If you’re in the market for a house or a condo — you know, one to accommodate your growing family — you might want to keep the pregnant belly under wraps. There’s a new way to discriminate against women and it’s red-lining the moms-to-be.
After the heady days of anything goes mortgage approvals, the industry is, understandably, moving more cautiously. Problem is, they’re overcompensating, as one broker explains in the New York Times. Rick Cason of Integrity Mortgage in Orlando, Fla., explains that they only work with guaranteed income but admits new guidelines are overly harsh.
So what do new parents have to do?
Since lenders often want proof of full income from right before closing on a home, buyers should either close before maternity leave kicks in, or well have it’s over. Income during maternity leave often drops and also comes from disability insurance, which the lenders don’t consider guaranteed income for the next three years. If that’s not possible, buyers should prepare to purchase a home they can afford on one income (hardly doable in many cities around the country).
It’s understandable that lenders are being more cautious but it looks like they’re resorting to discrimination and profiling. What’s next? No longer county any woman’s income if she’s in her child-bearing years?
The new lending policies are also another knock against the way we handle maternity leave in the U.S. Since it depends on the employer — women and men aren’t guaranteed any kind of paid leave — parents are vulnerable. Lenders are trying to fix themselves and they’re doing it on the backs of pregnant women.