Why do home loans get rejected?

Having a home loan rejected can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your application. While different banks use different criteria to assess home loan applications, there are a few common issues that could see your mortgage application rejected:

Poor credit history

If you’ve had money troubles in the past, such as payment defaults, bankruptcy, or even just unpaid bills, a bank may decide that providing you with a home loan is too risky.

While Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) means that positive credit events, such as paying off credit cards and clearing debts, may help improve your credit history, keep in mind that the negative events can stay in your credit file from two to seven years, depending on their severity.

Not enough deposit

Many lenders ask for an up-front deposit of at least 20% of the property’s value, also known as a Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) of 80% or lower.

While some are willing to accept smaller deposits of 10% or even 5%, the less money you can provide as security up front, the less likely your application is to be approved.

It’s also important to keep in mind that even if your 5% or 10% deposit home loan is approved, lenders often require borrowers with deposits smaller than 20% to pay for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to cover the lender’s risk, which can be an expensive additional charge.

Paying too much for an overpriced property

Lenders often plan for the worst-case scenario when assessing home loan applications, calculating whether or not they’d recover their money by selling your property if you were to default on your mortgage repayments.

Because of this, many lenders require a property valuation as part of a home loan application. If it turns out the property is worth much less than the amount you’re asking to borrow, they’re likely to reject your application rather than risk ending up out of pocket if forced to sell.

Loan to income ratio and income stability

When assessing home loan applications, lenders often calculate the mortgage payments and compare them to the borrower’s income. If the repayments would eat up a high percentage of the borrower’s income, they may reject the application rather than put the borrower into mortgage stress.

It’s not just the size of your income either, but the stability. Borrowers who can show they’ve been consistently receiving a salary from their employer for at least two years may be more likely to have their home loans approved. Contractors, casuals, and others with less stable incomes may have a more difficult time, and may need to apply for a low doc loan or go through a specialty lender.

No demonstrated savings

Borrowers who struggle to save the 20% deposit required by many lenders may turn to other sources for the money, such as selling major assets, or accepting generous gifts from relatives and friends. However, simply having a deposit available isn’t always enough for some lenders, who would prefer you demonstrate your financial responsibility by proving you’ve saved this money.

Using a savings account to grow a percentage of your deposit wealth over time can be helpful. Even if you’re gifted with your deposit funds, leaving this money to sit in your savings account for a few months can sometimes help show that you’re responsible enough to save your money, rather than spend it.

Too many debts

If you already owe a significant sum of money to creditors, other lenders may be less willing to risk lending you more money, as they may be concerned that you won’t be able to pay them back.

Consider repaying outstanding personal loans, car loans and credit cards before applying for a home loan. If you have multiple credit cards or lines of credit, it can sometimes be worth cancelling what you don’t need and/or use, as some lenders will assess your ability to repay a home loan under the assumption that you’ll have maxed out your credit cards.  

Too many applications

Each time you apply for any type of credit, from home loans to car loans to credit cards, a record will be kept on your credit history, whether it is approved or not. Making too many loan applications over a short period of time can raise red flags for some lenders, especially if these applications were rejected, as this could indicate a risky borrower.

Rather than sending off applications for every home loan you’re interested in, consider sending just one application to the lender you’re the most confident of being approved by. If it turns out you are rejected, find out why, and take some time to get your finances in order before making your next application.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this article?

Advertisement

RateCity

The money talks which you don't need to avoid any more

Subscribe to our newsletter so we can send you awesome offers and discounts

Advertisement

Learn more about home loans

How can I get a home loan with bad credit?

If you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to convince a lender that your problems are behind you and that you will, indeed, be able to repay a mortgage.

One step you might want to take is to visit a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit home loans (also known as ‘non-conforming home loans’ or ‘sub-prime home loans’). An experienced broker will know which lenders to approach, and how to plead your case with each of them.

Two points to bear in mind are:

  • Many home loan lenders don’t provide bad credit mortgages
  • Each lender has its own policies, and therefore favours different things

If you’d prefer to directly approach the lender yourself, you’re more likely to find success with smaller non-bank lenders that specialise in bad credit home loans (as opposed to bigger banks that prefer ‘vanilla’ mortgages). That’s because these smaller lenders are more likely to treat you as a unique individual rather than judge you according to a one-size-fits-all policy.

