How to Get a Mortgage When Self Employed

Obtaining a mortgage can prove to be quite challenging, especially for self-employed individuals. Unlike salaried employees who can rely on regular paychecks, self-employed individuals often encounter complexities when it comes to demonstrating their financial stability to potential lenders.

How to Get a Mortgage When Self-Employed
How to Get a Mortgage When Self-Employed

Achieving the goal of homeownership can be particularly demanding for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business owners, necessitating thorough planning and strategic financial management. In this article, we will explore the process of securing a mortgage when you are self-employed.

Is it Hard to Obtain a Mortgage When Self Employed?

Getting a mortgage as a self-employed individual is more difficult because of how lenders assess risk and steady income. Individuals who are self-employed frequently suffer month-to-month or year-to-year revenue swings, which adds a degree of uncertainty that lenders might approach with concern.

This is in comparison to salaried employees who have consistent incomes. To successfully go through the self-employed mortgage application process, applicants must have a thorough awareness of financial considerations and tactics due to their fluctuating income and the requirement for considerable documentation.

Essential Documents for Securing a Mortgage as a Self Employed Individual

You have a better chance of being approved for a self-employed mortgage and receiving more favorable rates if you are prepared and willing to adequately verify your income using prior tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and bank statements. Additionally, your lender can require some or all of the following:

  • Business profit and loss statements and balance sheets.
  • Bank statements covering personal and business finances.
  • Evidence of additional income sources (e.g., rental income, investments).
  • Past two to three years’ tax returns proof (Schedule C for sole proprietors or business tax returns for corporations and LLCs).
  • Copies of business-related contracts, invoices, or agreements.
  • A breakdown of business debts and their monthly payments.
  • Inventory of assets, including savings and investment accounts.
  • Confirmation of current rent or mortgage payments.

How to Get a Mortgage When Self Employed

Let’s explore some tips on how to get a mortgage when self-employed;

Boost Your Credit Score

Your financial accountability is reflected in your credit score, which is a crucial consideration in the mortgage approval process. Maintain a high credit score diligently to improve your chances of getting a mortgage. This includes routinely paying your bills on time, carefully paying down your debt, and abstaining from opening any new credit lines in the months before you apply for a mortgage.

Additionally, maintaining several credit products like credit cards, installment loans, and retail accounts can help you diversify your credit mix, which will improve your creditworthiness. Checking your credit report regularly and fixing any mistakes quickly helps make your financial situation stronger.

Strengthen Your Down Payment

By raising your down payment, you can improve your chances of getting a mortgage approval while also compensating for a less-than-ideal financial profile. Saving up a substantial down payment, typically around 20% of the home’s purchase price for a conventional mortgage, not only reduces your monthly payments but also demonstrates your commitment to the investment, making lenders more likely to approve your application.

Think about Non-Qualified Mortgages

When achieving the tight criteria of standard mortgages proves difficult, non-qualified mortgages (non-QM) become a possible option. These particular mortgage products serve borrowers who are not eligible for traditional mortgages and provide a road to homeownership. Non-QMs may have higher interest rates, but they compensate with greater flexibility in income verification, making them a viable option for self-employed persons seeking a mortgage. Exploring this option broadens your options and tailors the mortgage experience to your financial situation.

Establishing a Steady Income

When you’re self-employed and want to get a mortgage, it’s essential to show that you earn money regularly. Even though self-employed income can go up and down, try to make it as steady as possible in the years before you apply for a mortgage. Lenders like to see a pattern of consistent income, even if it’s not the same every year. This pattern makes lenders more confident in your financial stability and increases your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.

Working with a Mortgage Broker

Working with a mortgage broker is typically useful for self-employed persons. These professionals have a large network of lenders and can help you find the one that is best suited to your specific financial situation, increasing your chances of acceptance. They also provide crucial assistance with complex documentation, simplifying the mortgage application procedure and increasing your chances of success.

Types of Mortgages to Consider if you are Self Employed

Some lenders still offer loans that can work for you if you are self-employed and you don’t meet the requirements for a conventional mortgage. Conventional mortgages often have more strict lending requirements because they are not federally guaranteed. Other choices for a self-employed mortgage include the following:

FHA Loan

A FHA loan is a type of mortgage that is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and provided by a lender approved by the FHA. These loans are primarily for individuals with low to moderate incomes. They necessitate a smaller minimum down payment, often as low as 3.5%, and are more lenient in terms of credit score requirements compared to many conventional mortgages.

Since FHA loans come with federal insurance, which safeguards lenders in case a borrower defaults on their mortgage, lenders offering FHA loans can extend more advantageous terms to individuals who might otherwise struggle to qualify for a home loan. This includes offering lower interest rates. Consequently, obtaining an FHA loan can be less challenging in terms of eligibility compared to securing a conventional mortgage.

VA Loan

VA loans are accessible to both present-day military personnel and those who served in the past. Eligibility criteria are contingent upon your period of service. These loans have the potential to secure the entire loan amount, eliminating the need for a down payment. Possessing a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) can make your loan application more attractive to lenders.

Joint Mortgage

Opting for a joint mortgage arrangement with a co-borrower who holds a W-2 employment status, like a partner, spouse, or a good friend with whom you’ll co-own the property, represents an additional avenue to enhance your chances of securing mortgage approval when you are under self-employment. The presence of a co-borrower instills greater confidence in your lender, as it signifies a stable income source for repaying the loan. It’s important to note, though, that your co-borrower must also possess a strong credit history and maintain a reasonably low-to-moderate debt-to-income ratio to qualify alongside you.


Securing a mortgage when self-employed is entirely achievable with careful planning and preparation. Your chances of getting a mortgage approval can be high by having a solid credit profile, demonstrating a steady source of income, and presenting complete financial paperwork. Remember to explore alternative mortgage options if traditional lenders prove challenging to work with.



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