Archive for the ‘Home Loans’ Category

Commission Income Mortgages

April 14th, 2011 3 Comments
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If a large percentage of your income comes from commission, you may need to apply for a commission income mortgage. This is when the lender marks down funds that you earn from commission or bonuses as a source of income that you will be using to pay for their mortgages. Considering the financial environment, it’s not surprising that the bank considers this a risky source of annual income.

Since funds earned on commission are less likely to remain steady, banks often require a definitive paper trail to assure them that the cash flow will continue. Mainly, they want to know that you have a sustainable source of income.

If a significant amount of your income comes from commission or bonuses, it is especially helpful to get in touch with a mortgage broker. Since they have contacts in the underwriting industry, they are capable of discussing your financial situation with them directly. This means that you won’t have to bother filling out a home loan application with a lender that would never consider working with you. It also means that it will take significantly less time to find one who will.

Because of the fact that a mortgage broker knows its lenders requirements, they are able to quickly identify which bank is ideal for you after collecting your financial information. Some lenders are best suited for high income borrowers with a good credit history. Others are better suited for people who have had a less than stellar financial performance in the past, and may not have as reliable a source of income.

A broker can collect all of your financial information up front. You won’t be forced to fill out an endless barrage of paperwork. Once the broker has your information, they can typically move forward from there without requiring any additional financial information.

Many brokers will continue to work with you even after your first mortgage. They will stay updated on your financial situation, and continue to monitor the lending industry for opportunities to refinance your home loan and get an even better deal.

Why are Lenders Concerned about Commission Income?

Throughout Australia, salesmen who earn a large portion of their income through commission are turned down for home loans even if their financial situation is robust. Many banks won’t even consider dealing with somebody with a commission based income. Those who are willing to work with you will most likely want two years of documentation to demonstrate the stability of your income.

Banks prefer not to work with people who are paid based on commission because the amount of money you earn each month can vary quite dramatically, and it isn’t guaranteed. People who earn a regular salary are considered more reliable.

This is not necessarily fair. There is no such thing as a “guaranteed income” after all, because even people with a regular salary can lose employment. Regardless, this is the logic used by many lenders.

The good news is that not all lenders approach the subject the same way. There are some lenders who are willing to offer a relatively competitive home loan with as little as three months of income paperwork. Working with a broker is still highly recommended, since banks who are more liberal with who they are willing to lend to often have less than ideal interest rates and terms.

Why Some Lenders Consider Commission Income Differently

Not all banks or lenders approach commission income with the risk-averse logic described above. There are many reasons to think of a salesman who earns this type of income to be very low risk. One of the most important factors is the simple fact that you can always work harder in order to earn more. The need to pay off a mortgage is also one of the strongest motivations to work harder.

Since you are only paid significantly when you make a sale, commission based earners are viewed differently from standard employees. The more they pay you, the more money they are earning. This means that people who work on commission are rarely thought of as an “expense” the same way that most employees are. When economic conditions get worse, commission based earners are less likely to be laid off than standard employees.

Finally, most people who work on commission are very financially stable. They have a keen understanding of the way that money works, and are less likely to spend money that they don’t have.

Information You Might Need

Every lender has a different application process, but many of them require similar information. To begin with, most will require documentation of your two most recent paychecks. These need to include your total income for the year, which can be used to extrapolate your annual income.

If the payslip does not include this information, you will likely be asked to provide additional income like a tax return, a letter from the people you work for, and evidence of your sales performance over a period lasting at least three months.

Many lenders will also require at least two years of tax returns and a letter from your employer demonstrating consistent income.

Find more information about commission income mortgages.

Benefits Of Using Mortgage Brokers

April 14th, 2011 No Comments
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A couple using a mortgage brokerMortgage brokers play an important part in the success or failure of the economy. They facilitate the sale of mortgage loans, and make it easier for borrowers to find the best deal on a home loan. You can think of your broker as the middle man between you and your lender. Since it is less than easy to find the right lender for the right price, it is in your best interests to take advantage of the broker’s intimate knowledge on the subject.

The broker typically has access to contacts in the lending industry, either within a specific territory or throughout Australia. This makes it easier for them to find a good deal on a mortgage. They save you a great deal of time, and often money, in the process.

