Lending regulations have tightened up considerably in the last few months. So much so, it’s time to examine the 11 issues that could put the kibosh on your home loan dreams and aspirations, and some solutions on how to fix them.
Godsend or big mistake?
The fact is, despite their rising popularity and fast convenience Payday or cash loans are definitely a huge no, no if you are looking to apply for a home loan, because any prospective lenders will get the impression that you are financially stretched and are going to be a lousy risk
Slowly but surely the Nanny state grows
With record low interest rates the demand for home loans have not been this high since before the Global Financial Crisis. However, authorities are now stepping up the pressure on lenders to reign in their previous unconstrained lending practices.
This is being done under what is known as the National Consumer Credit Protection (NCCP) act, or Responsible Lending Practices. When first initiated in 2011 there wasn’t too much fanfare about the new rules and in the main, other than a few mild policy changes, it was pretty much business as usual.
That said, in the last few months things have changed dramatically and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) have been bringing pressure to bear on the banks to start enforcing the new rules to the letter.
Also, along with the current Royal Commission Inquiry into banking practices, the banks themselves are trying to put on a ‘Goody, Goody Two Shoes Face’ to try and convince the Inquiry and associated authorities that their bad behaviour is a thing of the past and they have now turned over a new leaf.
They now want to know what size underwear you use
Anybody who has made an application for a mortgage over the past few months can tell you that things have become a lot more difficult to obtain any kind of loan now that the banks have gotten serious about the new affordability lending. They are now starting to forensically focus on borrower’s income and expenses in much finer detail. Some lenders are insisting that applicants provide them with their latest bank account and credit card statements so they can ascertain how much goes in and how much goes out on a regular basis.
In other words, they will now know how much your hair cut and dry cleaning bills are.
Many would be borrowers will have to be a whole lot more savvy nowadays if they have any chance to meet these strict new requirements before making any mortgage or personal loan applications.
Financial house cleaning is now in order
In fact, most seasoned mortgage brokers will tell you that you should put your financial house in order at least 3 months in advance of submitting any kind of application. On the other hand though, depending on your chosen lender it may necessitate you do this at least 12 months in advance.
Whether you’re looking to purchase your first home, upgrade to another, downsize, refinance or buy an investment property you’re going have to ensure that your finances are in good order if you want to give yourself any kind of hope in getting any kind of home loan application approved these days.
Here are 11 issues that could scuttle any mortgage aspirations you may have and how to rectify them.
1 RECENTLY SELF-EMPLOYED
Prior to and during the financial crisis you could get loans based on what you told the bank you earned. Yes, that’s correct; they would take your word for it. Funnily enough they earned the nickname of ‘liar loans’. All the borrower had to do was sign a self certification document declaring what their annual earnings were. I’m sure some bank staff occasionally had a good chuckle when they saw applications from occupations like a bus driver claiming to make $180,000 a year. Nonetheless, they opened a gateway for many self-employed people to purchase their own home. However, the continuing abuse of these mortgages and the global financial crisis soon put paid to these loans.
The market conditions today, show many self employed people struggling to qualify for a home loan. All main stream lenders require that self-employed individuals have had an Australian Business Number (ABN) for at least two years, have been trading profitably for at least two years, and have at least two years financials available. A couple of lenders will accept one years tax returns, but you still must have had an ABN number for two years.
That said, most lenders will also do what’s called Low Doc loans. You still will need to have held an ABN for two years, but now the lenders will rely on your trading bank statements and/or Business Activity Statements (BAS) to calculate your income.
Beyond that there are lenders who will cater to newly self-employed people if they only have had an ABN for 1 day, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. Of course, they view these loans as higher risk and they come with a premium when it comes to interest rates, fees and charges. Nonetheless, they aren’t the end of the world as they can be used as a means to an end. Meaning, you can have your cake now and refinance the loan to a better rate a little way down the track when you have the required documentation.
Self-certified loans previously offered a way for the self-employed to buy a home, but abuse of these mortgages – dubbed “liar loans” because they required no proof of income – brought about their demise during the financial crisis. The Financial Conduct Authority will officially ban self-cert mortgages in April when the mortgage market review rules come into place, but this has left some self-employed borrowers struggling to access finance.
Self-employed people finding it difficult to get traction in obtaining a home loan may well consider getting in touch with a well-seasoned mortgage broker
2 ANY MAJOR CHANGES IN LIFESTYLE CAN AFFECT YOUR ELIGIBILITY
Bankers like to see stability, it calms their ‘Risk Meter’ down no end (lol). Switching jobs or having another child at the time of a mortgage application can cause lenders to scrutinise your application a lot more closely. If you’re expecting another child lenders will increase your number of dependents immediately even though the baby isn’t quite in this world yet. That in turn will reduce your borrowing capacity. Lenders like to see stable residency and employments.
