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10 Common Reasons A Mortgage Loan Gets Denied in Underwriting

Updated: Jan 5

Common Reasons Your Mortgage Loan Gets Denied in Underwriting and What You Can Do

Applying for a home loan can sometimes feel like you’re trying to navigate through an intricate maze, especially when faced with a mortgage loan denied in underwriting. It can be incredibly disheartening to experience this setback.

Trust us, we've felt the sting of that disappointment too. Our curiosity led us on a research journey and along the way, we discovered something rather interesting: According to a report by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, undisclosed debt is frequently sitting at the top of reasons why a Mortgage Loan Gets Denied in Underwriting

In this blog post, we're going to peel back layers and delve into details about common stumbling blocks that lead to denials from underwriters. More importantly though, we'll hand over our cheat sheet full of practical tips designed specifically with one goal in mind -to considerably improve your chances of securing that coveted mortgage approval! So hang tight; much-needed guidance is already hurtling towards you!

Key Takeaways

Insufficient credit can lead to loan denial during underwriting. Lenders may be hesitant if your credit score is low and you have a limited credit history. It's important to provide accurate information and work on improving your credit score.

Having insufficient income can also result in a loan denial. Lenders consider the borrower's ability to repay the loan, so it's crucial to show stability in employment and increase your income if possible.

A record of late payments can negatively impact your chances of getting approved for a loan. Lenders look at payment history as an indicator of future repayment behavior, so maintaining a consistent on-time payment record is essential.

A high loan-to-value ratio (LTV) can increase the likelihood of being denied for a loan. Saving up for a larger down payment or considering less expensive properties can help lower your LTV and improve your chances of approval.

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Reasons for Mortgage Loan Denial in Underwriting

Reasons for Mortgage Loan Denial in Underwriting

There are several common reasons why your loan could be denied during the underwriting process: insufficient credit, insufficient income, a record of late payments, a high loan-to-value ratio, and job change.

Common Reasons for Mortgage Underwriting Denial

Insufficient credit

Insufficient credit can be a stumbling block when applying for a loan. It is one of the most common reasons that potential homeowners face denial during the underwriting process.

A low credit score doesn't provide lenders with enough confidence in your ability to repay the loan promptly. Furthermore, discrimination in mortgage applications may manifest as unnecessary closing costs and less favorable terms, often targeted towards borrowers with insufficient credit histories or low scores.

Hidden debts discovered during this stage could also lead to rejection if they negatively impact your debt-to-income ratio or financial stability overall. Providing complete, accurate, and verifiable information strengthens your application and minimizes

surprises during underwriting.

Insufficient income

Income stability plays a vital role in your loan approval. Lenders thoroughly evaluate the borrower's ability to repay the loan within a specified period. With insufficient income, meeting these obligations becomes challenging and this often leads to the denial of your application.

Lenders typically base their decision on certain debt-to-income ratio benchmarks. If you exceed these thresholds, it implies that you might struggle with repaying the debt. Notably, several aspects could cause inadequate income such as instability in employment or irregular cash flow for self-employed individuals due to business volatility.

Record of late payments

A record of late payments can significantly impact your approval. It signals to the underwriter that you may represent a higher risk, potentially leading to loan denial in underwriting.

When determining whether to approve or deny a loan application, the lender considers payment history as an important factor for assessing creditworthiness. Regularly missed or delayed payments indicate that a borrower may struggle with timely repayments in the future.

Thus, maintaining a consistent on-time payment record is crucial when applying for any type of loan. A single late payment might not necessarily lead to your application being denied but several late ones, certainly could jeopardize your chances

High loan-to-value ratio

Lenders consider the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) when reviewing applications. This ratio compares the amount of your loan to the appraised value of the property you want to buy.

If your LTV is high, which means you have a small down payment and are borrowing a large portion of the home's value, it may increase your chances of getting denied in underwriting.

In fact, statistics show that 20.3% of loan applications with high LTV ratios are denied. So, if you're planning to apply in the near future, make sure to save up for a larger down payment and aim for a lower LTV to improve your chances of approval.

Job change

Changing jobs can have a significant impact on your application. Lenders generally prefer borrowers with stable employment history, and a recent job change may raise concerns about the stability of your income.

