Buying a vacation home or down scaling to a smaller home in your retirement is actually a fairly common practice. Applying for a mortgage is easier than ever these days thanks to online applications, lower interest rates, and more flexible repayment terms and plans.

There are hundreds of mortgage lenders, finance companies and real estate agencies ready to help you, but which one do you choose. What do you need to apply for a mortgage once you’re retired? Which agencies specialize in this? There are hundreds of questions you’re asking yourself right now, and the significant thing is that there are many millions of people that have done so too. Reading reviews of real estate companies on platforms such as Reviews Bird to learn which companies are best, which offer the best customer support, and which ones actual customers found to be the most helpful and efficient. By reading those insights, you will be able to make better-informed decisions.

The first thing you must do is to assess and show your income. For that you must supply the mortgage officer with your Social Security payments, pensions, IRA and 401(k) payments to show them you have a consistent income to fund the mortgage loan.

The next step is to illustrate your Debt-To-Income Ratio. For a mortgage loan, your Debt-To-Income ratio must be 43 percent or lower, meaning that your expenses must total less than 43 percent of your monthly income. You can calculate this at home: add up all your monthly debits, divide them by your monthly income, and then multiply that number by 100. The answer is your Debt-To-Income ratio. An example of this is as follows: $1,000 in debts and $3,000 in income equals 33 percent. If your Debt-To-Income score is close to 43 percent or above that threshold, you must pay off some of your debt in order to lower your score.

The best way forward is to place a large down payment. That will make it easier for you to qualify for a mortgage, and it will also help to lower your monthly payments to keep your Debt-To-Income score low. While they require a minimum 3 percent down payment, by increasing that will help you fund your retirement home more easily.

Each mortgage lender will have different credit ratings. There are online tools available to you to check your credit score, but it is sometimes easier to assess this with your mortgage lender as their credit ratings guideline will be a truer reflection of the requirements for your mortgage loan. In general, a credit score of 780 and above is better and will make it easier to successfully apply for a mortgage.

There is one other alternative that might assist retired persons with an invested IRA or brokerage account. The mortgage lender can assess your holdings and IRA account to calculate the mortgage you would qualify for up to 70 percent of the value of your brokerage account or IRA. That will help them know if you will be able to repay the loan.