Doctor's work portrait

Should Doctors Consider a Physician Mortgage Loan?

Explore your mortgage options

NMLS #3030

*Connect with a mortgage specialist

We teamed up with Rocket Mortgage to help you get house-hunting sooner. Answer a few questions and an agent will reach out to discuss your options.

Get Started by selecting an option below

What kind of loan are you interested in?

What to expect

Tell us what you need and a representative from Rocket Mortgage will give you a call. You’ll have support at every step.

What kind of property do you want to purchase? What kind of property do you own?

Why we’re asking

Rocket Mortgage® can provide a more accurate rate estimate if they know what kind of property you’re interested in.

NMLS #3030
How do you use your property? How would you use this property?

Why we’re asking

Having a little more information upfront helps Rocket Mortgage® provide a personalized rate faster.

NMLS #3030
When are you planning to buy?

Still House Hunting?

Hope you find your dream home soon! In the meantime, it’s never too early to know your rate.

NMLS #3030
Are you a first-time home buyer?

It’s all good:

Whether it’s your first – or second property – Rocket Mortgage® can provide you with a rate estimate.

NMLS #3030
Do you have a second mortgage?

It’s all good

If you have a second mortgage, it’s no problem. Letting us know helps to customize your rate.

NMLS #3030
What is your credit score?

Don’t know your score?

Don’t sweat it! Make your best guess. Credit scores range from 300 (low) to 850 (excellent).

NMLS #3030

Tell us a bit more about you

What happens next?

A representative from Rocket Mortgage® will be in touch to discuss your commitment-free, personalized rate. Then you can decide whether you’d like to lock it in!

NMLS #3030

Enter your contact info so Rocket Mortgage® can get in touch!

By providing your contact information and clicking the "Agree & Send Information" button below, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You also expressly consent by electronic signature to receive telephonic sales, promotional, marketing and other calls and text messages, including any calls and messages sent by any automated system or other means for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers, or using an artificial or prerecorded voice message when a connection is completed, from Rocket Mortgage, its Family of Companies, our partner companies and our marketing partners at the telephone number you have provided, even if that telephone number is on a corporate, state, or national do-not-call list or registry. Your consent and agreement to receive such calls or text messages is not a condition of purchasing any property, goods or services from us, our Family of Companies or any of our partners.

NMLS #3030

Ready To Buy a Home?

Get Approved to Buy a Home

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

If you’re a recent medical school graduate, you may have heard of physician mortgage loans, also known as doctor loans. Considering the student debt that usually comes with medical school, it’s natural to look into all of your mortgage options.

Learn everything you need to know about physician mortgage loans, how they work, how to apply for one and what kind of rates and terms to expect.

What Is a Physician Mortgage Loan?

As the name implies, physician mortgage loans are meant for doctors who’ve either just graduated – and may not have proof of employment yet – and newer physicians.

With high medical school debt and possibly no immediate income, newer doctors have a way to qualify for mortgages without having to put down thousands of dollars upfront.

Home is worth it.

The mortgage process can be exciting, and we’ll be with you all the way. Take the first step to owning a home. You’ll be glad you did.

How Do Physician Mortgage Loans Work?

Doctor loans work differently than conventional home loans. A physician mortgage loan is a type of mortgage that, in most cases, doesn’t require a down payment. There are degree requirements, lower loan qualifications and potentially higher interest rates for doctor loans than conventional mortgages. 

Like traditional mortgages, exact costs vary by provider. However, $1 million is the industry standard for how much doctors can borrow without a down payment. Properties with a higher purchase price may require a down payment – even if you’re using a physician mortgage loan. 

Interest rates

Most doctor loans are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM), which means they tend to have lower interest rates at the beginning of the loan. The interest rate can change over time based on market conditions and your personal credit. 

With physician mortgage loans, the rate tends to increase over time. But this isn’t always the case. 

Your lender can’t increase your interest rates without limitations. There are various caps on adjustable rates to ensure lenders don’t use these mortgages to take advantage of borrowers.1 

Private mortgage insurance (PMI)

If you take out a traditional conventional mortgage and make a down payment of less than 20% of the loan, your lender will usually require you to get private mortgage insurance (PMI)

The cost of PMI is added to your monthly payments and varies based on the size of the loan. 

However, if you get a physician mortgage loan, you can put down less than 20% – even 0% – and you still won’t owe PMI. This can make a noticeable difference to your monthly payment.

