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Did you know that a guarantor home loan is now the only way to borrow 100% to 110% of a property’s purchase price in Australia?

As the most popular no deposit home loan solution on the market, thousands of young Australians are getting into a home sooner rather trying to save a deposit in a highly-priced environment.

On top of that, you can avoid the cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) and the other costs associated with purchasing a property such as stamp duty and other legal fees.

How does a guarantor home loan work and do you qualify?

How do guarantor home loans work?

Your guarantor will provide a guarantee for your home loan which is secured on their property. In most cases this is someone’s parents assisting them to buy a home.

The idea is to help you to get your foot into the property market. 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.

Who can be a guarantor?

Your guarantor will provide a guarantee for your home loan which is secured on their property. In most cases this is someone’s parents assisting them to buy a home.

The idea is to help you to get your foot into the property market. 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.

What happens if the person I’m acting as guarantor for defaults on their loan?

On paper, a guarantor arrangement means you, as the guarantor, are ultimately liable for your child’s home loan should they default. This suggests that the banks will move quickly to sell your home to cover the remaining debt.

The reality is that banks actually try everything to solve the problem before making the drastic decision to sell your home.

The reason is that there is often a significant process involved in trying to sell your home to cover your child’s mortgage and, when you take into account the time and cost of bank of employees, it’s often not worth the hassle.

Instead, lenders would rather your child keep paying their mortgage so they’ll want to find out why they’re having trouble managing their repayments and whether a solution can be found.

For example, if your son or daughter has lost their job but they’re a professional in a good industry, lenders take into the consideration the fact that they have a good chance of getting another job soon.

In the meantime, the bank may reduce their mortgage repayments for a certain period of time until they are able to bring in the second income to cover the home loan repayments.

Should the borrowers still not be able to make their home loan repayments, lenders will always take action on the borrower’s property first before making the guarantor liable to pay out the outstanding debt, bearing in mind that repossession will only begin once the mortgage hits its ninth month of arrears.

What if my child’s home comes in under market value if it needs to be sold?

Remember, you, as the guarantor, are only taking on a limited guarantee which means you’re only liable for up to an agreed amount. This is usually around 20% of the purchase price plus the costs of stampy duty, conveyancing fees and other associated home loan costs.

For example, if the outstanding debt is for $700,000 but your limited guarantee is for only $210,000, you’re only liable to cover the outstanding mortgage up to $210,000.

However, if your child’s property only sells for $440,000, you’ll have to cover up to $210,000 with equity in your property to cover the shortfall but you won’t be liable for the remaining $50,000.

Of course, if the property sells for $590,000, you would be liable for $110,000.

If you don’t have the equity or enough savings to cover this amount, you may be able to cover the outstanding debt in the following ways:

  • A second mortgage on the guarantor property.
  • A personal loan.

If all of these avenues have been exhausted, banks will sell your home but will only take enough to cover the home loan up to your limited guarantee. The rest of the sales proceeds will go to you.

Questions to consider before acting as a guarantor

Choosing to act as guarantor 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.

What are the benefits of a guarantor loan

You don’t need a deposit, allowing you to buy a home now.
The guarantor cover you for not only the minimum 5% deposit required but also the costs of completing the purchase including stamp duty, conveyancing fees, property title transfer and the costs of setting up your mortgage (varies depending on the home loan package you’ve chosen).

Save money by not paying an LMI premium.
Depending on the size of your loan, LMI can cost several thousands of dollars or around 3% of the purchase price. This is on top of the minimum 5% deposit, which will need to be paid upfront along with the LMI premium (and the other purchasing costs mentioned above). By acting as guarantor for your child or close relative, the mortgage insurer will be happy for the bank to proceed with the loan without charging an LMI premium.

Discounted interest rates are available from some lenders.
Once you’re approved to act as guarantor, the home loan itself isn’t considered to be a high risk by the bank so they’ll generally offer the same interest rates and discounts as they would to a standard borrower.

You can consolidate some minor debts such as credit cards.
This is usually restricted to about 5% of the purchase price.

