Applying for a mortgage pre-approval can be a real boost for anyone looking to purchase property – but it’s important that would-be home owners do have a good understanding of what a pre-approval could mean.
Aussie CEO James Symond has emphasised that while pre-approval isn’t a guarantee you’ll secure a home loan, he believes it is a great first step towards home ownership.
“If you’re early in your home-buying journey, getting pre-approval can help you focus your property search – giving you a clear idea of what you’re likely to be able to afford based on what a lender is prepared to loan you.”
Here are five elements of a pre-approval he said would-be home buyers should be wary of before they apply for pre-approval.
1. Sellers and real estate agents could consider you a priority
“If you have a pre-approval, you’ve already for a head start towards getting a home loan,” Mr Symond said.
Generally, individuals with pre-approval are in a good position to snap up a bargain quickly, proceed to full loan approval and exchange contracts before others in the market would be able to.
According to the CEO, some real estate agents will want to know if you have formal pre-approval prior to accepting your offer – to confirm you are a serious buyer.
“It can also show them that you’ve already done much of the groundwork to secure finance and can potentially accelerate the settlement process once your offer has been accepted,” he added.
2. Pre-approvals do have an expiry date
Usually, pre-approvals will last for anywhere between three to six months.
This is because a borrower’s financial situation – as well as the property market – can change drastically over just a few months.
Mr Symond advises anyone applying for a pre-approval to “speak with your broker or lender about the expiry date and what will happen if you don’t find a property within that time frame”.
3. Pre-approval can impact your credit score
Despite a home loan pre-approval being “highly recommended” before you do make an offer on a property, the CEO does urge potential purchasers to exercise caution in applying for pre-approval.
“Every time you submit a pre-approval application, the lender will run a credit check. This will then leave an enquiry on your file. Multiple enquiries in a short amount of time can impact your credit score negatively.”
It’s why it is recommended to apply with the lender you intend to go with when you are ready.
While it shouldn’t discourage you from seeking pre-approval, Mr Symond did consider it “a good idea to wait until you’re seriously considering a purchase rather than applying too early in the process when you might just be entertaining the idea”.
4. Interest rate changes can impact pre-approval
The all-time low interest rates at the moment do make now a good time to secure a good deal.
“However, there is always a possibility that interest rates could change, especially if the RBA adjusts the cash rate at the monthly meeting. If the interest rate increases, it could mean the maximum amount you are able to borrow can decrease, or your loan application could be declined even after pre-approval,” Mr Symond explained.
5. Circumstances changed? You may need to renew your pre-approval
Whether it be a personal or financial situation change, even if you have initially received pre-approval you may need to go back to the lender for a reassessment, the CEO did flag.
It’s not necessarily a big deal – but you will require pre-approval renewal.
Examples where this may be necessary include switching jobs, reduced hours of work, the taking on of a new credit card or loan, the spending of a deposit on an emergency expense, or even where the lender finds out about loans or credit cards that you hadn’t originally disclosed.