3 AVAILABLE CREDIT LIMITS OR NUMEROUS OUTSTANDING DEBTS
Lenders get nervous with people who have a lot of existing outstanding debt. So, it’s a good idea to pay off as much debt as possible prior to applying for a mortgage. This will also increase the applicants borrowing capacity when existing liabilities are reduced. Another key point to observe is that lenders go on credit card limits and not the balances owed on them. Therefore, where feasible reduce your credit card limits as much as possible if those limits are affecting your borrowing capacity. You can even cancel then and reinstate them after your mortgage has closed/settled.
Always keep in mind, if you are able to present lenders with a well-managed personal financial profile the better they like you.
4 ARE YOU ON THE ELECTORAL ROLL
Electoral rolls are a handy tool that some lender use to confirm a potential customers identity. If you’re not there it can at times cause some confusion and cause you additional frustration when the lender starts to pursue you for additional ID documentation verification.
5 WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LOOKED AT YOUR CREDIT REPORT?
It’s important to keep an eye on your credit report, regardless of how good you think it is. Equifax (formerly Veda) will send you a free copy in 10 days or overnight for a fee. Identity theft is rife these days, so don’t let yourself in for a nasty surprise the next time you go for a loan.
6 PAYDAY LOANS ARE NOT A GOOD LOOK
Payday or fast cash loans with their outrageous rates of interest give mainstream lenders cause for concern when they come across them on a borrower’s profile. It gives them cause for thought that any individual who uses them regularly is stretched financially or may be having difficulty managing g themselves monetarily.
It gives the impression that a person cannot make it from pay check to pay check and they use them as a desperate measure to get by on a day to day basis instead of having a practical back up plan if they get themselves into a situation that needs sorting.
7 KEEPING IT AFFORDABLE: DON’T OVER REACH BY BORROWING TOO MUCH
We now have a generation of borrowers who have no idea what 7 ½ – 8% interest rates on a mortgage would be like. At this stage of the game where interest rates are at record lows it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the situation and pay down a mortgage as fast as possible. Keep in mind mortgage rates won’t always be this low and when they do rise that you will be able to afford the higher repayment amount.
Use your mortgage as a stepping stone to eventually bypass the Jones’s. Start with a smaller property, a smaller mortgage and pay that down with your extra spare cash to create equity that you can use to step into a larger property.
8 COURT JUDGEMENTS, DEFAULTS AND BANKRUPTCY
These don’t preclude you from getting a home loan, nonetheless if you have experienced damaging financial circumstances that have ended you up carrying an impaired credit report then mainstream lenders won’t want to know you.
There are enterprises out there that are known as alternative lenders and they exist in the main to cater to people with impaired credit profiles. Should you find yourself in this situation we highly recommended you find a mortgage broker who specialises in this niche to guide you through the minefield of fees, charges and high interest rates.
Keep in mind though if you have a minor paid default under $1,000 on your record there is a possibility some main stream lenders will still consider you if you have a reasonable explanation for the default.
9 ARE YOU A CREDIT JUNKIE AND LEAVING TOO MANY FOOTPRINTS?
Every time a person applies for credit there is a listing of that credit request noted on the persons credit file. If the number of listings are low there isn’t too much to be concerned about, it may affect your credit score marginally.
That said, if you are frequently putting in applications for credit this and credit that, any credit assessor assessing your mortgage application is going to get a negative impression on how you can’t find what you want and how desperate you are.
Be careful when making financial inquiries over the phone or the internet as the person on the other end could be pulling your credit file without you even being aware of it.
If you’ve ever been declined or have concerns about the number of enquiries on your credit file, use a broker as they can sort through all the various lenders and loans to find the one you will possibly succeed with.
10 GAMBLING SITE PAYMENTS, OVERDRAWN ACCOUNTS AND OVER THE LIMIT CREDIT CARDS
Showing regular payments from your bank account or credit card statements will in most cases get you a swift decline notification as they are definitely a big ‘No-No’ in this age of responsible lending. Even though payday or fast cash loans are fairly new to the lending world lenders still get nervous when they see them. If you show a prospective lender any loan or credit card statements that have late payments or over the limit notations showing on them you will in most instances get an automatic decline for your application.
11 OVERTIME, BONUSES, COMMISSIONS AND ALLOWANCES
These payments can become a bit sticky when it comes to include them to boost your borrowing capacity.
With bonuses, commissions and overtime most lenders want to see documentary evidence of the same for periods ranging from 12 – 24 months. If there’s any confusion or doubt about the payment amounts the lender will insist on an employer letter confirming the amounts and dates paid.
Additionally, when they do accept the amounts tendered they will shade the total amount by 20% and only allow 80% of those payments toward borrowing capacity purposes.
WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
Inquire in advance to any lender or mortgaged broker as to what documentation you will need for any given lender application. Keep in mind that any bank or credit card statements you provide are going to be examined for income deposits, outgoing expenses, late payments or over the limit balances.
Examine the above information carefully so you can prepare and present any application you are planning on making it in the best light possible.