The 3 Cs of Mortgage Underwriting are:

  • Character
  • Capacity
  • Collateral

If you have all these, you will be approved. If you are not approved, your loan officer sucks.


  • Is your credit score high enough? Usually 580 is good enough. Higher is better for 2 reasons: lower rate and less stipulations from the underwriter.
  • Do you have sufficient credit depth? Generally, you need all on-time payments in last 12 months.


  • Do you make enough money to cover all your debts, including the new mortgage? Debts divided by your gross monthly income should be lower than 50%. (Although we have seen many exceptions to this with compensating factors).
  • Do you have a high probability of continuing to make that same income? Two years stable job history is best. However, if you do not have that, do not worry, it can be managed.


  • Is the house worth at least the amount you want to borrow? The VA appraisal will determine this.
  • Is the title of the home clear and warrantable? Your title company will determine this.