How do guarantor loans work?
Your guarantor will provide a guarantee for your home loan, which is secured on their property. In most cases, this is your parents assisting you in buying a home.
The idea is for you to get into the property market sooner. Once you have paid off part of your loan or your property has increased in value, then you can apply to remove the guarantee.
Guarantor loans have become very popular in recent years. As they cost less than standard home loans, they allow you to buy without a deposit and some lenders now allow you to limit the size of the guarantee.
How is the mortgage for the guarantee structured?
The loan is secured by both the property that you are buying and the property owned by the guarantor.
It is quite simple, and if you use a limited guarantee, then the guarantor can reduce their exposure to your mortgage.
The structure is very similar if your parents already have a home loan on their property. The guarantee for your loan is secured using a second mortgage behind their current loan.
How much is the guarantee limited to?
For most guarantor loans we ask the lender to limit the guarantee secured on the guarantor’s property. This means they are not liable for the entire loan amount, only a portion of it. The size of the limited guarantee is calculated as follows:
Size of the limited guarantee = (Loan Amount – (0.8 * Purchase Price))/0.75.
For example, if you are buying a property for $500,000 and are borrowing $525,000 to cover your expenses such as stamp duty then the calculation would be:
($525,000 loan amount – (0.8 * $500,000 purchase price))/0.75
$125,000/0.75 = A limited guarantee of $166,700 (rounded to the nearest $100)
Is this all too complicated? Just let our guarantor loan calculator figure it all out for you.
What types of guarantees are there?
Security guarantee: With this type of guarantee, the guarantor uses their real estate as additional security for your loan. If the guarantor already has a loan on their property, then, in most cases, the bank can take a second mortgage as security.
This type of guarantee is most often used when first home buyers with an excellent credit history buy a home but have no deposit. The guarantor is also called an “equity guarantor” by some lenders.
Security and income guarantee: A security and income guarantor is often a parent helping their son or daughter who is a student or who has a low income to buy their first property. The lender will use the parents’ property as additional security and will rely on the parents’ income to prove that the loan is affordable.
Family guarantee / parent guarantee: This is when the guarantor is directly related to the borrowers. Banks refer to this as a “parental guarantee”. Grandparents, siblings and other family members as guarantors are considered on a case by case basis.
Limited guarantee: A limited guarantee is where only part of the loan is guaranteed by the guarantor. This is most often used with security guarantors to reduce the potential liability secured on the guarantor’s property. Guarantees can either be limited or unlimited, depending on both the guarantor’s wishes and the lender’s requirements.
For the borrower
Can I borrow more than 105%?
In the past, lenders commonly allowed people to borrow 120% with a guarantor home loan. Unfortunately, these loan types are no longer available.
With some lenders today the maximum that you can borrow now is 105% of the purchase price and 110% if you have debts to consolidate.
Many people wishing to buy a home have significant consumer debts such as credit cards and personal loans. If you are in this situation, you will generally be able to consolidate debts as well as purchase a property and your total debts are no more than 5% – 10% of the purchase price.
Will lenders accept second home buyers?
Many lenders will not allow second home buyers to apply for a guarantor loan as they expect that they should have a strong enough asset position to buy a property on their own.
This is particularly unfair to people who have gone through a divorce or illness forcing them to sell their previous home. We know which lenders are less conservative when assessing their guarantor loans.
Do I need to prove any savings?
Even though guarantor loans allow you to borrow 100% of the purchase price, many lenders still require you to have 5% of the purchase price in genuine savings. This is simply money that you have saved yourself, although there are exceptions such as using paid rent as genuine savings.
Other lenders do not have a specific policy regarding this. Instead, their credit scoring system will decline your loan based on your asset position relative to your income.
Banks view people who have a high income and a low asset position to be high risk. Many young people have spent their money on their education, a car, a wedding or travelling and only begin saving for a house later in life. These people are not high-risk borrowers, they just have different priorities!