Lenders try to minimise their risk, so if you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to do everything you can to convince lenders that you’re safer than your credit history might suggest. If possible, provide paperwork that shows:

  • You have a secure job
  • You have a steady income
  • You’ve been reducing your debts
  • You’ve been increasing your savings

I can't pick a loan. Should I apply to multiple lenders?

Applying for home loans with multiple lenders at once can affect your credit history, as multiple loan applications in short succession can make you look like a risky borrower. Comparing home loans from different lenders, assessing their features and benefits, and making one application to a preferred lender may help to improve your chances of success

What is a bad credit home loan?

A bad credit home loan is a mortgage for people with a low credit score. Lenders regard bad credit borrowers as riskier than ‘vanilla’ borrowers, so they tend to charge higher interest rates for bad credit home loans.

If you want a bad credit home loan, you’re more likely to get approved by a small non-bank lender than by a big four bank or another mainstream lender.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out. 

Are bad credit home loans dangerous?

Bad credit home loans can be dangerous if the borrower signs up for a loan they’ll struggle to repay. This might occur if the borrower takes out a mortgage at the limit of their financial capacity, especially if they have some combination of a low income, an insecure job and poor savings habits.

Bad credit home loans can also be dangerous if the borrower buys a home in a stagnant or falling market – because if the home has to be sold, they might be left with ‘negative equity’ (where the home is worth less than the mortgage).

That said, bad credit home loans can work out well if the borrower is able to repay the mortgage – for example, if they borrow conservatively, have a decent income, a secure job and good savings habits. Another good sign is if the borrower buys a property in a market that is likely to rise over the long term.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

How much money can I borrow for a home loan?

Tip: You can use RateCity how much can I borrow calculator to get a quick answer.

How much money you can borrow for a home loan will depend on a number of factors including your employment status, your income (and your partner’s income if you are taking out a joint loan), the size of your deposit, your living expenses and any other debt you might hold, including credit cards. 

A good place to start is to work out how much you can afford to make in monthly repayments, factoring in a buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent to allow for interest rate rises along the way. You’ll also need to factor in additional costs that come with purchasing a property such as stamp duty, legal fees, building inspections, strata or council fees.

If you are planning on renting the property, you can factor in the expected rental income to help offset the mortgage, but again it’s prudent to add a significant buffer to allow for rental management fees, maintenance costs and short periods of no rental income when tenants move out. It’s also wise to factor in changes in personal circumstances – the typical home loan lasts for around 30 years and a lot can happen between now and then.

What is a debt service ratio?

A method of gauging a borrower’s home loan serviceability (ability to afford home loan repayments), the debt service ratio (DSR) is the fraction of an applicant’s income that will need to go towards paying back a loan. The DSR is typically expressed as a percentage, and lenders may decline loans to borrowers with too high a DSR (often over 30 per cent).

How do I refinance my home loan?

Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.

Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.

How do I know if I have to pay LMI?

Each lender has its own policies, but as a general rule you will have to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) if your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) exceeds 80 per cent. This applies whether you’re taking out a new home loan or you’re refinancing.

If you’re looking to buy a property, you can use this LMI calculator to work out how much you’re likely to be charged in LMI.

What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?

If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.

When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.

There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.

What happens when you default on your mortgage?

A mortgage default occurs when you are 90 days or more behind on your mortgage repayments. Late repayments will often incur a late fee on top of the amount owed which will continue to gather interest along with the remaining principal amount.

If you do default on a mortgage repayment you should try and catch up in next month’s payment. If this isn’t possible, and missing payments is going to become a regular issue, you need to contact your lender as soon as possible to organise an alternative payment schedule and discuss further options.

You may also want to talk to a financial counsellor. 

How personalised is my rating?

Real Time Ratings produces instant scores for loan products and updates them based what you tell us about what you’re looking for in a loan. In that sense, we believe the ratings are as close as you get to personalised; the more you tell us, the more we customise to ratings to your needs. Some borrowers value flexibility, while others want the lowest cost loan. Your preferences will be reflected in the rating. 

We also take a shorter term, more realistic view of how long borrowers hold onto their loan, which gives you a better idea about the true borrowing costs. We take your loan details and calculate how much each of the relevent loans would cost you on average each month over the next five years. We assess the overall flexibility of each loan and give you an easy indication of which ones are likely to adjust to your needs over time. 

How often is your data updated?

We work closely with lenders to get updates as quick as possible, with updates made the same day wherever possible.