A good credit score is an essential part of making the transition from renter to homeowner, but establishing a solid credit report can feel out of reach for some consumers. Many prefer not to use credit cards or loans and therefore have a limited credit report for lenders to review.
Intuitively, mortgage lenders would consider an applicant’s rent payment history as part of their decision. After all, someone who consistently pays for their housing on time as a renter would probably be more likely to pay their mortgage on time, too. But few landlords provide rent payment history to the credit reporting bureaus, and lenders who use automated underwriting systems to review loan applications had no way to include rents unless they opted for a manual credit review.
That’s about to change. As of Sept. 18, Fannie Mae will have a new feature in its automated underwriting system that will incorporate rent payments with the permission of the loan applicant. We asked Joseph Mayhew, chief credit officer of Evolve Mortgage Services in Jacksonville, Fla., and Andrea Puricelli, operations director of Inlanta Mortgage in Milwaukee, to explain how this may affect home buyers. They both responded via email.