As the name suggests, a no-doc home loan is a home loan that requires no proof of income documentation. When you apply for a standard home loan, you’ll usually need to provide proof of income and employment and may also have to include tax returns and payslips with your application. With a no-doc home loan, you may not need to provide any of these documents to apply for a home loan.
While this sounds like an incredibly fast and convenient way to apply for a loan, it’s not the case. Given the high risk these loans carry, no-doc home loans are rare in Australia and are generally not offered by many banks or credit unions. In Australia, no-doc home loans aren’t common, and low-doc home loans are usually offered as an option for self-employed borrowers who don’t have traditional proof of income.
What is a no-doc home loan?
Regular home loans usually require the borrower to provide full documentation proving their income, employment and ability to pay the loan back. No-doc loans don’t require the borrower to provide as much financial documentation when applying for a home loan.
For self-employed borrowers who don’t have access to regular PAYG payslips, applying for a home loan can be a challenge. This may also be the case for freelancers, investors, contractors or those who have recently started a small business and have access to very limited financial documentation.
While most financial institutions don’t provide home loans to customers with no financial documentation, there are some lenders that do offer no-doc home loans. Each lender will have their own conditions, but no-doc borrowers will usually need to provide an ABN showing proof that they own a registered business.
Where low-doc home loans usually require the borrower to provide tax returns, BAS statements and an accountant’s letter, no-doc home loans don’t require any of this documentation. In lieu of financial documents, when you apply for a no-doc home loan, you still have to sign a statement of your assets and liabilities or a declaration that confirms you can afford to service the loan.
As no-doc home loans pose a greater risk, some lenders may impose additional conditions onto the loan and insist that the loan is secured by a commercial property and be in the name of a company or trust with an ABN.
Depending on the type of no-doc loan you apply for, you may only be able to use the funds to purchase an investment property, and the lender may impose restrictions on the type of property you can use the loan for.
As there is no documentation or proof of income to back up the loan, the actual security is all the lender has to mitigate the risk. For this reason, no-doc loans aren’t widely available, and lenders that do offer no-doc home loans tend to have much tighter conditions.
Given the lack of financial documentation, no-doc home loans carry a greater risk to the lender. To offset the risk, no-doc home loans usually have higher interest rates and fees and may also require a larger deposit.
Alternatives to no-doc home loans
None of the major Australian financial institutions offer no-doc home loans, although there may be some smaller private lenders in the market who do offer no-doc home loans. If you opt for a no-doc home loan from a smaller lender, always do your research to make sure you’re getting a good deal from a lender you can trust.
As low-doc home loans are more easily accessible and there are a wide range of lenders offering low-doc home loans, this may be a better option for borrowers with limited financial documentation.
Low-doc home loans are similar to no-doc home loans except they require people to provide some level of documentation before their home loan is approved. Like the no-doc home loan, customers who borrow money using this option will be considered higher-risk borrowers as they have limited proof of income.
As such, these loans generally charge higher interest rates and require larger deposits, much like no-doc loans. In some cases, a lender may also require that the loan is secured against an asset of the borrower’s for extra security. This may be a property that they already own or a vehicle that the bank would repossess if the mortgage repayments could not be made.
How to compare no-doc home loans
When choosing a home loan, there are several important factors to consider. The interest rate offered by the lender should be taken into consideration as a high-interest rate can add thousands of dollars to your loan that you wouldn’t otherwise have to pay. As no-doc home loans traditionally have high interest rates, it might take considerable research to find the best deal.
Aside from the interest rate, it’s important to look at the other fees and expenses associated with the no-doc home loan you’re considering. An easy way of doing this is to look at the comparison rate of the home loan, as this will give you a better idea of the overall cost of the loan, inclusive of the interest rate and some fees.
No-doc loans tend to have stricter loan-to-value ratio (LVR) requirements, meaning that you’ll probably need to put down a larger deposit. Due to the risky nature of no-doc home loans, you won’t be able to borrow as much as you would with a low-doc or standard home. Take note of the different LVR options when comparing loans to ensure the no-doc home loan still suits your budget.
Another feature to compare is repayment frequency. If you’re self-employed or a freelance contract worker, you may want a no-doc home loan that lets you choose between making your repayments weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Before committing to a home loan, it’s also important to find out what features are offered by the lender. For example, some loans offer a redraw or offset facility that may help reduce the amount of interest you pay over time.
How do I apply for a no-doc home loan?
Each no-doc home loan lender will have its own lending criteria and application process. If you’re self-employed, in some cases you may need to provide an ABN to prove you own the business. You may also need to provide a letter from your accountant certifying you can afford to make the no-doc home loan repayments.
Before you decide on a no-doc home loan, consider your low-doc home loan options first. Low-doc home loans require less documentation than standard home loans and tend to have lower interest rates and fewer fees and conditions than no-doc home loans.
Regardless of whether you choose a low-doc home loan or a no-doc home loan, make sure you do your research and compare your options.
Applying for a home loan is a big decision, so before you choose a lender or a loan, make sure you’ve got the bigger picture. Take into the account the costs, fees and your personal situation over the life of the loan.