How To Protect
Your Loan
Serviceability
Reputation

All lenders have a formula for assessing your capacity to service a loan. Any loan. It is important to lenders that the loan can be repaid over a certain timeframe and that repayments can be made ongoing and on a regular basis especially in the event of personal circumstances changing.

1. How is serviceability calculated?

The criteria may seem similar between lenders, however each lender will look at your financial situation through their own eyes. Basically, your lender will consider all income (or combined incomes for joint applications), then remove your everyday household and other expenses (including those of any dependants), add in the loan repayment to see if you can repay.

2. What about investment properties?

Most lenders will consider up to 80% of rental property income. This means if you receive $500 each week, only $400 will be factored into your serviceability assessment. However as mentioned in our feature article, because of the extremely low rental vacancy in Australia, one of our majors (the first of what may be many) has announced they will consider up to 90% of rental property income.

3. What is a serviceability buffer?

Lenders understand that circumstances change. Some are within your control, and many are not. To cater for unexpected financial changes (loss of income, short term job loss, illness etc) most lenders include a buffer in their serviceability calculations to protect them (and you) from not being able to meet your repayment obligations when and if circumstances change. If you have taken out a home loan prior to Nov 2021, then the lenders buffer would most likely have been 2.5%. As of Nov 2021, this buffer was increased to 3%. This means that the lender assesses your capacity to repay the loan if either interest rates were to rise that amount, or your income circumstances changed detrimentally.

That’s why MOST Australians have managed the 2022 interest rate rises, but we are now approaching more rates beyond the lenders buffer. So NOW is the time to be super careful of any unnecessary spending.

4. How do you manage your serviceability reputation?

While you have a loan in place, it is very rare for a lender to question your serviceability unless they start to see regular defaults in your repayments.

However, if you are a new borrower or seeking a new loan, your capacity to service is critical.

Here are some things you can consider that may have an impact to your serviceability and potential borrowing power.

  • Cut back on credit card limits or the number of credit cards you have
  • Pay down outstanding debt
  • Stop or cut down on unnecessary spending
  • Keep copies of your payslips, any bonuses and regular overtime. Record your income if you’re self employed to prove your actual pay.
  • Create and prove a regular savings pattern, build more equity or increase your savings in your offset account.
  • Be conscious of how much money you have left at the end of each pay, as this is what lenders will be looking at in terms of your serviceability. The more you can show you have left, the more you can potentially borrow.

Above all, talk to your mortgage broker.

They are best suited to help you review lenders products and offers and can help identify a range of products to compliment your individual situation and longer term property goals.

We can introduce you to our recommended finance specialist.

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With interest rates increasing monthly, your pre-approval may need adjusting before your final offer to purchase.

Make sure you check with your finance specialist how long your pre-approval lasts. We don’t need surprises!


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Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. © 2022