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Professional Mortgage Loans: Options for Lawyers, Doctors and Others in High-Paying Fields

After the 2008 financial crisis, the government placed strict underwriting restrictions on mortgage lenders.

To qualify for a traditional mortgage today, you typically need to show two years of steady income. You’ll also need a 20% down payment to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). And for 2023, your mortgage loan amount can’t exceed $726,200.

These rules are intended to protect the average American. But, for some professionals, like doctors and attorneys, they can cause problems.

Medical and law school graduates often have very little savings to put toward a down payment due to their high student loan debt. Individuals in these fields may also have high debt-to-income ratios, especially if they’re in residency. And, due to their projected future income, they might want to buy a home that exceeds the conforming loan limits.

The good news is that many lenders offer home loans that are specifically designed to meet the needs of doctors, lawyers and other high-debt, high-income-potential professionals. Let’s take a look at how these loans work and a few of the top lenders that offer them.

Why do lenders offer professional mortgage loans?

After traditional mortgages close, most lenders end up selling the mortgage to a government-sponsored lender like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is why traditional mortgages must conform to the standards that these lenders set.

However, Lenders keep professional mortgage loans in-house, allowing them to set their own underwriting standards. Lenders have a few reasons for going through all the trouble of creating and servicing professional mortgage loan products.

First, lenders target these loans to people in professions that have a reputation for high incomes. Banks know that while doctors, veterinarians and attorneys might not be making a lot of money now, each of these professions has a high average income and strong job security. And this reduces their risk.

Second, lenders offer professional mortgage loans because they want to develop a long-term relationship with high-value customers and market banking products to them. Finally, banks can charge higher interest rates on nonconforming mortgages to offset their risk.

Related: How to Buy a House Despite Student Loan Debt

What are the pros and cons of professional mortgage loans?

The first major benefit of professional mortgage loans is that they often come with low down payment requirements. Some don’t require any down payment at all. For cash-strapped new graduates or medical residents, that’s a huge advantage.

With conventional loans, borrowers must pay for private mortgage insurance (if their down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price). Yet professional mortgage loans, like physician mortgage loans, don’t require PMI. That can save borrowers thousands of dollars per year.

Special mortgages for lawyers, doctors and other professionals can also help borrowers buy homes that are above the loan limits for conforming mortgages. This can help avoid the need for a jumbo loan with a higher interest rate.

Get Quotes for Your Doctor Mortgage

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If there’s a downside to professional mortgage loans, it’s that borrowers may be tempted to overextend themselves and buy more house than they can afford. Even with strong income potential, buying a $500,000 piece of real estate with no down payment might not be the best financial decision, for example. Also, borrowers are often charged higher interest rates for nonconforming loans.

7 Lenders that offer professional mortgage loans

Currently, physician mortgage programs are most popular with lenders.

But there are several banks that offer mortgages to nonmedical professionals like attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), architects, engineers and more. Below are some of the top professional home financing lenders worth checking out.

1. U.S. Bank

The professional mortgage options at U.S. Bank are available for medical physicians (including residents, fellows) who are Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) or Doctors of Medicine (MD). Dentists and nurses aren’t eligible. You can borrow up to $2.5 million, but you’ll need a minimum down payment:

  • 5% down for up to $1 million
  • 10% down for $1.5 million
  • 15% down for $2 million

The doctor mortgage loan isn’t advertised on U.S. Bank’s website.

2. George Mason Mortgage

George Mason Mortgage is a subsidiary of United Bank, and it has a Doctor’s Mortgage program that includes pharmacists, Doctors of Medicine (MD), Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctors of Dental Medicine (DMD), veterinarians (DVM or VDM), and psychiatrists who are licensed as MDs. This program offers up to 100% financing with no PMI. Here are the three main loan options:

  • 100% LTV for up to $1 million
  • 89.99% LTV for up to $1.25 million

Financing for condos may be available in addition to single-family homes, but come with different financing options than the ones listed above. Adjustable-rate loans (5/1, 7/1, and 10/1) and fixed-rate loans are both available.

One problem you may run into with George Mason Mortgage is availability. Currently, its professional mortgage loans are only available to residents of the following areas:

  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Additionally, for homebuyers in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the property you want to buy must be located within 90 miles of a United Bank local branch. The good news though, is that this program is available to residents and fellows, in addition to practicing doctors.

