by $60 per month.

#5 – Pay down consumer installment debt (like an auto loan) to 10 months remaining.

Most lenders will not include installment payments in debt ratios if 10 or fewer payments remain.

#6 – Garner gift funds to either increase a down payment or to pay off debts (as discussed above).

#7 – Gross up non-taxable income like Social Security income and Child Support.

This is something all seasoned loan officers should know but most borrowers do not; we can “gross up” non-taxable income by 125% for qualifying purposes.

#8 – Unison Appreciation Share.

Unison will contribute funds equal to 10% of the purchase price and require no payments in return (which is why it helps with debt ratios). Unison only requires the repayment of its initial investment plus a small portion of the property’s appreciation.  I explained Unison in more detail in this previous blog.


Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646