Non-QM Loans

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What Are Non-QM Loans?

Non-QM Loans, or Non-Qualified Mortgages, are mortgage loans that do not meet the standards set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Qualified Mortgage (QM) guidelines. Unlike QM loans, which have specific requirements like debt-to-income ratio limits, Non-QM loans are more flexible but come with their own set of risks and rewards.

How Do Non-QM Loans Differ From QM Loans?

QM Loans:

  • Have standard underwriting criteria
  • Strict limitations on loan features
  • Must meet the “Ability to Repay” (ATR) requirements
  • Typically have lower interest rates
  • Limited fees and points

Non-QM Loans:

  • More flexible underwriting guidelines
  • Can have unique loan features like interest-only payments
  • Do not necessarily have to meet ATR requirements
  • May have higher interest rates
  • Higher fees and points are possible

Advantages of Non-QM Loans

  1. Flexibility: Ideal for self-employed individuals or those with unconventional income sources.
  2. Higher Loan Amounts: Can be beneficial for those seeking jumbo loans that exceed conforming loan limits.
  3. Easier Qualification: Lower credit scores or higher debt-to-income ratios may be accepted.
  4. Unique Loan Terms: Interest-only payments, balloon payments, and other non-traditional terms may be available.

Disadvantages of Non-QM Loans

  1. Higher Costs: Often come with higher interest rates, fees, and closing costs.
  2. Greater Risk of Default: Less stringent ATR criteria can result in loans that are difficult to repay.
  3. Limited Availability: Not offered by all lenders.
  4. Complex Terms: Some loans come with complicated terms that might not be suitable for all borrowers.

Who Should Consider Non-QM Loans?

  • Self-employed individuals
  • Those with a high net worth but irregular income
  • Real estate investors
  • Borrowers who need to consolidate high-interest debt
  • Those with credit issues but sufficient income or assets

Important Factors to Consider

  1. Affordability: Ensure you can meet the monthly payments.
  2. Rates and Fees: Compare costs against potential benefits.
  3. Loan Features: Understand the terms thoroughly.
  4. Your Financial Goals: Make sure the loan aligns with your long-term objectives.
Non-QM loans can be a good option for those who do not meet traditional lending criteria but have strong financial profiles in other aspects. However, they are not suitable for everyone and come with their own set of risks. Always consult with a mortgage advisor to determine the best type of loan for your individual circumstances. Remember, a Non-QM loan is not inherently bad or risky; it’s just different. Evaluate your needs and capabilities carefully before diving in.


A Non-QM loan is a type of mortgage that does not comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) guidelines for Qualified Mortgages (QM). These loans can offer more flexibility in terms of income verification, debt-to-income ratio, and credit history, making them an option for borrowers who might not qualify for traditional mortgages.

Non-QM loans are often used by self-employed individuals, investors, or others with irregular income streams, as well as those with a higher debt-to-income ratio or blemishes on their credit history. Lenders will still evaluate the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, but they may use alternative methods of verification.

Non-QM loans can come with higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional mortgages, reflecting the higher risk associated with lending to borrowers who do not meet standard qualification criteria. There is also a higher risk of default, which borrowers should be aware of.

It is possible to get a Non-QM loan with bad credit, but interest rates and fees may be higher. Lenders will typically look at the overall financial picture, including income and assets, rather than relying solely on credit score.

Non-QM loans and subprime loans both cater to borrowers with lower credit scores or irregular income. However, Non-QM loans are subject to some federal regulations and require lenders to make a good faith effort to determine the borrower’s ability to repay, while subprime loans (which were more common prior to the 2008 financial crisis) often did not require such stringent checks.

Non-QM loans can be more expensive than traditional loans due to higher interest rates and fees. This reflects the higher risk associated with lending to borrowers who do not meet standard qualification criteria.

Non-QM loans can be used to purchase a variety of property types, including single-family homes, multi-family units, and investment properties. The specific property types eligible will depend on the lender’s policies.

The interest rate on a Non-QM loan is typically higher than that of a traditional loan. This reflects the increased risk to the lender when loaning to borrowers who do not meet standard qualification criteria.

Yes, it is possible to refinance with a Non-QM loan. This can be a good option for borrowers who have seen an improvement in their financial situation since obtaining their original loan, or for those who did not qualify for a traditional refinance.

To find a lender that offers Non-QM loans, you can start by searching online, asking for recommendations from friends or family, or speaking with a mortgage broker who has experience with Non-QM loans. Make sure to shop around and compare rates and terms from different lenders to find the best deal.

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