This could potentially result in higher interest rates or fees at closing. To increase your chances of approval, be prepared to provide additional documentation and explanation to the lender regarding your job change.

It's important to note that changing jobs can also affect your debt-to-income ratio, which is another factor lenders consider when determining eligibility.

How to Improve Your Chances of Loan Approval

How to Improve Your Chances of Loan Approval

To improve your chances of loan approval, focus on improving your credit score, increasing your income or reducing debt, maintaining a good payment history, lowering your loan-to-value ratio, and demonstrating stable employment.

Improve credit score

Improving your credit score is key to increasing your chances of getting approved. Here are some steps you can take:

📌Pay your bills on time: Consistently making timely payments shows lenders that you are responsible with your finances.

📌Reduce your debt: Lowering the amount of outstanding debt you have can improve your credit utilization ratio, which is an important factor in calculating your credit score.

📌Keep credit card balances low: Maxing out your credit cards can negatively impact your credit score. Aim to keep balances below 30% of your available credit limit.

📌Avoid opening new lines of credit: Applying for multiple new credit accounts within a short period of time can be seen as a red flag by lenders and may lower your credit score.

📌Check for errors on your credit report: Regularly review your credit report for any inaccuracies or errors that could be negatively affecting your score. Dispute any incorrect information and work on getting it corrected.

Increase income or reduce debt

To improve your chances of loan approval, there are a couple of steps you can take. Here's what you can do:

📌Increase your income: Boosting your income can help lower your debt-to-income ratio, making it more favorable for approval. Consider taking on additional work or exploring opportunities for a raise at your current job.

📌Reduce your debt: Reducing your debt can also positively impact the debt-to-income ratio and improve the likelihood of loan approval. Create a budget to allocate extra funds towards paying off debts, such as credit cards or loans.

📌Prioritize high-interest debts: Focus on paying off high-interest debts first to save money in the long run and improve your overall financial health. Consider consolidating multiple debts into one manageable payment if necessary.

📌Avoid taking on new debt: It's important to avoid accumulating new debt while applying. This includes opening new credit cards or financing large purchases that could negatively impact your creditworthiness.

📌Consult with a financial advisor: If you're unsure about how to increase your income or reduce your debt effectively, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor who specializes in mortgage lending. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific financial situation.

Maintain a good payment history

Maintaining a good payment history is crucial if you want to improve your chances of getting approved. Lenders closely scrutinize your credit report and look for any missed or late payments, as it reflects your responsibility in managing debt.

By consistently paying your bills on time, you demonstrate to lenders that you are reliable and trustworthy when it comes to repaying borrowed money. This can help boost your creditworthiness and make you a more attractive candidate for approval.

Lower loan-to-value ratio

A lower loan-to-value ratio can increase your chances of getting approved. Here are some ways to achieve a lower loan-to-value ratio:

Save up for a larger down payment: Putting down a larger down payment reduces the amount of money you need to borrow, resulting in a lower loan-to-value ratio.

Pay down existing debt: Reducing your overall debt load can help lower your loan-to-value ratio as it lowers the amount of money you need to borrow

Consider a less expensive property: Choosing a home with a lower purchase price can also result in a lower loan-to-value ratio.

Wait and save before applying: If your current loan-to-value ratio is too high, you may want to work on improving it before applying. This could involve paying down debt or saving up for a larger down payment.

Stable employment

Maintaining stable employment is a crucial factor when it comes to getting approved. Lenders want to see that you have a consistent source of income to ensure your ability to make timely mortgage payments.

Job changes or gaps in employment can raise red flags and may lead to loan denial during the underwriting process. So, it's important to keep your current job and avoid making any major career moves until after you've secured your loan.

By demonstrating stable employment, you increase your chances of being approved and moving one step closer to homeownership.

The Importance of the Underwriting Process

The Importance of the Underwriting Process

Underwriters play a critical role in evaluating loan applications, ensuring compliance with industry regulations, and assessing the applicant's ability to repay the loan.

Role of underwriters in evaluating loan applications

Underwriters play a crucial role in evaluating applications. They carefully assess various factors to determine the borrower's eligibility for a loan. This includes analyzing the borrower's debt-to-income ratio, credit history, appraised value of the property, employment history, and verification of funds.

