What is a non-qualified mortgage?

how do non-qm loans work

Buying a home is part of the American dream, but what if you don't qualify through traditional means? This is an issue that self-employed and other non-W2 workers often face since their proof of income and employment differs from what lenders typically require.


The good news is that those who don't meet the criteria for a qualified mortgage can be offered a non-qualified mortgage instead. Let's explore the non-QM loan option and see if this is the right choice in your situation.

What is a Non-QM loan?

Non-qualified loans are designed to help homebuyers who don't meet the standard requirements to qualify for a mortgage. They feature more flexible eligibility requirements on DTI, credit scores, and loan amounts.


To better understand what a non-qualifying loan is, let's review the list of requirements for a traditional mortgage:

• Income. You must provide pay stubs, W2s, and tax returns to verify your income.

• DTI. This is the amount of your monthly income that is paid toward existing debts. Your debt to income ratio should be 43% or lower.

• Fees. Your loan fees and points can't be more than 3% of the loan amount.

• Term. The loan term must be 30 years or less.


If you can't provide the things mentioned above, a non-qualifying mortgage is worth exploring. It should be noted that non-QM loans are not government-backed or part of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Benefits of Non-QM loans

Non-QM loans make mortgages more accessible to a broader market. They also require less formal documentation compared to other types of loans. You don't need to submit W2s, tax returns, or employment verifications. Bank statements and a list of assets are often enough for loan approval.


Minimum credit scores for non-QM loans can be up to 100 points lower than qualified mortgages and feature more flexible terms, which are not available in most qualified mortgages. Even a 40-year loan term! 

Should You Get a Non-Qualified Loan?

A non-QM loan is a good option when you have a stable income that allows you to make regular, on-time mortgage payments but can't meet a qualifying mortgage requirement. This is often the case with:

  • Freelancers

  • Doctors

  • Consultants

  • Lawyers

  • Real estate agents

  • Small business owners

  • Retirees

  • Borrowers with high assets and low income

  • Borrowers with high DTI

  • Borrowers with low credit scores


There has been a misconception that Non-QM loans are bad loans and borrowers should avoid them. The truth is, similar to qualified mortgages, today's non-QM loans have their own set of guidelines. The lending process is the same apart from the loan documents needed.

Where to get Non-QM loans

Because of the financial risk involved in providing loans that are not backed by federal government programs, non-QM loans are less widely available. And just like any other loan, non-QM loans have their pros and cons. 


If you'd like to learn more about non-QM loans or explore other home financing options, please get in touch with us! Many options and means are available to help you qualify for a mortgage.


* Loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with the mortgage advisor for more information.


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