These days, more Americans than ever are cobbling together an income with gig work. Gone are the days of staying with a single job for decades at a time, or even a few years; even people who do hold down “regular jobs” often augment those roles with independent contracting positions, whether as Lyft chauffeurs or freelance content creators.
In fact, according to Wage, the gig economy has doubled in size over the last six years, a process that’s picked up even more speed since the start of the pandemic. All that flexibility and autonomy can feel plenty empowering… until it runs up against dated financial products and services, like conventional mortgage loans.
The good news? Yes, gig workers can qualify for home loans, though the process might look a little different. Here’s what you need to know.
Can self-employed borrowers get a mortgage?
Gig workers are just one section of the larger category of self-employed borrowers, which also includes entrepreneurs, independent contractors, small business owners, full-time freelancers and more. While mortgages might not have been initially designed for such folks, people in these roles certainly can buy houses and do so all the time — it all comes down to how you can prove your income (and choosing the right lender).
There’s no specific rule against offering a mortgage to self-employed borrowers. As a gig worker, you’ll be held to all the same standards as any other borrower: your lender will look into your credit history, credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and the amount you can offer as a down payment. The difference is, with irregular income, demonstrating your earnings can be a little trickier.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
How is the underwriting process different for gig economy workers?
Underwriting — the process in which your loan officer collects all your financial details and uses them to assess your creditworthiness and risk level as a potential borrower — involves providing proof of income. For a W-2 employee, that’s simple enough: regular pay stubs will usually do the trick.
But if you’re a 1099 contractor, you might not have regular pay stubs to speak of, even if your monthly income is robust. Good news: your tax returns and bank statements are excellent stand-ins.
That said, you’ll likely need to be able to show two years of solid gig economy work history in one industry, or one year of contract work preceded by two years of “normal” job experience. (The specifics will vary depending on your lender’s specific requirements, so it’s worth hunting around for a company that’s well-versed in offering mortgages to self-employed and other non-traditional borrowers.)
Remember: from the mortgage lender’s perspective, it’s all about ensuring you’re a trustworthy borrower — after all, the company is offering to front you a six-figure total, so it’s in their best interest to triple-check that you’re good for the money. So no matter your source of income, so long as you can demonstrate that you do make it and are capable of affording your mortgage payments, you stand a good chance of qualifying for the loan, even if it’s been years since you last held a W-2 position. (In fact, it’s likely you should be more worried about other obstacles on your path to homeownership, such as high credit card debt or ensuring you have good credit.)
Choosing the right lender can help — and here at Quontic, matching qualified borrowers with the financial products and services they need is part and parcel of our mission. Our Community Development Loan, or CDL utilizes a holistic qualification process that looks at your finances as a complete picture, rather than a credit-score snapshot.
We specialize in offering mortgages to self-employed borrowers (including gig economy workers!) as well as low-income families, foreign nationals, small business owners, first-time homebuyers, investors, those looking to refinance existing real estate, and more.
Still have questions? We have answers — reach out to one of our mortgage specialists today.
Quontic Bank is not affiliated with or acting on behalf of or at the direction of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or any government agency or government sponsored entity. All lending products are subject to approval. Rates, program terms & conditions are subject to change without notice. Not all products are available in all states or for all amounts. This does not represent an offer to enter into a loan agreement. Other requirements, restrictions & limitations apply. Information is accurate as of February 4, 2022 & is subject to change without notice.