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VA & Conv Loans :  1-855-537-6969

Find Out if You Qualify

You can apply for a mortgage for self employed, but there will be documentation requirements.

Approval for mortgage for self employed individuals, lenders will often require proof of income. This can be difficult if you don’t have a W-2 and a recent paycheck.

Borrowers who are self-employed should be prepared for proof of income. Simply put, it is the money that you earn to support your work.

According to a Federal Reserve survey, senior loan officers found that although mortgage lenders increased credit standards during a coronavirus crisis the banks started to ease standards for household loans in 2021. Self-employed borrowers will need to submit additional documentation to prove income stability, as 2020 was an unusual year for businesses.

Self Employed Mortgage through
Self Employed Mortgage Through

Although self employed borrowers are subject to the same lending standards that W-2 workers, the mortgage process can be more difficult. Because revenue can fluctuate, lenders will also need to assess the viability and stability of your business.

Lenders are generally concerned about whether applicants can repay their loans on a consistent basis, even if they are self-employed. Lenders will need to verify that your income is sufficient to cover your mortgage and that you are able to repay your debts.

Documentation is required to prove stability in your business, including proof of work, payments, and activity supporting business operations such as a website.

According to Fannie Mae guidelines and Freddie Mac, borrowers must have at least two years’ worth of self-employment income to be eligible for a mortgage. If borrowers are self-employed for less than one year, they may still be eligible if they meet certain criteria such as working in the same occupation or earning a higher income in the previous years.

How do you get approved for a mortgage for self employed individuals

If you are self employed, you must show the lender that your ability to pay the loan’s entire term.

These are the things lenders want to see in self-employed mortgage applicants

Steady or increasing income

While some fluctuation is okay, lenders prefer to see two years of tax returns.

Lenders want to see the worst-case scenario so they will likely consider the lowest of the two years when calculating their numbers. Consider that a significant drop in income year-over-year could cause additional questions for underwriting, as the lender might consider that a sign of your business’s decline.

Income swings are normal in the face of the pandemic. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others issued updated guidance for 2020 on how lenders should decide income stability. This was in response to many businesses experiencing temporary downturns or unusual income patterns. Self-employed applicants must provide a year-to date profit and loss statement, as well as statements from business deposit accounts for the most recent month.

Consistent work

You should aim to have at least two years’ self-employment income from the same industry. Some lenders will grant an exception to self-employed people who have at least one year of self-employment tax returns and W-2s from the same employer.

However, lenders may be less confident if you have a history of self-employment.

Good credit

A track record of paying your debts will be required. Lenders are more at risk if you have a history of defaulting on your debts.

Lenders will examine the type, age and use of your revolving credits, as well as the frequency with which you applied for credit in recent years.

Lenders usually look for a ratio of debt-to-income. This is the percentage of your monthly earnings that you use to pay your debt. It should be at least 43%. You might not be eligible for the mortgage amount or your monthly debt payments may not be manageable if your income is not sufficient.

If you are self employed, and tend to deduct some business expenses, you should be cautious. This could impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage, as mortgage underwriters usually look at income before expenses. These smart deductions that can help you at tax time could lead to a decrease in your bottom line which can have an impact on the debt-to income ratio.

Cash Reserves for mortgage for self employed

Even if work is slow, your self employed mortgage payment is due each month. Lenders might want to see proof that you have an emergency fund in place to cover months when your income is not as high.

Large Down Payment for mortgage for self employed

Lenders can be more confident if they receive a large down payment (some lenders expect at least 20%). Other than that, the down payment requirements for self-employed workers with sufficient income and good credit are generally the same as those of other borrowers.

What are the documentation requirements for a mortgage if you’re self-employed?

Complete financial documentation is required by lenders to approve a mortgage application. If you are self-employed, both personal and business financial documents will be required.

Lenders are now taking extra measures to verify income due to economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Lenders will often require income verification before closing the mortgage.

While requirements may vary from lender to lender, it is important that you are ready to submit:

  • Issued by the government
  • Two-year complete personal tax returns
  • Two-year business tax returns
  • IRS Form 4506T gives permission for third parties to view your tax records
  • Statements on earnings
  • Statements from personal and business banks
  • Statements of assets, such as retirement and investment accounts
  • Verification of business name, such as a DBA or “doing Business as”, is possible.
  • License for business
  • Keep track of all your expenses and debts, personal and business.
  • Cancellation of checks for your mortgage or rent
  • Any additional income such as Social Security and disability

Lenders may require additional documentation such as statements from your accountant or clients.

Make sure your documents are organized and up to date before you submit them. Lenders won’t need to contact you again for older statements. Lenders will find it easy to understand your finances.

Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac self employed mortgages require proof of business operations. Invoices, payments from businesses, or websites that are active may be required to prove work.

These documents are usually required 120 days prior to closing on a mortgage for self employed consumers. However, self-employed borrowers will need to provide proof of steady income as the closing date nears.

What can you do to plan for a mortgage if you are self-employed?

You can make yourself more appealing to borrowers if you are self-employed and plan on buying a home in the future.

Have a record of self-employment. Do consistent work. After two to three years with consistently high earnings, you can time your mortgage application.

Lenders are less likely at this point to worry about income instability and you could qualify for a larger loan amount.

Your credit score should be improved for mortgage for self employed persons. To identify any credit issues that may be affecting your ability to get a mortgage lender to review your credit, you should check your credit report. If you have low credit scores, lenders could reject your application and charge you a higher rate of interest.

Contact the credit bureau if you find any errors. You should also look for other areas of concern like high credit limit usage and work that can improve them.

Avoid applying for credit cards or loans in the months preceding your mortgage application. Too many new credit inquiries could damage your credit rating.

Reduce your debt. Paying off all or part of your debt can improve your credit score. You will be able to get a mortgage quicker if your debt-to income ratio is lower.

As much as you can. Save as much as possible. Lenders will be more comfortable with a well-maintained emergency fund. They like to know that you can make payments in the event of a work drought or that you can pay for unexpected home repairs.

Keep your business records clean. This will make it easier for lenders understand your business income. You can separate your personal and business finances using business checking, savings accounts and credit card.

Track invoices and expenses and make an updated earnings statement every quarter. Keep your tax records safe when filing taxes every year.