When applying for a mortgage, most lenders like to see steady, consistent income that is easily documentable. But for those who work in nursing, proving your income isn’t always this simple. From employment gaps to night-shift differential pay, there are many things that can complicate the loan approval process for nurses, especially travel nurses.
At Atlas Crown Mortgage, we help people from all walks of life find ideal home mortgages, including nurses who have irregular income. We’ve compiled our top 3 tips for nurses who want to find the best mortgage:
1. Use nursing school as part of your required work history
Most lenders require borrowers to have been in their line of work for at least 2 years, in addition to meeting income requirements. New graduates who just started their first nursing job may find this to be an obstacle.
The good news is that there is a minor loophole: many lenders will consider nursing school to be part of your “years in the industry.” And since nursing school is at least 2 years, then you will have already satisfied the work history requirement by the time you land your first nursing job.
You should be able to qualify for a mortgage using this loophole, as long as you meet all other requirements. We recommend obtaining a letter from your employer that states your base salary, expected hours, shift differentials, and anything else that may strengthen your loan application as a new nurse.
2. Be proactive about explaining employment gaps
As a nurse, you may have changed employers in the past few years to find the perfect fit. Or, maybe you had to take a few months off, and you picked up per diem work as needed. If you’re a travel nurse, your work history might have even more gaps. While lenders do like to see a stable work history, this doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be denied a home loan.
The key is to be proactive about explaining any employment gaps, because your lender will take notice. For these types of borrowers, our mortgage experts always recommend preparing a letter of explanation. This letter should address any gaps in work history during the past 2 years. You should also be able to provide full documentation of any income you earned during that time, such as per diem or travel nurse pay.
For the best chances of getting approved, you should be in a stable nursing position at the time of applying. If you’ve still got the travel bug and you want to continue working as a travel nurse, then consider putting off buying a home until you’re ready to settle down.
We recommend holding down a staff position for at least 2 years before applying for a mortgage, because lenders favor borrowers with steady, reliable income. Simply put, you’ll be seen as less of a risk if you have a steady job rather than working short-term nursing gigs.
3. Compare rates and mortgage programs from as many lenders as possible
When shopping for a mortgage, it’s best to cast the widest net possible. This is recommended not only for nurses, but for any borrower who wants to secure the best loan that works for their specific needs.
While you can do this on your own by researching your options, you can save time by working with a broker. At Atlas Crown Mortgage, we can easily compare over 75 lenders across the country to ensure you find a loan that matches your needs and budget. We can even help you find reduced-documentation loans, which don’t have as many requirements as traditional lenders.
To learn more, contact us today and speak with one of our mortgage experts.