39 essential questions about bad credit home loans answered

Paid or unpaid defaults? Discharged bankrupt? Learn what you need to do to get a home loan.


Due to uncontrollable life events, such as suddenly losing your job, going through a separation or divorce or experiencing a sudden illness, you may have ended up with some bad marks on your credit. However, having bad credit may not preclude you from getting a home loan and owning your own home or investment property.

Thankfully, there are a range of specialist lenders and brands in Australia who will accept borrowers with paid and unpaid defaults, discharged bankruptcy claims, mortgage arrears and a high number of credit enquiries on their credit files. The products offered by these lenders are known as non-conforming home loans and are very flexible with lending conditions, usually also being offered to self-employed borrowers.

Read through the guide below to find out about bad credit and how it can affect your home loan chances.

How to get your bad credit home loan application considered by a lender

Are you struggling to get a home loan with bad credit? Compare the lenders, brands and brokers below and apply for a bad credit home loan today.

Rates last updated August 20th, 2018
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
An online bad credit home loan for those who may have had some bad marks on their credit history.
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
Self-employed borrowers can enjoy interest only options and flexible repayments.
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
A home loan for credit impaired borrowers who have at least a 30% deposit.
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
A home loan which can be used for debt consolidation, purchasing and refinancing.

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Check out a wider range of Pepper Money products for credit impaired borrowers

1. What is bad credit?

Bad credit occurs when you get one or more negative listing on your credit file, or you have a low Equifax score. Depending on how many and the type of listing, it could decrease your chances of getting a loan with a typical lender dramatically. Below are some examples of what a bad credit file contains:

  • Unpaid bills - One of the main ways that people will get a bad credit history will be because they have unpaid bills. Make sure you keep your payments up to date and on time and try to pay them back as soon as possible.
  • Late payments - While late repayments will affect your credit history, they will not have as much as an effect as unpaid bills.
  • Previous credit rejections - If you have recently been declined a home loan, credit card or personal loan then you may get a bad credit rating from this. Many lenders see rejections as a negative thing, as it could show you're careless about your credit file.
  • Applying too often - Tying in with the point above, it is a general rule of thumb that you should only make an enquiry for credit once every six months. Any more than this could raise a red flag to lenders, as it could show that you're struggling financially and require credit.
  • Bankruptcy - If you have declared bankrupt then you will have a bad credit rating that will stay on your credit file from five to seven years. Even if you've been discharged, your name stays on a Solvency Index. Lenders can access this Index at anytime.

2. Which non-conforming lenders offer bad credit mortgage options?

There are several non-conforming lenders within Australia that will happily consider a home loan application from someone with bad credit. These include:

We can also help you compare other bad credit financial products

3. Am I eligible for a bad credit home loan?

All is not lost as there are credit impaired home loans are available for purchases if you can meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are not currently bankrupt or in a Part 9 (IX) creditor agreement within the Bankruptcy Act. You can apply for a home loan with Pepper one day after being discharged. You'll need to wait two years for other lenders.
  • You can put together a minimum deposit of at least 10% (or have enough equity in the property you want to refinance). Non-conforming home loans will usually lend out a maximum of 80% - 90% of the property value but any First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) you may be eligible to receive can be included as part of your deposit.
  • You will be required to find money to pay any stamp duty and other costs outside of the loan allocation funds.
  • You will need to prove you have a sufficient, ongoing income to service the loan repayments. Usually people rely on just pensions or those who are unemployed can not obtain a non-conforming home loan.
  • Any outstanding debts, whether in default or otherwise must usually be declared and fully consolidated into your new mortgage and be fully paid out on settlement. Even taking into account of the consolidation of all outstanding debts your new home loan can still not exceed the LVR as set out by the lender.

4. Can I qualify for a bad credit loan if I'm a first home buyer?

You can still apply for a bad credit home loan if this is the first home loan you're applying for and you have the deposit ready. The same tips and information on this page applies to first home buyers, as applying for your first home loan as opposed to your second or third makes no difference to your eligibility all things being equal.

