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Can a retired person buy a home?

Author: Jessica Bennet
Community Mentor
Ask Jessica
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2010 08:41am
If you are a retired person but still willing to purchase a new home, you may be concerned that your loan won’t be approved. But as long as you have good credit and have adequate assets to make the payments, you won’t be treated differently from that of a young person.

As per the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, you should not be discriminated because of your age. As long as your credit score, debt to income ratio, and other factors which are required to get approved for a loan, are all right, your mortgage appeal can’t be refused by the lender. In fact, conditions to get approved for a 30-year mortgage are same for a 90-year old person and for a 25-year old person.

Anyways, you need to target the property first and thereafter you should zero in on the type of the loan –FHA, conventional or unconventional – that you want to take out. You also need to fix up your mind on the term of the loan -15, 20 or a 30-year loan or any shorter-term customized loan. To get approved for the mortgage loan, you need to provide various documents such as:

  • Social Security earnings statements

  • Statements for all bank accounts of last 3 months

  • Statements of investments and their value

  • Copies of outstanding debt statements -- credit cards, car payments, loans

  • Recent income tax returns

  • A copy of monthly budget

On the basis of these documents, underwriter assesses your creditworthiness. Then the decision is made whether or not to offer you a loan. But, you can’t be discriminated because of your age. Again, if you have crossed 62 years in age and if you have adequate equity in your primary home, then you may also be qualified for a reverse mortgage loan.
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2010 08:41 am
Can a person that is retired purchase a home?
absolutely - anyone at or over the age of majority can purchase a home. what's required, of course, is that you have sufficient income to support the payments required if you need a mortgage loan for that purchase. you didn't mention borrowing money, but that's pretty much a given in this country anyway.

as long as your credit is clean enough, you don't have excessive debt and you have sufficient assets and income, you'd be a viable candidate to purchase and obtain a mortgage.
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2010 09:10 am
I apologize, I should have been more specific. Someone who just retired is interested in purchasing a home and abviously getting approved for a loan.. but she was converned that because she is retired she will not be able to get qualified.
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2010 09:17 am
it's going to depend on the income level, frankly. if the debt load isn't excessive, and all the other factors are favorable, there's no reason a retiree can't get a mortgage.
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2010 09:33 am
If an early retiree (55+ with excellent credit and no debt) has no salary, minor rental income ($2-3k/month), and assets (equities and paid-off real estate) in the $5mm+ range, is it possible to get a traditional mortgage with the usual amount of fees or does that person have to pursue a more expensive and/or cumbersome option?

I know the traditional mortgage calculation requires income, but it seems crazy that a person with this asset profile would not be considered a good loan candidate.

Assume that the person wants to buy a $1mm house and can pay $350k down, but doesn't want to sell $650k in stocks/mutual funds at one time. Thanks for any insight!
Posted on: 10th Mar, 2010 11:15 am
it may seem crazy but the standard procedure is that a borrower must be able to demonstrate affordability of the mortgage being sought. if your rental income is sufficiently high to offset all the expenses of the house you noted, along with tax & insurance expense on those rental properties, then you'd have a shot at a conventional loan.

if not, you're right that you'd have to pursue the other options.
Posted on: 10th Mar, 2010 12:36 pm
Thanks for the reply.

I guess what makes me think it's crazy is how does steady income "demonstrate affordability" better than possession of relatively liquid assets? How is a person with a $200k job a better candidate to pay back a loan than someone with $5mm in debt-free assets, assuming both are willing to put down 35%? Is it something substantive that I'm not seeing or is it just a part of some mindless formula? I mean, if affordability is the question, I don't think there's a way to legitimately say that someone with big liquid assets and no debt cannot "afford" to make payments. From a common sense standpoint, I can't imagine that if I were lending my own money, that I'd see the person with a future income stream as a better loan risk than the person with current assets.

Not criticizing you, by the way... just trying to wrap my head around the system. Thanks for any additional insight.
Posted on: 10th Mar, 2010 12:57 pm
i didn't take it as criticism. after all, i don't make any of the rules (oh, would that i could!).

i thoroughly understand where you are coming from with this. do you generate income from your assets? that will be helpful in anyone trying to qualify you. of course, such income would need to be averaged over a 2-year period (again, the standards).

standardized qualifying obviously makes for a secondary market that can be managed from that standpoint. since virtually every lender is involved in the secondary market (read fannie/freddie), the standards that have been established reach out across the entire nation.

i often suggest people check in with their local community banks and credit unions as alternatives to the big players - that might stand you in good stead.
Posted on: 10th Mar, 2010 01:11 pm
My father is willing to secure a mortgage for me (I would make the down payment and pay the monthly mortgage) however he is retired. His home is paid for and he has plenty of collateral. Would he be able to secure a conventional loan for $150,000 or would he have to secure the loan for an investment/income property? Or is there another option available? Thank you.
Posted on: 07th Dec, 2010 01:14 pm
Hi Al,

If your father takes out a mortgage on the property which is not his primary residence, then it will be considered as your father's investment property.

Posted on: 07th Dec, 2010 10:58 pm
To obtain a mortgage, at any age..... You must demonstrate the willingness and capacity to pay.
Willingness? That is on the credit report.
Capacity? That is income.
Regardless of age.... If you have to have income to pay.
Got a lot of assets? But no income? Then the assets must buy the mortgage.
Retired persons have lots of income possibilities.
Social Security
Retirement pension
Dividends on investments
Posted on: 15th Mar, 2013 10:06 am
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