As you stand in the crowd at an auction, waiting for the auctioneer's hammer to fall, a worrying thought nags at the back of your mind: “What if I'm unable to finance this property?”
Preparing to bid at an auction is equal parts nerve-wracking and exciting. For many, this is the biggest financial decision you’ll ever have to make, so getting all of your ducks in a row is essential.
Of course, to successfully purchase a property, you need to be able to afford it. Winning at auction only to later find out that you cannot finance your purchase can come with serious financial consequences, including losing your deposit completely.
Home loan pre-approval is a valuable tool that can provide you with peace of mind and a competitive edge when bidding at an auction. It provides you with assurance from the bank that they are willing to lend you a certain amount based on your financial circumstances, giving you a budget to work with and saving time and headaches down the road.
In this blog, we'll explore the advantages of obtaining home loan pre-approval and why it's a wise move before you purchase at auction.
What is Home Loan Pre-Approval?
Home loan pre-approval is a process where a lender assesses your financial circumstances and creditworthiness to determine the maximum amount they are willing to lend you for a home purchase.
If satisfied, the lender will provide you with a conditional pre-approval, specifying the agreed-upon loan amount and terms. This pre-approval is usually valid for a specific period, typically three to six months, at which time the lender will need to reassess your financial information and circumstances.
The Benefits of Home Loan Pre-Approval at Auctions
- Understanding Your Budget: One of the significant advantages of obtaining pre-approval is that you'll have a realistic understanding of your budget. Knowing how much a lender is willing to lend you allows you to focus on properties that fit within your financial capacity. This will give you clarity on which properties to focus on and help prevent the disappointment of falling in love with a property that is beyond your reach.
- Confidence in Bidding: When you have pre-approval, you can bid at auctions with confidence as your finance has already received confirmation. With the backing of a lender, you can concentrate on making sure that the property you choose is the perfect choice for you and your family. Confidence can be a powerful tool when competing against other bidders and can help you come out on top on auction day.
- Speed and Efficiency: The auction environment can be fast-paced, and decisions need to be made swiftly. Having pre-approval streamlines the buying process. You won't have to scramble to get financing in place after winning the auction, giving you an edge over other potential buyers who may need more time to get their finances in order.
- Staying Within Your Limit: Knowing your pre-approved limit allows you to set a firm boundary during the auction. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and bidding war, and it has led many to end up overspending on a property. Having pre-approval helps you form a clear budget, stay disciplined and avoid overextending yourself financially.
- Negotiating Power: If you're the winning bidder at the auction, pre-approval can give you an advantage during negotiations. Sellers are more likely to take your offer seriously, as they know you already have a lender's commitment to finance the purchase.
The Pre-Approval Process: What to Expect
To obtain home loan pre-approval, you'll need to follow these essential steps:
- Approach your mortgage broker: A mortgage broker will be your greatest weapon when seeking home loan pre-approval. They will be able to navigate you through the process from start to finish, helping you maximise your borrowing capacity and negotiate better terms and rates on your home loan.
- Gather Your Financial Documents: Lenders will require a lot of proof and documentation to demonstrate information such as income, employment, savings, and any existing debts. Working with your mortgage broker, you’ll need to prepare bank statements, payslips, tax returns, and other relevant financial documents.
- Choose a Lender: Your mortgage broker will help you shop around for lenders and compare their pre-approval terms, interest rates, and fees. After selecting the most suitable option for your circumstances, you can begin preparing an application.
- Submit the Application: Work with your mortgage broker to complete the lender's pre-approval application and provide all necessary documentation. Some lenders may charge a fee for this service, while others offer pre-approval at no cost.
- Wait for the Assessment: The lender will assess your financial information and credit history to determine the maximum loan amount you qualify for. This process may take a few days to a week, depending on the lender's workload.
- Receive the Pre-Approval Letter: If your application is approved, the lender will provide you with a letter confirming their conditional pre-approval. This letter will state the approved loan amount and any conditions that need to be met.
Understanding Pre-Approval Conditions
It's important to note that pre-approval doesn't guarantee final loan approval.
There may be conditions attached to your pre-approval, such as providing additional documentation or meeting specific criteria. For example, the lender may require a property valuation before proceeding with the loan application.
Additionally, if your financial situation changes during the pre-approval period (such as losing employment or having a child), the lender may decide that you no longer meet the criteria for approval.
Understanding these conditions and meeting them promptly is crucial for a smooth loan approval process after the auction.
Obtaining home loan pre-approval before bidding at auction is a move that we recommend to each of our finance clients. The clarity it provides on your borrowing capacity, the confidence it instils in your bidding, and the efficiency it brings to the buying process are all really important for making the right property choice, as well as your overall mental health and well-being.
By working with a mortgage broker and understanding the conditions of your pre-approval, you can position yourself for a successful and stress-free auction experience.