Keep in mind that if you're applying for your first home loan you should still be careful of your income and your deposit size. This is because unlike a buyer with a proven track record of paying off a home loan, you might not have an extensive credit history your lender can look for, so the other aspects of your application will come under more scrutiny.Here's how to navigate your way into the home loan space so you know which direction to take.

5. How do I get a home loan with bad credit?

One of the main factors that will determine whether you will be accepted will be your income and the nature of your bad credit. Typically, if your bad credit was triggered by a life event then lenders tend to be more understanding. However, if you were aware of your bad credit but continually and knowingly made it worse, then lenders may be more sceptical. Regardless, researching about your options, attempting to fix up your credit and choosing a specialist lender to go with should help you get back on track. Research what options you have:

  • Opt for a specialist lender - There are number of lenders who specialise in dealing with borrowers who have bad credit. These lenders will normally have a criteria in place, such as a deposit of at least 10%, not currently in mortgage arrears and not currently bankrupt.
  • Speak to a mortgage broker - A mortgage broker could have access to a few bad credit home loans in their database, so it's worth calling up and asking what your options are.

Develop a plan to get your credit file back on track:

  • Saving up for a deposit - Getting back on track is the first step to saving up a significant deposit. This could include finding employment and gradually saving up the amount you need.
  • Credit repair - While bigger impairments such as bankruptcy are hard to repair, the smaller impairments such a late repayments, inquiries and defaults can be paid back and removed from your file.

6. What tips are there for applying for a home loan with bad credit?

  • Get expert advice or financial counselling - If you can afford the services of a financial planner, it might be a good idea to talk about the best strategy in repairing your credit. Alternatively, the Australian Government provides a free financial counselling hotline to offer general advice.

Free Financial Counselling

If you would like free financial counselling you can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007. It is open from 9:30am-4pm, Monday to Friday
  • Have a budget to show a savings history and get rid of existing debts - When you have a budget you can show your lender exactly where your money is going and how much is being saved. You will be able to see whether there really is room in your budget for a mortgage repayment each month and you will have a plan to manage your home loan and other expenses. Also consider reducing or paying down any credit cards if you have any.
  • See where you currently stand - Obtain a copy of your credit report to find out exactly what you're dealing with. You can get a full copy of your credit report, provided by Experian, for free from finder. Having a copy of your credit report before you meet with a bank or mortgage broker to apply for a home loan can also help you uncover whether there have been any mistakes on your credit report which have led to you having bad credit. These can be listings such as a bill being declared overdue when you have actually paid it, or someone fraudulently using your credit card details. In these cases bad credit can often be fixed.
  • Be honest if you have bad credit - If you are honest about the fact that you have a less than perfect credit history, your mortgage broker or lender can more easily find a way around the issue, rather than finding out too late that there is a better type of loan could be applying for to ensure success.
  • Provide accurate information in your application - Your lender will ask you about your income, your expenses, your assets and your liabilities so make a list using your budget to provide accurate figures for each aspect of your finances.

7. Are there any home loan features I should avoid if I have bad credit?

Applying for a home loan if you have bad credit is about more than just applying and hoping you are accepted. You also need to make sure that your home loan will help you manage your finances responsibly in the future, and not be tempted into making your bad credit history even worse. If you have a bad credit history consider avoiding features which may tempt you into spending more than you can afford, such as:

  • Line of credit. A line of credit allows you to access the equity in your home up to a value decided on by your lender. Often you don't need to make repayments until you have reached the limit of your line of credit, and while a line of credit has a lower interest rate than most credit cards or personal loans, it requires significant discipline to not spend more than you can afford to repay.
  • Redraw facility. Making additional repayments to your home loan is one of the most financially responsible things you can do, so make sure you look for a home loan which allows you to make additional repayments without attracting a fee. At the same time having a redraw facility on your loan can make it very easy to access those funds again, undoing all of your hard work.

