Tips on how to better your chances of being approved for a home loan

Private Property South Africa
Adrian Goslett

Although the home loan approval rate has improved since 2010, the prime lending rate is at a 37-year low and it is a buyer’s market, the fact remains that it can be challenging to qualify for a home loan.

So how do you increase your chances of being approved for a home loan? Here are some tips that will stand you in good stead when applying for a mortgage:

Work on your credit score

Your credit history is one of the first things that the lending institutions look at when they review your home loan application. It clearly outlines a person’s financial and credit performances in the past which holds a serious weighting as to whether or not you qualify for a loan, the amount you qualify for and the interest rate you stand to pay.You are entitled to apply for a credit report on yourself every year from the government credit bureau, free of charge. You should carefully analyse your report before applying for your home loan so that you can take steps to improve it wherever you can. Be on the lookout for incorrect records and if there are any mistakes, write to the credit bureau in question, explaining what needs to be changed and why. Remember to send your requests through with all the necessary supporting documentation wherever necessary.

Calculate affordability

Credit providers have to perform an affordability assessment before granting credit. This process takes into account all your financial obligations, such as home loans, vehicle finance, overdrafts, credit cards, secured loans, and domestic expenditure, which are compared to the value of your assets and income in order to calculate your current financial standing. You should do your own assessment by using one of the many affordability calculators on the various bank’s websites. Here, you can input all your current monthly payments, debts and other expenses in order to calculate what size home loan you can afford. This is a very good exercise, as it will show you what you could possibly cut back on in order to qualify for a higher loan.However, you need to remember that the mortgage repayment is not the only thing you need to factor in with regards to affordability. Owning a home involves various additional expenses, such as paying rates and taxes, electricity and water bills, homeowners insurance, sufficient life cover on your mortgage, as well as the cost of maintaining your property. It would also be prudent to factor in headroom for any potential interest rate hikes – you should be able to cope with a minimum of a 2% increase over the next 12 to 18 months.Any lender needs to determine that you have had a stable income for at least two years. As such, self-employed individuals or commission earners will need to prove this aspect of their income before a home loan will be granted.

Save, save and save some more

It is essential that you improve your disposable income by as much as you can, as credit lenders will take this into account when they calculate the size of home loan you qualify for. For every R1 300 you can save on your monthly financial obligations, you will be able to increase your home loan spending power by a full R100 000. Also, being able to save a big deposit of around 20% to 30% offers the lenders assurance that you are working towards a good credit rating and that you have the financial means to meet future obligations relating to the loan. The bottom line is that the more money you have saved to put towards buying your home, the better chance you will have for being approved for a home loan.

Work with a home loan originator

In order for you application to go through smoothly, you should get all the required documentation ready beforehand. Applying for your home loan with the help of a mortgage originator instead of taking the DIY approach will greatly improve your chances of success. Mortgage originators are professionals who understand the various procedures of the different banks. They know which paperwork to submit to motivate your application, they can help negotiate the best possible interest rates and they will help you through the entire process until your home loan is finally registered. The best part is that this service is free of charge for the homebuyer.

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