Benefits of home loans for lawyers

Applying for a specialist lawyer mortgage could allow you to enjoy one or more

No Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Other special offers may be available to barristers, lawyers, and solicitors applying for home loans.

A lower deposit/ higher Loan to Value Ratio (LVR)

Special offers may be available to legal professionals applying for home loans.

Lower interest rates & discounted fees

Other special offers may be available to barristers, solicitors, and lawyers applying for home loans.

Many lenders offer special deals and discounts to professionals like doctors that are considered low-risk borrowers. Other well-paid professionals, like lawyers and solicitors, can also access these offers. One of these special offers includes being able to borrow with just a 10 per cent deposit. 

If you work in the field of law, it’s worth checking your eligibility for a professional discount with various lenders. You may be able to access the following benefits when you apply for a home loan as a lawyer:

  • Waived Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) for a loan size up to 90 per cent of the property value
  • Discounted interest rates and fees 
  • Flexible lending criteria
  • Increased borrowing capacity with a maximum loan size of $2.7 million rather than the typical $2 million

Perhaps the most significant advantage of home loans for lawyers is the LMI waiver, which can save you thousands while also moving forward your entry into the property market.

Saving up for the big deposit

The latest research indicates that even Australians with healthy savings often don’t have enough to put together a 20 per cent deposit for their dream home. In 2017, the ABC indicated that an average buyer needs to save for a little over six years to build up an adequate deposit for a median-priced house in Sydney. Or they would have to pay LMI if they wish to buy a home sooner. 

Many lenders will offer you a loan with just a 10 per cent deposit without the expectation of LMI if you’re a law professional. This waiver of LMI will save you considerable money in upfront costs and rent paid whilst building a larger deposit. The money saved can go towards paying off your dream home sooner. Besides an LMI waiver, you may also be eligible for interest rate discounts to bring down the total cost of the loan further. 

Some lenders tend to be more flexible with their lending criteria for legal professionals. You can access an LMI waiver and interest rate discounts for both owner-occupied and investment property purchases.

It’s also possible to take out a home loan in the name of a company or trust structure. Some lenders will even consider you for an LMI waiver if the home is owned jointly by you and your spouse. You can always connect with a mortgage broker to check your eligibility or seek assistance with your home loan application.

Lawyers, barristers and solicitors all qualify for discounted rates on their home loans. With everything else in order, they can borrow up to 90 per cent of the property price without paying any LMI. Other law professionals applications are considered on a case-to-case basis. They would need to meet all the other criteria for home loans for lawyers, including the minimum income requirement in their state or territory.

Depending on your lender and your state or territory of residence, the income requirements may vary. In general, most lenders will consider you for an LMI waiver on your home loan if you earn $150,000 or more per annum. Your income can also include rental income from your investment portfolio. This income won’t include your spouse’s income unless they’re also working in the legal industry and qualify for an LMI waiver with your lender.

How do I qualify for an LMI waiver as a lawyer applying for a home loan?

If you work in the legal industry, you may be eligible for special rates and discounts on your home loan. One such offer is an LMI waiver when borrowing up to 90 per cent of the property price. To qualify for an LMI waiver, you must meet all the regular conditions for home loan approval as well as the minimum income requirement explained below:

  • You must be earning a minimum of $120,000 per annum in WA, SA, NT and TAS and $150,000 per annum in NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD to qualify for an LMI waiver. However, some lenders will waive off the minimum income requirement if you have a clean credit history with no previous defaults on your file. 
  • If you don’t meet the minimum income requirement, some lenders will still consider you for an LMI waiver. Your total household income, including your spouse’s income, must exceed $150,000 per annum. You can speak with a mortgage broker for suggestions on lenders that are most likely to approve your application.

To qualify for an LMI waiver, most lenders also require you to be a member of an industry association, such as:

  • Law Council of Australia
  • Law Society of NSW
  • Law Society of South Australia
  • Queensland Law Society
  • The Australian Bar Association
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Australian Labour Law Association
  • Australian Corporate Lawyers Association
  • The Commercial Law Association of Australia
  • Australian Insurance Law Association

Lenders may accept other industry bodies on a case-to-case basis. You can provide any of the following documents to prove your industry association membership:

  • A receipt for the payment of annual membership for the respective association
  • A current valid membership card
  • A written statement from the listed association confirming your membership 
  • A practising certificate

You’ll also need to provide all the standard home loan documentation like identification details, proof of income and employment, expenses, etc., to qualify for a home loan.