Brokers don’t work for the lending industry directly, but their clients make up a large percentage of the people who apply. Over a third of home loans in Australia involve a broker. When you take into account the fact that the industry has only existed in the country since the 1980s, this is quite an achievement.

Despite their name, a mortgage broker can also be helpful in finding a personal loan or business loan, or refinancing current loans. Many of them are now available online, allowing them to work with more clients at the same time.

Benefits of Mortgage Brokers

- You can find cheaper interest rates. The fact that the broker can negotiate on your behalf, that they have contacts throughout the industry, and that they know what type of loan suits your financial situation means that they can offer you a better deal than if you were to deal with lenders directly.

- Do we need to say it again? Brokers have contacts that you don’t. End of story.

- Brokers have exploded in popularity over the last several decades for a good reason. You get more flexibility out of a broker than you get out of any particular lender. When you are dealing with a broker, it is not unlike dealing with all possible lenders at once.

- Unlike the bank, the broker doesn’t care if you have a terrible credit record. A broker is on your side. Since your financial history is of no risk o them, they will work with you regardless of your past. They will do what they can to get you in touch with a reputable lender willing to work with you, something that is incredibly difficult to do on your own.

- Efficiency is key here. You save time, money, and effort. Best of all, from you perspective, the mortgage broker is usually free. There may be fees from time to time, but in most cases the broker is paid by the lender, meaning that your only expenses will be for the loan itself.

In Review

A mortgage broker is your representative in the world of mortgage lending. They know people in the industry, they can act on your behalf, and they can save you time and money that simply isn’t worth wasting.

What is the FIRB?

March 31st, 2011 4 Comments
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FIRB approval for an investment propertyThe Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) examines applications from overseas citizens (This includes those who live in Australia on a 457 Working Visa, and subclass 309 or 820 Temporary Resident Visas) who are looking to invest in property in Australia.
If you are looking to purchase a home to live in or an investment property you may be required to obtain FIRB approval.

Who needs to obtain FIRB approval?
In 2010 the Federal Government of Australia announced new legislation which limits exemptions for foreign citizens and temporary residents looking to purchase property in Australia.
Below is a list of those who are exempt from obtaining FIRB approval:

  • Australian citizens living overseas
  • New Zealand citizens
  • Permanent resident visa holders
  • Anyone who is married or in a de-facto relationship with an Australian citizen (not a Permanent Resident)

Please visit the FIRB website for a complete list of exempt parties.

What type of properties can I purchase?

  • Owner Occupied Property: If you are buying a home then you may be able to buy an established property (one that wasn’t recently built). You will have to sell your property if you move back to your home country or elsewhere in Australia – If you have obtained your permanent residency in the meantime then you will not be required to sell the property.
  • Investment Properties: In most cases the Australian government will approve applications to buy an investment property on the condition that it is a new property (new development or if you buy land and build a property). You can often keep an investment property if you leave Australia.

Applying for permanent residency / citizenship

It is not known by us if owning real estate in Australia in any way affects your application for citizenship. Please refer these questions to your migration agent.

When is FIRB approval required?

You should apply for FIRB “pre-approval” once you have decided to buy a property in Australia; you can then look for a property at your leisure. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually help you with your application for FIRB approval as part of their normal services.

We recommend that you obtain FIRB pre-approval at the same time as you apply with us for your mortgage pre-approval. To find out more refer to the applying for a loan section of our website.

Do you need help with a loan?

We are mortgage brokers who specialise in financing the purchase of Australian real estate by foreigners, Australians living abroad and people temporarily residing in Australia. This includes those who live in Australia on a 457 Working Visa, and subclass 309 or 820 Temporary Resident Visas.

Please refer to our Non-Resident Finance website for information about the loans that you may qualify for.

Genuine savings

February 19th, 2011 12 Comments
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What are genuine savings?

Piggy bank savingsThe majority of Australian lenders have a policy requiring you to have “genuine savings” before they will approve your mortgage. In effect, it is proof of your ability to manage your money effectively and live within your means.

Genuine savings is not necessarily money saved in a savings account, it can come in many forms and each lender has their own policies regarding what is and what is not genuine savings. As a general rule if you are borrowing over 80% LVR then you need to prove 5% of the purchase price as genuine savings.