Property requirements

Doctor loans have strict property requirements compared to traditional mortgages. Most notably, you can only use a physician mortgage loan to buy a primary residence. In other words, you can’t get a doctor loan to pay for a second home or investment property.

Additionally, your lender may put restrictions on the type of property you can buy with the loan. Many doctor loans won’t allow you to buy condos, townhomes or multifamily properties. 

You’ll need to check with your lender to see what types of properties are accepted.

Who Qualifies for Physician Mortgage Loans?

Contrary to popular belief, doctor loans aren’t just for doctors and other medical professionals. They’re available to a wide range of high-earning professions, including but not limited to:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Podiatrists
  • Veterinarians
  • Optometrists
  • Certified Public Accountants
  • Attorneys
  • Advanced Practice Clinicians

Keep in mind that not all lenders offer doctor loans to home buyers who work outside of the medical field. They’re generally reserved for medical professionals only. However, if you have the right credentials, you could find a lender that will accept your application.

Qualification requirements

Qualification Requirements

Degree

You’ll need to show proof of an advanced degree in a qualifying field of study, including but not limited to Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD). Remember that eligibility requirements, including accepted professions and degrees, vary from one lender to another.

Employment or income

If you’re right out of med school, you can generally qualify for a doctor loan without proof of employment or income. If you’ve been out of school for more than a year, your lender will likely want to see that you have some way to make your mortgage payments.

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio

You’ll need to show how much debt you have in comparison to your current income, aka your DTI ratio. Fortunately, even if you have a lot of medical school debt and little or no income, many lenders will still accept your application. Doctor loans don’t automatically disqualify borrowers with high student loan debt.

Credit score

Credit requirements vary significantly by lender. As a general rule, 620 is the lowest score you can have to qualify for a non-government-backed mortgage. The same rule applies to doctor loans. However, if you don’t plan to make a down payment, your lender may require a credit score of 680 or above.

Pros and Cons of Physician Mortgage Loans

Below are some important pros and cons of doctor loans to help you decide if they’re the right choice for you:

PROS of physician mortgage loans👍

No PMI

You won’t have to add extra insurance costs to your monthly mortgage payment, even if you’re paying less than 20% of the loan upfront.

No down payment required

A doctor loan ensures you can still get into a home, even if you don’t have enough cash to make a down payment.

Flexible DTI ratio and employment requirements

With a physician mortgage loan, it’s understood that recent med school grads likely have a lot of student debt and little to no income.

Larger loan limits

Getting a loan limit of $1 million without a down payment or proof of income isn’t something you can do with a conventional mortgage.

CONS of physician mortgage loans👎

Adjustable rate (not fixed rate)

Your interest rates will fluctuate and potentially increase over time, making it harder to plan for your financial future.

Higher interest rates than conventional mortgages

Even though your adjusted rate will start lower, you’ll probably end up paying more in interest with a doctor loan than with a traditional conventional mortgage.

Risk of going underwater

Both you and the lender are taking on more risk with a doctor loan. The assumption is that you’ll find employment. But if that doesn’t happen quickly enough, you could find yourself drowning in debt.

Limits on qualifying properties

You can only get a physician mortgage loan for a primary residence, and your lender may put additional limitations on the type of property you can purchase.

Alternatives to Physician Mortgage Loans

If you decide a physician mortgage loan isn’t the best choice for you, there are other loan options. 

  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan: An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage that helps people with lower credit scores or limited savings get access to home financing. 
  • Conventional loan: Most conventional mortgages require you to have good credit and a steady income. The upside is you can get virtually any kind of property with a conventional loan – second home, investment property, etc.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan: If you’re a military veteran or a current member of the military, you may qualify for a VA loan. This type of loan gives veterans and military families access to mortgages with no down payments. 

Doctor Up Home Buying With A Physician Mortgage Loan

If you’re a recent med school grad with student loan debt, a physician mortgage loan is one of the best home financing options on the market.

In some cases, it may be the only way for new doctors to become homeowners right now. Just remember to weigh all of your options to see if a physician mortgage loan makes sense for you.

Need Mortgage Help?

New home, second home, refinancing, we’ve seen it all. Whatever your goals, expert help is just a click away.

The Short Version

  • Physician mortgage loans are meant for doctors who’ve either just graduated – and may not have proof of employment yet – and newer physicians
  • These loans come with no down payment requirement and limits up to $1 million dollars, higher than you’ll get with a conventional loan
  • Most doctor loans are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM), which means they tend to have lower interest rates at the beginning of the loan
Back to top of page

You Should Also Check Out…

Our team of financial experts write, review and verify content for accuracy and clarity.