Will a limited credit history affect my home loan application?

Will a limited credit history affect my home loan application?

If you’re approaching a bank for a home loan, then odds are you’re asking for an amount of money that has six figures or more. It’s a significant sum, and before banks deposit it into your account, they want to know they’ll receive their investment back -- with interest too.

A credit history brings some method to this process by allowing them to evaluate the risks posed in both issuing a loan and how much money should be issued.

There’s some criteria banks will ask for from the get go. And it’s the kind of foundational stuff found in a credit history.

Show us the income you’ll use to make repayments

Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ all require payslips as part of their home loan applications. Nor are they alone in asking for some record you’re regularly earning money, as most financial institutions will require proof of an income.

If you hold a savings account with one of these banks -- and your income is deposited into it -- then you’re already on your way to building up your credit history. Otherwise, they’re going to request about two or three payslips to establish a pattern that your income is recurring.

A bank may ask if there’s any bills in your name too, such as an internet bill or a utility, as they can be used to establish your credit history, but not having any isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

I just turned 18. Or I’ve just come from overseas.

There’s a few reasons why you might not have a credit history. You may have just turned 18 -- the legal age to sign a contract in Australia -- or might be new to the country.

But they’re not the only reasons. Many credit histories are built on relatively small bills and utilities, such as an electricity or phone bill, and then grow as you sign up for bank accounts, credit cards and loans.

If you haven’t held any of these in the past, then it’s possible your credit history could be a blank slate, and this could make it harder for you to both secure credit and secure it on the cheap.

The credit you’re hoping to secure will take into account the scope of your credit history. The bar for a credit card with a modest balance is a lot easier to clear than that of a mortgage, for instance.

Why do you need to have a credit history?

We’d like to think our word is our bond, but in the finance world, that’s simply not enough. It’s for this reason we use credit histories to calculate credit scores.

A credit history documents all of your finances, your transactions and your defaults. This information is summarised into a credit score businesses can use to evaluate whether they’ll lend you money or provide a service.

What benefits are there in beefing up my credit history before securing a loan?

Businesses want customers who have a track record of reliably repaying their debt. It’s for this reason they’re more likely to offer customers with a better history more competitive deals that could save them money.

Depending on the credit reporting agency, your credit score will vary between zero and either 1000 or 1200, according to the government’s MoneySmart website. The score correlates to a five point rating system: excellent, very good, good, average and below average.

Lenders will use this scale to calculate the risk involved in lending you money, and price the credit they issue you accordingly.

What can I do to improve my chances of securing credit?

Banks, credit agencies and service providers may take inventory of your assets and liabilities before they decide they want to do business with you.

Take stock of what you own that’s of value, including your car, furniture and electronics. These assets demonstrate you can stash money away to make a decent purchase, and perhaps more importantly, that you have assets that potentially could be used as security if you default on the loan.

If you have any outstanding debts for services, like rental repayment or a phone bill, tend to them. It’s best to let some time pass before lodging any applications too to demonstrate you’ve found your financial footing again.

Do I need to have savings?

Yes, because in almost all cases, you’ll need a down payment to secure the mortgage. This is generally from 5 to 20 per cent of the property’s value.

And if you live in a state that charges stamp duty, you’ll likely need thousands of dollars in savings on top of your deposit.

Think of these as property goals. Saving a deposit and the cost of stamp duty are two good indicators that you can afford home ownership.

It’s likely the banks think of it this way, too.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Finance Writer Alison Cheung before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about home loans

What is a credit file?

A comprehensive summary of your credit history from an authorised credit reporting agency.

It includes your credit details, credit taken in the last five years, any default payments or credit infringements, arrears, repayment history, bankruptcy filings and a list of credit applications (including unapproved credit applications) in addition to your personal details.

When does Commonwealth Bank charge an early exit fee?

When you take out a fixed interest home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you’re able to lock the interest for a particular period. If the rates change during this period, your repayments remain unchanged. If you break the loan during the fixed interest period, you’ll have to pay the Commonwealth Bank home loan early exit fee and an administrative fee.

The Early Repayment Adjustment (ERA) and Administrative fees are applicable in the following instances:

  • If you switch your loan from fixed interest to variable rate
  • When you apply for a top-up home loan
  • If you repay over and above the annual threshold limit, which is $10,000 per year during the fixed interest period
  • When you prepay the entire outstanding loan balance before the end of the fixed interest duration.

The fee calculation depends on the interest rates, the amount you’ve repaid and the loan size. You can contact the lender to understand more about what you may have to pay. 

Cash or mortgage – which is more suitable to buy an investment property?

Deciding whether to buy an investment property with cash or a mortgage is a matter or personal choice and will often depend on your financial situation. Using cash may seem logical if you have the money in reserve and it can allow you to later use the equity in your home. However, there may be other factors to think about, such as whether there are other debts to pay down and whether it will tie up all of your spare cash. Again, it’s a personal choice and may be worth seeking personal advice.

A mortgage is a popular option for people who don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay for an investment property. Sometimes when you take out a mortgage you can offset your loan interest against the rental income you may earn. The rental income can also help to pay down the loan.

What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.

Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

When do mortgage payments start after settlement?

Generally speaking, your first mortgage payment falls due one month after the settlement date. However, this may vary based on your mortgage terms. You can check the exact date by contacting your lender.

Usually your settlement agent will meet the seller’s representatives to exchange documents at an agreed place and time. The balance purchase price is paid to the seller. The lender will register a mortgage against your title and give you the funds to purchase the new home.

Once the settlement process is complete, the lender allows you to draw down the loan. The loan amount is debited from your loan account. As soon as the settlement paperwork is sorted, you can collect the keys to your new home and work your way through the moving-in checklist.

Why do I need to enter my contact details?