Talk to us to find out which lenders do not require genuine savings.
What if my parents already have a home loan?
That’s okay. As long as your parents have sufficient equity, some lenders on our panel can still secure a guarantee on their property using a second mortgage.
To be clear, you guarantor should declare all loans secured on their property including business or commercial property loans; otherwise the approval may be withdrawn before settlement.
How do lenders work out if your guarantor has enough equity in their property?
The total debt secured on the guarantors’ property, for example their current home loan plus the new limited guarantee, must be less than 75% – 80% of their property’s value.
For example, if your guarantor had a home loan with $100,000 due and needed to give a limited guarantee of $100,000, the total debt secured on their property would be $200,000. Their home must be worth $267,000 or more for the guarantor loan to be approved.
Don’t worry if this seems complicated! You can use our guarantor loan calculator to work it out.
What if my parents are retired?
Most Australian banks will not accept a security guarantee from a retired or elderly guarantor.
Not every lender assesses guarantors this way. Some of our lenders can accept guarantees from people close to retirement, pensioners and self funded retirees over 65 years of age as long as they obtain legal advice before signing the loan offer.
Can I buy an investment property?
Only two or three lenders in Australia will accept no deposit investment loans supported by a guarantor.
We can assist you to buy one investment property, however buying multiple investment properties is not normally accepted. This is because the guarantor takes an unnecessarily high risk, whereas the borrower makes all of the potential profit.
If the guarantor is in a strong financial position, then multiple investment properties may be considered.
Should I get insurance?
To give you and your parents added protection in the event of default, you may want to consider getting life, total and permanent disability, and/or income protection insurance.
It’s not a requirement for qualifying for a guarantor loan, but it can allow you to pay out your home loan if you are hit with an unfortunate event that stops you from working.
You should seek advice from a financial adviser to ensure that you choose an insurance product that suits your needs and financial situation.
When can I remove the guarantee?
Ultimately, you do not want the guarantee to be in place for the entire term of the 30 year loan. You should apply to the bank to remove the guarantee when the following conditions have been met:
- You can afford the repayments without any assistance.
- Your loan is for less than 90% of the property value (ideally 80% or less).
- You haven’t missed any payments in the last 6 months.
To be clear, you must actually apply with the bank to remove the guarantee – it isn’t automatic!
Most people can remove the guarantee somewhere between 2 and 5 years after they initially set up the loan, although this can vary significantly.
Many guarantees are set up because the borrower has no deposit so removing the guarantee most often depends on how much the property appreciates in value and how much extra repayments the borrower can afford to make.
You can still remove the guarantee if you owe more than 80% of the property value, but you may have to pay LMI to achieve this.
What if I cannot make repayments?
If you cannot make your home loan repayments, then lenders will always take action on your property first before making the guarantor liable to pay out the outstanding debt.
Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that repossession will only commence if the mortgage has been in arrears for 90-180 days.
What if my guarantor wants to sell their house?
Let’s say that after 3 or 4 years of acting as your guarantor, your Mum and Dad decide they want to pull up stumps and sell their home.
It could be that they want to downsize or live their retirement dream of travelling the world. What do you do then?
Chances are you wouldn’t have paid down your mortgage to more than 90% of the property value (the minimum LVR at which you’ll be able to remove the guarantee with most lenders).
So before they sign up for the guarantor arrangement, they should be aware that they may be unable to sell the property or borrow on their mortgage (top-up).
Before you tell your parents to hold off on whatever financial goals or dreams they had, you have some options available.
If you owe more than 90% LVR, are you able to come up with your own savings to cover the difference?
The other option is that once your Mum and Dad sell, ask them if they can secure the guarantee with a dollar for dollar term deposit.
For example, if the guarantee was $90,000, they will need to provide the lender with a $90,000 term deposit held as security.
For the guarantor
Who can be a guarantor?
Most banks will only allow parental guarantees, that is, a guarantee from the borrower’s parents.
