Financing Your Home With Nontraditional Income

Qualifying for a Bank Statement Mortgage

Meeting the requirements for a mortgage greatly depends on your income and how that will impact your ability to pay back a loan. While many loan programs are great for traditional W2 and salaried employees, bank statement loans are a great option for people with 1099, contract, freelance, gig work, or sporadic income streams.

What is a Bank Statement Loan?

Ever dreamed of homeownership but worried your income might not fit the mold? Traditional mortgages favor salaried employees with W-2s. But what about freelancers, self-employed individuals, or those with commission-based earnings? This is where non-QM loans come in.

Non-QM stands for “Non-Qualified Mortgage.” In simpler terms, these loans are designed for borrowers with non-traditional income structures who wouldn’t necessarily qualify for a conventional mortgage. Instead of relying solely on W-2s, non-QM lenders consider a broader range of income verification options:

  • Bank Statements: Showcasing 12-24 months of deposits can demonstrate consistent income and your ability to manage a mortgage payment.
  • Tax Returns: Self-employed individuals and freelancers can leverage past tax returns to prove income history and stability.
  • Business Financials: For business owners, profit and loss statements and tax filings can be used to verify income potential.

Here’s the key difference: Non-QM lenders take a more holistic approach to your financial picture. They consider your income potential, not just a single tax year or pay stub. This can be especially beneficial if you have a history of on-time rent payments, a healthy savings account, or valuable assets.

So, is a non-QM loan right for you? If your income falls outside the traditional mold, but you have a strong financial track record, exploring non-QM options could be the key to unlocking your homeownership dream. The next step? Reach out to a qualified non-QM mortgage professional. They can assess your unique situation, explain the different loan options available, and guide you through the path to homeownership.


How Do Bank Statement Mortgages Work?

For self-employed individuals and freelancers with income that fluctuates, traditional W-2-based mortgages can feel out of reach. This is where bank statement loans step in. These non-QM loans rely on your personal or business bank statements, typically for the past 12-24 months, to analyze your income.

The lender will look for consistent deposits that demonstrate your ability to repay the loan. Instead of focusing on a single tax year, bank statement loans provide a broader picture of your earning potential. This can be particularly beneficial if your income has grown over time or if you have seasonal variations.

It’s important to note that while bank statement loans offer more flexibility, they may come with slightly higher interest rates compared to traditional loans. However, for those with non-traditional income structures, they can be a valuable tool to achieve homeownership.


What Lenders Look For When Reviewing Your Bank Statement Application

Unlike traditional mortgages with their rigid requirements, non-QM loans take a more comprehensive look at your financial picture. Here’s what non-QM lenders typically consider when qualifying you for a loan:


This is naturally a crucial factor. However, non-QM lenders go beyond the traditional W-2s. They may consider:

  • Bank Statements: Personal or business bank statements (typically 12-24 months) showcasing consistent deposits demonstrate your earning potential.
  • Tax Returns: Self-employed individuals and freelancers can leverage past tax returns to prove income history and growth.
  • Business Financials: Profit and loss statements and tax filings for business owners paint a clear picture of income potential.

Income Frequency

Non-QM lenders understand that income for freelancers, commission earners, or business owners might fluctuate. They’ll analyze your income over a longer period to assess overall stability, not just a single snapshot.

Credit History

A good credit score is always a plus, but non-QM lenders may be more flexible with past credit issues. They’ll prioritize your overall financial health and responsible credit behavior moving forward.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

This ratio compares your monthly debt payments (rent, car loans, etc.) to your gross income. A lower DTI indicates a stronger ability to manage another loan payment.


Some non-QM loan programs consider your assets like stocks, bonds, or even another property alongside your income. This additional layer of security can strengthen your application.

Down Payment Amount

While a larger down payment is always beneficial, non-QM loan options might allow for a lower down payment compared to traditional mortgages. However, this may come with a higher interest rate.

Cash Reserves

Having a healthy savings account demonstrates financial responsibility and your ability to handle unexpected expenses.

Overall Financial Picture

Non-QM lenders take a more holistic approach. They consider your entire financial landscape, including your ability to save, manage debt, and make on-time payments, even if your income structure is non-traditional.

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and specific requirements may vary depending on the lender and loan program. The key takeaway is that non-QM loans offer a more flexible approach to qualifying for a mortgage. They cater to borrowers with diverse financial situations, opening doors to homeownership that might seem closed with traditional loan options.