By conducting a thorough evaluation, underwriters ensure that loans are granted to borrowers who have the ability to repay them. Their expertise helps in minimizing risk for both lenders and borrowers by ensuring compliance with industry regulations and protecting against potential fraud.

The underwriting process is an essential step in determining whether it will be approved or denied, making it vital to provide accurate information during the application process.

Ensuring compliance with mortgage industry regulations

Underwriters play a crucial role in the underwriting process. They carefully evaluate applications to ensure compliance with industry regulations. This is important because it helps protect both lenders and borrowers.

By following these regulations, lenders can mitigate risks and ensure fair practices. As a borrower, it's essential to understand that the underwriter's goal is not to deny your application but rather to assess your ability to repay the loan.

So, by ensuring compliance with industry regulations, underwriters help maintain the integrity of the lending process and promote transparency for all parties involved.

Assessing loan repayment ability

Lenders have the crucial task of carefully assessing a borrower's ability to repay the loan. They consider several factors, including debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and employment stability.

Lenders want to ensure that borrowers can comfortably make their monthly payments without financial strain. It's important for borrowers to demonstrate a stable income and a positive payment history to increase their chances of loan approval.

By providing thorough documentation and maintaining good financial habits, borrowers can show lenders that they are capable of repaying their loan on time and in full.

Steps to Take if Your Mortgage Loan is Denied in Underwriting

Steps to Take if Your Mortgage Loan is Denied in Underwriting

If denied in underwriting, the first step you should take is to consult with your loan officer to understand the reasons for denial and discuss potential solutions.

Consult with your loan officer

Consulting with your loan officer is crucial if your loan is denied in underwriting. They can provide valuable guidance and insights on the best steps to take after a denial.

Your loan officer will review the reasons for denial, help identify any issues with your application or financial situation, and suggest potential solutions. They can also guide you through alternative loan options or advise on reapplying with a different lender if necessary.

By consulting with your loan officer, you can better understand why your loan was denied and take proactive measures to increase your chances of approval in the future.

Address any issues identified by the underwriter

If the underwriter identifies any issues with your loan application, it is important to address them as soon as possible. The underwriter plays a crucial role in evaluating your application and ensuring that it meets all the necessary requirements.

They may identify issues such as insufficient credit, high loan-to-value ratio, or a record of late payments. To address these issues, you can work on improving your credit score, reducing debt, or providing additional documentation to support your income.

It's essential to take prompt action and provide the necessary information requested by the underwriter to increase your chances of getting approved.

Consider alternative loan options

If it gets denied in underwriting, it's important to remember that there are alternative loan options available to you. One option is to explore different types of loans, such as FHA loans or conventional loans, depending on your specific circumstances.

Another option is to consider different lenders who may have more flexible underwriting guidelines or specialized programs for borrowers in similar situations. Additionally, you can also explore the possibility of applying with a co-borrower or seeking assistance from government-backed programs designed to help individuals qualify for a loan.

By considering these alternative loan options, you may increase your chances of securing financing for your home purchase or refinancing needs without being solely dependent on one lender's decision.

Reapply with a different lender if necessary

If your loan is denied in underwriting, it can be disheartening. However, there is still hope. One option to consider is reapplying with a different lender. Checking with other lenders and exploring alternative loan options may increase your chances of getting approved.

It's important to remember that different lenders have different criteria and requirements, so what one lender may deny, another might approve. By diversifying your options and considering multiple lenders, you give yourself a better chance at securing the loan you need.



In conclusion, understanding the common reasons for loan denials in underwriting can empower borrowers to take proactive steps to improve their chances of approval. By addressing issues such as credit score, income, payment history, and loan-to-value ratio, borrowers can increase their likelihood of getting approved.

Additionally, seeking guidance from a knowledgeable loan officer and exploring alternative loan options can help navigate the process if a denial occurs. Remember that with proper preparation and diligence, homeownership dreams can become a reality.

