Non-QM Loans Requirements and Eligibility in 2024

By: Marcos Zambrano

Updated on: May 22, 2024

Are you tired of being turned down for a mortgage because you don’t fit the traditional lending mold?

Have no fear – non-QM loans are here!

These non-qualified mortgages offer flexibility for those with non-traditional income or credit, allowing them to finally achieve their dream of homeownership.

But before you jump feet-first into the world of non-QM loans, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of this alternative lending option. From alternative income documentation to no government backing, there’s a lot to consider.

Jump Ahead

What are Non-QM Loans?

So, you’re in the market for a mortgage, but there’s just one problem – you don’t quite fit the mold of a traditional borrower. Maybe you’re self-employed, have a recent bankruptcy on your record, or your income isn’t the standard W-2 form. Enter: non-QM loans.

In a nutshell, these are mortgages that don’t meet the requirements of a qualified mortgage, or QM, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

QMs are mortgages that adhere to certain criteria, like a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%, and are therefore deemed less risky for lenders. Non-QMs, on the other hand, don’t meet those criteria and are considered a higher risk for lenders.

These loans typically require alternative income documentation, like bank statements or proof of rental income, and have no waiting period after bankruptcy or foreclosure. They also have higher debt limits, higher down payment requirements, and higher interest rates.

The alternative income documentation is a big deal for those who are self-employed or have a non-traditional income source. It allows borrowers to show their ability to repay the loan with more than just a standard paycheck. And the lack of a waiting period after a major credit event gives borrowers who have faced financial setbacks a chance to own a home again sooner.

However, with risk, comes cost. The higher debt limits, down payment requirements, and interest rates reflect the risk that lenders are taking on by lending to non-traditional borrowers. These loans are not backed by government agencies like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, meaning the lender takes on all the risk of the loan.

It’s important to weigh all your options before committing to a non-QM loan. You could consider obtaining a qualified mortgage with slightly relaxed guidelines, like those that allow for two years of tax returns instead of just one. Or, you could work on reducing existing debt to improve your debt-to-income ratio.

How to Apply for Non-QM Loans

The first step in applying for a non-QM loan is finding a lender who offers them. This may require a bit of research on your part, as not all lenders offer these types of loans (good news for you –  we’re happy to assist with this here at Andes Mortgage LLC!).

Just like with a traditional mortgage, you’ll need to provide a lot of documentation when applying for a non-QM loan. This may include:

  • Tax returns for the past few years
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of income (this may include alternative forms of documentation, such as bank statements or receipts)
  • Proof of assets


Each lender may have their own specific requirements, so be sure to check with them to see what they need.

Once you’ve found a lender and gathered all of your necessary documents, it’s time to apply for your non-QM loan.

The application process will likely be similar to that of a traditional mortgage. You’ll need to fill out an application form and provide all of your documentation.

Keep in mind that non-QM loans may have different criteria than traditional mortgages. You may need a higher down payment, or you may be required to have a lower debt-to-income ratio.

Pros and Cons of Non-QM Loans

The primary advantage of non-QM loans is their flexibility. These loans have alternative income documentation requirements and may not have waiting periods after bankruptcy or foreclosure. They are also available to borrowers with higher debt-to-income ratios or those unable to meet higher down payment requirements.

Non-QM loans are ideal for self-employed individuals or retirees without traditional income verification. They also work well for those with recent credit events or landlords using rental income to qualify.

With that said, these loans are not backed by government agencies, and the lender takes on all the risk. This means the lender has more flexibility in setting interest rates or other terms, potentially resulting in more options for the borrower.

Also, they typically come with higher interest rates than traditional mortgages due to the increased risk for lenders. This means potentially higher monthly payments and overall costs.

Remember, non-QM loans are not backed by government agencies, which means the borrower is not protected by government-sponsored insurance or programs. This increases the risk for borrowers in case of financial trouble or default.

Finally, repayment terms for non-QM loans may include interest-only payments, which can be risky for borrowers. This can lead to a balloon payment or refinancing at a later time, which isn’t always the best option

How Do Non-QM Loans Work?

After you’ve submitted your application, the waiting game begins. The lender will review your application and all of the supporting documentation to determine whether or not you qualify for the loan.

Keep in mind that non-QM loans are riskier for lenders, as they are not backed by government agencies. This means that the approval process may be more rigorous, and you may be asked to provide additional documentation or information.

If you’re approved for the non-QM loan, you’ll move on to the closing process. This is where you’ll sign all of the necessary paperwork and finalize the details of the loan.

Make sure you read all of the fine print and ask any questions you may have before signing anything. This is a big commitment, so you want to make sure you fully understand what you’re getting into

Are Non-QM Loans Right for You?

Deciding whether a non-QM loan is right for you depends on your individual financial situation. If you do not meet traditional lending requirements, a non-QM loan may be an alternative way to obtain a mortgage.

However, be aware that non-QM loans come with their own set of risks and potentially higher interest rates. It’s essential to research and compare loan options, including traditional mortgages, to determine which loan is the best fit for you.

At Andes Mortgage LLC, we offer a range of mortgage products, including non-QM loans, to fit the individual needs of our clients. Our knowledgeable loan officers are here to help you compare loan options and determine which loan type is right for you

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a retiree, or a self-employed individual, we can help you navigate the mortgage process and find the right loan for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our mortgage products and start the process of homeownership.

Frequently Asked Questions About Non-QM Loans

How do jumbo loan interest rates compare to conventional loan rates?

While interest rates for jumbo loans can vary, they are generally competitive with or slightly higher than conventional loan rates. Your creditworthiness, financial profile, and market conditions will influence the specific interest rate you receive.

What are the minimum down payment requirements for jumbo loans?

Jumbo loans typically require a higher down payment compared to conventional loans. While requirements can vary, most lenders generally require a minimum down payment of 10% or 20% of the property’s purchase price.

Are jumbo loans harder to qualify for compared to conventional loans?

Yes, qualifying for a jumbo loan can be more challenging due to the larger loan amount and stricter criteria. Lenders typically require a high credit score, a low debt-to-income ratio, substantial income, and significant cash reserves.

Can I use a jumbo loan for a second home or investment property?

Yes, jumbo loans can be used to finance second homes or investment properties. However, keep in mind that the qualifying criteria may be more stringent for these types of properties.

Are jumbo loans available for refinancing existing mortgages?

Yes, you can refinance an existing mortgage with a jumbo loan. It can be a strategic option if you want to take advantage of lower interest rates, access equity, or consolidate debts.

Do jumbo loans have prepayment penalties?

It depends.

Prepayment penalties for jumbo loans can vary depending on the lender and loan terms. It’s essential to carefully review the loan agreement to understand if any prepayment penalties apply.

Can I use gift funds for the down payment on a jumbo loan?

Depending on the lender’s guidelines, it may be possible to use gift funds for a jumbo loan down payment. However, there may be specific requirements regarding the source and documentation of the gift funds.

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