In a nutshell:

    • your broker asks you what you want and figure out what you need – 15 to 30 minutes
    • your broker obtains detailed information and completes a Customer Needs Assessment then makes a recommendation by email giving all the facts in writing – 1 to 2 days depending on complexity
    • when you agree you need to supply any additional documentation specific to the lender that you choose – this is in your hands
    • once all documentation is in your broker prepares the application and provide to you for signing off – 4 to 6 hours
    • application submitted and valuation ordered if required this  is all done online and will be taken up for assessment between 24 and 72 hours – this can vary dramatically which is something we take into consideration when making a recommendation.
      Once assessment is commenced and all supporting documents accepted assessment typically takes 24 – 48 hours
    • application is approved, mortgage documents prepared and posted or emailed to you – typically 1 to 3 days
    • documents returned to the lender and checked – if a refinance is involved the existing lender can delay the settlement by 2 weeks if they see fit
    • settlement booked between your solicitor, the bank’s solicitor and the vendor’s solicitors – typically 3 days
  • money handed over and settlement finally complete, crack open the champagne you are now the proud owner of a new mortgage

Now for the details…

The following information is simply trying to set your expectations to ensure that you fully understand the process and potential obstacles.

Document Check List Important Tips

Please understand that the document requirements are often dictated by the regulators – ASIC and APRA rather than the lenders.  You may find the level of information requires is quite intrusive but this due to the regulators requirements.

In these cases brokers have little if any room for flexibility so if you have difficulty providing anything – please  call your broker to discuss the best alternative options.

You will be provided with a document check list, each lender has slightly varying requirements.  Please pay close attention to providing exactly what is asked for and unless otherwise stated please ensure that documents are the most recent available. You have an obligation to disclose any pertinent information and your brokers is obliged to inform the lender of any information that you disclose to us that we consider pertinent to your application.

   The following is a typical checklist:

  • Payslips must be most recent and where multiple are required ( can be up to three)  they must be consecutive – feel free to black out your tax file number. They must clearly show your employers name, your name and preferably annual salary or YTD figure that allows an accurate annual figure to be calculated.  If your pay slip does not comply please provide most recent ATO group certificate or assessment notice.  Alternative documents (check specifics)  normally a signed letter from employer on letterhead.
  • Bank internet statements can be acceptable but they must be a complete document (all pages) showing borrowers name, account numbers, balance, limit and transactions for the period specified.  If the onlne statement only shows account number – try and find an old printed statement with the same account number and we can tie these together.  Lender’s will require an explanation where credit card or overdraft accounts exceed authorised limit or where any payment is missed.
  • Identity Documents – again this varies by lender.  For some lenders identification can be done in a branch where as for others you may need to go to Aust Post ( fees if applicable will be reimbursed with rebate).     If you are an Aussie expat then Australian consular staff are the only certification option – check the lender’s requirements closely.  Always scan photo ID documents in colour and the image must be clear so it sometimes helps to enlarge x 2 the image.     If your name has changed through marriage or divorce please provide a marriage certificate or other verification.  In some cases a statutory declaration will suffice.
  • First Home Owner’s Grant and other government grants or concessions require you to complete additional forms and provide supporting documentation including identification. Please pay very close attention to what is specified in the application form.

Important Stages & Types of Approval

Indicative, Pre-Approval or In-principal

An Indicative or Pre-Approval or Homeseeker Loan is not a full approval.  In some cases the lender has not even checked the acceptability of your employment or income so these are of very little use and should not be relied on.   Also note that if your circumstances change, employment, your deposit, you enter into a car or personal loan etc, could jeopardise your loan approval.  Likewise the interest rate and product quoted at pre-approval may very well change.  Fixed rates are not guaranteed unless you have paid upfront for a rate-lock option.

Conditional Approvals

These are normally issued once the lender has viewed the full application and supporting documents.  These are usually subject to a suitable valuation report or other specified requirements.  If you fail to provide the required information the loan process will not proceed from that point.  The lender’s valuation is often the final hurdle, you do not have a loan until the valuation meets the minimum required or you can show sufficient funds to cover the shortfall. If the loan is over 80% LVR then the mortgage insurer (LMI) will need to approve unless the lender has delegated authority. Only when all stated conditions are met will the lender issue an unconditional approval – but keep in mind it is unconditional only as long as your circumstances do not change.

The finance clause and cooling off period ( not applicable at auction).  This varies from state to state and is stipulated in your purchase contract. Extensions to the period can be negotiated and are not uncommon.  Never waive your cooling off option without discussing with us and your solicitor.  Lenders make no commitment and many often fail to provide an approval within the cooling off period – performance varies widely from week to week.  If you have a conditional approval in place prior to entering into the contract your chances are greatly improved.  Once the cooling off period expires you must either proceed or withdraw from the deal – it would be very inadvisable to continue with a contract without finance approval – the legal implications are very serious and not just the loss of deposit you must speak to your legal advisor before making this decision.

Loan Documents and Settlement Process

The normal settlement period seems like weeks away, please do not become complacent by that.  As some times lenders can be overloaded either with applications or system failure and this can result in extended delays.  It is estimated that 1 in 5 property settlements are delayed and when settlement is delayed lenders  will rarely accept responsibility (despite the fact that they are responsible) for any costs you incur as a result of these delays.

Ideally please try to ensure that the name/s appearing on the contract of sale is exactly the same as the name used for the applicants for the loan eg: William Smith is NOT the same as William & Mary Smith. When you receive your letter of offer check the details again for accuracy of names and addresses, loan type and interest charges – call your broker if you have any concerns.  The mortgage documents will be issued on the basis of the offer,  so in case of an error having documents re-issued can waste several days.

If your loan should be Interest Only – this must be correct prior to settlement as it is not always a simple (cheap) matter to change after settlement.

Important Note: if you apply for a package deal discount based on payment of an annual fee then the interest rates and fees quoted on the mortgage document will usually be the rates and charges that will apply if you fail to pay the annual fee.   Which makes sense when you think about it.

Finally, the mortgage document is a contract and as such it advisable that you seek legal advice. You cannot modify (using initials) the contract and any changes will require a re-issue of mortgage documents with further delays so pay close attention and ensure you sign where required with appropriate witness signatures and return all documents that are not indicated as “clients copy”.  Your broker can assist you with clarification on interest rates and fees however we strongly advise you to seek professional legal advice on the terms of the mortgage contract.

The entire process will typically take 4 weeks, maybe 6 weeks or longer if you are overseas or otherwise unavailable at any time during the process. It is vitally important that once the application is approved and until settled you make no significant changes to your lifestyle, employment or other circumstances. Even a job promotion could theoretically cause an approval to be withdrawn.

It’s not just about you

Finally the home loan application process is actually straight forward as long as we all understand the requirements and  the roles of everyone involved-  these include you the buyer, the vendors ( the people selling ), bank’s  credit assessors, property valuers, building and  pest inspectors, banks legal team, vendors solicitors and your solicitors, , real estate agent, buyers agent, tenants (if the property is currently rented), mortgage and general insurers…. and finally your mortgage broker.

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