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Pregnant Women Can't Get a Home Loan?

By ceridwen |

Pregnant and thinking about buying a house? Many do. But wait. Your loan may not be approved. Mortgage lenders, weary from the subprime disaster, are scrutinizing every dip in income, including those incurred during maternity leave.

According to Tara Seigel Bernard in yesterday’s New York Times: ”Mortgage lenders are taking a harder look at prospective borrowers whose income has temporarily fallen while they are on leave, including new parents at home taking care of a baby. Even if a parent plans on returning to work within weeks, some lenders are balking at approving the loans.”

It’s illegal to ask a potential borrower whether she is pregnant, but lenders can ask about any expected change in income. A spokeswoman for Fannie Mae told the Times, ” Letters from a doctor (with a return date) and the employer (stating the return date and salary) should be enough.” But apparently it’s the interpretation of more general and tougher loan guidelines that’s causing concern over expecting couples’ income.

Lenders may not  be willing to gamble on a pregnant woman’s stated intention to return to work after maternity leave– what if she decides not to return to work? Some loaners require mom be fully back in her job, before signing off.

I’m all for tighter restrictions, but to penalize a woman for maternity leave? Could it get any more hostile? Here you are starting a new family and bam, you’re a liability. This culture really is built to serve and promote the lone, striving, consuming, corporate individual. It makes me crazy.

I don’t know enough about real estate to help,  but it seems there may be ways to convince the bank to trust you– check out the Times piece if you are pregnant and looking to buy. Shy of that, be reassured that people do move houses with a baby. It’s not easy, but then packing and unpacking boxes when pregnant isn’t either.

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About ceridwen



Ceridwen Morris is a writer, mother, and certified childbirth educator. She is the author of several books and screenplays, including (Three Rivers; 2007). She serves on the board of The Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and teaches at Tribeca Parenting in New York City. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ceridwen's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Pregnant Women Can't Get a Home Loan?

  1. EG says:

    How would a lender know that a woman is pregnant? Nobody walks into their hometown bank to get a loan anymore. And why in God’s good name would anyone say, “well, I’m having a baby and I might not want to work anymore…” I mean, discrimination sucks, but don’t feed them more information than they legally require.

    1. ceridwen says:

      I think you’re right about not feeding them info when you don’t have to, but from what i could gather from the Times piece, you do need to tell them about any potential change in income. If you’re planning on some portion of unpaid maternity leave this would be relevant info.

  2. Ariel says:

    The lender calls your place of employment the day before the loan closes and asks if you’re there, at work, currently employed. If they get an “out of office” reply, they get suspicious and if your receptionist answers, as did mine, “She’s not here, she’s on maternity leave until next week,” then your loan gets denied. Yes, it happened to me.

  3. EG says:

    Nobody called my place of employment before we got our mortgage. I did provide proof of salary of course. I was pregnant when we bought. I wonder if they’ve gotten more savvy in the way they ask, to where it’d be lying to not reveal that you’re going to take maternity leave.

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