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I have worked as a freelance web designer for 3 years before taking a salary job at a company 6 months ago. I have enough money saved up and make enough at this job to own a house but I doubt I will qualify for a mortgage on my own because while I was freelancing I was only making ~$25k/year. I am now making double that but only have 6 months history.

The problem is, the job is very far from where I live (about an hour each way). I have the money and want to find a house out there right away. I don't know if I just need 6 months more work history at this job before I could qualify on my own or if I need two full years.

Ideally, I would like to have one of my parents be a non-occupant co-borrower. My question is, if we did this would we HAVE to put down 20% or is it possible to put down less? And also, if I waited 6 months to make it a full year at the current job, would that allow me to qualify for a lower down payment on my own?

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    This may be off-topic to your question, but why are you so eager to buy a house? Are you sure you will be living in the area long enough to make it worthwhile? What if you're let go from this new job and have to find another one that's again an hour away? – dg99 Jan 7 '15 at 16:56
  • Currently still living at home. And I feel like getting an apartment is just throwing money away. I would like to move back towards working for myself but stick with the current job until it is more stable. Also, the area I am looking at is in a good place in the city that I could get to most areas in less than a half hour. Where as right now I am out in the suburbs on the other side of the city. – asharpdesigner Jan 7 '15 at 16:59
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    Renting is not throwing money away. You should take a rental there that is inexpensive and safe, and check things out. You may find that you want to live in a different part of the city or you may not like your job. Additionally, if/when you do decide to buy, look for a company that does manual underwriting. They can look past some of the standard gotcha's to qualify you for a mortgage. – Pete B. Jan 7 '15 at 19:14
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    If you are new to home buying, living on your own, and/or have had your present job for less than 1-2 years, regardless of what the bank will or won't do: really do not jump straight into buying a house. That's a huge learning curve! What area will be nice to live in, what do you really want/need/like in a home, is the job going to be stable, handling all the other responsibility of living on your own and owning a house - these are things that take experience. The experience of renting is cheap - of buying the wrong place or losing a job after house purchase? That's amazingly expensive! – BrianH Jan 7 '15 at 23:18
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This is a comment, not an answer. -- but it needs saying and doesn't fit in the comment boxes.

Owning is not always cheaper than renting. Houses don't always appreciate, and in the early years of a loan you're mostly paying interest. -- so that too is "lost money ".

The time to buy a house is when you are reasonably sure you aren't going to move in the next five years or so, you need something a rental can't give you, you have at least 20% to put down so you avoid the pmi rip-off, you've run a full budget including upkeep and insurance costs and are sure you can carry the house worst-case ... including if you're out of work for an extended time...

(I've seen people lose a job and discover that they can't keep the house, and can't unload it quickly. Good route toward bankruptcy. Houses are not a liquid asset, and being "house-rich, cash-poor" is potentially dangerous. )

If you really hate apartments, remember that sometimes you can rent houses too, often at lower cost per square foot.

Basically, don't be stampeded into buying. I rented for two decades before I bought. And by/while doing so I was able to put aside enough investments that I could have bought a half-million-dollar house for cash, and was able to change cities several times without the stress of having to sell and re-buy. I missed out on the insane housing bubble, but I also avoided being hit when that crashed.

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