Beyond the numbers: What it takes to qualify for real estate purchase

REThink Real Estate

Question No. 1: I’m not sure if this is a real estate question. I am on disability with an income of $1,327 per month. I have a $444 car payment and a credit score of 630. I have $24,000 in savings. Do you think I could ever own a home with this income and credit score? –Scott

Question No. 2: I filed bankruptcy and it was released in December 2010. I found a house for $38,000. I have 29 years on my job, but my credit score is only 600. I have a small down payment. I am a first-time homebuyer and a single female. Is there any hope for me to get a loan in the next 30 days, before this house is gone? I am 57 and would like greatly to fulfill my dream of homeownership. –Jo

Question No. 3: I have a client who did a short sale on his house, then filed bankruptcy a year later. He has rebuilt his credit to a 686 FICO score, and would like to buy a house. The bankruptcy will be two years ago in October 2011. Can you help me to find financing for him? –Jennie

A: As you can see, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is some variation on a highly personalized fact scenario. And these three are just a sliver of the scenarios that hit my email inbox "on the regular," as my kid would say. When I close my eyes at night, I don’t dream of sheep or sugarplums; instead, I see FICO-score/income/down payment combinations. No joke.