8. What does my credit history report contain?

Your credit report includes information pertaining to when you made the application, what type of credit you applied for, how much you requested, as well as other information regarding your repayments. For example, if you have ever filed for bankruptcy or have defaulted on a loan or had a court judgement against you, this information, including pertinent details, will be found in your credit history file.

You can get your full credit report and credit score for free from finder today.

9. Are there any risks with a bad credit lender?

Just because certain lenders specialise in loans for people with a poor credit history, it doesn't mean that obtaining such a loan is easy or that bad credit home loans offer guaranteed approval. Since these types of loans are riskier for lenders, they tend to be extremely stringent, demanding higher interest rates and fees to cover themselves in case the applicant defaults on the loan. The thought pattern behind this is that the applicant has a bad credit rating for a reason and even if they have changed their ways, there's no guarantee that he or she won't default on the loan at a later date.

Additionally, with the new credit reporting code introduced in 2013, as well as the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (2009) and reforms to the Privacy Act 1988, lenders have to be even more careful to ensure they don't end up on the wrong end of the stick. This is because the legislation obligates lenders to only recommend financial products to their customers that they can easily repay without suffering any financial difficulty in the process.

If the lender approves a customer for a loan and the person cannot make their repayments and subsequently demands an investigation, the lender can end up losing their money if the independent investigator finds the customer to be in the right. That is, that the lender recommended a loan deemed to be unsuitable for the borrower's circumstances.

10. What do lenders assess in terms of credit history?

When a lender conducts a credit history check, they look at a number of factors which are then used to determine whether the applicant poses too much of a risk for them to approve their loan.

  • Credit application frequency

    One thing all lenders analyse when assessing your credit rating is how often you apply for credit. The higher the number of applications registered in your credit history file and the more frequent they are, the less chance you will have of getting a loan. Of course, they will first ask you if there was a good reason for the frequency of the applications. Also, a lender could reject the application if there are a lot of credit applications on file but the borrower claims to have only a few debts. This is because the lender could simply believe that the applicant is being untruthful about their existing loans.

  • Type of credit applied for

    The type of loans you applied for will also be important to a lender analysing your credit history. For example, someone who has applied for a large number of credit cards may be declined immediately because it leads the lender to believe that such an applicant is too reliant on credit. On the other hand, someone who has a large number of applications for home loans is understandable because they could simply be looking to find the cheapest offer.

  • Defaults, bankruptcies and other red flags

    As with every lender, a non-conforming lender will look at all the red flags in your credit history. However, they will also demand an explanation regarding each entry and you will have to be thorough in the details you provide. If you try to hide something, you won’t improve your credit rating, you will simply make the lender more suspicious and this may lead to your application being declined on the grounds that you were not being transparent enough or fully honest about your circumstances.

Peter and Mary apply for a bad credit home loan

Couple with bad creditPeter and Mary had been paying their home off for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, Peter fell ill and had to take four months off work. For the first two months they were able to cover the home loan repayments on the amount in their redraw account and Mary's wage covering day to day expenses.

It was after this two months that the couple started to struggle, having already taken a repayment holiday, bills were piling up and the home loan repayment was deemed more important. Numerous letters from the lender sat on the kitchen table. Peter and Mary eventually fell into arrears on their current mortgage.

A few months later, Peter was able to go back to work again and their finances started getting back on track. They wanted to refinance their home loan to extend it to 25 years instead so they could get back on track with smaller repayments. Since they already had a black mark with their current lender, they refused their application to refinance.

Peter and Mary did a significant amount of research online and decided to apply for a refinance with Pepper home loan. They already had the deposit ready from the equity they had built in their property. Pepper were happy to see that Peter was back in employment and offered them a loan.

11. Can I get a home loan with paid defaults on my credit file?

You might still be able to get a home loan if you have paid defaults on your credit file. These will appear on your credit history and your success will depend on the lender's policy.

