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Breaking down your mortgage application

By Rikki Cook

The home buying process can be quite an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Luckily, there are certain formal procedures to go through, such as applying for a mortgage, that can help streamline things.

Once you’ve shopped around and found the right mortgage and terms according to your needs, it comes time to apply for the home loan itself. This requires gathering all the necessary personal information and documents to submit to the lender for review. All told, there can be quite a lot of paperwork involved.

Let’s break down what’s involved in your mortgage application.

1. Identification documents

You may have submitted some of the following information if you sought preapproval for a mortgage, but it’s important to be certain about what’s required for an application. The mortgage application process is built on the 100-point system for proving identity. Homeowners get points for certain documentation the provide, and must pass at least 100 for consideration. Primary documents, like a birth certificate, get 70 points. Secondary documents have varying point amounts: A public employee identification card will net 40 points, while a marriage certificate is worth 25 points.

While the exact criteria may vary from lender to lender, you should generally be prepared with your:

  • Birth certificate or proof of citizenship or diplomatic status.
  • Current or expired passport.
  • Current address and assets.
  • Centre link or Medicare card.
  • A driver’s licence or state or territory ID.

2. Personal finance details

Taking out a mortgage represents a significant step, and lenders have to be sure you’ll meet certain standards before making the loan. These are often related to various details of your personal finances, and lenders will likely require that you submit:

  • Proof of employment (like recent payslip).
  • Documentation for all reported income (whether self-employed, full time or part time).
  • Information about your total assets and liabilities.
  • Bank account information and financial statements.
  • Up to five years of tax returns.
  • Recent utility bills.
  • Credit reports or copies of credit statements.
  • Council rates notice or investment disclosures.

3. Other documentation

Again, other supporting documentation you may need to include in the application will depend on the lender. But just to be sure, consider having the following materials on hand:

  • Insurance documents.
  • Land and title documentation.
  • Building permits or contracts.
  • First Home Owner Grant, if applicable.

While there are a lot of moving pieces to the mortgage application process, keep a checklist like this handy to ensure nothing will derail the purchase of the home of your dreams.

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