Some lenders can consider guarantees from immediate family members such as siblings, grandparents, spouses, de facto partners or adult children.
Check out the guarantor eligibility page for more information.
Should I act as a guarantor?
You should never feel pressured to enter into a guarantor loan.
Choosing to act as a guarantor is a big decision so it’s recommended that you seek independent financial advice. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How big is the limited guarantee that you’re committing to? Are you able to cover any outstanding costs should things go pear-shaped?
- Under what condition will you be liable to pay? Generally, banks will only look to take action if the mortgage is in arrears for 90-180 days.
- What is the character of the person that you’re guaranteeing? This may be difficult to answer if it’s your own son or daughter, but you should be honest in answering this question.
If your child is struggling to save a deposit, but you want to avoid some of the risks of acting as your guarantor, a parent assist home loan may be better suited to your situation.
To protect the guarantors, the Australian Banking Association has enforced a new Code of Banking Practice (COBP).
As part of these new guidelines:
- Guarantors must be given a minimum of three days to review their guarantee documents and to consider their obligations as a guarantor before signing and returning their guarantee documents.
- Guarantors will have a cooling-off period after signing the guarantor agreement.
- Guarantors will be encouraged to seek independent legal advice before signing, as is currently the case.
- As the guaranteed borrower, if you get into financial difficulty, or your circumstances change, your guarantor (parents) will be notified by the bank.
- The bank will first attempt to receive assets from you as the borrower before starting action against your parents to repay the home loan. If this is a concern to you, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.
What are the risks of being a guarantor?
On paper, the guarantor is ultimately liable for your home loan should you default.
There is a big fear that banks move quickly to sell the guarantor’s home to cover the remaining debt, but the reality is that banks try everything to solve the problem before taking this drastic decision.
The reason is that there is often a significant process and cost involved in trying to sell the guarantor’s home.
The bank knows that it will struggle to break even by going down this path so they would much rather that you keep paying your mortgage.
To do this, they will want to work out why you’re having trouble managing your repayments and whether a solution can be found.
Can I use the option of a limited guarantee?
What if the sale of your child’s property isn’t enough to cover the home loan?
Remember, if you have a limited guarantee in place, you are only liable for up to the agreed amount.
This is usually around 20-35% of the purchase price plus the costs of stamp duty, conveyancing fees and other associated home loan costs.
For example, if the outstanding debt is for $700,000, but the limited guarantee is for only $210,000, the guarantors are only liable to cover the outstanding mortgage up to $210,000.
Obviously, if the property sold for $700,000 or more, they wouldn’t have to worry about anything.
However, if the property only sells for $440,000, the guarantor will have to cover up to $210,000 with equity in their property to cover the shortfall, but they won’t be liable for the remaining $50,000.
Of course, if the property sells for $590,000, then the guarantor would be liable for $110,000.
At any rate, you should be aware of the size of the guarantee that you’re providing.
What if I change my mind about being a guarantor?
That’s okay but try and make this decision before your son or daughter receive home loan approval and sign the Contract of Sale.
The reason is that the borrower may default on the contract and be sued.
Our award-winning brokers get tough loans approved
Guarantor Home Loans FAQs
Why is there no LMI premium?
From the bank’s point of view, if you are borrowing more than 80% of your property’s value then there is a chance that they will lose money if you can’t make your repayments. Because of this they charge you a fee known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to protect themselves if there is a loss.
This fee can be quite significant, costing more than $10,000.
However, with a guarantee as additional security, the bank considers your family pledge loan to be under 80% of the value of your property combined with the guarantee’s value. As a result of this, they waive the requirement for LMI.
Why is a second mortgage such a big problem?
If your parents already have a home loan secured on their property, then the guarantee will need to be secured by a second mortgage.
This isn’t a problem in most cases; however, it can be an issue if your application isn’t submitted to the bank correctly.
Do not commit to any property until:
- Consent for the second mortgage has been granted.