We ask for your contact details so we can get in touch with you if you are eligible for a gift card from the Home Loan Rate Promise.

We may also use your information to keep you up to date on future RateCity initiatives and news, if you select this option. You can opt out at any time.

If, after checking how much you could save on a lower home loan rate, you choose to get more help from a home lender or mortgage broker, you can choose to let us pass your contact details directly on to this lender or broker so they can contact you.

Should I apply for a NAB home loan pre-approval?

Buying a new home is an exciting event in anybody’s life. Getting pre-approval means you know what you can afford so you don’t waste time looking at properties outside your budget. With a NAB Bank home loan pre-approval, you can look for your new home with confidence. The lender knows you’re serious about the purchase and also exhibits a willingness to lend you money.

Applying for a NAB home loan pre-approval is relatively straightforward. You might be asked to provide proof of employment and income, details of any savings as well as any on-going debts. NAB may also conduct a credit check on you to see if you’d be a risky borrower. If NAB offers you pre-approval after these checks, you’ll know how much money they’re willing to lend you. The NAB Bank home loan pre-approval is valid for 90 days from application, so don’t apply too early and be aware of this when looking for a property. If your pre-approval expires before you find a property you’ll need to reapply.

You can apply online for NAB home loan pre-approval, visit your nearest NAB branch, call on 13 79 79, or set up an appointment. If you choose to book an appointment, it can be done in person, via video, over a call or you can have a NAB Bank representative visit you.

 

 

 

How to apply for a home loan pre-approval from St. George?

By applying for a home loan pre-approval, you can establish how much you can afford to borrow and look for houses within that pre-approved budget. Getting home loan pre-approval from St. George is a fairly simple process that can be completed within 15 minutes. 

The first step in this process is completing a home loan application. Once that application is submitted, a home loan expert from St. George will contact you to understand your requirements and your current financial position. You could also directly contact a home loan expert at the bank by calling 13 33 30 or by visiting your nearest branch. 

Once the application has been processed, the home loan expert will ask for some basic documentation to confirm your borrowing capacity. After this, you should be issued a home loan pre-approval, subject to certain conditions. 

Based on your home loan pre-approval from St. George, you can then find a property and make an offer. Your home loan expert will arrange to have the property valued and may request for more documentation, taking your home loan application to the next step. 

 

 

Why should I get a Bankwest pre-approval home loan?

A Bankwest pre-approval home loan will give you a clear idea of how much you can afford to borrow, thus ensuring you restrict your search to houses within your budget. Not only will you save time, but you can also avoid a potential financial disaster if you happen to make an offer or a down-payment on a property and then realise you can’t afford it. A Bankwest pre-approval home loan can also tell the seller that you're serious about the purchase.

At the time of applying for a Bankwest pre-approval home loan, you will need to provide proof of ID, evidence of employment and regular income, details on your expenses, as well as any on-going debts. The lender might make enquiries about your credit rating too. Once you’re pre-approved, you will receive intimation on how much money Bankwest is willing to lend you.  

 

 

Can I salary sacrifice my home loan?

You can pay for your home loan straight from your pre-tax salary by salary sacrificing. Of course, this will depend on your employer’s policy. 

Salary sacrifice for home loans is offered exclusively for owner-occupied properties, so it cannot be used for investments.

Your employer may need to pay Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), but non-profit organisations are exempt from this tax up to a certain limit. Some organisations may charge you an administrative fee to set this up. 

Keep in mind not all lenders accept salary sacrifice payments on your mortgage. Some lenders, like NAB, accept salary sacrificing for home loans.

Salary sacrificing won’t work for everyone, but in certain circumstances there are benefits to paying your home loan from your pre-tax income. These include reduced tax liability and potentially paying off your home loan quicker.

Does Westpac offer loan maternity leave options?

Having a baby or planning for one can bring about a lot of changes in your life, including to the hip pocket. You may need to re-do the budget to make sure you can afford the upcoming expenses, especially if one partner is taking parental leave to look after the little one. 

Some families find it difficult to meet their home loan repayment obligations during this period. Flexible options, such as the Westpac home loan maternity leave offerings, have been put together to help reduce the pressure of repayments during parental leave.

Westpac offers a couple of choices, depending on your circumstances:

  • Parental Leave Mortgage Repayment Reduction: You could get your home loan repayments reduced for up to 12 months for home loans with a term longer than a year. 
  • Mortgage Repayment Pause: You can pause repayments while on maternity leave, provided you’ve made additional repayments earlier.

When applying for a home loan while pregnant, Westpac has said it will recognise paid maternity leave and back-to-work salaries. All you need is a letter from your employer verifying your return-to-work date and the nature of your employment. Your partner’s income, government entitlements, savings and investments will may help your application.

What are the benefits of getting a pre-approved home loan from Citibank?

While hunting for your dream home, getting a Citibank home loan pre-approval can have multiple benefits, which include:

  • You'll have an idea on your personal price range, which can save time to find your home.
  • With a pre-approved home loan, you may find yourself with more financial control to better decide how much you can spend.
  • A Citibank pre-approved home loan is a commitment  by a lender that signals you're ready to jump into the property market.

You can apply for pre-approval by providing basic details, such as name, email, and phone number on the bank’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the bank on 1300 361 922 or find a home lending officer on the website.

Is a home equity loan secured or unsecured?

Home equity is the difference between its current market price and the outstanding balance on the mortgage loan. The amount you can borrow against the equity in your property is known as a home equity loan.

A home equity loan is secured against your property. It means the lender can recoup your property if you default on the repayments. A secured home equity loan is available at a competitive rate of interest and may be repaid over the long-term. Although a home equity loan is secured, lenders will assess your income, expenses, and other liabilities before approving your application. You’ll also want  a good credit score to qualify for a home equity loan.