In the age of the gig economy, more and more Americans are putting together income from freelance and independent contracting jobs. Whether as an Uber driver or an app delivery person, these jobs offer flexible hours and a degree of autonomy that’s hard to get from full-time employment. However, a gig economy job can be challenging when getting credit and financing. As a result, many people struggle to qualify for mortgages as a gig workers.
For many reasons, someone might work as an independent contractor or freelancer. Some include flexibility, independence, and greater control over their schedules. However, it can also be difficult for these individuals to prove their income and reliability to lenders. Since gig workers’ earnings fluctuate from one week to the next, lenders often require two years of pay records from a single employer as proof of their income and solvency. Fortunately, there are many ways for gig workers to prove their income and creditworthiness.
The first thing lenders and credit bureaus look for when assessing a gig economy loan application is the individual’s employment history. This can include a list of all past jobs held; companies worked for, job titles and dates of employment. The best way to gather this information is to contact previous employers and ask them for an employment history report. This can be a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it to have a thorough employment history. Another option is to check out your tax returns for a detailed work history record. Many people keep tax return copies for years, and this can give you a great idea of where your earnings have come from.
When applying for a gig economy loan, lenders will also want a steady source of income and a good credit score. Fortunately, there are loans for gig workers with various options from reputable companies.
Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors lenders consider when reviewing your application. Your DTI will help them determine whether you can repay your loan or credit on time and consistently.
It’s also important to understand that a high debt-to-income ratio may make you less desirable to lenders and affect your ability to qualify for credit or loans. That’s because a high DTI can suggest to lenders that you might be more likely to default on loans or lines of credit than others with lower debt levels. As a result, managing your DTI and minimizing how much of your income is going toward paying off your debt is essential. Generally, lenders look for DTIs between 36% and 43%, so reducing your debt is smart to improve your chances of getting a mortgage or other loan.
Gig economy workers often earn income as independent freelancers or employees through technology and online platforms that connect them with customers for on-demand jobs, services or goods. Whether you work as an Uber driver, deliver takeout food for DoorDash or offer on-demand freelance writing services, you should report your income on your tax return. According to the IRS, you must report income if you earned more than $400 from self-employment in any year, regardless of how you got paid. That includes payments made in cash, property, goods or cryptocurrency. As a result, you may have to fill out additional forms than you would as a traditional employee who gets a W-2 form. This can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the gig economy and have little experience with taxes.