Home loan application: process, documents and advice

Get all the documents you need and understand the home loan application process so you can get a mortgage when you need it.

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If you’re trying to get a home loan, you can speed up the process by having everything organised before you apply. Along with your application, you’ll need to make sure you have all your supporting documents in order.

This guide will help you put together your supporting documents and get your home loan approved as quickly as possible.

What is the home loan application process?

  1. Application. Compare, find the right mortgage and apply.
  2. Conditional approval. Your lender assesses your basic eligibility and give you a rough idea of how much they will lend you. This is subject to a property valuation.
  3. Verification and credit check. The lender checks that all the documents you've provided are correct.
  4. Valuation. A professional valuation of the property is required before your lender will approve the loan.
  5. Full approval. The lender approves your loan and you're ready to settle.
  6. Settlement. The contracts are signed, the mortgage fees are paid and the title is exchanged. Enjoy your new home.

Your home loan application needs to come with supporting documentation. Make sure you have the following:

  • Identification documents
  • Proof of income documents
  • Asset and liability documents
  • Extra documents (for guarantors, bad credit borrowers and other unique cases)

Let's look at these documents in more detail.

Identification documents

Any lender you go through will have identification requirements. This means you’ll have to provide 100 points of ID in the form of either two primary identification documents or one primary and one or more secondary identification documents. The tables below outline what documents are considered primary and secondary options, and how many points they are worth.

Primary documents

Birth certificate70 points
Name change certificate70 points
Current passport70 points
Expired passport that was not cancelled and was current within the preceding two years70 points
Citizenship certificates70 points
Diplomatic documents and official documents issued to refugees70 points

Secondary documents

Driver’s licence40 points
State or Territory issued photo ID card40 points
Photo ID issued by tertiary education institute40 points
Photo card issued by banking institution where you have been a customer for at least 12 months40 points
Public service ID card including your photo and signature40 points
Licence or permit issued by State, Territory or Commonwealth government, such as a boating licence40 points
Letter confirming your identity from referee you’ve known for at least 12 months40 points
Mortgage documents35 points
Council rates notice35 points
Credit card statement25 points
Foreign driver’s licence25 points
Medicare card25 points
Credit card (must have name and signature)25 points
Utility bill with name and current address25 points
EFTPOS card (must have name and signature)25 points

If you can’t produce 100 points of identification using the documents above, talk to your lender or mortgage broker as there might be other forms of documentation you can use. There are also some scenarios where you may not need to provide identification documents. For example, if you’re applying for a home loan from a lender with which you already have a transaction account, personal loan, savings account or other products, you will have already gone through the identification process and may not have to do it again.

Proof of income

You can prove your income in different ways depending on your employment circumstances. If you’re a PAYG employee, the process is relatively straightforward. If you’re a casual worker or are self-employed, however, you might need a different set of documents.

PAYG employees

As a PAYG employee, you’ll have to provide a recent payslip (in most cases no older than two months) stating your year-to-date (YTD) income. Some lenders might ask for multiple payslips, so check each individual lender’s requirements. If you can’t track down your recent payslips, most lenders will also accept the past three months’ worth of bank statements showing your salary going into your account. Some lenders will also accept an employment contract and letter from your employer stating your current base wage, or a tax return that’s prepared by a tax agent.

Casual workers

If you’re a casual worker, you’ll need to provide last financial year’s notice of assessment from the ATO.

Self-employed

Self-employed borrowers generally need to seek out low documentation, or low doc, loans. This term can be somewhat misleading, as the amount of documentation you need is not generally less than with traditional home loans. You just need to produce different documentation. Instead of PAYG statements, you can provide your lender with your most recent notice of assessment from the ATO. Lenders will also want to see tax agent prepared business and individual tax returns from the last financial year. Some lenders might also accept a letter from your accountant or a Business Activity Statement (BAS).

Multiple incomes

If you have multiple forms of income, you’ll have to provide documentation for each source. The type of documentation required will depend upon the type of income.

  • Rental income. This can either be current income or, if you’re buying an investment property, proposed rental income. If you want existing rental income to be considered on your loan application, you’ll need a current lease agreement, a current bank statement showing identifiable rent payments for the past three months. If you’re listing proposed rental income, you’ll need a statement from a property manager or real estate agent giving details about the property and its proposed rental income.
  • Shares. Shares can also be included as income in your loan application. You’ll need your shareholding statement, a letter from your financial planner, a recent bank statement showing direct credits from your investment, or your most recent tax return.
  • Centrelink income. Some Centrelink benefits can be considered as income on a loan application. For a full rundown of the benefits you might be able to list as income, check out our guide. To document Centrelink income, you’ll need a current Centrelink statement or a recent bank statement clearly showing direct credits from Centrelink into your account.

