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Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Home Loan: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Aug 24, 2023 | Finance, News and Updates, Property Investing, Purchasing Property

Purchasing a home is a significant milestone in one’s life, and for many Australians, it’s a dream come true. However, the process of securing a home loan can be complex and daunting, especially for first-time buyers. As a mortgage broker, I’ve witnessed numerous applicants stumble into common pitfalls that can delay or even risk their chances of getting approved for a home loan. In this blog, I will shed light on some of the mistakes people make when applying for a home loan in Australia and offer valuable insights on how to avoid them. By understanding these pitfalls and following the right approach, you can increase your chances of securing the home loan that suits your needs and financial capacity.

  1. Failing to Check your Credit Report
    Your credit report is a crucial factor that lenders assess to determine your creditworthiness (your likelihood of making repayments). Failing to check your credit report before applying for a home loan can be a mistake, as we have seen many people with unexpected defaults or credit facilities they thought were closed remain open. To avoid this, request a free credit report from the major credit bureaus and review it for any inaccuracies.
  2. Overlooking Pre-Approval
    Getting pre-approved for a home loan should be your first step before house hunting. Pre-approval clearly shows how much you can borrow and streamlines the buying process. Many homebuyers skip this step, assuming they’ll be approved easily once they find a property they like. Unfortunately, this can lead to disappointment. By obtaining pre-approval, you’ll have a competitive edge over other buyers and avoid the risk of getting a property outside your budget.
  3. Neglecting the Importance of a Deposit
    Having a substantial deposit of 20% or more of the property value is beneficial for two reasons: it improves your borrowing capacity and reduces the loan-to-value ratio (LVR), which may lead to lower interest rates. Some homebuyers, especially first-timers, need help saving this much of a deposit, and there are some government schemes that can assist them when they have less than a 20% deposit. Most lenders accept smaller deposits, but the more you can contribute, the better you are viewed for approval.
  4. Overextending Your Finances
    While buying the most luxurious property, you can afford may be tempting, overextending your finances can be a recipe for disaster. Consider your long-term financial goals, lifestyle, and expenses that may arise in the future. Will there be any changes to your family unit? It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your budget and avoid stretching it to the maximum limit.
  5. Not Factoring in all the costs
    Homebuyers often focus solely on the property’s purchase price and neglect to account for additional costs associated with buying a home. These costs may include stamp duty, legal fees, lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) if your deposit is less than 20%, insurance, and property inspection fees. Ensure you have enough funds to cover these expenses to avoid financial strain after purchasing the property.
  6. Inadequate Documentation
    Lenders require extensive documentation to assess your financial position accurately. Insufficient or inaccurate documentation can lead to delays in the loan approval process or outright rejection. Ensure you provide all necessary documents, such as tax returns, pay slips, bank statements, living expenses, and proof of assets and liabilities, when applying for the home loan.
  7. Not Seeking Professional Guidance
    Navigating the home loan application process can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. Many applicants do not seek professional advice from a mortgage broker or financial advisor. Seeking professional guidance from a mortgage broker can be instrumental in finding the best loan options and ensuring a successful home-buying journey.

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