Doctor Loan Program: Your Guide to Qualifying

Home Buying for Physicians

Financial planning is comprised of the six decisions people make with their money. Physicians need to make decisions as to how they borrow, spend, and protect their money  when it comes to finding a lender in the home buying process. Mortgages are an effective way to borrow money and finance a home.

6 money decisions for physicians

Doctor Mortgage Program

Many banks offer a doctor loan program to  physicians and dentists whether they are in training or in practice. A doctor loan gives physicians the flexibility to buy a home with minimal out-of-pocket expenses, helping physicians make the most of their money.

We often receive questions about the doctor loan program from physicians, so I sat down with Jason Watkins, NMLSR#455600, Vice President Production Manager at SunTrust Mortgage, to answer those commonly asked questions. Jason specializes in serving the mortgage financing needs of licensed medical physicians and dentists. 

Jason Watkins has helped many people achieve their goal of home-ownership. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or refinancing an existing loan, Jason has a solid understanding of the local real estate market and what it takes to close your loan with efficiency and expertise.

What is a physician loan? Who qualifies for the physician loan and at what point in their career? 

The Physician Loan is a special mortgage loan program available to Medical Doctors (DO/DPM/MD) and Dentists (DDS/DMD).  For Medical Doctors, this program is available during residency, fellowship and post training.  What makes the program special is that it allows for low or no down payment; no mortgage insurance regardless of down payment; the ability to qualify on future income and is available with competitive rates and various loan terms.

What do you need to be approved for a loan? Credit score? Anything else? 

The first step in getting approved for any loan product is to get pre-approved with a loan officer.  This enables us to review your credit report including score and credit history.  We’ll also look at your current income, employment and assets to ensure you meet all of the program requirements.  It’s never too early to get pre-approved – if you are considering buying a home then it’s the right time to get pre-approved.  The minimum credit score for our doctor loan program is a 660. 

To emphasize an important first step, the best first step is to get a pre-approval and have a discussion with your loan officer.  A pre-approval does not cost or obligate you to anything but will be a chance to see if you are eligible to purchase a home OR it will give you time to get on the right path to home-ownership. 

Why do mortgage rates vary? 

Interest rates can vary from one person to another, which is directly attributed to each persons’ unique credit profile (score), other attributions include employment history, income, down payment, property type, loan amount, etc.  Rates vary every day until locked.

What affects your credit score? How can it be improved?

Credit score can be impacted by many factors including: number of and type of credit inquires; number of accounts on credit; payment history on all accounts; balances on revolving debt; time since newest account was opened; how long someone has had credit; overall credit balances and types of credit (revolving debt, installment debt).  Scores can be improved and doing so would be unique for each borrower.  This would be discussed after reviewing credit during the pre-approval stage.

Can you qualify for a physician loan with no income?

Yes.  As long as the Doctor/Dentist is fully licensed, you can still use the doctor program to qualify for a home using your spouse’s income for qualifying. 


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Molly Holbert

Molly Holbert | Spaugh Dameron Tenny