You were arrested five years ago, you spent three years behind bars, and now you're out. You're trying to turn your life around. In the past two years, you've gone back to school and gotten a job. Now you're interested in buying a home. Will a lender give you a mortgage loan with your record?

Lender Policies

The law does not govern this, so lenders can set up policies on their own. If the policy includes running a background check and denying those with a criminal history, they can do it. Anti-discrimination laws mean they can't deny you based on things like race, religion or gender, but the laws do not force lenders to ignore an arrest record.

Do They Check?

That being said, what you're going to find is that many lenders never actually decide to run a background check. If you don't bring up your record, they may never know.

On the flip side, though, they may ask you other questions that expose that record. For instance, they'll want to see what your credit score looks like. They'll want to know your employment history. They'll likely look into your residency, perhaps going back for the last decade.

So, if they want to know where you lived for the last 8-10 years and where you worked for the past three years, you're very quickly going to run into a situation where you have to tell them you were in jail for part of the time. They may still approve the loan; after all, you're now out and employed. However, it can be a red flag and may go against their specific policies, which can lead to your application being declined.

Long-Term Ramifications

If you're facing criminal charges, it's important to think about all of the ramifications of a conviction. If you are convicted and sentenced, it can impact your life in many different ways, for years after your sentence is up. To protect your future, be sure you know about all of your defense options.