Finance advice
Responsible lending, lenders, borrowers

Responsible lending: How lenders identify good borrowers

By Bianca Dabu

The tightening of lending regulations and the unprecedented increase in household debts across Australia has made it more difficult for homeowners and investors to access funds for a property purchase. So, how can you be a good borrower in today’s lending environment?

Rethink Investing’s Son Pham said that household debt across the country is currently at an all-time high, which presents a problem as it significantly affects the serviceability of home buyers.

Aside from income and property-related costs, banks and other mainstream lenders have also started to take living expenses into account when assessing home loan applications.

According to the mortgage expert: “I'm hoping they could lift some of those restrictions, but the way it is now, it's definitely going to stay.”

This lending environment had led to the rise of specialist lenders who accommodate investors that are finding it hard to prove their serviceability to mainstream lenders mainly due to the implementation of stricter policies.

“What's happening is we’re finding specialist lenders—that's what it's about now. You can't just go to a mainstream lender and have one shoe fit all. It's basically all about policy now. Which lender's going to give you what you need?” Mr Pham highlighted.

The importance of education and the assistance of good mortgage brokers have never been more critical now to avoid getting lost in the sea of varying policies and fluctuating rates.

While the process of accessing funds remains straightforward for first-time buyers and some homeowners, most investors are currently subject to the different policies being implemented by different lenders.

These policies will affect how certain loan products complement their needs throughout the loan period.

Responsible lending

Responsible lending has been a big theme over a couple of years as some of the biggest property markets in Australia enter the softening phase, facing the effects of oversupply, rising prices and other hindrances to growth.

Banks, together with governing bodies, wanted to make sure that lenders are not giving away too much mortgages or issuing too much credit facilities, especially to people who cannot handle them properly.

At the core of all these lending policies is their most basic aim—to uphold the importance of being responsible borrowers.

Mr Pham said: “Lenders used to overestimate what borrowers earn and underestimate what they spend or owe. It goes two ways— borrowers want money, and lenders want to lend because they make money.”

“This is why the NCCP [National Consumer Credit Protection Act] came out and responsible lending is implemented, to make sure everything's in check—can a customer really afford it?” he added.

Having responsible lenders makes way for responsible borrowers, and vice versa.

The predatory lending that has happened in the past can only be minimised or totally eradicated if borrowers stop biting off more than they can chew.

A good borrower

Despite the stricter lending regulations, being a good borrower is still as simple and straightforward as it could be—make repayments on time and avoid bad credit.

According to Mr Pham, investors must assess their financial situation regularly and avoid ‘cheating themselves and the bank’ because even if you end up getting the loan product you want, the debt may prove to be too much in the long run.

The mortgage expert explained: “You get all this debt then you can't service it. The next thing you know, they come off ensuring you can't refinance and you're stuck selling the property.”

To get the most suitable home loan, he strongly recommended following these simple tips:

  • Maintain a good credit history, as in no late repayments or defaults, even on personal loans like credit cards.
  • Protect your income and establish good savings.
  • Avoid unsecured debts through your cash flow.
  • Understand finance structures. Principal-and-interest entails different responsibilities than interest-only, and so do variable rates, fixed rates and split rates.
  • Shop around. There could be different lenders and loan products that will suit your needs at a specific point in your investment journey.

At the end of the day, investors and lenders must simply be comfortable with the debt that’s being taken on.

Moving forward, policy will be the major difference between loan products and pricing.

While official regulatory bodies may set lending regulations that encompass states and territories, lenders maintain the freedom to establish additional rules to provide the best products and attract as many borrowers as they could.

Considering the wide variety of financing options available right now, Mr Pham encouraged investors to seek the help of property professionals, where appropriate.

In particular, whether you’re looking to buy a place of residence or an investment property, engaging a good mortgage broker will certainly help you make the right financial decisions.

According to Mr Pham: “More than 50 per cent of loans are written by brokers. Traditionally, people go to us because it's just easier, but now, we get a lot of customers that say, ‘I'm tapped out with my major. Can you do something?’”

“I'll check and say, ‘We can, but you're very restricted to only a certain handful because their policy is different to the banks.’ You definitely need a panel because even with all these lenders, there will be limits to customers.

“At the end of the day, we're all invested in a strong and safe and prudential lending environment. Property investment comes down to a game of finance,” he concluded.

 

Tune in to Son Pham's episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the rules of finance, mortgages and serviceability in today's market.

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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”. He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Sixteen years on, Luke now has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How to profit from changing market conditions
Quit the 9 to 5: Taking control of your income and your career
4 tips for first time property investors

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3002) "

Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide

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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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