Documentation for Self Employed or Commission Paid Borrowers

Sonia asks via commenting on a post at The Mortgage Porter:

“I’m a first time home buyer, but I am self employed I would like to be preapproved for a mortgage loan and want to know what paper work will be required by the bank…”

Self employed borrowers will most likely need to provide the following documentation:

  • Last two years complete (all schedules) tax returns for both business and personal including W2s or 1099s.
  • Year to day profit and loss statement.
  • Bank statements, asset accounts (all pages).  Be prepared to document you have enough funds to cover your down payment and closing costs at minimum.  You may have to show proof of having reserves (additional savings remaining after closing).

Self employed borrowers need to show at least two years of income for their business.  The borrowers often income is averaged over the past two years.  If the borrowers income shows a decline from the previous year, the lower income may be used and the self employed borrower should be prepared to explain why they are showing less income to the underwriter. 

These guidelines may also apply to:

  • People who are receive commission income that accounts for 25% or more of their annual income.
  • People who own 25% or more of the company they work for.
  • Independent contractors.

If you’re a commission paid sales person, you’ll need to provide your last two years tax returns as well and those un-reimbursed business expenses are factored against you. 

When a borrower has income that has the possibility of fluctuating, they need to be able to review a period of time (two years).   Underwriters are looking for trends with any borrower’s income. 

I recently met with a newly self-employed person who wanted to take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.  She’s bought her business just shy of a year ago.  Even though it’s showing great profit right now; her first year tax returns report a loss (as many new businesses do).  She does not currently qualify for a mortgage.  After she has two years tax returns (track record) her income will still be averaged with the first year loss factored in. 

The days of “stated income” or “no income verified” are gone (so are many of the lenders who offered those products).  Be prepared to fully document your income and down payment.  You’re showing the lender you have the ability to pay the mortgage with your successful two year track record as a self employed person or commission paid sales person.

I’m happy to work with self-employed or commissioned paid borrowers. Click here if you would like a rate quote for a home located anywhere in Washington.


  1. What about if your income comes from multiple trusts and it is rather recent. Will letters from the trusts be sufficient for income verification?

  2. Hi Matt, generally the lender is going to want a copy of the Trust Agreement or a statement from the Trustee confirming the amount, frequency and duration of the payments. The lender will mostlikely want to see that the income is going to continue for atleast 3 more years… bottom line, it will be up to your lender’s underwriter.

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