A criminal record in your past can affect a number of things and put a number of challenges in your path. You may assume, however, that you’ve turned your life around. You’re ready to buy a home, and you’re ready to get a fresh start on life. However, before you get ready to purchase that home, you may want to consider how a criminal record can impact the home-buying process.
1. Some Lenders May Not Be Willing to Give You a Mortgage
Despite the fact that any criminal conviction is in your past, some lenders may be unwilling to offer you mortgage terms. They may perform a full background check, including a criminal history check, before approving the loan, then choose to deny you on the basis of that past conviction. If you’re turned down, you may feel frustrated or wonder if you will be able to get a loan for your new home. Applying with more than one lender can give you a better idea of your odds of securing a mortgage loan.
2. Some Lenders May Offer You Less Favorable Terms, Even If You’re Able to Secure a Loan
When you apply for a home loan with a criminal history, even if you can secure a home mortgage, it may not be at the rate you’re hoping for. You may need a larger down payment or end up facing higher interest rates than another borrower without a criminal history.
Lenders don’t just look at your criminal background to determine your rates, either. They may take a look at other factors that can be influenced by your past. For example, they may take note of any unpaid bills or lines of credit that you could not take care of while incarcerated, or they may evaluate your income and determine that you do not meet their criteria.
3. Your Ability to Buy a Home in Certain Areas May Be Limited by Your History
Depending on the type of conviction you received, it can interfere with your ability to purchase or live in a home in certain areas. If you are a registered sex offender, for example, you may not be able to buy a home near a school or playground. Some areas may also perform background checks before selling a home in that area, especially if you move into a neighborhood with an HOA.
Any type of criminal conviction in your past can interfere with many areas of your life, making it more difficult for you to move forward even after you have paid for your crime. Learning that a criminal history can interfere with the home-buying process can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to prevent you from securing the home of your dreams. If you have a past criminal conviction on your record, having that record cleared can help protect your future–as can fighting charges. A criminal defense attorney can help you learn more about your options for clearing your name, sealing your record, and protecting your future. Seeking legal guidance and exploring options for record clearance can open doors to new opportunities and help you move forward with your life.