12. My partner or spouse has bad credit, does that affect me?

If you decide to apply as a joint application for your home loan, your lender will take into account your partner or spouse's bad credit history. While your good credit history may offset some of that, the banks will make an assessment based on the whole and will let you know of the outcome. If you're declined by a typical lender, then you may need to speak to a bad credit specialist lender.

13. I'm currently on the pension, am I eligible for a bad credit home loan?

While lenders tend to accept pension payments as a source of income, you tend to need another source of income to be able to service a home loan. This is because a home loan is such a big amount, that Centrelink payments alone, won't be able to make to make the repayments. Other income sources include employment and assets that generate cash flow.

14. Do you qualify for a bad credit home loan?

The answer to this question will depend on the loan you apply for. Some lenders will clearly state which loans cater to which types of bad credit. Generally speaking, there are loans offered to most types of bad credit applicants, with the worst cases receiving higher interest rates.

15. Are there different types of defaults?

Defaulting on a utility bill and defaulting on a home loan payment are different things. Missing your utility bill payment will be listed as an unpaid default on your credit rating. By comparison, being 'in default' on your home loan means you have unpaid arrears outstanding on your account that need to be paid.

If you are in default on your home loan, chances are the amounts you owe are much higher than just the missed payment amounts. This is because your lender is likely to charge you overdue fees or missed payment fees, along with default penalty interest rates on top of your regular interest charges.

16. What are some of the documents that I would need to provide?

Full documentation
  • PAYG - Typically last two pay slips with a letter confirming employment, latest group certificate, tax assessment notice of three months bank statements.
  • Self employed - Last two years of tax returns plus tax assessment notices.
Low or alternate documentation
  • ABN registered for 24 months though some lenders have a 12 month minimum
  • Declaration of financial position, including business bank statements, business activity statements and accountant's confirmation

17. Are there banks that overlook defaults on bad credit?

Yes, there are a number of non-conforming lenders within Australia that may accept bad credit histories. Aside from this, many of the big banks may overlook a small default if your application is particularly strong.

Your credit file

If you do have defaults listed on your credit report, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of being approved for a home loan. Here are some simple steps to take:

  • Write a letter for your default explaining how it occurred
  • Provide evidence to verify your explanation
  • Pay off any unpaid defaults and ask the credit provider to change your listing to a paid default instead of an unpaid default
  • Save as much money as you can. A larger deposit will go in your favour
  • Search for a lender that is more likely to approve your application, despite your defaults

18. Are there any advantages and considerations of a bad credit home loan I should know?

  • Get into the housing market sooner. One of the biggest advantages of obtaining a home loan through a bad credit lender is that you get to enter the housing market now instead of waiting until later. This gives you the ability to start proving to your lender that you are capable of keeping up with your financial obligations and making your payments on time.
  • Can refinance to a regular home loan later. If you can manage to improve the value of the property you bought or pay down your home loan balance enough, you also have the opportunity to refinance your bad credit home loan over to a mainstream lender. This could mean slightly lower interest rates after you've proven that your bad credit rating was a temporary downfall in your past that you've since amended.
  • Higher interest rate. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to a bad credit home loan is that the interest rate is often higher than what is available from the big banks. This is because non-conforming lenders adopt a 'rate for risk' policy. As their risk increases, so too does your interest rate.
  • Higher repayments. Due to the higher interest rate, this will also mean you could end up making higher repayments each month. If you are able to make your repayments on time, many non-conforming lenders may consider reducing your rate.

FAQs about bad credit home loans

Bad credit home loans

Your credit file

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24 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    DeeOctober 3, 2016

    I don’t have bad credit but I am on the aged pension. I want to borrow $130,000 which will get me into a retirement village. This $130,000 is basically rent in advance. Will the fact that I am 68 yrs old be held against me. I have money in a long term investment account but don’t want to use this as it is to be used for incidental expenses that arise. Would a mortgage broker be of any help, as I imagine the banks won’t.

