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Bank Statements Only – No Tax Returns Required!

Do you own your business and maximize your expenses to minimize your taxes?

Who wouldn’t employ this strategy!

Well, a break-even tax return would prevent you from getting a conventional mortgage. But if your business has been open for two years, and you can show reasonably consistent deposits each month – then you might qualify for a mortgage under a bank statement program.

You can be approved for a mortgage based solely on your bank statements – without the lender even needing to see your tax returns. There are programs that will accept as little as three consecutive months of bank statements. The more months you are willing to provide (i.e., 24 months provides the best interest rate), the more comfortable the lender can become with your operations.

The lender will tally your average business deposits, and apply an expense ratio – which could be from: (i) an internal or third-party industry standard, (ii) your external accountant, or (iii) your Profit & Loss Statement that matches your selected bank statement period.

Since your resulting net income figure is used to calculate the mortgage amount for which you could qualify, it is more advantageous to select the current bank statement period that maximizes your business deposits.

Some lenders will:

  • Extend a loan as high as 90% of the purchase price (Required: 680+ FICO, 4 months reserves)
  • Credit you for any positive net cash flow from a rented property that has at least 25% equity
  • Allow you to use a gift for the down payment

Here’s the Point: Don’t pass on obtaining a mortgage just because you think your tax return doesn’t
report enough business earnings.

Beware of Bonus Income Guidelines

bonusTo qualify for a conventional mortgage, your income should be “…stable, predictable and likely to continue”. You need to demonstrate your ability to repay – and, ideally, that your income is likely to continue for 3 years. If you earn bonus or commission income, your employer needs to verify that you have received it for the past 12 to 24 months – showing positive factors that offset the shorter income history.

But what if you decide to move to a different location (i.e., to maximize your earnings, to be closer to family, or because it’s just too cold where you are)? Unless your “transfer” is with the same company, you won’t be able to use your bonus income to qualify for a mortgage in your new location.

One of my clients has had consistent earnings with the same major automotive company for 25 years. But because the dealerships are franchisees, each franchisee is deemed to be a separate employer – so his move from one franchisee to another disqualified him from using his bonus income. And because the majority of his income is always from bonuses, he couldn’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. Even though he generated consistent monthly bonuses over the past 7 months at the new franchisee, he needed to show at least 12 months of bonus earnings.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) would not bend the rules for this solid income earner. The prevailing private lender agreed that the conventional bonus income guidelines do not incorporate common sense.

Here’s the Point: If you do not have at least 12 months of bonus or commission earnings, you will not be able to use that income in your mortgage qualifying ratios.