Best Mortgage Lenders for the Self-Employed
About 10% of Americans are self-employed as small business owners, entrepreneurs, or freelancers. You probably know about the many advantages of being self-employed over being a salaried employee, including being your own boss and getting to set your own hours. On the flipside, it can be harder to get a mortgage when you’re self-employed. This comparison of top lenders caters to people who don’t fit the traditional employee structure.
Home Loans for Self-Employed Borrowers
If you’re self-employed and planning to buy a home and compare the top lenders for you, the first thing to consider is whether to incorporate your business. Currently, only about 4 in 10 self-employed people are incorporated as a limited liability corporation (LLC), whereas 6 in 10 remain unincorporated as a sole proprietor or in a general partnership with one or more other people such as a spouse.
One of the main advantages of incorporating is that it separates your personal and business liabilities, helping reassure lenders that you’ll still be able to make payments if your business gets into trouble. Having said that, incorporating is far costlier and makes preparing your taxes far more complicated than if you operate as just a sole proprietor.
It can be confusing to prove earnings when applying for a mortgage as a sole proprietor, since you don’t have a pay stub or set monthly income. Salaried employees need to show 6 to 12 months of pay slips and up to a couple of years of W2 forms—which report the employee’s annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from their paycheck.
What are The Best Mortgage Lenders for Self-Employed Borrowers?
|Lender||Loan Types||APR (at time of writing)||Terms||View Rates|
|||Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance||4.565% (30-year fixed) 4.569% (5-year ARM)||Varies by lender||View Rates|
|Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance||Varies||15-, 25-, or 30-years (fixed). 5-, 7-, or 10-years (ARM)||View Rates|
|Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance||4.443% (30-year fixed). 4.613% (5-year ARM)||15-, 25-, or 30-years (fixed). 3-, 5-, or 7-years (ARM)||View Rates|
|Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance||4.889% (30-year fixed). 4.897% (15-year ARM)||15-or 30-years (fixed). 5- or 7-years (ARM)||View Rates|
|Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance||4.889% (30-year fixed). 4.897% (15-year ARM)||15- or 30-years (fixed). 5- or 7-years (ARM)||View Rates|
Best for: Self-employed borrowers with good credit
- View quotes from multiple lenders
- Service is free to use and takes seconds to get results
- Free online credit score check
LendingTree is an online marketplace for mortgages and other types of loans, connecting users almost instantly to the lowest rates from its network of lenders. To view quotes from multiple lenders for your preferred type of mortgage, simply fill out LendingTree’s short online form and the results will show up on your screen in seconds. Minimum credit scores, minimum down payments, and other requirements specific for self-employed borrowers vary by lender.
Minimum Down Payment: 0%
Minimum Credit Score: 500
Standout Feature: Delivers some of lowest rates on market
Best for: Transparent mortgage rates for the self-employed
- Submit application documents online and e-sign them at closure
- Free educational tools and resources
- Known for providing strong customer service
J.G. Wentworth is a direct lender that allows self-employed borrowers to apply for a full range of mortgage loans through its online portal. J.G. Wentworth doesn’t reveal its credit requirements on its website, but if you’re applying for a conventional fixed-rate loan or adjustable-rate loan, you should expect to need a minimum credit score of 620 and down payment of 20%. J.G. Wentworth also offers government-insured loans such as FHA loans or VA loans, which typically are accessible to borrowers with lower credit.
Minimum Down Payment: 3.5%
Minimum Credit Score: 580
Standout Feature: Doing everything online saves you money on fees.
Best for: Self-employed borrowers with at least 2 years of stable income history
- Lower rates than most competitors
- Streamlined application process
- Open to borrowers in all states (except New York and New Jersey)
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation is a nationwide lender offering a large range of mortgage products to residents of 48 states and the District of Columbia. It operates online and by phone, allowing it to save costs which it passes on to customers. The minimum credit score is 620 for conventional products and 600 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Minimum down payment is 20% for conventional products and 0-10% for government-insured loans.
Minimum Down Payment: 0%
Minimum Credit Score: 600
Standout Feature: Closes mortgages in as little as 14 days.
Best for: Borrowers who want Home Loan Experts to help you put documents together
- Online and mobile lender
- Quick application process
- Offers same suite of products as owner Quicken Loans
Rocket Mortgage is Quicken Loans’ online and mobile lender, allowing borrowers to access and apply for all the usual Quicken Loans products and rates without leaving the comfort of their own home (or home office). For a conventional loan with 20% down payment, borrowers will usually need to have a good credit score of 700 or higher, although loans may be available for scores of as low as 620. The lowest Rocket can offer for FHA loans is a 3.5% down payment with minimum 580 credit score.
Minimum Credit Score: 580
Standout Feature: Complete the entire process online or on your smartphone.
Best for: Easy online mortgages for the self-employed
- One of America’s biggest lenders
- Quick and streamlined application process
- Offers full suite of mortgage products
Quicken Loans is one of the country’s biggest lenders, offering a full suite of mortgage products for the self-employed including conventional loans, jumbo loans, refinancing, and government-backed FHA, and VA loans. For a conventional loan with 20% down payment, borrowers will typically need to show a good credit score of 700 or higher, although loans may be available for borrowers with as low as 620. For FHA loans, Quicken Loans offers as little as a 3.5% down payment to borrowers with a credit score of 580-619.
Minimum Credit Score: 580
Standout Feature: Quick application process.
Self-Employed Mortgage Requirements
Whether or not you choose to incorporate, stay solo, or run a partnership, lenders will probably ask you for most of the following, some of which you’ll need your accountant’s help to prepare:
- At least 2 years of personal tax returns, including form W2 if you pay yourself a salary.
- A list of debts and assets.
- A profit and loss statement for the current year.
- If you’ve incorporated: at least 2 years of business tax returns, a signed letter from your accountant attesting to your business’s stability, and written consent from other owners to grant access to the business’s financial records.
Regardless of your financial and personal circumstances, it’s always a good idea to shop around between a few lenders to see which one can offer you the lowest rates and most ideal down payments and terms.
Having said that, all self-employed home buyers should also take into consideration how much documentation the lender needs to see and how quickly the lender can process the mortgage application. This is very important because mortgage applications can take as little as a couple of weeks or as long as a couple of months. The longer your application takes, the more likely that other things can go wrong with your home purchase or that your purchase falls through altogether.
Therefore, when shopping around between the best lenders, make sure to ask upfront about which documents they’ll need. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specifics: if one lender requires fewer forms and documents relating to your income and taxes than another lender, this might well be the tie-breaker for deciding which of the 2 lenders is best for you.