When Mitt Romney mentioned the so-called 'qualified mortgage,' rule in the presidential debate, he touched on one of the thorniest issues in mortgage lending these days.

Many lenders aren't waiting around for regulators to define what a qualified mortgage is and instead are writing their own rules. Most notably, they are being super strict about debt-to-income ratios, which is limiting some borrowers from getting a home loan. Higher credit scores and stricter documentation requirements also are restricting access to credit.

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