Portfolio Mortgages [2023]: Definition, Types, Qualification

Amresh Singh, CEO - HomeAbroad  by Amresh Singh

8 min read

Are you struggling to secure a traditional mortgage? There’s a flexible alternative to consider: Portfolio Mortgages. Held and serviced by portfolio lenders, these loans offer more eligibility criteria and term flexibility than conventional loans. They’re an excellent option for real estate investors and those with unique financial circumstances.

In addition, we will highlight the key features to look for when selecting the top portfolio lender of 2023 who can provide you with the best portfolio loan options to achieve your homeownership goals.

What Is A Portfolio Loan?

A portfolio loan is a type of loan that is not sold to a third-party investor in the secondary market but rather held by the lender or loan servicer in its own portfolio of loans. In other words, the lender keeps the loan in-house rather than selling it off to investors in the secondary market. Portfolio loans are typically used for non-conforming or unique borrowers or properties that do not meet the underwriting standards of traditional mortgage loans, and they offer lenders greater flexibility in terms of lending criteria and loan terms.

The lender holds a portfolio loan, offering flexibility in loan terms, interest rates, and loan types. This includes non-QM loans like DSCR, Bank Statement Loans, No-Doc, bridge loans, and fix and flip loan.

Find the best Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

What Is A Portfolio Lender?

Portfolio lenders offer non-traditional mortgages or subprime loan to individuals who don’t qualify for standard mortgages due to credit or income limitations or wishes to skip the time-taking procedures of traditional loans. They keep these loans in-house to generate revenue from interest and fees, unlike other lenders who sell loans to government agencies like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Find the best Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

How Do Portfolio Loans Work?

  • One crucial factor to keep in mind with portfolio loans is that they may have less stringent underwriting requirements than traditional loans, which can make them a good option for borrowers who don’t qualify for traditional financing.
  • If the borrower is approved for a portfolio loan, the lender will provide the funds for the loan, and the borrower will make regular payments to the lender. Because the lender holds the loan in its own portfolio, it has the ability to modify the loan terms if necessary, such as by extending the loan term or adjusting the interest rate.
  • Portfolio loans offer lenders the flexibility to customize loan products for individual home buyer needs
  • Portfolio lenders tend to have faster processing times and more flexible terms than traditional mortgages
  • While credit score requirements for portfolio loans are typically higher than for a conventional loan, some lenders might still approve a loan for borrowers with lower credit scores. However, in such cases, the down payment and interest rate for the loan may be higher to compensate for the increased risk. Nonetheless, having a good credit score can still help demonstrate a borrower’s creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan, which can increase the chances of approval and may also result in more favorable loan terms, such as a lower interest rate.
Credit Score Ranges
Source: Forbes
  • It’s important for borrowers to understand their credit score requirements and compare loan products before applying.

Eligibility for Portfolio Loans

Portfolio loans are designed for individuals who may not meet the stringent criteria for conventional mortgages. Here are some pointers on who may be eligible for a portfolio loan:

  • Self-employed individuals who have difficulty verifying their income
  • Those with no or thin US credit history.
  • Individuals with a high debt-to-income ratio.
  • Non-US citizens who may not meet the requirements for traditional mortgages
  • Real estate investors looking to purchase multiple properties.
  • Non-eligible individuals for conventional mortgage loans may opt for portfolio loans as an alternative.

Check your eligibility for portfolio mortgages.

Types of Portfolio Mortgages

There are several types of portfolio mortgages, including:

1. DSCR Loans:

Debt Service Coverage Ratio is a financial ratio that measures a borrower’s ability to repay the debt through the capacity of the property to generate positive cash flow. It’s calculated by dividing a borrower’s net operating income by debt obligations. A higher DSCR indicates that a borrower is more likely to be able to repay their debts.

2. Asset-Based Mortgage

These are secured by the borrower’s assets and are commonly used by businesses with valuable assets but may not meet traditional credit requirements. The loan amount is based on the collateral value, and the borrower’s creditworthiness may be less important than the asset’s value.

3. No-Doc Mortgage

A no-doc mortgage doesn’t require income verification from the borrower, instead relying on their declaration that they can afford the loan payments. However, it is important to note that while these loans do not require traditional income documents, lenders may still ask borrowers to state their income and assets and may also request documents such as bank statements to assess their creditworthiness. Additionally, having a good credit score can help increase the likelihood of approval and may result in more favorable loan terms.

4. Bank Statement Mortgage

Bank statement loans are a type of portfolio loan that allows borrowers to use their bank statements instead of traditional income documentation. They are useful for self-employed or individuals with irregular income streams. To qualify, borrowers need to provide several months of bank statements showing consistent income and cash flow.

5. Self-employed Mortgage

Self-employed mortgages are designed for those who have difficulty providing traditional income documentation and are self-employed. Borrowers can use alternative methods to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan, such as bank statements. A good credit score and evidence of a stable income source are typically required to qualify.

6. Jumbo Loans

Jumbo loans exceed the limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for conventional mortgages and are offered by lenders with large lending portfolios.

7. Alt-A Mortgages

Alt-A mortgages are between prime and subprime in terms of credit risk and have relaxed underwriting standards but require more documentation and higher credit scores than subprime mortgages. These loans are often made to borrowers who do not meet the strict underwriting standards of prime loans or want to skirt them.

Now that we know the different types of portfolio loans, the next step is finding a lender that offers these types of loans. Let’s go!

US Mortgages with no US credit history

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Get quotes from multiple lenders to compare and pick the best one!

