Can I Get a Mortgage If I Am Retired?

Mortgage and Lending with Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA NMLS: 22343
Can I Get a Mortgage If I Am Retired?
I live in an aging county.  So if you ever find yourself vacationing in the lovely city of San Francisco, give this little exercise a try:  Simply get in your Uber.  Or rent one of those death trap three-wheelers at Fisherman's Wharf.  Or bundle up take it on the heel and toe and come across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to magical Marin County.  Now, did you feel yourself getting older in the process?
Even if not, Marin County's residents, with their 46.1-year old median age, clean air, great schools and liberal politics, will welcome you to one of the most special places in the USA. I'm willing to bet it won't be too long before one of our residents will tell you that our median home price, at least at the end of 2019, is hovering right around $1,200,000. So what happens when a retired person wants to buy a home in a high-cost area with a jumbo loan but without the income one would typically have from employment?

Lately, I've seen an increasing number of mortgage scenarios exploit a qualifying feature known as asset utilization (AU). Depending on the investor, this might also be known as asset depletion, asset amortization or an asset-based mortgage. This alternative qualification method can be a real benefit to a retired borrower or to a buyer/owner who is not of retirement age but who has amassed a sizable asset portfolio (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cash equivalents, etc.). Regardless of what it's called I'm going to demonstrate how thinking outside of the employment-based income box can open up a world of home loan possibilities.


How Does it Work?

First and foremost, an asset utilization loan is NOT a stated income loan. We're not going to party like it's 1999. This is also not a reverse mortgage. With AU, we're going to look at a borrower's total liquid assets and we're going to apply a formula that will create a hypothetical income stream. Assets do not need to be liquidated, distributions do not need to be taken and money does not need to be pledged or moved. But we'll take our allowable asset total, which discounts for reserves and risk of the asset class itself, and we'll come up with an equivalent monthly income figure. This number can, in turn, be used to replace or supplement traditional employment-based income.


Who Can Use It?

Most of our AU progams are available to all borrowers, regardless of date of birth. However, depending upon age, certain assets may or may not be allowed in the calculation. It would be a safe assumption and example that for a 45-year old borrower, we would not be able to asset deplete a retirement account. However, for that same borrower, non-retirement investments would all be eligible for the AU formula. Let's take the case of a tech entrepreneur who is between start-up gigs. She is in her late 30's and has $2MM in stock and investments. We can't qualify any salary or self-employed income but we certainly can look at the assets and derive a monthly income. And if it fits her scenario, she could be eligible to buy today, even without verifiable employment. More traditionally, let's take our 69-year old retiree. He has $3MM "in the bank," wants to buy a home worth $1.1MM and doesn't want to pay cash, which would erode the value of his portfolio (the same one that will produce the income on which he'll largely depend in years to come). Without liquidating anything other than the down payment and closing costs, the borrower can use an AU program and seek to qualify for a mortgage that meets his needs.


What About the Math?

We have a handful of investors that offer AU qualifications and they all work slightly differently. Their programs will range from ARM to fixed and their formula for the generation of asset-based income will yield, for example, a monthly stream of between $3000 and $6000 per $1MM in assets. And remember, this income can be used in addition to other qualifiable income such as social security, pensions and regular employment's wages or self-employed documented income. The key concept is that AU income can be used both 'in place of' and 'in addition to.' It's a great feature in the hands of an expert loan advisor but not all lenders have these programs available and even of those who do, few loan originators take the time to master them.


So before I need a nap, remember that if you are retired from employment, but not necessarily from participating in the housing market, we have a mortgage program you may wish to consider. Call me today if I can be of service.


On golden pond, 



Robert J. Spinosa

Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate

NMLS: 22343

Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 Fax: 415-366-1590


Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960

Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709


*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate. In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 - (866) 934-7283


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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

It's good to know those who are retired could still purchase a home using a mortgage. Great information.

Sep 09, 2019 08:36 AM #1
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

It's good to know Seniors have options! The good news AU is not a reverse mortgage! Seniors and all prospective buyers are in great hands when they use Rob Spinosa for their Lender. 

Sep 09, 2019 09:34 AM #2
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Rob,
I'm glad I own my home and don't have to ever think about getting a mortgage now that I am retired. That's one of the reasons I can be retired. 

Sep 09, 2019 09:35 AM #3
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Rob Spinosa,

So many options out there..really not a reason a senior can't purchase a home if they choose to. I'm like Carol Williams an d we own our own home have for a long time. Since our family is here there is no reason to plan on a move...I live our single story and whether retired or not will stay right here!

Sep 09, 2019 09:50 AM #4
Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Rob I have been asked this many times over the years from seniors - can I qualify for a  mortgage?  There really are so many options for them depending on what their situation is and their assets/income. Really good article!

Sep 09, 2019 10:29 AM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

hi Rob- so good to get this information out there, especially for agents who may be asked that question by their clients. 

Sep 09, 2019 07:51 PM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


Sep 14, 2019 07:08 PM #7
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Rob. This is clarifying and wonderful as well. We can get in debt at any age. :)

Sep 15, 2019 04:57 AM #8
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Great options for seniors. Love your humor and the photo!

Sep 15, 2019 06:38 AM #9
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

Another of your well written posts. Yhe mortgage industry has so many options it is hard for any borrower to know them all. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Sep 15, 2019 06:39 AM #10
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Rob:

This was great education and information. I knew some of this but now know so much more. I suspect there are a good number of buyers who might be in a position to, or need to, use these options.


Sep 15, 2019 12:18 PM #11
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Rob Spinosa - This is very good information to know.  I am glad that we own both of our homes without mortgages.

Sep 15, 2019 03:21 PM #12
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, what wonderful information to be able to share with our seniors. Like Carol Williams and Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, I will be hiring in-home care and staying put!

Sep 15, 2019 10:01 PM #13
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Very useful to know as our population ages but still wants to have a roof over thier heads.

Sep 16, 2019 05:17 AM #14
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Thanks for the info Rob! I am one that doesn’t get real bad heartburn when a client uses a reverse mo

Sep 18, 2019 09:08 PM #15
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Rob Spinosa

Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County
Can I Get a Jumbo Loan with 10% Down?
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