It’s a sinking feeling: You applied for a mortgage loan only to have your lender reject your application. Now you feel like you’ll never be able to buy your dream home.

But don’t give up hope. Your lender rejected your application because it didn’t think you could afford a monthly mortgage payment of that amount today. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to afford a smaller loan now or a larger one in the near future.

Here are some tips for dramatically increasing your odds to earn approval next time:

Listen to what your lender says: Don’t shut out your lender just because it denied your application. Find out from your lender exactly why you were denied. Your lender is required to send you a letter listing a reason, but those reasons can be general. Ask your mortgage loan officer for more specific information. Once you know the problem—low credit score, low income—take steps to fix it.

Work on that credit score: Often, lenders deny a loan application because borrowers’ credit scores are too low. Fortunately, you can improve your credit score. You have to pay your bills on time each month and pay off as much credit-card debt as possible. It might take time—several months, or more—but you can steadily boost that three-digit score.

Time to go it alone? Maybe your credit score is high but your spouse’s or partner’s is low. It might make sense to apply for a mortgage loan on your own. Lenders will rely on the lowest credit score among applicants when deciding who does and doesn’t qualify for a home loan. Make sure, though, that your income alone is high enough to qualify for the loan you want. Remember, too, that the name of your spouse or partner can be on the home’s title, even if both of your names aren’t on the mortgage.

Pay off those debts: Lenders want your monthly debts— including your estimated monthly mortgage payments—to be no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio was higher than this mark, pay off as much of your debt as possible before applying again for a mortgage loan. Lower debt levels could mean the difference between denied or accepted.

If you’d like to boost your odds of qualifying for a home loan, call us today. We’ll help you determine what steps you need to take to earn that mortgage.