How Linda saved thousands with the right home loan

Linda is a lawyer based in Sydney. She earns $160,00 per annum and plans to buy a house for $800,000. After saving scrupulously over the past couple of years, Linda has a 10 per cent deposit of $80,000 ready to fund her purchase. Because Linda doesn’t have a 20 per cent deposit, she will have to pay LMI or find a guarantor to get her home loan approved with her current deposit. By crunching the numbers using an online LMI calculator, Linda finds out that she’d be paying $17,000 or more as LMI on a loan term of up to 30 years if she doesn’t find a guarantor.

She decides to research her options and soon finds out that she meets the eligibility criteria for an LMI waiver as a lawyer applying for a home loan. With an annual income exceeding $150,000 and requisite association memberships in place, she can borrow up to 90 per cent of the property price without any LMI, saving her thousands. 

Like Linda, you may also be eligible for special discounts from lenders owing to your occupation and professional standing. Legal professionals are some of the better-paid professionals in the country. They generally enjoy a higher level of job security with regular pay increases. Lenders consider them low risk and are willing to lend them more as legal professionals, without any LMI, as long as they meet specific criteria. If you’re a legal professional, you can always talk to a mortgage broker to check your eligibility for an LMI waiver or find out about lenders that offer discounts to lawyers.

There are many lenders in Australia, including the big four, that provide specialist home loans for lawyers, barristers, and solicitors. You can start your search by comparing home loans online, talking to individual lenders, or even contacting a mortgage broker for assistance.

A quick checklist for lawyers looking for a mortgage

What are the benefits of home loans for lawyers?

Lawyers, barristers and solicitors can qualify for the following discounts on their home loan:

  • Waived LMI when borrowing up to 90 per cent of the property value
  • Higher exposure limit when building an investment property portfolio
  • Increased loan limit of $2.7 million against a single property
  • Flexible lending criteria and negotiable interest rate discounts
  • Ability to take out the loan in the name of a company or trust structure

Which banks offer discounted home loans to lawyers?

There are several lenders in Australia, including the Big 4, that offer home loans to lawyers. Specialist firms like Legal Home Loans also provide tailored financial solutions for law professionals such as investment and owner-occupied home loans as well as deals when refinancing.

Will I have access to any special benefits if I borrow less than 80 per cent?

You won’t be required to pay an LMI premium if you borrow less than 80 per cent of the property price. In such cases, you may be able to use your strong financial position to negotiate a lower interest rate and other discounts on your home loan. You can contact lenders directly or seek help from a mortgage broker to negotiate a competitive deal on your behalf.

Do lawyers also get special rates when refinancing?

It’s always good to revisit your home loan regularly to check how your interest rate stacks up against the market average. Suppose you meet the eligibility criteria for special home loans for lawyers.

In that case, you can refinance your home loan to a potentially lower rate or leverage your equity to undertake those pending renovations you’ve wanted to do. As a law professional, you can refinance up to 90 per cent of your property’s value and access an LMI waiver to use more of your equity.

Are judges and magistrates eligible for an LMI waiver?

In addition to lawyers, solicitors and barristers, judges and magistrates are also eligible for an LMI waiver with the same income requirements as laid down for other legal professionals. They must also provide evidence that their employment conditions prohibit them from holding a practising certificate.

Can lawyers working with the government apply for an LMI waiver?

Lawyers working for the federal or state government are eligible for the same benefits as private or self-employed lawyers. They are just required to meet the minimum income requirement of  $120,000 per annum in WA, SA, NT and TAS and $150,000 per annum in NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD as well as other eligibility criteria.

Do I need a mortgage broker when applying for a home loan as a lawyer?

There is no requirement for you to work with a mortgage broker when getting a home loan unless you want to. Yet, if you do decide to work with a mortgage broker, you’ll simplify your home loan journey to a great extent through expert assistance from start to finish.

At the beginning of your home loan search, you might notice that lenders often don’t advertise the benefits offered to various professionals. A mortgage broker works with multiple lenders and is aware of the ongoing offers and deals. This knowledge can help you understand what you may be eligible for based on your profession and the state of your finances.

Besides LMI waivers and interest rate discounts, some lenders offer several other inclusions in professional home loan packages for legal professionals. These additional inclusions can increase savings you can make over the life of your home loan. A broker will help you understand these extras better and negotiate with lenders on your behalf for competitive home deals that meet your specific requirements. A broker will also arrange to meet with you at a time and place that is convenient for you. Which will save you the time and hassle of worrying about contacting individual lenders during work hours. 

Ultimately, the decision to use a broker or apply for a home loan on your own, if you feel confident about the process, is up to you.  If you want to work with a broker, fill out our short form to find a verified mortgage broker near you.

Talk to a broker about home loans for legal professionals