Believe it or not, the calls come in. “Do you guys still do stated income loans?” Still? Seriously, a lot has changed in ten years, but in the home lending building perhaps there has not been a more pronounced departure than the Elvis of all mortgages, the stated income loan.
Basically, these creatures roamed the earth and skies during the pre-real-estate-downturn era and allowed a borrower to state what he made in income per month. To state the amount of money he had available for a down payment. And even to state what he did for a living. All of this changed with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform Act (Dodd-Frank), and without getting technical, the core provision in this law is “ability to repay,” or ATR. Today, if lenders don’t prove that a borrower can repay the loan they are making, then a lot of bad things can happen to the lender. And if bad things can happen to a lender, then you know that’s gonna flow downhill to the person looking to purchase or refinance — namely, you, the borrower.
So, no. Stated income loans don’t still exist. At least not in the traditional sense. But in the new world, lenders do have some very viable and attractive ways to determine ATR by alternative measures and I’ve outlined the three most common below. These programs address the reality of the borrowing public, especially the self-employed, who often file their tax returns in a manner that reduces income and maximizes expenses — for good reason and within the letter of the IRS law. To prevent these otherwise creditworthy borrowers from being shut out, today’s substitutes for stated income loans might involve some or all of the following characteristics:
An asset depletion loan allows a buyer or borrower to leverage his/her cash equivalents, investments and sometimes even retirement accounts to derive a hypothetical income stream that can be used for qualifying. These assets do not need to be moved or liquidated, just documented. For those who have sufficient net worth but insufficient traditional qualifying income, an asset depletion loan (also known as asset-backed, asset utilization, asset amortization, etc.) can prove an ideal solution.
Bank Statement Qualification
Business owners who show strong income into their business may want to consider a bank statement loan as an alternative to a stated income loan. For a bank statement qualification, we will typically examine 12 months of business bank statements. We’ll total all of the legitimate business deposits and we’ll apply an expense ratio to that sum. The resulting figure is the qualifying income. For those who “write off” a lot of business income on tax returns, a bank statement loan may circumvent that age-old challenge, because for these programs, no tax returns are required.
Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)
For the real estate investor who will struggle with a conventional mortgage qualification, we now have the debt service coverage ratio, or DSCR, home loan option. This program looks at the property’s income and nets out the housing payment on it. As long as the ratio is positive (and all other qualifying criteria are met), we have a deal.
While the sun may have set on the Wild West days of stated income, the home lending industry has come a long way back to offering attractive alternatives to the alternative borrower. Not all loan professionals have access to these options and fewer of those are fluent in the approval parameters. If you need help with a bank statement loan, an asset qualifying mortgage or a DSCR program, get in touch at any time. We are experts in these and look forward to being of service.
In a new loan state of mind,
Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709
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