What Is a Non-QM Loan?

Over the past decade, both the housing market and the financial sector have seen substantial shifts. Non-QM mortgage loans, also known as non-qualified mortgages, have emerged as an essential departure from QMs. Qualified mortgages (QMs) are loans that adhere to requirements established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2014. A borrower’s salary, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio are just a few of the metrics considered. But not all borrowers can qualify for a QM loan. Therein lies the utility of non-QM loans.

Borrowers who don’t quite fit the stringent criteria for QM loans can still get a loan to use toward a home purchase with the help of non-QM mortgages. You have more leeway with them than with QMs, and the same rules don’t bind them. Because of this, financial institutions can extend credit to borrowers in unusual circumstances, such as those with low income but substantial assets or vice versa.

Learn the fundamentals of non-QM loans and what to anticipate before applying!

What does a non-QM mortgage mean and how it works?

In contrast to “qualified mortgages,” which must adhere to stringent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) underwriting requirements, “non-QM mortgages” are not subject to these regulations. Non-QM loans provide more leeway and are not subject to the same regulatory. Which have specified standards for the borrower’s income, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio, among other factors.

Borrowers who don’t qualify for a QM loan but still want a mortgage may be interested in non-QM mortgages. This could be those who are self-employed, have recently gone through a bankruptcy or short sale.

The lender evaluates the borrower’s capacity to repay the loan in a manner different from the traditional QM approach.

Non-conventional means of verifying income, such as the borrower’s assets, employment record, and other similar factors, can be used. Higher interest rates and larger down payments are possible with a non-QM loan since the lender perceives it as a higher risk than a QM loan.

Loans that do not meet QM standards may carry additional risks and are not suitable for all borrowers. Before applying for a non-QM mortgage, you should study the terms and circumstances in detail and seriously consider your financial status and long-term aspirations.

Majority of our non-QM loan requests are from California, Florida, Washington, Texas and North Carolina.

Benefits of Non-QM mortgages

More flexible underwriting criteria

Compared to QM loans, the less stringent underwriting requirements of non-QM loans are a major perk. Non-QM loans are more lenient than QM’s in terms of income, credit, and debt-to-income ratio requirements, making them an option for prospective homebuyers who may not otherwise qualify for a QM. Borrowers in unusual situations, such as the self-employed, those with a recent bankruptcy or short sale, or those with a high net worth but a low income, may find non-QM loans a good alternative.

Serving underbanked populations

As an alternative to conventional mortgage loans, non-QM loans help those with limited access to financial services. This makes it possible for those who might not have gotten approved for a conventional mortgage to buy a property.

Faster loan processing

As the same rules do not bind them as QMs, non-QM loans can be processed more quickly. As a result, the borrower may be able to close on the loan and begin occupying the property sooner.

Customizable loan options

The flexibility of non-QM loans allows them to be tailored to each customer’s specific set of financial requirements. For instance, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) may offer a lower starting interest rate, making it possible for the borrower to apply for a larger loan. If you’re a borrower who needs to keep your payments modest in the short term, exploring interest-only loan choices may be worth your while.

Qualified vs. Non-qualified mortgages

Underwriting criteria

There are stringent underwriting requirements for qualified mortgages, such as a maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43%, proof of the borrower’s income and assets, and prohibitions on loan features, including negative amortization and balloon payments. Non-QM loans, on the other hand, have looser underwriting standards, so borrowers might potentially benefit from greater DTI ratios, alternative income evidence, and additional loan features.

Consumer protection

The CFPB has established consumer protection laws that apply to qualified mortgages to mitigate the potential for loan default and servicing abuse. The Ability-to-Repay (ATR) rule mandates that lenders determine a borrower’s ability to repay a loan. In contrast, the Homeownership Protection Plan (HOPP) mandates that lenders offer information on avoiding foreclosure. However, non-QM loans aren’t required to follow these rules and may present a higher risk of default and abuse in the loan servicing process.

Interest rates

Interest rates on QM loans may be cheaper than on other loans because the lender is taking less of a risk by providing the loan. Non-QM loan rates may be higher than on QM loans because of the perceived higher risk associated with the former (looser underwriting standards and a lack of consumer protection measures). Because of this, the borrower may find it harder to keep up with the loan’s monthly mortgage payments.

Loan options

Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans are just some of the loan programs that may be available to borrowers with a QM as opposed to a non-QM. However, non-QM loans may be more limited in scope and may require a more specific type of borrower to qualify (such as with a stated income loan, an asset-based loan, or an interest-only loan).

Borrower eligibility

The borrowers who don’t satisfy the qualifications won’t be able to get approved for a qualified mortgage. Borrowers that don’t quite fit the QM loan profile may be better served by the less stringent underwriting standards of a non-QM loan.

Loan Requirements

The requirements for a non-qualified mortgage loan can vary from lender to lender, but generally, they may include the following:

Credit score: Most non-QM lenders have a minimum credit score requirement, ranging from 620 to 680. However, some non-QM lenders may consider borrowers with lower credit scores on a case-by-case basis.

Income documentation: non-QM loans may use alternative income verification methods, such as bank statements or asset depletion, instead of traditional pay stubs and W-2s. It can make non-QM loans more accessible to self-employed borrowers or borrowers with non-traditional sources of income.

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: non-QM loans may have higher DTI ratios compared to qualified mortgages, which have a maximum DTI ratio of 43%. It means that non-QM loans may give borrowers a higher debt level relative to their income.

Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio: non-QM loans may have higher LTV ratios than qualified mortgages, meaning that borrowers may be able to finance a higher percentage of the home’s value.

Loan features: non-QM loans may offer loan features not allowed under qualified mortgage regulations, such as negative amortization, interest-only payments, or balloon payments.

It’s important to note that these requirements are not set in stone and can vary from lender to lender. It’s crucial to thoroughly research the lender and the loan product to ensure that it meets your financial needs and goals. And to fully understand the terms, conditions, and requirements of the loan before applying.

Underwriting Guidelines

The underwriting guidelines for these loans vary from lender to lender, but typically include the following elements:

  1. Income verification: Lenders may use traditional methods of income verification, such as W-2s, pay stubs, and tax returns, or alternative methods, such as bank statements, to determine a borrower’s ability to repay the loan.
  2. Employment history: Lenders may look at a borrower’s employment history to determine their stability and likelihood of continuing to earn an income.
  3. Credit history: Lenders may review a borrower’s credit history to determine their creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan.
  4. Assets: Lenders may require that borrowers have a certain level of assets, such as savings, to provide additional security for the loan.
  5. Property value and location: Lenders may consider the value and location of the property used as collateral for the loan.
  6. Loan purpose: Lenders may consider the purpose of the loan, such as whether it is for personal or business purposes, to determine its risk level.

Apply For a Non-QM Mortgage Today

If you’re in the market for a new home, but traditional mortgage loans don’t quite fit your financial circumstances, a non-QM loan may be the solution.

Our experienced team is dedicated to helping you navigate the mortgage process and find the best loan options for your specific situation. Whether you have a unique income structure, low credit score, or other factors that may make traditional mortgage loans more challenging, our team will work with you to find a solution for your needs.

We believe in providing personalized service and attention to each of our clients. So schedule a free consultation to discuss your options. Our team will answer any questions and guide you through the application process.

Don’t let your financial situation stand in the way of realizing your dream of homeownership. Contact LBC Mortgage today, and let’s explore the possibilities!