6 min read May 14, 2024

How to Qualify for a Mortgage in 2024?

Edited By

Megha Mulchandani

Edited By

Megha Mulchandani

Editor, Houzeo

Megha M. is an adept content editor well-versed in the intricacies of American market dynamics and economic trends. In her free time, she excels as a versatile theatre artist and public speaker.

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The number of homes sold rose to 3.82 million in November 2023. Sellers generally prefer buyers who qualify for a mortgage. According to the Zillow survey, 86% of the sellers prefer buyers with pre-approval for a mortgage.

From last year’s data, out of 16.1 million recorded applications, 1.6 million home buyers were qualified for a mortgage. Although qualifying for a mortgage can be tough, fulfilling basic requirements can help homebuyers be eligible for it.

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  • A good credit score can help you qualify for a mortgage.
  • A low debt-to-income ratio can leave a good impression on the lender.
  • 47% of first-time homebuyers are denied pre-approval because of the qualification criteria.

How Do You Qualify for a Mortgage?

The first step you take as a buyer is to apply for mortgage pre-approval. It helps you know how much you can borrow from the lender.

Here are the steps for how a buyer qualifies for a mortgage:

  1. The lender checks your credit score.
  2. Bank statements, assets, finances, and other documents also get verified. If the borrower has a poor credit score or debts, the lender may reject their loan approval.
  3. If you pass the credit check process, the lender will provide a pre-approval letter.
  4. The lender will provide an estimated amount and interest rate for the loan based on your creditworthiness.
  5. When you finalize a property, the lender will conduct an appraisal and approve your loan.

You are likely to get qualified for a pre-approval with a good credit score and no debts. Apart from this, there are various types of loans you can qualify for, each with different mortgage requirements.

Requirements for Different Types of Loans

Loan TypeDown PaymentCredit ScoreDTI RatioMortgage Insurance
VA0%No minimum
620 standard
41%Not Required
USDA0%No minimum
640 standard
41%Guarantee fees required
Conventional3%62045%Required when DP is less than 20%
FHA3.5%500 (10% DP)
580 (3.5% DP)

FHA Loans

Borrowers with low credit scores can apply for loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Lenders are protected against loss if borrowers pay mortgage insurance.

In 2023, FHA increased its buying leverage. For single-family households in most parts of the country, the borrower can get up to $472,030. Last year, the loan limit was $420,680, and this year there was a $51,350 jump. And the loan limit for high-cost areas is $1,089,300 for a single family.

USDA Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, loans allow borrowers to avail of the loan with a no-down payment policy. Also, it helps borrowers with low to moderate incomes.

However, multiple factors, including income and location, affect the loan amount. There is no loan limit at the USDA, and it depends on the borrower’s eligibility.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans are not part of government programs. But they do follow government norms. These loans typically cost less than FHA loans. The loan limit has risen to $726,200 from $647,200 in 2023.

VA Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, offers no loan limit for borrowers. It makes it easier for veterans, eligible surviving spouses, active-duty personnel, and other military borrowers to qualify for a home loan.

Factors That Determine Mortgage Qualification

Here are the factors that determine how you can qualify for a mortgage:

  1. Down payment: This is an initial payment you would have to make for the purchase of your house.
  2. Income: The lenders check your income to verify your creditworthiness.
  3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: It helps determine how much income per month is spent on debt.
  4. Documents: You have to provide all the documents that the lender requires from you.
  5. Credit Score: Knowing what kind of loan you qualify for depends largely on your credit score. You may not qualify for a mortgage if your credit score is low.

Tips to Qualifying for a Mortgage

Qualifying for a home loan becomes easy if you fulfill all the home loan requirements. But to qualify for the best mortgage, a few tips can help you achieve it.

Boost Your Credit Score

A credit score plays an important role in getting a mortgage. A timely payment builds a good impression, and it can significantly increase your credit score.

Also, you must avoid overutilization and use only 30% of your total credit available. Keep the credit score in a good range, and turn on auto-payment if you forget to pay on time.

Reduce Your DTI Ratio

The ratio helps lenders determine the ability of the borrower to manage their monthly payments. A low DTI ratio can help you qualify for a mortgage.

Make a Bigger Down Payment

A larger down payment gives a risk-free assurance to the lender, and you may easily qualify for the loan.

Look For Government-Backed Loans

Government-backed loans carry many benefits and are available for applicants with poor to moderate credit scores. These loans have insurance policies that protect lenders against any loss. To qualify for government-backed loans, you must fulfill their criteria.

Get a Guarantor

The chances of meeting your home loan qualifications increase if you have a guarantor on board. In case you fail to repay the loan, the lender will have the guarantor as a source to recover the funds.

Bottom Line

There are multiple factors that can affect your mortgage qualifications as a first-time homebuyer. To qualify for a mortgage, you have to first fulfill all the basic requirements. 

In addition, you should discuss any requirements your lender may have for you to be accepted with them. In order to plan your homeownership, you must also have your funds and required paperwork on hand.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to qualify for a mortgage?

A good income, a good credit score, a low DTI ratio, and a co-signer are some of the standard requirements to qualify for a mortgage.

Can I use household income when applying for a mortgage?

Yes, you can use your household income, as there's no limit to it. The lenders check your income to determine whether you afford to pay the mortgage back.

How do I know the price of the house I can afford?

You can know your desired price of the house when you calculate the average of your finances, assets, and income.

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