    • finder Customer Care
      JenniferOctober 24, 2016Staff

      Hi Dee,

      Thank you for contacting finder.com.au we are a financial comparison website and general information service and therefore can only offer general advice and information.

      I understand your situation and it is true that people who rely on pension are less likely to get a non-conforming home loan. You may check our page here about home loans for pensiors https://www.finder.com.au/home-loans-for-pensioners. Alternatively there are specific loans that are suited to your needs in regards to getting the funds for mocing into a retirement village called reverse mortgage’s https://www.finder.com.au/reverse-mortgages you may like to look into. You may talk to a broker to assess and help you on your home loan needs. Here is the link https://www.finder.com.au/mortgage-brokers.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    EmmaSeptember 28, 2016

    We have been living in Australia for 4yrs. We have excellent credit score here. However, I have a NAP in NZ which I entered into just over a year ago and was discharged from a few weeks ago.
    I have been given varying information regarding the status of the NAP in Australia; some say it is considered to be a part ix other say it’s not.
    We would like to buy a home next year ….. is my NZ credit history relevant here ? I know of a few people who have bought homes here with bad credit overseas.

    • finder Customer Care
      MaySeptember 29, 2016Staff

      Hi Emma,

      Thank you for your question.

      Different countries have an independent credit file and reporting so, your credit file report in Australia is not influenced by your credit history in NZ. Furthermore, credit histories don’t transfer between countries. Please feel free to visit this page to find invaluable information on credit file FAQs.

      Now, if you’re planning on buying a property in Australia, lenders would generally assess your income, assets, liabilities, debts and credit rating. The credit history you created in Australia will be reviewed by the lender – the better rating you get, the more you have chances of getting approved, considering as well of all the other financial circumstances you have.


  3. Default Gravatar
    MandyDecember 22, 2015

    hi im in section 9 debt agreementim looking at purchasing a block of land.I have a deposit which is half the value of land .Would this put me in a better position to borrow other half money to purchase the land

    • Default Gravatar
      JodieDecember 23, 2015

      Hi Mandy,

      Thank you for contacting finder.com.au a financial comparison website and general information service.

      Each lender has differing criteria that they allow when they lend funds it would be best to contact one of the lenders on this page or a mortgage broker to discuss your circumstances and they can offer you advice on which lender and loan will work for your needs.


  4. Default Gravatar
    SusanAugust 26, 2015

    I owe $195,000 on my home.
    The last valuation in 2014 was for $385,000.
    I defaulted on my payments, due to a down turn in my business. I am a sole trader in real estate and am subject to market forces in a rural area.
    The home loan lender took out a judgement against me in July/August last year.
    I paid all arrears owed in August last year and have kept all payments up to date ever since. I do not have any arrears.
    I do have a bad credit rating.
    I want to look at the realistic possibility of refinancing my home, given the equity.
    However, I do not want to waste time if, given there is both a judgement on my home and a bad credit rating, there is no possiblity of refinancing the present loan.

    • finder Customer Care
      BelindaAugust 27, 2015Staff

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      There are still options available for individuals looking to refinance that have a poor credit rating, however you must realise that each lender will treat this on a case-by-case basis and they’ll each have their own eligibility criteria.

      You might be interested to read our review about refinancing your mortgage with bad credit on this page, and can fill out the form to speak with a specialist lender.

      In addition, you can learn about the costs of refinancing your home loan here. Please keep in mind that you’ll likely need to pay any exit or early discharge fees with your existing lender and you may also incur application and start-up fees with your new lender.

      It’s important that you weigh up these costs to consider whether refinancing is the best option for you.


  5. Default Gravatar
    IdaAugust 8, 2015

    I have a property investment – loan with a bank, I have asked for hardship help, which the bank has approved, do not have to pay for 3 months. I have asked them to refinance the loan for 10 years, it would lower the repayments 50%, they didn’t accept, before I am behind with the payments. I try to explain it would be better and I would be able to stick to the regular monthly repayment. The could not see that!! My question is can I refinance the loan with some other lender? I only need to borrow 20% from the value of my investment property, which I am renting out. Which lenders should I approach? If you could help, thank you

    • finder Customer Care
      BelindaAugust 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Ida,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      It may be possible for you to refinance with another lender and you can read about refinancing your mortgage on this page and also compare a range of lenders that offer home loans that may be suited for refinancers.

