Eligibility

Many people across Maryland are eligible to apply for a home loan through the Maryland Mortgage 

Program.  The main test (though not the only one) for whether someone can apply is based on Household Income.  Additional eligibility factors for loan applicants are that they need to be at least 18 years old and have a social security number.

If an applicant is eligible based on these factors, eligibility for a Maryland Mortgage Program loan then depends on the location and price of the property that will be purchased (see below for further information).

Finally, there are a few other conditions that must be met to obtain a Maryland Mortgage Program home loan.

  1. At least one of the applicants needs to be a "First-Time Homebuyer", who is defined as someone who has not owned (or been on title for) a principal residence anywhere in the last three years. However, exceptions are made for military veterans who are using their exemption for the first time or homebuyers who are purchasing in a Targeted Area (click here to learn more about Targeted Areas). In addition, homebuyers may not own any other real property at the time of settlement.
  2. The home being purchased must be for the applicant(s) to live in – a Maryland Mortgage Program loan cannot be used to purchase an investment property or a house for someone else to live in.
  3. The applicant(s) need to complete a Homebuyer Education course – in some cases, this needs to be done before a purchase contract is signed, though in most cases it must be completed prior to closing.
  4. There are some restrictions on properties that can be purchased with a Maryland Mortgage Program  loan – see Properties.
  5. Potential borrowers with liquid assets equal to 20% or more of the sales price may not be eligible for the program.

Eligibility vs. Approval

Being eligible for the Maryland Mortgage Program doesn’t automatically mean that an applicant will be approved for a home loan. Standard underwriting practices apply, which means that a loan officer will consider a range of factors when determining whether you can borrow funds to purchase a home and how much you can borrow.

Factors like your income and current debt, your employment status and credit history will be considered, and you’ll need to work with your approved MMP lender to collect and submit documentation on these factors to support your application.


MINIMUM CREDIT SCORE REQUIREMENTS

The credit score is a number summarizing an individual's credit profile.  Two or more credit scores are obtained by the lender; a representative credit score is identified as the middle of three or lowest of two. Questions about this should be directed to the lender.

The minimum credit score varies depending on the loan product and/or insurer.  Variables also may include the borrower's Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio, the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio and whether the underwriting can be run through an automated system such as Desktop Underwriter (DU) or can be done manually (not available for all products).   The minimum credit score that a borrower must have in order to be eligible for Maryland loan products can be found in the fact sheets, but here is a basic summary (subject to change):

  • FHA purchase loans:  660 (manual underwrite not allowed on FHA loans)
  • ​FHA Streamline Refinance loans:  660 if refinancing an existing US Bank loan; otherwise 680​​
  • VA and RHS loans:  640
  • Conventional loans:
    •  ​Automated underwrite:
      • 640​ with no reserves for loans with LTV up to 95%
      • ​680 with no reserves for loans with LTV between 95.01% and 97%
      • Must be​ run through Desktop Underwriter (DU) and receive an Approve/Eligible
    • Manual underwrite: 
      • For loans w​ith LTVs up to 95% (manual underwrite not allowed for LTV over 95%):  
      • 680 with no reserves and DTI less than or equal to 36%
      • 680 with two months of reserves and DTI greater than 36% but less than or equal to 45%
      • 700 with no reserves and DTI greater than 36% but less than or equal to 45%