The physician mortgage loan (sometimes called the doctor mortgage loan) was created by banks because of the distinctive challenges physicians face when borrowing due to their high debt-to-income ratios – thanks to student loans. Many physicians struggle to find a conventional mortgage that meets their needs. This is especially true for new physicians who may have a lower salary during residency/fellowship, minimal savings, and student loans that are through the roof. Depending on the amount of debt you’ve taken on (and whether you’ve been consistent in making payments), you may also struggle with a lower-than-average credit score as you start your career. This could translate to higher mortgage interest rates and higher lifetime payments.
Luckily, there’s an alternative to a traditional, conventional mortgage. The physician mortgage loan is a unique type of home loan specifically for medical professionals. This mortgage can help new physicians lock in low-interest rates, avoid a colossal down payment (can be as low as 0%!), and reduce the total amount they have to pay over the life of their loan.
- You have heard of the physician mortgage loan, but we finally explain it in simple terms and discuss the pros and cons.
- While the doctor mortgage is a great tool to have in your back pocket, it should not be your first option all the time.
- We cover who qualifies for the physician mortgage loan (hint: it is not only for physicians!) and the main requirements.
- Most importantly, is a physician mortgage even right for you?
First, here is a free flowchart we put together for you: What Issues Should I Consider When Buying a Home [PDF]
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What is a Physician Mortgage Loan?
A physician mortgage is a homeowner’s loan that is only available to qualifying medical professionals. There are fewer restrictions than you might find with conventional mortgages because they’re largely dependent on the calculated future earnings for physicians. For newer physicians, this is an attractive concept.
As a resident or fellow, your salary is notably lower than it will be in the next few years as an attending. In some cases, lenders will even accept an offer letter of employment as proof of income. This can dramatically impact your total debt-to-income ratio in the eyes of a mortgage lender, especially as you start your career.
What are the Benefits of a Physician Mortgage?
Doctor mortgages have a laundry list of benefits. Let’s go over a few of the key benefits you can expect when searching for a mortgage that meets your needs.
When you apply for a conventional mortgage, you need to put a minimum of 20% of the total purchase price down in order to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is a monthly premium tacked onto your total mortgage payment that’s intended to protect your lender in the event that you can’t make payments. If you have a low down payment, you might be viewed as a risky borrower. In these cases, the PMI you pay is a sort of assurance to your lender that they’ll be covered if you default.
However, with a physician mortgage loan, you sidestep PMI entirely, even with a minimal down payment. In fact, many physician mortgages don’t require a down payment at all. You can put $0 down and still lock in a low interest rate and skip the PMI – not a bad deal! Of course, if you can, putting some money down will still decrease your total monthly payment payday loans Georgia and the interest you pay over the life of your loan. A down payment will also add equity immediately, which is also a positive. And don’t forget about FHA loans, as they can offer down payments as low as 3.5% with a good credit score. Here is one of our favorite posts comparing the FHA vs. Conventional Loans.