- A bank valuation has been completed on your guarantor’s property.
- Your lender has issued a formal approval.
The lender that already has a home loan secured on your parents’ property needs to consent to the guarantee being secured on the property. There is a small risk that they will deny or withhold the consent, which can leave you high and dry.
The method of calculating the equity in your parents’ property can be very complex if they already have a loan. Please use our guarantor loan calculator or call us on 1300 889 743 for more information.
My bank won’t let me consolidate debt
Very few lenders will allow you to buy a home and consolidate your credit cards or personal loans at the same time. We know which lenders will allow you to roll everything into one simple, low repayment each month.
Note that you can only consolidate a few minor debts, and if your debts are over 5% of the purchase price, then you will not be able to roll them into the mortgage with any lender. Your repayments must be on time, every time, before a lender will allow you to combine them into your new mortgage.
What if I get divorced?
The less obvious risk of going into a guarantor loan arrangement is you splitting up with your partner and the partner choosing not to make mortgage repayments.
This not only puts you at risk of default but can also potentially put your parents in a precarious position.
Playing with the mortgage in this way is quite common when couples get divorced. In fact, they’re often advised by their solicitor to do so!
If you can get past the legal stoush, please get in contact with us by completing our free assessment form, and we can tell you how we can help.
We’re experts at buying out ex partners and we can start the conversation with your bank as to how this will work with your parents providing a guarantee.
What are the names used for guarantor loans?
Every lender seems to have come up with their own name for guarantor loans! St George Bank uses the term ‘Family Pledge’, CBA uses the term ‘Family Support’ or ‘Family Equity’, Rams uses the term ‘Fast Track’ whereas ANZ and Westpac use the term ‘Family Guarantee’.
Don’t worry, they all mean nearly the same thing. Most of these terms refer to a security guarantee, as only a few select lenders allow other types of guarantees.
There are big differences between the bank’s credit guidelines, loan types and discounts for family guarantee loans.
Can I get a 100% construction loan?
Yes, it is possible to borrow 100% of the land and construction costs if you have a guarantor.
However, be aware that many lenders do not allow “loan increases” on guarantor loans. This means that if you buy the land and then apply for the construction loan later, it may be declined!
Please call us on 1300 889 743 to discuss your situation, we know how to structure your loan to get it approved!
Can I get an 80/20 low doc guarantor loan?
Low doc loans cannot be used with the guarantor’s support as lenders are very conservative with their assessment of no financials home loans.
It may be possible to get around this if the guarantor takes out a loan on their property and lends this to you to use as your deposit. Although this is not an ideal situation, it can work for some borrowers.
We call this the 80/20 method as you will borrow 80% of the property value and your family member will borrow the other 20% on their property. Many lenders do not accept this financing method so please enquire online to speak to a mortgage broker that understands this loan structure.
Why do I need an expert?
Guaranteeing somebody else’s loan is a major commitment so you should always seek advice from the appropriate professionals such as your solicitor before deciding to proceed.
We recommend that you have a preliminary discussion with your solicitor before applying for the loan and then take the ‘Guarantee & Indemnity’ documents to your solicitor for legal advice before signing them.
It also helps to seek out a specialist mortgage broker like Home Loan Experts because there are many aspects to consider when applying for this type of mortgage:
- Getting approval: Lenders are more conservative than ever, but they are particularly conservative with guarantor loans. We know which lenders accept which types of guarantees and which lenders will accept someone in your situation.
- Know the terms and conditions: Some banks have simple terms and conditions for their guarantor loans and allow you to limit the amount of the guarantee. However many lenders will not limit the guarantee which means the guarantor could be in a much worse position if you cannot make your repayments.
- The exit strategy: The loan may have a term of 30 years, however you don’t need to keep the guarantee in place for that long. We can help you work out a strategy of either making extra repayments, or refinancing to remove the guarantee in as little as 2 to 5 years.
