How to Secure a Mortgage When You're Self-Employed

Navigating the mortgage landscape can be challenging, especially for those who are self-employed. Unlike traditional salaried employees, self-employed individuals face unique hurdles when it comes to proving their income and creditworthiness to lenders. However, with the right approach and documentation, securing a mortgage as a self-employed borrower is entirely possible.

Understanding Self-Employment Classification: Firstly, it's crucial to understand how lenders classify self-employed individuals. If you operate a business as a sole proprietor, in partnership, or as a corporation, or if you derive at least 25% of your income from self-employment, you fall under this category. Additionally, individuals working on short-term contracts or earning solely on commission are also considered self-employed. On the other hand, those receiving regular paychecks, even from multiple employers, are categorized as salaried employees.

Evaluation Criteria for Self-Employed Borrowers: Lenders assess self-employed borrowers based on their down payment capability and mortgage repayment capacity. Unlike salaried employees, who typically verify gross income, self-employed individuals must consider their net income after deducting business expenses. For example, if someone earns $120,000 annually but deducts $40,000 in expenses, their net income stands at $80,000. Without evidence of higher net income, lenders may view them similarly to salaried employees earning the same amount.

Documentation Requirements: To demonstrate the viability of your business and your creditworthiness to a lender, you'll need to provide a comprehensive set of documents spanning the past two years. These may include:

Monthly Bank Statements: These statements provide insight into your business cash flow and financial stability.
Corporate Tax Returns: If applicable, corporate tax returns help verify your business income and tax obligations.
Business Balance Sheets: Balance sheets offer a snapshot of your business assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time.
Profit-and-Loss Statements: These statements outline your business's revenue, expenses, and net income over a specific period, providing a clearer picture of your financial health.
Business Credit Card Statements: These statements serve as additional evidence of your business expenses and financial transactions.
Credit References or Letters from Financial Institutions: Letters from banks or other financial institutions can vouch for your creditworthiness and financial stability.

Seeking Professional Guidance: Navigating the mortgage process as a self-employed individual can be daunting, but you don't have to go it alone. By working with experienced mortgage professionals who understand the complexities of self-employment, you can increase your chances of securing a mortgage that meets your needs.

Securing a mortgage as a self-employed individual requires careful preparation and documentation. By understanding how lenders evaluate self-employed borrowers and providing comprehensive documentation of your business finances, you can improve your chances of obtaining the mortgage you need. If you're ready to explore your mortgage options as a self-employed individual, reach out to me today, and I'll connect you with one of my trusted mortgage professionals who can guide you through the process.