Common genuine savings types

These types of genuine savings are regularly accepted by most major lenders:

  • Savings that have been made or held in an account for three months or more (including First Home Saver Accounts).
  • Shares or managed funds that have been held for three months or more.
  • Term deposits that have been held for three months or more.

Ideally your savings should be held in a separate account to your day to day spending and the balance of your account should be increasing over the three month period. Any large lump sum deposits during the three month period will not be considered as genuine savings.

What is not genuine savings?

The deposit for your new home can come from many different sources. The vast majority of sources that do not involve you saving the money yourself will not be considered as genuine savings. Some examples of deposit types that are not accepted as genuine savings are:

  • Financial contributions from your family or parents (e.g. gifts / loans).
  • Loan from a friend.
  • Personal loans / cash out from credit cards.
  • Vendor / builder rebates, cashbacks or discounts.
  • Pay in advance from your work.
  • Money saved in cash (i.e. not in a bank account).

As a general rule if it doesn’t meet the genuine savings criteria listed above then it will not be considered as genuine savings.

Don’t worry too much! You may qualify for a no genuine savings mortgage, if you apply with the right lender this requirement may be waived. In most cases the cost of a no genuine savings home loan is very similar to a loan with a requirement for genuine savings.

Grey areas…

The policy used by lenders to assess genuine savings is very complex, and in addition to this there are some types of savings that can be accepted on an exception basis. The secret to getting approved is to apply with a lender that accepts the type of genuine savings that you can provide.

Some examples of genuine savings that may or may not be accepted by the lender are:

  • Equity in existing real estate (i.e. you own a property already).
  • Extra repayments on your debts made over the past three to six months.
  • Rent payments (must be through a property manager and have been 12 months in your current residence).
  • Tax refund (must be currently renting to be accepted).
  • Inheritance (must be currently renting to be accepted).
  • Sale of a non-real estate asset (must be currently renting to be accepted).
  • Commission or bonuses from your job (must be currently renting to be accepted).
  • Money that comes from a non-genuine source (e.g. a gift) that have been held in a savings account for three months or more.

Please refer to the specialist mortgage brokers at the Home Loan Experts if you would like to know more about using one of these methods to prove genuine savings. You can view their page on genuine savings for more information.

Do the major banks require genuine savings?

Yes, at present all of the major banks have a requirement for genuine savings. ANZ & CBA tend to be quite strict with this requirement while Westpac (WBC), NAB & St George (SGB) have slightly more flexible policies. Please note that all of them are relatively strict when compared to lenders that do not require genuine savings at all and have similarly priced mortgages!

In addition to this the two major LMI providers Genworth and QBE LMI both have requirements for genuine savings under their standard products. Both will accept no genuine savings loans under their non-standard LMI products however the LMI premium may be higher and credit assessment will be significantly stricter.

LVR Loan to Valuation Ratio

February 19th, 2011 No Comments
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When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will calculate the Loan to Valuation Ratio (LVR) of your loan. This is an important part of their assessment criteria. The higher your LVR, the higher the risk to the bank in the event that you default on the loan.

The LVR is a simple formula based on the loan amount divided by the value of the property. It is expressed as a percentage. Please note that in most cases the purchase price of a property and the bank valuation will be the same, however if there is a difference then the bank will use the lower of the two to calculate your LVR.

Example LVR calculations

If you are applying for a mortgage of $250,000 on a property valued at $300,000 then your loan will have a 83.33% LVR. This is calculated as 250000 / 300000 * 100 = 83.33. In this example you may need to pay LMI as your loan is for more than 80% of the property value.

As another example, if you are buying a property off of a family member and the purchase price is $500,000, the value may be slightly different as this is an off the market transaction. If the bank’s valuer worked out the property to be worth $600,000 then the lender will use $500,000 in their LVR calculation as it is the lower of the purchase price and valuation.

If you needed to take a loan of $450,000 on the above example then your mortgage would have a 90% LVR. This is calculated as 450000 / 500000 * 100 = 90.

Please note that some lenders can use the actual valuation rather than the purchase price, however this is rare and you must be in a strong financial position.

You can use this LVR calculator to work out the LVR for your loan.

When does LMI apply?