      If you’re thinking of switching to another lender, ensure that you take into account any break or early termination fees that may be charged by your existing lender.

      In addition, you can estimate the cost of refinancing on this page and this page.


    • Default Gravatar
      August 10, 2015

      Hi Belinda
      Thanks for your reply. I have one more question. I would like to try the lease doc loan. Is it safe? Also at the moment I have commercial lease agreement, but it is not registered. Do I have to register the lease and how can I do it?

    • finder Customer Care
      BelindaAugust 11, 2015Staff

      Hi again Ida,

      I’ve sent you an email regarding this enquiry.


  6. Default Gravatar
    ScottJuly 13, 2015

    Hi I have about 30 grand in debt . have applied for loans to consolidate my debt. I earn good money a week . can someone help me with a house.

    • Default Gravatar
      JodieJuly 14, 2015

      Hi Scott,

      Thank you for your comment on finder.com.au, a financial comparison website.

      I’d recommend contacting a home loan lender or mortgage broker which specialises in credit-impaired borrowers. These include lenders such as Pepper Home Loans, Liberty Home Loans, Bluesky, and more. There are links to their pages or enquire forms in the above table on this page that allows you to contact them.

      You can also try to contact regular lenders and explain your credit situation to them before making an application. This way you can explain how you ended up with a negative credit history, and the steps you’ve taken to remedy this.


  7. Default Gravatar
    michelleFebruary 10, 2015


    When looking to use non-conforming lenders to get a debt consolidation mortgage, is it best to contact the banking institution directly or use a broker?

    The brokers I have approached tend to stick to the major banks only.


    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyFebruary 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your question.

      You may want to try the smaller mortgage brokers in our panel such as Choice home loans and 1300 home loans, to see if they have any agreements with specialist lenders.

      If they still stick with the major banks, then you may want to consider approaching the non-confirming lenders in person.

      I hope this helps,

  8. Default Gravatar
    KatJanuary 2, 2015

    So I have 10 grand and bad credit! But I want to go for a first home loan what’s the best thing to do?

    • finder Customer Care
      MarcJanuary 5, 2015Staff

      Hi Kat,
      thanks for the question.

      I’d recommend contacting a home loan lender or mortgage broker which specialises in credit impaired borrowers. These include lenders such as Pepper Home Loans, Liberty Home Loans, Bluesky, and more. You can also try to contact regular lenders and explain your credit situation to them before making an application. This way you can explain how you ended up with a negative credit history, and the steps you’ve taken to remedy this.

      I hope this helps,

  9. Default Gravatar
    PETERJuly 24, 2014

    could someone be able to call me back to discus the kind of loan that im trying to get
    I have a house to sell only we are going to have be a little sort on the place that we have bought only that is in a retirement village with a 99 year less


    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJuly 25, 2014Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately finder.com.au is an online comparison service, we don’t offer personal advice regarding home loans.

      Please speak to a mortgage broker, they are home loan experts who can help you find the best loan for your situation.


  10. Default Gravatar
    GauravJuly 21, 2014

    Hi can i get home loan with one paid default of $512 ? and i have more then 10% deposite so am i eligible for home loan for around $410000 can u reply me i m looking forward from you thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJuly 22, 2014Staff

      Hi Gaurav,

      Thanks for your question.

      Lenders will look at your overall credit history in your application, rather than just one default. You can order a copy of your credit file here.

      Generally, a good credit standing is favourable to all lenders. Keep in mind that they will look at other factors too such as your income and personal situation.

      You may want to speak to a mortgage broker, as they are home loan experts who can help you find the best loan for you.


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