- Protecting the guarantor: If you cannot pay your loan then how can you protect your guarantor from having to pay your loan and possibly losing their home? Did you know that you can reduce the risk to the guarantor by obtaining insurance?
If you don’t set up your mortgage in the right way, you maybe putting your parents at a higher risk, or you may not be able to remove the guarantee as quickly as you would like.
Please call our mortgage brokers on 1300 889 743 or enquire online to find out how we can help you.
Example of using a guarantor to avoid saving a deposit
Nick has been renting for a couple of years and decides to buy his very own home.
He has found a lovely 3 bedroom house not far from where he works. The property is worth $500,000 but he knows that he’ll miss out on buying it if he doesn’t act fast.
The problem is that he has not saved up a deposit to get a home loan due to renting. He needs at least 5% plus costs to qualify for a mortgage.
His parents – who are both retired – are willing to gift him the money for the deposit, but it’ll take them around 3 months or so for them to save the money to give to him.
If that weren’t enough, the gifted deposit wouldn’t be classed as genuine savings, and it’d take Nick another year or so to build up 5% of the purchase price in his own savings.
Instead of saving the money and gifting Nick the money for the deposit, his parents can use the equity in their property as security for his home loan.
Their home is valued at $600,000 with around $255,000 owing on their mortgage. Since both of Nick’s parents are retired, there is one lender that will accept this guarantor scenario.
Using their parents’ property as security for a home loan, Nick is can borrow up to 105% of the purchase price to cover the home loan plus the costs of stamp duty and conveyancing fees.
If Nick were to buy the property with his own 5% deposit, he’d be paying more than $20,000 in Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), a one-off fee payable when borrowing more than 80% of the property value.
- Nick was able to quickly buy the property before someone else did.
- He was able to avoid mortgage insurance.
- He was able to use the few thousand that he had saved for the deposit as extra repayments on his mortgage with enough left over to take a little holiday.
Example of using a guarantor loan to consolidate debt
Alicia and Chris are about to get married and want to buy a family home. They’ve found a perfect place in a quiet suburb valued at $700,000.
Their combined income is around $200,000, and they’re currently paying about $1,000 a week in rent for a studio apartment in the city.
Alicia and Chris also have a car loan with $30,000 owing and a credit card. The credit card is almost at its limit at $6,000, but they’ve been making their payments on time.
They’re paying $750 a month for their car loan and $180 a month in credit card repayments.
They’ve been managing their bills and debts perfectly, but they’re worried that they won’t be able to manage all of their financial commitments by having to make home loan repayments as well.
Luckily, Chris’ parents are working full time and own a home worth $1.2 million with around $600,000 owing on the mortgage.
By using the guarantor option, their bank is willing to lend up to 105% of the purchase price to cover stamp duty and conveyancing fees. On top of that, they’re able to consolidate one of Alicia and Chris’ debts into the home loan.
Effectively, they’ll be borrowing about 109% of the purchase price.
They decide to consolidate the car loan because it has the most amount of debt owing.
With their home loan approved, Alicia and Chris are paying $4,287 per month in mortgage repayments. This includes their car loan repayments.
So how much are the couple better off by consolidating this debt into their loan?
By not consolidating and paying their debts separately, Alicia and Chris would have been paying $4,876 per month.
- They are $589 better off per month and can better manage their debt.
- They avoided having to save a deposit to buy the property.
- They avoided the cost of LMI.
- They’re enjoying their new home before they tie the knot.
- Discounts: Competitive professional package and basic loan discounts are available.
How can you help me get approved?
We are mortgage brokers who specialise in guarantor supported home loans. We can quickly assess your situation, work out which lenders can approve your application and which loans would be the cheapest for your situation.
Our additional free services include reminding you when it may be possible to remove the guarantee and discussing the proposed loan with the guarantor to make sure that they understand and are comfortable with it.
To talk to a mortgage broker specialising in guarantor-supported lending please enquire online or call us on 1300 889 743.