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What Is A Non-QM Loan?

Non-QM Loans
In today's market, Non-QM loans open up real estate investment opportunities for borrowers who do not qualify for traditional mortgages.

A Non-QM mortgage loan (aka "non-qualified mortgage loan" or "non-conforming mortgage loan"), is a type of loan that allows you to qualify based on alternative methods, instead of the traditional income verification required for most loans. Common examples include bank statements or using your assets as income. Due to the more flexible qualification requirements, Non-QM loans open up real estate investment and home ownership opportunities to borrowers who otherwise wouldn't qualify for mortgage financing.

When A Conventional Mortgage Isn't An Option

At Northwest Alternative Mortgage, we always connect our clients with the best possible loan that they qualify for. For over 20 years, we've been connecting borrowers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho with the financing they need to be successful. Whether it's an FHA Loan for first-time homebuyers or a Conventional Loan at a lower rate, will never talk you into a Non-QM loan unless it's the best possible loan for you!

In the aftermath of The Great Recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was forced to institute stricter requirements for conventional mortgages. These following guidelines were put in place to protect borrowers from entering loan agreements that they cannot afford to repay:

  • Points and fees that are 3% or less than the total loan amount

  • Maximum loan terms of 30 years or less

  • No negative amortization, interest-only, or balloon loans

Although these requirements were put in place to protect borrowers, they also made it more difficult to qualify for a traditional mortgage. Since many borrowers don't check all the boxes that banks require, purchasing your first home or investing in real estate can feel out of reach in today's market.

Benefits of Non-QM Loans

One of the advantages of Non-QM loans is that they open up a wider array of investment and home ownership opportunities for borrowers. Although these benefits are determined by your credit history, unique needs, and assets, here are few of the common features of Non-QM Loan programs we offer:

  • Greater underwriting flexibility

  • No personal income calculations are required

  • No job history is required (in some cases)

  • As little as 10% down required

  • No reserves required (in some cases)

  • Credit scores as low as 620 allowed (580 w/ compensating factors)

  • Low debt-service-coverage ratio (DSCR) on investment properties

  • Counting rental income (including Airbnb & VRBO)

Non QM vs Conventional Loans

Non QM Loans

Conventional Loans

What They Are

A Non-QM mortgage loan (aka "non-qualified mortgage loan" or "non-conforming mortgage loan"), is a type of loan that allows you to qualify based on alternative methods, instead of the traditional income verification required for most loans.

Meet the standard criteria set by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Credit Requirements

More flexible, may consider lower credit scores or past credit issues.

Typically require higher credit scores and a strong credit history.

Income Verification

Alternative income verification methods may be accepted (bank statements, assets, investments, etc.).

Generally, strict and standardized income verification is required (W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns).

Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

Higher DTI ratios may be accepted.

Usually have more stringent DTI ratio limits.

Down Payment

May allow lower down payments, including zero-down options.

Often require a minimum down payment (usually around 3% to 20% of the home's value).

Interest Rates

Typically have higher interest rates.

Often offer lower interest rates, especially for borrowers with excellent credit.

Loan Limits

May accommodate larger loan amounts.

Subject to conforming loan limits set by GSEs (varies by location).

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Non-QM loans may not always require PMI.

PMI is usually required for loans with a down payment less than 20% of the home's value.


Less strict documentation requirements.

Standardized documentation is typically required.

Loan Approval Process

May have a more personalized approach to underwriting.

Generally follows a more standardized underwriting process.


May be suitable for self-employed individuals or non-traditional borrowers.

Accessible to most borrowers who meet conventional standards.

Types Non-QM Loans We Offer

At Northwest Alternative Mortgage, we aren't in the business of cranking "cookie-cutter" loans to borrowers. Instead, we custom-tailor every loan we fund based on your unique situation and aspirations. Whether you're a self-employed business owner, real estate investor, veteran, or someone who's run into a dead end with big banks and brokerages, there are likely way more financing options than you're aware of. Here are a few of the most popular Non-QM loans we offer:

  • No Income Documentation ("No Doc") Loans

  • DSCR Mortgage Loans

  • Bank Statement Loans

  • 1099 Income Loans

  • ITIN Mortgage Loans

  • Asset Utilization Loans

  • Jumbo Loans

Call our team of lending experts at NW Alternative Mortgage today at 503-343-7999 to find out what Non-QM Loan program you qualify for!



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