Key Terms and Additional Resources and Topics: Navigating Mortgage Denials and the Underwriting Process

Navigating the complex world of mortgages can feel like walking through a labyrinth. You might have heard terms like "mortgage lender," "loan type," and "conventional mortgage," but what do they mean when you're trying to qualify for a mortgage? Even if you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, there's a stage called the mortgage underwriting process that could make or break your home-buying journey. Armed with this knowledge you will be prepared when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. The mortgage process will be that much less overwhelming the more you arm yourself with the basics.

You may be wondering how often underwriters deny loans. The truth is, it's possible to be denied at this stage for a variety of reasons. The underwriter might deny your loan based on your mortgage balance to the value of the home you're buying, a metric often referred to as LTV (Loan-to-Value). This is where Rocket Mortgage and other loan programs come into play, offering different requirements that might better suit your financial situation.

If your home loan application is denied, it's crucial to understand why. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act mandates that lenders show that you were denied and provide the reason why a mortgage was not approved. Whether your loan application was denied due to a high mortgage balance or other factors, understanding the loan process can help you avoid future loan rejection.

Being denied for a mortgage loan doesn't mean you're not ready for a mortgage. It simply means you need to reassess and perhaps look into other loan types. Your ability to get a mortgage is not solely determined by being preapproved for a home loan; the underwriter might deny a loan based on various factors.

So, what can you do if you've been denied your mortgage loan? First, don't lose hope. There are steps you can take to improve your loan application and get it approved for a mortgage in the near future. You may need to adjust your mortgage balance, explore different loan programs that require varying qualifications, or even consider getting a mortgage and real estate advisor involved.

In summary, getting a mortgage loan involves multiple steps and potential pitfalls. But by understanding the reasons a mortgage loan may be denied, you can better prepare yourself for the journey ahead. After all, being informed is the first step in turning a denied mortgage into an approved one.

The Path to Loan Approval and Overcoming Denials

If you've ever been denied a mortgage, it's natural to feel disheartened. But remember, being denied a mortgage doesn't mean you can't qualify for the loan in the future. In fact, understanding why your mortgage application was denied can be the first step in getting your loan approved the next time around.

Mortgage underwriting is the process that determines whether to approve a loan or not. If you've been told your loan will be denied, it's crucial to find out why. Perhaps you took out a loan recently that affected your credit score, or maybe the LTV compares your mortgage unfavorably with the home's value.

To avoid a mortgage loan denial, it's essential to know what loan programs require. Each program has its own set of criteria, and failing to meet them could result in a denial. Your mortgage application has been denied before doesn't mean it will be again; you just need to understand the rules of the game.

By diving deep into these key terms and additional resources, you'll be better equipped to navigate the often confusing and intricate process of mortgage underwriting. So, if you've ever found yourself getting denied for a mortgage, remember that it's not the end of the road—it's just a detour on your path to homeownership.


What is a mortgage loan denied in underwriting?

When an underwriter deny a loan, it means your application was not approved during the process.

Why might my mortgage loan get denied?

Various reasons such as a high student loan or being unable to show that one can handle payment and closing costs may result in your denial.

Can I still get approved if my first attempt at getting a mortgage was denied?

Yes, you can reapply for the same or different type of loan program after addressing the reasons for why your initial application got denied.

Is there any way to predict whether my home loan will be rejected by underwriters?

Certain factors may increase chances of getting a loan denied, like having taken out several large loans recently and not qualifying based on financial requirements of specific loan programs.

How often do underwriters deny loans?

The frequency varies greatly and depends on many variables including individual qualifications, kind of property involved, and details surrounding each unique case.

How does being pre-approved differ from final approval in the context of mortgages?

Getting pre-approved for a home purchase suggests initial eligibility based on certain parameters; however, final approval requires going through the more detailed review step called 'the Mortgage Underwriting Process'.

Philip Bennett

Philip Bennett

Philip is the owner and Licensed Mortgage Broker at Bennett Capital Partners, Bus. NMLS # 2046828. He earned his degree in Accounting and Finance from Binghamton University and holds a Master's Degree in Finance from NOVA Southeastern University. With more than 20 years of experience, Philip has been a leader in the mortgage industry. He has personally originated over $2 billion in residential and commercial mortgages.

Learn more about Philip Bennett's background and experience on our Founder's page. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, our team is here to help you achieve your real estate goals. Don't wait any longer, contact us today and let us help you find the right mortgage for your needs.

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