Getting a Mortgage Without a Perfect 2-Year Work History

You don't have to be in the same job for two years to qualify for a mortgage.

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A dependable income is a must for getting a mortgage. Lenders want evidence that you'll be able to repay a loan, so typically they like to see a steady two-year work history with a stable or rising income.

"The more consistent your job and work history are, the better," Scott Lindner, national sales director at TD Bank, said via email.

But that doesn't mean any kind of job change or employment gap will sink an application. Here's what to know about qualifying for a mortgage if your work history is a little outside the box.

Job or career change

You don't have to stay in the same job, or even in the same career, for two years to get a mortgage.

"It's not as important that an applicant have a specific job or be on the same career path," Lindner said. "What is important is providing proof of consistent income during the transition."

So if your income remains steady or increases, switching jobs before you apply for a mortgage shouldn't hurt your chances.

However, a change in the type of pay, such as a recent move from a salaried position to a commission-only or self-employed role, would make qualifying tougher. To count self-employed, commission or overtime pay, a lender usually wants to see a full two-year history of that type of income to get a reliable average, says mortgage broker Channing Moore, owner of Bayou Mortgage in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Another complication would be a job change during the mortgage application process. If that happens, call your lender right away.

"If you're a conventional borrower, you can usually produce a pay stub [from the new job] or even an offer letter, and you may be OK," Moore says. With a government-backed loan, "you'll need 30 days of paystubs to move forward."

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