Lenders Mortgage Insurance will apply if your loan is over 80% of the property value. You can use this mortgage insurance calculator to work out how much your premium would be.

The banks get insurance on your loan if you borrow over 80% LVR because there is a significant chance that they will lose money if you are unable to make the repayments. The LMI premium is charged to you, the borrower. The higher your LVR & loan amount then the higher your LMI premium will be.

Not every lender has the same LMI premiums, they may use different insurers and some have discounts or LMI waivers available for their best customers.

What is the Base LVR & Final LVR?

Some lenders may allow you to add your LMI premium to your home loan. For example if you are borrrowing 95% LVR and your LMI premium was 2% of the loan amount then the lender may actually give you a loan for 97% LVR.

This is known as LMI capitalisation, and is not available from every bank. The base LVR is the LVR of your mortgage before the LMI premium is capitalised, in this case the base LVR is 95%. The final LVR is the LVR after your LMI premium has been capitalised, in this case the final LVR is 97%.

Find out more about LVRs

If you would like to learn more about the LVR of your home loan then refer to this page on LVR by the Home Loan Experts. They are specialist mortgage brokers and they can assist you with any further questions.

Home Loans for Doctors on a 422 Visa

January 20th, 2011 No Comments
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Doctors on 422 VisaHome Loans for Doctors on a 422 Visa

Did you know? Despite doctors on 422 Visas being some of the lowest risk customers, most banks will not accept them for a home loan. However, there are some lenders that can consider lending up to 90% of the property value.

Contact a specialist mortgage broker such as The Home Loan Experts to discuss obtaining a home loan as a non-resident doctor on a 422 Visa.

What do Australian Banks Think?

Australian banks favor Doctors of Medicine and Medical Practitioners above all other professions, as doctors have secure employment, high income and are known to be low risk borrowers.

Lenders monitor the performance of their existing customers, and as such know which professions make their payments on time and do not default on their loans. This is why Australian banks are able to provide significant privileges to Medical Professionals for Residential Mortgages – even if you are not a resident of Australia!

However, not all Medical Practitioners are eligible for this special offer, as these discounts are aimed at graduating professionals and those in selected medical professions.

Am I eligible for a 422 Visa Home Loan?

Below is a list of some medical professionals who are accepted:

  • Doctors of Medicine (eg, Anaesthetist, Dermatologist, Gynaecologist, General Practitioners)
  • Dentists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Oncologists
  • Optometrists
  • Cardiologist
  • Surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Osteopaths
  • Psychiatrists
  • Veterinarians
  • Physiotherapists
  • Radiographers (case by case)
  • Pharmacists (case by case)

Change in Visa Subclass

Following the creation of flexible working arrangements for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) under the 457 visa, the subclass Medical Practitioner (Temporary) Visa (Subclass422) was no longer available for new visa applications from 1 July 2010.

However, this new arrangement does not mean that the 422 visa has expired – you will still be able to use your 422 visa until the end of the visa validity period, you are granted a new visa subclass, or you change your employer sponsor.

Merging the Subclass 422 Visa with the 457 Visa streamlines the process for non-residents and temporary-residents, and reduces confusion as to the appropriate choice of visa.

Note that if you are a Doctor of Medicine or Medical Practitioner on a 457 Visa, specialist mortgage brokers can still assist you with special discounts.

What happens next?

We understand that obtaining your medical degree took a lot of time, effort and money and as such your cash may be a little tight right now. Often it takes time to get a deposit together to buy a home, let alone cover the high cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Thankfully mortgage brokers have already done the research for you, and automatically know which lender will be best suited to your unique situation. This means, that you will not have to go through all the red tape to find the best deal for you!

Contact a specialist mortgage broker such as The Home Loan Experts to discuss obtaining a home loan as a non-resident doctor on a 422 Visa.

Buying a house from your parents

November 8th, 2010 5 Comments
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Significant numbers of first home buyers get their foot into the property market buying buying a property off of their parents or a family member. If the parents have several investment properties then they may even choose to sell the property to their son or daughter for less than its market value.

By selling it below what it is worth, they are giving their children a huge head-start in life. No longer do they need to go through the struggle of saving a large deposit before they buy a home.