How To Find A Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

To find the right portfolio mortgage lender, follow these steps:

  • Do your research, take the best advice, check eligibility requirements, and compare loan products from multiple lenders.
  • Look at the lender’s track record, customer reviews, and overall reputation.
  • When comparing lenders, consider the lender’s portfolio loan terms, fees, and interest rates.
  • Ensure you are comfortable working with the lender and their customer service team before committing to a loan.

Find the best Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

Portfolio Loan: When Is It A Good Option?

A portfolio mortgage, also called a portfolio loan, that a lender keeps in-house instead of selling it on the secondary mortgage market. This type of portfolio loan is ideal for borrowers who don’t fit the traditional mold of a conventional loan borrower, such as real estate investors, self-employed, or those with unique financial situations.

There are several situations where a portfolio loan might be a good option,

  • Real estates investor who want to purchase multiple properties or need more flexible underwriting criteria.
  • Borrowers with unique financial situations, such as those who are self-employed or have non-traditional income sources.
  • Borrowers with lower credit scores may not qualify for traditional mortgage lenders.
  • Homebuyers who want a higher loan amount than what is offered by a conventional mortgage.
  • Portfolio lenders can be a great option for borrowers who need more flexibility in underwriting criteria, loan terms, and maximum loan limits.
US Mortgages with no US credit history

Connect with the Best Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

Get quotes from multiple lenders to compare and pick the best one!

How Do Portfolio Loans Differ From Traditional Mortgages?

Here’s an outline of the key differences between portfolio loans and traditional mortgages.

Differences Between Portfolio Loans & Traditional Mortgages
Source: HomeAbroad

Pros And Cons Of Portfolio Loans


  • Easier eligibility requirements than other loan types
  • No loan limits, allowing for quick access to funds
  • Personalized service from the lender
  • Can qualify with low credit scores and with thin or no US credit history
  • Typically no PMI for down payments less than 20%
  • Debt-to-income ratios of about 43% .
  • No tax returns and pay stubs are needed
  • Portfolio loans typically have less stringent requirements for credit score, credit history, and DTI ratio, making them easier for some home buyers to qualify.


  • Higher fees compared to other loan types
  • Higher interest rates to offset the additional risk
  • Prepayment penalties may apply
  • Interest rates are higher than conventional lenders
  • Prepayment penalties for investment properties likely

Consider the pros and cons before deciding on a portfolio loan.


Portfolio loans can provide an effective and swift alternative mortgage option for borrowers who don’t qualify for conventional or government loans or want to skip the tedious loan approval procedures associated with traditional loans. However, to make an informed decision, it’s important to shop for mortgage lenders and evaluate the terms and conditions of the loan before applying for it. HomeAbroad has a vast network of lenders who can provide you with a portfolio or non-traditional mortgage to finance your home or investment property.

US Mortgages with no US credit history

Connect with the Best Portfolio Mortgage Lenders

Get quotes from multiple lenders to compare and pick the best one!


  1. Who is a portfolio lender?

    Portfolio lenders keep loans in-house, giving them greater flexibility in lending criteria and offering customized loan terms.

  2. How can HomeAbroad help me find the best Non-QM lender?

    HomeAbroad has a network of experienced lenders specializing in non-QM loans. We can connect you with the best lender for your needs and make obtaining a loan easier and more convenient. So reach out to HomeAbroad today and get started!

  3. Are portfolio loans risky?

    Yes, portfolio loans can be riskier than loans sold on the secondary market, but the level of risk depends on various factors. However, portfolio lenders can offer more flexible and customized loan terms.

  4. What credit score do you need for a portfolio loan?

    The credit score required for a portfolio loan varies, but a good to excellent credit score (above 670) increases the chance of approval. However, portfolio lenders may also consider other factors like income (non-qm loans do not consider employment history)and assets and are generally more flexible in their underwriting standards.

  5. How much is a downpayment on a portfolio loan?

    Portfolio lenders may require a higher down payment than traditional lenders, typically 20%-25% or more of the loan amount, based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, loan type, and lender’s criteria.

  6. What is the interest rate on a portfolio loan?

    Portfolio loan interest rates depend on creditworthiness, loan type, and underwriting standards and are typically higher than traditional loans due to increased risk but may offer more customized terms.

  7. Is it easy to get a portfolio loan?

    Yes, it is easy to acquire Portfolio loans by reaching out to the portfolio mortgage lenders and meeting the requirements like assets, collateral, cash reserve, appraisal of the property, etc.

  8. Do portfolio loans have closing costs?

    Yes, Portfolio loans have closing costs, which vary depending on the lender and loan type.

  9. Which type of borrower may be interested in portfolio loans?

    Portfolio loans are ideal for borrowers with unique financial profiles or circumstances, including self-employed individuals, investors with multiple properties, and those seeking flexible loan terms.

  10. Who buys portfolio loans?

    Portfolio loans are originated and held by portfolio lenders like banks and credit unions, but they can also be sold to other investors, such as hedge funds or insurance companies.

  11. What is a loan portfolio assessment?

    A loan portfolio assessment reviews a lender’s loans to evaluate their performance, risk, and profitability. It helps lenders identify issues and opportunities for improving their portfolio management.

  12. What is an Interest only Portfolio Loan?

    An interest-only portfolio loan is one in which the borrower only pays the interest for a certain period. Portfolio lenders offer it and can lower initial payments
    but it may result in higher payments later in the loan term.

Amresh Singh, CEO - HomeAbroad
About the author:

Amresh Singh is the founder & CEO of HomeAbroad and has an extensive 12+ years of experience in the financial services and mortgage industry – building business development and product strategy and leading customer strategy
in the financial services industry domain.

Prior to co-founding HomeAbroad, Amresh has worked for one of
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