3. KeyBank

KeyBank provides special mortgages of up to $3.5 million to doctors and dentists through its Medical Profession Loans program. Qualified applicants have their MD, DO, DPM, DDS or DMD.

These Medical Profession Loans can have a loan-to-value ratio of up to 100%. In other words, you may be able to qualify for a zero-down mortgage. As is typical for professional mortgages, KeyBank doesn’t require PMI on these loans. Eligible properties include owner-occupied homes, as well as second homes.

4. Cadence Bank

Cadence Bank has more than 400 branch locations across the Southeast. With Cadence Bank’s mortgages for medical professionals program, professionals in the following fields can qualify for mortgage amounts of up to $1.5 million:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Medical residents
  • Medical fellows

If you belong to one of the qualifying professions listed above, Cadence Bank may allow you to borrow up to 100% of your home’s value with no down payment. There’s no PMI requirement and 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages are available in addition to fixed-rate loans.

To qualify for the Medical Professional Loan Program, you must plan to occupy the property yourself. Rental or investment properties are not eligible.

Read our full review of Cadence Bank.

5. PNC

PNC provides medical professional mortgage loans to interns, residents, fellows or doctors who completed residency in the previous five years. The maximum amount that can be borrowed through this program is $1 million, and no PMI is required.

It has a unique grant program that awards up to $5,000 that can be used for closing costs or to cover prepaid costs, such as escrow account funds. It can also be applied toward a down payment. However, you must meet certain income requirements or reside in a qualified community.

Note that this program only is allowed for primary residence purchases.

6. First Merchants Bank (formerly Level One Bank)

First Merchant's Bank's Community One Professional Loan is available to various professionals, including police, fire, teachers, RNs, RTs and any hospital employee. It offers loans for up to $350,000 with 3% down and no required PMI.

There are no age restrictions and most visa holders are accepted

You can close with an employment contract in place 60 days prior to a job start date.

This loan offers 30 year fixed-rate, 15 year fixed-rate, 10/6 ARM, 7/6 ARM and 5/6 ARM options.

7. Evolve Bank & Trust

Evolve Bank offers doctor mortgage loans for home purchases and refinancing in all 48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii) for up to 100% financing with no PMI. They serve H-1B visas and/or green card holders; however, a requirement is a 25% down payment.

Financing choices include:

  • 0% down for up to $1 million
  • 5% down for up to $1.5 million

Evolve Bank allows anyone with the following degrees to apply: medical residents, MD, DDS, DMD, OD, PharmD, DPM, DO, RN, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and veterinarians. To be eligible, one must be 10 years or less from starting one’s career. There is no 30 year fixed-rate option.

You need a credit score of 700 or better to be approved for their 0% or 5% down financing options.

Related: How a Doctor Mortgage Impacts Your Credit Score

Is a professional mortgage loan right for you?

If you work in a profession that requires a lot of expensive education, you’ve already had to wait longer than the average person to start your career. So, if you’ve recently graduated or earned your professional license, you may be eager to buy a home.

With conforming mortgages, you’ll need to wait until you get a couple of years of work under your belt. If you’re just entering residency, you may need to wait even longer to qualify for a traditional mortgage. A professional mortgage can help make homeownership a reality much sooner if you’d rather not wait.

You’ll probably pay a higher interest rate for a professional mortgage loan, however. If you decide to go through with a professional mortgage loan, consider refinancing to a lower interest rate conforming loan after you’ve established a few years of income history.

Get Quotes for Your Doctor Mortgage

What mortgage product do you need?

Step 1: Job
Step 2: Home
Step 3: Your Info

Your Occupation

NEXT

Home Price Range

Preferred Down Payment

Stage You're At in the Home Buying Process

When Do You Want a Mortgage Approval?

How Many Banks Would You Like Quotes From?

Any Bankruptcies or Short Sales?

NEXT

Full Name

Email

Phone Number

State Where You Plan to Purchase

Metro Area Where You Plan to Purchase

Citizenship Status

Communication Preference

Would You Like to Add Any Additional Details?

GET MY QUOTES

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