Benefits of buying off your family

There are several major benefits of buying a home from your family:

  • You can often buy the property below value.
  • Your parents may offer you “vendor finance” or other favourable sale terms.
  • Your parents do not need to hire a real estate agent & so will save on sale commissions.
  • You may be able to reduce your conveyancing costs by using the same conveyancer (note: there may be conflict of interest issues).
  • You can often borrow 100% of the purchase price if you are buying the property below its market value (see below).
  • You can move the settlement date to suit your needs, e.g. to match when your current lease expires.
  • You will be aware of any possible issues with the property.

Overall purchasing a property from your family is financially a very good decision when compared to buying off of a stranger. However if your family relationships may be strained by the process of buying a house then it may be better for you to consider other options instead.

How do you arrange the contracts?

In some states of Australia you will not need to create a Contract of Sale (COS). A signed transfer is all that is required. You can approach a conveyancer or solicitor and they will help you to make the legal arrangements.

Overall it is quite simple to do, once your conveyancer has given you the ok to proceed then it is time to speak to a mortgage broker about arranging the finance.

How to finance your purchase

Applying for a home loan to buy a property from a parent is quite different to buying a property from a stranger. There are several major differences:

  • The bank will always value the property.
  • The bank may ask you or your conveyancer to confirm the full details of the sale.
  • The lender may use policies similar to those that they use for when people have a gift as a deposit.

The qualifying criteria for a mortgage are also different to those of a normal home loan:

  • You can borrow up to 95% of the valuation as long as you have 5% in genuine savings and that the loan does not exceed 105% of the purchase price.
  • You can borrow up to 90% of the valuation without any savings as long as your loan does not exceed 105% of the purchase price.
  • Many lenders will not allow you to borrow over 80% of the valuation unless you have savings of your own.

You can consider using a specialist mortgage broker such as the Home Loan Experts who specialise in helping people to get a family purchase home loan. They can assist you to choose a lender that allows you to buy below the market value and borrow 100% of the purchase price.

SEPP 5 finance

October 12th, 2010 4 Comments
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What is Sepp 5 zoning?

A Sepp 5 development is a specialized block of units, townhouse estate or village where the occupants are restricted to be either over the ages of 55, pensioners, disabled or elderly couples. These developments have approval from the local council to build more units on a block of land then what is usually allowed, this means the cost of each unit to build and sell is cheaper than the same type of units in the same area. This way it can be marketed better to the baby boomer generation.

These developments have been specifically designed to assist the day to day living for elderly people who require certain features for example:

  • Access ramps in ever building
  • In area medical centre
  • Specialized bathrooms
  • Larger doorways
  • Public transport which comes straight to the development
  • Meal deliveries
  • Community activities
  • Community with people of similar ages
  • Low maintenance security upkeep

A Sepp 5 development is different to a retirement home, it is an independent living accommodation where the occupants has ownership of each separate title and there is no in-house nurse, there is no set time for dinner and activities. It is an over 55s friendly environment where the occupant is free to do what they please and is self reliant.

Why Invest in a Sepp 5 Security?

The reasons for purchasing a Sepp 5 accommodation to live in have been outlined above; the reasons for investing in one are below:

  • Excellent rental yield
  • Good price – for the price of the same unit dimensions unit in the same area Sepp 5 is generally cheaper
  • Usually located in growing areas within 10 mins from major cities
  • Usually cash flow neutral or positive

How can I apply for a Sepp 5 home loan?

Sepp 5 or over 55 securities are only taken on as standard securities by less than a hand full of financial institutions, depending the where the security is and the loan amount. Most banks are uncomfortable in lending against these securities as they believe that is harder to resell as it is a restricted market.

It is best to contact a specialist Mortgage Broker who deals in these kind of scenarios on a daily basis. You will have to show that you can afford to make repayments and have ongoing cash flow. Unfortunately if you are retired and on the pension then this will restrict the size of the loan that can be approved. However investors buying these properties to rent out can get approval for a mortgage.

About the Author

Otto is a Mortgage Broker that has specialised in the credit guidelines of the major banks for over 7 years. His company the Home Loan Experts is now one of the top home loan broking firms in Australia. You can refer to their main website for more information about financing over 55s or Sepp 5 properties.