Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Eric Jeanette
Mortgages for Travel Nurses
There is a shortage of nurses in the United States which helps with job security and pay scale. Some travel nurses have a difficult time qualifying for a mortgage to purchase a home due to how they are paid and the frequent job changes.
There are mortgages for travel nurses to qualify for a home purchase or a refinance regardless of whether your income is paid via W2 or 1099.
Travel Nurses with W2 Income
Travel nurses who are paid salary and receive a W2 at the end of the year may be able to qualify for most mortgage programs. You would need to provide pay stubs, W2s and two years of tax returns.
The programs you may qualify for are conventional, FHA, VA and USDA with various down payment options. Most lenders will require that you be in your job for at least two years, but there are options for nurses without a two year work history.
Travel Nurses with 1099 Income
Travel nurses who earn their income via 1099 often have difficulty qualifying for a mortgage. They have the ability to write off many expenses which results in a lower net income on the tax returns. This also means they may qualify for a lower mortgage amount despite being able to easily make the payments.
There are mortgages for travel nurses where they can qualify using the average monthly bank deposits rather than the income documented on their tax returns. This is covered below under bank statement loans.
Mortgage Programs for Travel Nurses
These are the most popular and appropriate mortgage programs for travel nurses today:
Conventional Loans for Travel Nurses
With a conventional loan, travel nurses will need a credit score of at least 620, a two year work history, and will need to fully document their income using pay stubs, W2s and tax returns.
Both W2 and 1099 travel nurses can apply for a conventional loan and this option is the most popular with nurses who can qualify based upon the income they document on their tax returns.
FHA Loans for Travel Nurses
FHA loans are perfect for travel nurses who may have low credit scores, or need a small down payment. The loan program can also help you to qualify for a higher purchase price than a conventional loan.
One of the other benefits is FHA loans allow for the seller to help cover the closing costs. You can also get a gift from a relative to help with the 3.5% down payment.
Read [FHA Loan Information]
VA Loans for Travel Nurses
One of the huge benefits of an VA loan is the zero down payment requirement. There are many nurses who spent time in the military as a nurse and how enjoy a wonderful career as a travel nurse.
If you are a veteran, you may have VA eligibility which means you could potentially qualify for one of the best mortgage programs available to anyone. One of the key requirements of a VA loan is to fully document your income using tax returns.
You may also introduce a spouse as a co-borrower to help bring additional income to the application.
Bank Statement Loans for Nurses
Many travel nurses are self employed or earn income as a 1099 contractor. As a result, they often show a lower income on the tax returns due to many business related write offs.
As a travel nurse, you may qualify for this type of mortgage with down payments as low as 10% and credit scores as low as 600. You will likely need to provide at least 12 months of your prior bank statements to qualify.
If you believe that you may need a loan program like this, we recommend reading our article on bank statement loans.
Down Payment Assistance for Travel Nurses
With a down payment of only 3.5%, travel nurses can purchase a home using an FHA loan. However, not everyone has the ability to come up with the down payment or closing costs.
There are down payment assistance programs available in every state for nurses. Most of them are not available only for nurses and can be found in your local community
You will need to apply for the down payment assistance program and most will have a credit score requirements. First, you will need to get pre-approved by a lender. We can help with your pre-approval by completing this loan scenario form. Then, you will bring the pre-approval to the down payment assistance company to get approved for the funds.
Getting Approved for a Mortgage with Nursing Student Loans
Student loans can make it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage because it drives up the debt to income ratio well about the acceptable limits for most mortgages. If you are a travel nurse with student loan balances, you can absolutely still qualify for a mortgage.
FHA loans offer the opportunity to qualify for a mortgage with a high DTI up to 56.9%. In addition, student loan payments (if deferred) are calculated at only .5% (half percent) of the student loan balance. For example, if your student loan balance is $50,000, the payment used on your mortgage application is only $250.
Using Per Diem Nursing Income for a Mortgage
Most mortgage program guidelines such as FHA and Conventional (Fannie Mae) do not permit per diem income to be used towards qualifying for a mortgage. That income is considered to be an offset for business and travel expenses.
There may be the potential to get an exception if the per diem income is consistent and if you can prove that it is not used to offset expenses. Keep in mind the chances of getting approved for the exception are slim.
If you are applying for a bank statement loan, that income may be used and counted towards your deposits when the lender is determining how much you qualify for.
Travel Nurses with Recent Bankruptcies
Travel nurses with a recent bankruptcy may still qualify for a mortgage without having to wait a few years before purchasing a home.
If you have a recent chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can qualify for a mortgage just one day after your discharge date with a minimum of 20% down. With a recent chapter 13 bankruptcy, an FHA approval is possible after you have made at least 12 on time bankruptcy payments.
Read our article on qualifying for a mortgage with a bankruptcy.
Challenges Facing Travel Nurses
Travel nurses often have challenges that other nurses may not experience. Some of these quotes are real issues provided by others in the industry.
nurse.org – “Over 85% of travel nurses say that they don’t take a full break during their shift.”
Chron.com – “travel nursing takes you away from your home base and so may not be suitable for the person who is uncomfortable with leaving behind family and friends and having to start over frequently.“
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