You can limit the size of the guarantee.
That’s right, you’re not liable for the full price of the property and the costs of completely the purchase! A mortgage can help you work out how much of your equity is needed for you to act as guarantor.

Up to 100% of the land and construction costs can be borrowed for the purposes of building.
Be aware that many lenders do not allow “loan increases” on guarantor loans. What this means is that if you buy the land and then apply for the construction loan later, it may be declined! Please complete our free assessment form to discuss your situation with one of our mortgage brokers. We know how to structure your loan to get it approved!

Yes, you can use a guarantor to 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 but buying multiple investment properties is not normally accepted. This is because the guarantor is taking an unnecessarily high risk whereas the borrower is making all of the potential profit. If the guarantor is in a strong financial position then multiple investment properties may be considered.

Low doc loans aren’t usually available.
Low doc loans cannot be used with the support of a guarantor 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 for 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.

Why you need expert advice

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 you apply for the loan and then take the ‘Guarantee & Indemnity’ documents to your solicitor for legal advice prior to 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 then you may be putting your parents at a higher risk, or you may not be able to remove the guarantee as quickly as you would like.

Using a guarantor to avoid saving a deposit

The situation:
Nick has been renting for a couple of years and decides now is the time to buy his very own home.

He’s found a nice 3 bedroom house not far from where he works. The property is worth $500,000 but he knows if he doesn’t act fast he’ll miss out on buying it.

The problem is that he hasn’t been able to save up a deposit to get a home loan due to renting. He needs at least 5% plus costs in order 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.

The solution:
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 able to able to 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.

Results
By asking his parents to act as guarantor on his mortgage:

  • 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 leftover to take a little holiday.

Using a guarantor to consolidate debt

The situation:
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 around $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.

The solution:
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.

Results:
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?

Well, by not consolidating and continuing to paying their debts separately, Alicia and Chris would have been paying $4,876 per month.

Now:

  • They are $589 better off per month and are able to 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.
  • They’re able to qualify for competitive professional package and basic loan discounts are available.

How is the mortgage for the guarantor loan 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 can I borrow?

  • First home buyers: 105% of the property value.
  • Construction: 105% of the total land value and cost of construction.
  • Refinancing: 100% of the property value.
  • Debt consolidation and purchase: 110% of the property value.
  • Investors: 105% of the value of your investment property.

Technically there is no maximum loan size. However borrowing over $1,000,000 will require you to meet additional credit criteria.

What if I my parents already have a home loan?

That’s ok, as long as they have sufficient equity then some of our lenders can still secure a guarantee on their property using a second mortgage.

How do lenders work out if your guarantor has enough equity in their property? The total debt secured on the guarantor’s property, for example their current home loan plus the new limited guarantee, must be less than 75% – 80% of the value of their property. For example, if your guarantor had a home loan with $100,000 owing and they needed to give a limited guarantee of $100,000 then 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.

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 a 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 give 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.

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 prior to signing the loan offer.

My bank won’t let me consolidate

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.

Do I need a first home buyer?

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.

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 a 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

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 then generally you will be able to consolidate debts as well as purchase a property as long as your total debts are no more than 5% – 10% of the purchase price.

When can the guarantee be removed?

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.

Most people are able to 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 in extra repayments the borrower can afford to make.

You can still remove the guarantee if you owe more than 80% of the property value, however you may have to pay LMI to achieve this.

Why is there no LMI premium?

From the bank’s point of view, if you are borrowing more than 80% of the value of your property 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 in case 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 value of the guarantee. As a result of this they waive the requirement for LMI.

How much is the guarantee limited to?

For the majority of 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 amount of the loan, 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)

What types of guarantee are there?

Security guarantee: With this type of guarantee the guarantor uses real estate that they own 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 are buying a home, have an excellent income, but no deposit. The guarantor is also called an “equity guarantor” by some lenders.

Security & income guarantee: A security and income guarantor is most 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 so as 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.

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’.

Confused yet?

Don’t worry, they all mean essentially 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.

What are the names used for guarantor loans?

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.

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