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Can you get pre-approved for a home loan online?

Can you get pre-approved for a home loan online?

The process of getting pre-approval can be an exciting, yet time consuming affair. Gathering all the relevant documents can be a pain, but without pre-approval you will not know your borrowing power and may not be able to make a confident offer on a property.

Would-be borrowers may be hoping to streamline the process by avoiding going into a branch to apply for a mortgage. This is where online mortgage applications come in, allowing eligible borrowers to gain pre-approval for a home loan online.

As long as you are meeting the eligibility criteria set by a home loan lender, you should be able to apply for pre-approval via the lender’s website.

Barriers to getting pre-approval for a home loan online

While applying for a home loan online may be a relatively straight-forward process, there are times at which the application may not go through. Some common reasons you may be declined for pre-approval for a home loan online typically relate to issues with your documentation, issues with the property or no longer meeting the eligibility criteria

Reasons for online pre-approval rejection may include:

  • The lender is unable to verify your identification documents or your credentials.
  • The lender may value the property and determine it does not meet its loan-to-value ratio (LVR) requirements.
  • The lender may value the property and determine it is not an acceptable type.
  • Your financial circumstances change (job loss, hours reduced etc.)

Before you apply for a home loan online, double check that your documents are up-to-date and in a readable format accepted by the lender. If there are any inaccuracies on your application, such as your length of employment or number of assets, it may result in rejection. 

It’s also essential that you review the lender’s eligibility criteria before you apply. Not only can this help improve your chances of approval, but it reduces the risk of the lender rejecting your application, which may hurt your credit score.

Benefits of online mortgage pre-approval

One of the main benefits of gaining mortgage pre-approval online as opposed to visiting a branch is the speed at which your application is assessed.

Online application processes can scan your documents and read your application immediately. This means that some home loan lenders can advertise online pre-approval in 15 minutes.

  • Keep in mind that pre-approval and unconditional approval are separate, and the latter can take several business days following a property valuation. 

And while the process of getting online pre-approval for your home loan may only take 15 minutes, providing you have your documents ready to go, the actual length of pre-approval does not last very long.

Most lenders offer home loan pre-approval for 2-3 months. It is not indefinite, and this is for everyone’s benefit as your personal financial circumstances may change in this time (for good or bad), as well as the home loan market itself.

You may find that your first pre-approval expires but due to a recent job promotion, for example, you’re now eligible to be approved for a larger loan amount. Or the home loan market may have shifted, and interest rates may have decreased.

If the process of applying for a home loan – whether in branch or online – is feeling all-consuming, then it may be worth getting some assistance. RateCity may be able to help you find a qualified broker in your area to offer a helping hand with your application today.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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