How to Qualify for a Mortgage

By: Shierwin Fajardo

Owning a home is a dream for many individuals. However, the process of qualifying for a mortgage can be complex and daunting. Qualifying for a mortgage typically involves several factors that lenders consider assessing your eligibility and determining the loan amount that can borrow. 

To answer the frequently asked question by first-time homeowners who purchased houses in the Philippines, “How much mortgage can I qualify for?” The following are common conditions and factors to consider when striving to qualify for a mortgage:

Assess Your Financial Situation 

Before you begin the mortgage application process, it is important to take a close look at your financial situation. This includes evaluating your income, expenses, and existing debts to determine how much mortgage you can qualify for. Lenders will use your gross monthly income and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to evaluate your ability to afford mortgage payments. 

Gross Monthly Income 

Gross monthly income refers to the total amount of money you earn before taxes and other deductions. This includes your salary, bonuses, commissions, and any other sources of regular income. To determine how much mortgage you can qualify for, lenders will generally use a percentage of your gross monthly income as a guideline. 

Debt to Income Ratio (DTI) 

Your DTI is a comparison of your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly. This ratio helps lenders determine your ability to manage your monthly mortgage payment alongside your existing financial obligations. Ideally, DTI should be below 43% to qualify for a mortgage, though some lenders may accept higher ratios if other factors, such as your credit score or down payment, are strong. 

Check Your Credit Score 

Your credit score is a crucial factor in determining your eligibility for a mortgage. Lenders use your credit score to assess your creditworthiness and the likelihood of you repaying your mortgage on time. A higher credit score indicates that you are a lower-risk borrower, which can lead to more favorable mortgage terms and interest rates. 

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

If your credit score falls below the minimum requirement or you want to improve your chances of securing a favorable mortgage, take steps to improve your credit score:

  • Make all debt payments on time and in full
  • Pay down outstanding balances on credit card payments and loans
  • Keep your credit utilization ratio low
  • Avoid opening new lines of credit or making large purchases on credit before applying for mortgage loans
  • Regularly review your credit report and dispute any errors

Determine Your Down Payment 

The down payment is the upfront amount you pay when purchasing a home. Your down payment will affect the size of your mortgage and your monthly mortgage payment. In general, a larger down payment will result in a smaller mortgage and lower monthly payments. 

Save for Your Down Payment 

Saving for a down payment can take time and discipline. Consider the following strategies to help you save: 

  • Set a savings goal and create a budget to help you reach it 
  • Automate your savings by setting up regular transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account 
  • Cut back on discretionary spending and prioritize your savings goals 
  • Consider using gifted funds from family members or down payment assistance programs to help cover your down payment 

Look for Down Payment Assistance

Down payment assistance programs are aimed at assisting individuals or families who may have difficulty saving enough money for a substantial down payment. These programs can be sponsored by various entities, including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or even private lenders. Their goal is to make homeownership more accessible by reducing the upfront financial burden.

Know the Different Loan Types and Lenders 

There are several types of mortgages available, each with different eligibility requirements and terms. It is essential to research and compare loan types and mortgage lenders to find the best mortgage option for your needs. 


Conventional loans are offered by private lenders and are not guaranteed by any government agency. These loans typically have stricter eligibility requirements, such as higher credit scores and larger down payments. However, they may offer more favorable interest rates and terms than government-backed loans. 

Government-Backed Loans 

Government-backed loans, such as FHA loans, are insured by federal agencies and often have more lenient eligibility requirements, such as lower credit scores and smaller down payments. These loans can be a good option for first-time homebuyers or those with less-than-perfect credit. 

Fixed and Adjustable-Rate Mortgages 

Fixed-rate mortgages have a set interest rate for the entire loan term, resulting in a consistent monthly payment of a mortgage. Adjustable-rate mortgages have an initial fixed interest rate period, followed by periodic rate adjustments based on market conditions. While Adjustable-rate mortgages may offer lower initial interest rates, they can lead to increased monthly payments if interest rates rise. 

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage 

Obtaining a mortgage preapproval can help you determine how much you can borrow and provide you with an advantage when shopping for a home. Mortgage preapproval involves a lender evaluating your financial situation, including your credit score, income, and debt, to determine your eligibility for a mortgage and the maximum loan amount you can qualify for. 

Having a preapproval letter from a lender can give you a competitive edge in the home-buying process, as sellers know that you are a serious buyer with financing in place.

Employment Stability 

Lenders will want to see proof of stable and consistent employment, typically requiring at least two years of work history. If you have recently changed jobs or have gaps in your employment history, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as an explanation letter or employment contracts. 

Additional Income Sources 

If you have other sources of income, such as rental income, business-owned income, or different investments, these can be considered when determining your eligibility for a mortgage. Be prepared to provide documentation of these income sources, such as agreements or court orders. 

Assets and Reserves

Lenders may consider your liquid assets and reserves to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the down payment, closing costs, and a financial cushion for emergencies. Savings, other investments, and retirement accounts are examples of assets that lenders may consider.

Remember to shop around and compare several lenders to discover the best mortgage terms and rates. Consultation with a mortgage professional or loan officer can provide tailored advice based on your unique financial circumstances and local requirements.

Related Blog: The Different Types of Mortgage

Related Blog