FHA Acceptable Compensating (Comp) Factors To Go Beyond 33/43 Ratios

Education & Training

2-13 COMPENSATING FACTORS.Compensating factors that may be used to justify approval of mortgage loans with ratios exceeding our benchmark guidelines are those listed below. Underwriters must record on the “remarks” section of the HUD 92900-WS/HUD 92900-PUR the compensating factor(s) used to support loan approval. Any compensating factor used to justify mortgage approval must be supported by documentation.

A. The borrower has successfully demonstrated the ability to pay housing expenses equal to or greater than the proposed monthly housing expense for the new mortgage over the past 12-24 months.

B. The borrower makes a large downpayment (ten percent or more) toward the purchase of the property.

C. The borrower has demonstrated an ability to accumulate savings and a conservative attitude toward the use of credit.

D. Previous credit history shows that the borrower has the ability to devote a greater portion of income to housing expenses.

E. The borrower receives documented compensation or income not reflected in effective income, but directly affecting the ability to pay the mortgage, including food stamps and similar public benefits.

F. There is only a minimal increase in the borrower’s housing expense.

The borrower has substantial documented cash reserves (at least three months’ worth) after closing. In determining if an asset can be included as cash reserves or cash to close, the lender must judge whether or not the asset is liquid or readily convertible to cash and can be done so absent retirement or job termination. Also see paragraph 2-10K.

Funds borrowed against these accounts may be used for loan closing, but are not to be considered as cash reserves. “Assets” such as equity in other properties and the proceeds from a cash-out refinance are not to be considered as cash reserves. Similarly, funds from gifts from any source are not to be included as cash reserves.

H. The borrower has substantial non-taxable income (if no adjustment was made previously in the ratio computations).

I. The borrower has a potential for increased earnings, as indicated by job training or education in the borrower’s profession.

J. The home is being purchased as a result of relocation of the primary wage-earner, and the secondary wage-earner has an established history of employment, is expected to return to work, and reasonable prospects exist for securing employment in a similar occupation in the new area. The underwriter must document the availability of such possible employment.

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