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95-Year-Olds Still Qualify for 30-year Mortgages

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a loan applicant’s age doesn’t matter – even people who think, “There’s no way I’ll live long enough to pay this off.”

NEW YORK – Older Americans may not realize they can still qualify for a mortgage. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a loan applicant’s age doesn’t matter – even those who think “There’s no way I’ll live long enough to pay this off.”

Mary Babinski, a senior loan officer with Motto Mortgage Champions in Trinity, Fla., told The Wall Street Journal that when a 97-year-old applicant came in to inquire about a mortgage, he was surprised he could still qualify for a 30-year loan. But older borrowers are eligible for loans that will expire as late as their 130th birthdays.

In addition, more lenders are promoting loans to retirees that qualify with special lending programs geared to them.

Borrowers over the age of 65 comprise about 10% of all mortgages originated each year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

It’s not just about age. Without a full-time job in retirement, some older adults wonder how they’ll qualify with only limited monthly earnings. Still, lenders continue qualifying older adults for a mortgage based on their pensions, Social Security, dividends and the interest they have available. They’re also showing more willingness to work with retirees to help qualify them based on either their income, distributions or assets.

Jumbo mortgages aren’t off the table either. Richard Barenblatt, a mortgage specialist with GuardHill Financial in New York, was able to get an 83-year-old retired Manhattan co-op owner a $1 million, 10-year, interest-only adjustable-rate mortgage for a refinance at a “highly competitive rate.”

Source: “You’re Never Too Old to Apply for a Mortgage,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 16, 2020) [Log-in required.]

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