Assets and liabilities

A lender will not only want to see your income, but also your assets and liabilities in order to assess your full financial position. This will give them a better idea of whether or not you’re a credit risk. Put simply, assets are anything you own, while liabilities are anything you owe.

  • Assets

Assets could be other properties, vehicles, term deposits or high interest savings accounts. You’ll need to provide documentation, such as your vehicle registration or any relevant bank statements, for each asset you list on your application.

Details about your assets are important because lenders want to see that you have enough money for a deposit and have a history of genuine savings. You’ll also need to provide your potential lender with bank statements if your savings account is with a different financial institution. When it comes to a deposit, most banks require proof of six months’ worth of genuine savings, so it’s wise to bring along at least your last six bank statements.

  • Liabilities

Liabilities are any outstanding debts or ongoing payments for products such as personal loans, vehicle loans, credit cards or store cards. You’ll need to bring statements that show the current outstanding balance for each liability. For credit cards and store cards, you can provide your most recent statement. For loans, you should provide your last three statements.

Extra documents

Here are a few other documents you might want to provide depending on your situation.

  • If you’re an eligible first home buyer, it will help to have your First Home Owner Grant application completed. To see if you might be eligible, check out our guide.
  • If you’re applying for a home loan with a guarantor, your guarantor will also have to provide all documentation for their identification, income, assets and liabilities.
  • If you already have insurance on the property, you’ll want a copy of your insurance policy.
  • If you’ve already had a valuation done on the property, have the valuation report at hand.

While documentation requirements vary from lender to lender, being prepared will make your home loan application process smoother in the long run.

More questions about applying for a mortgage

Here are a few common questions many borrowers have about the home loan process.

How long does it take to process a home loan application?

Most lenders can process a home loan application in a matter of days, provided your documentation is all in order. However, if you're talking about the time between application and settlement you're talking a four to six weeks, according to most lenders.

Is there a way to speed up my application?

Getting all your paperwork together in advance is the smartest way to avoid delays. But if you really are in a hurry then this guide to fast home loan application is a good start. And there are also some online lenders like Tic:Toc who offer very fast digital applications that can take minutes rather than days.

Can I apply for a home loan completely online?

You can. There are many online lenders in the market who only offer online service and don't have physical branches. You can compare their products and learn more on this page.

Keep in mind that some parts of the home buying process, such as dealing with a conveyancer, typically require a face-to-face meeting.

What do I do if my application gets rejected?

This does happen. The trick is not to panic. Instead you need to work out where you went wrong and take the necessary steps to have a solid application next time.

Application rejected? Here's what you need to do

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Rates last updated October 24th, 2019
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
2.84%
2.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Owner occupiers looking to refinance can get one of the lowest rates in the market with this variable rate mortgage. $0 application fee and $0 ongoing fees. Refinancers only.
2.99%
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90%
Buy your home and lock in a low rate for the first two years. Available with a 10% deposit. Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus extra bonus points for a limited time.
3.02%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
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2.99%
3.79%
$300
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80%
Get a very low fixed rate for three years and lock in low repayments. Available with a low deposit.
2.84%
2.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This rate will drop to 2.84% p.a on 29 October 2019 for new and existing customers. Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.03%
3.06%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This low, variable rate loan has no ongoing fees and a redraw facility. Requires a 20% deposit.
3.09%
3.09%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A simple mortgage with no application or ongoing fees that has extra repayments plus split and redraw options. Requires a 30% deposit.
3.12%
3.32%
$599
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
This is a competitive, flexible variable rate suitable for borrowers with a good credit history. Borrow up to 80%.
2.99%
3.42%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
A competitive fixed rate mortgage available with a 10% deposit. Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus extra bonus points for a limited time.
3.24%
3.20%
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Athena offers one of the lowest rates in the market for investors looking to refinance their mortgage. No ongoing fees and no application fee. Principal and interest repayments. Refinancers only.
3.08%
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$0
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3.14%
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95%
Get a competitive 2-year variable introductory rate from BankVic and pay no application fee for a limited time. This loan is only available for eligible Victoria police, emergency services and health employees.
3.15%
3.19%
$500
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This mortgage combines a very sharp interest rate with a 100% offset account and it's available with a 5% deposit.
3.19%
3.63%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Unlock a range of savings with this competitive package home loan offer. Offset account and redraw facility included.
3.15%
4.16%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Lock in a competitive interest rate for 1 year and pay no ongoing fees. Available with just a 5% deposit and includes a 100% offset account.
2.74%
3.61%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
3.18%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Get a low 3 year fixed rate with a 100% offset account and package discounts.
3.15%
4.07%
$600
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95%
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3.42%
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2.69%
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3.34%
2.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Owner occupiers can refinance to one of the most competitive interest-only rates in the market. No application fee and no ongoing fees. Refinancers only.
3.15%
3.99%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
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2.89%
4.07%
$395
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80%
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3.69%
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