Income Types Accepted by Bank Statement Loans

Traditional mortgages rely heavily on W-2 income verification, leaving many borrowers with non-traditional income streams feeling shut out. Thankfully, bank statement loans, a type of non-QM loan, open doors for a wider range of income earners. Here’s a breakdown of income types typically accepted by bank statement loans:

Freelancers & Independent Contractors: Do you hustle with freelance gigs or contract work? Bank statement loans can consider your income if you can demonstrate consistent deposits through bank statements.

Self-Employed Individuals: Running your own business? Showcasing your business income through bank statements and tax returns can qualify you for a bank statement loan.

Commission-Based Income: Do your earnings fluctuate based on commissions? Bank statement loans can take a broader look at your income history over a longer period, providing a more accurate picture of your earning potential.

Rental Income: Do you own investment properties? The income you generate from rent can be factored into your qualification for a bank statement loan, strengthening your application.

Seasonal Income: If your income has seasonal variations, bank statement loans can be a good option. They analyze your income over a longer time frame, smoothing out seasonal dips and focusing on the overall financial picture.

Who Benefits from Bank Statement Loans?

Traditional mortgages often leave self-employed individuals, freelancers, and those with commission-based income feeling like they can’t qualify for a home loan. But what if your income story isn’t a straight line of paychecks? This is where bank statement loans, a type of non-QM loan, come in. They cater to a wider range of borrowers, specifically those with:

  • Non-Traditional Income: Freelancers, independent contractors, and business owners often have income that fluctuates. Bank statement loans consider your income over a longer period (typically 12-24 months) through bank statements, providing a more holistic view of your earning potential.
  • Seasonal Income: Do your earnings depend on the time of year? Bank statement loans understand seasonal variations. They analyze your income over a broader timeframe to show your overall financial strength, not just peak earning seasons.
  • Multiple Income Streams: Do you juggle freelance work, rental income, and a side hustle? Bank statement loans can consider income from various sources, giving you a better chance to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Recent Job Changes: Have you recently switched careers or started your own business? Traditional lenders might view this as a risk. However, bank statement loans can focus on your current income trends, allowing you to qualify even if your employment history isn’t linear.

Even with a strong case, it’s important to remember:

  • Credit History Matters: While non-QM lenders may be more flexible with credit scores, a good credit history can still improve your loan terms and interest rates.
  • Down Payment Considerations: While some bank statement loans allow for lower down payments compared to traditional mortgages, a larger down payment can translate to a lower interest rate.

Overall, bank statement loans empower individuals with diverse income structures to achieve their dream of homeownership. If your income doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional employee, don’t be discouraged. By partnering with a qualified non-QM lender, you can leverage your unique financial picture to unlock the door to your new home.


Navigating the Mortgage Maze: Bank Statement vs. Traditional Loans

Choosing the right mortgage can feel overwhelming, especially when you consider the two main options: traditional loans and bank statement loans (a type of non-QM loan). Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between these two approaches to financing your dream home:


Down Payments

Traditional Loans: Typically require a higher down payment, often in the range of 20% or more of the property value. This larger down payment demonstrates to the lender your commitment to the loan and reduces the overall amount you need to borrow.

Bank Statement Loans: May allow for a lower down payment compared to traditional loans, sometimes as low as 10% or even 5% depending on the lender and your overall financial profile. However, keep in mind that a smaller down payment translates to a larger loan amount and potentially higher interest rates.

Credit Expectations

Traditional Loans: Generally require a strong credit score (often above 740) to qualify for the most favorable interest rates and loan terms. A lower credit score might still allow you to qualify, but it could result in a higher interest rate.

Bank Statement Loans: May be more flexible with credit scores. While a good credit history is still important, non-QM lenders may place more emphasis on your current income trends and overall financial health as demonstrated by your bank statements.

Rate Options

Traditional Loans: Typically offer a wider range of fixed and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) options with potentially lower interest rates, especially for borrowers with strong credit scores and larger down payments.

Bank Statement Loans: Interest rates on bank statement loans can be higher than traditional loans due to the perceived higher risk associated with non-traditional income verification. Fixed-rate options might be available, but ARM options might be less common.

Property Requirements

Traditional Loans: May have stricter guidelines regarding the type of property you can finance. For example, some lenders might not finance fixer-uppers or investment properties.

Bank Statement Loans: Property requirements might be more flexible with some lenders allowing financing for a wider range of property types, including investment properties in certain situations.

Learn More About Bank Statement Mortgages

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