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.