Before you start looking for your perfect home, find out if you qualify for the necessary funds with a home loan pre-approval.
Getting pre-approval for a home loan is one of the first big steps to owning your very own home. Pre-approval can give you far more bidding power and confidence when making an offer. As all banks and lenders have their own specific eligibility requirements for pre-approval, an easy-to-use calculator for these purposes currently doesn’t exist.
It is possible, however, to determine your overall chances for a home loan by using the widely available information and by measuring it against your own circumstances. This can help you to make an educated guess about your chances for pre-approval and some other conditions of your loan. One calculator you might find useful is a borrowing power calculator. This will give you an estimate of the amount you could borrow given your income and other information and give you an idea about whether or not you’d be able to get pre-approval for a loan.
Why is it important to determine your home loan eligibility?
Before you apply for a home loan, it’s a good idea to be already confident that you will be approved. Having multiple home loan applications on your credit file within the same time period can reflect poorly on you and make it more difficult for you to be approved in the future.
In any case, pre-approval will also give you the confidence to make an offer on a property knowing that your financial situation has been reviewed and an independent party thinks you can afford this home, too. If you don’t qualify for pre-approval, take it as an opportunity to review your borrowing amount or other conditions which may have affected your application.
What home loan can you afford?
While it might not come as a surprise that the cost of buying property is well up there with the most expensive things a person will do during their lifetime, the extra costs that pop up at purchase time can be surprising. Government taxes and bank fees can hit hard and make the initial upfront cash you need to provide grow into a much bigger amount.
One of the first things most people decide about their home loan is whether to go with a fixed or variable interest rate. A variable interest rate home loan can let you take advantage of favourable market conditions as variable interest rates will fluctuate with the rates the Reserve Bank sets. However, if the interest rates go up you can expect you pay more per month.
With a fixed rate loan, you will always know exactly how much your monthly repayments will be, which can make it easier to plan your budget.
You need to consider the rates as well as the other features of a home loan to determine whether the product will be suitable for your borrowing needs.
Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI) may be applicable if you cannot provide a certain percentage of the total cost of your home upfront (usually about 20%). The cost of this insurance can run into the thousands and should not be forgotten. One way to avoid it might be to ask a family member to act as guarantor. Some lenders also allow you to incorporate LMI into your home loan, although this will increase your repayments and interest as it is considered part of your principal.
Stamp duty is another upfront fee you’ll have to pay. The amount you pay increases with the price of the property you are buying and varying from state to state.
Once you have counted in all of the extra fees and charges and the deposit, calculate the cost of your monthly repayments. It will be this amount that will determine your ongoing ability to keep up with your home loan.
Your ability to afford a home loan and be approved for one is very much indicated by your pre-approval status. Calculate your total household income and all of your expenses and shop around to find a home loan that suits you.