The home loan application process can be long and complicated.

With so many steps involved, people often don’t know where to start when applying for a mortgage.

Preparing for your mortgage application

Speak with a mortgage broker

To discover your eligibility for a home loan, the best place to start is to speak with a mortgage broker.

There are many benefits to using a mortgage broker:

  • In most cases, the services of a broker are free.
  • They have access to a wide range of major banks and lenders, and specialist lenders, which can be helpful if you do not quite fit into standard policies.
  • You will get a fast and easy approval compared to going to the bank directly because the broker will handle the application process from start to finish.
  • Mortgage brokers have strong negotiating power to get tough loans approved and to negotiate sharp interest rate discounts on your behalf.

Discover more reasons to use a mortgage broker and then call us on 1300 889 743 or fill in our online enquiry form to get started on the home loan application process today.

Initial conversation

This is the first contact you will have with your mortgage broker.

We use this stage to discuss your situation, your needs and objectives behind getting a home loan.

At the end of this discussion, we will determine if you’re eligibility for a home loan.

It’s also your opportunity to agree to use us as your broker.

Returning your application and documents

Once you have agreed to use us as your broker, we will ask you to complete our short application form (SAF).

We will also require supporting documents such as your ID, pay slips and bank statements.

By giving us all supporting documents in one go, it allows us to give you a quick and accurate assessment.

Use the home loan application documents checklist to make it simple and easy.

Preliminary assessment

After we have your application and supporting documents, we’re able to complete a preliminary assessment of your situation.

The preliminary assessment is a very detailed process where we identify any possible problems from a lending point of view.

We will also calculate your borrowing capacity or borrowing power.

Our brokers will then assess which lenders can assist and compare the most suitable loans at the lowest interest rates.

After the preliminary assessment, the broker will present two or three loan recommendations for you to choose from.

Submit to a lender

Once you have chosen the most suitable loan for you, we’ll then prepare to submit your application to the lender.

We will ask you to provide any final documents and to sign the lender’s privacy form.

While we wait for these documents, we prepare your application and upload it into the lender’s system or application portal.

We highlight the strengths of your application and present it so it suits the way that the particular lender will assess the loan.

Once we have everything we need, we click submit on the lender’s system and email your supporting documents to the lender.

Loan application

Conditional approval or pre-approval

Home loan pre-approval, also know as conditional approval or in-principle approval, is not a full approval.

At this stage, you have met most of the bank’s lending policies subject to a few conditions.

Typically, it means that you are yet to find a property which means your home loan is approved subject to a property valuation.

As long as the property meets the lender’s guidelines, they are likely to approve your home loan application. You can read more about property types that are acceptable to lenders and others that can be difficult to get approved.

The good news is that a pre-approval lasts about 3 months, which is usually enough time to find a suitable property.

Usually, you can extend your pre-approval if needed by providing a new set of payslips.

We often receive enquiries from customers who sign the Contract of Sale and pay their deposit before getting pre-approved.

This can be risky! If you can’t get formal approval, you risk losing your deposit.

Property valuation

Once you have chosen your desired property, a valuer will make an appointment to inspect the property.

The bank does not employ property valuers – they are separate companies which means their valuations are independent.

It also means the timelines for completing a valuation can vary.

In some cases, tenants can delay the valuer from gaining access to the property.

For very low risk applications, a valuer may not be required.

We can order upfront valuations with many of our lenders, which enables the bank to skip the first two steps and go straight to formal approval.

Unconditional approval or formal approval

Unconditional approval, also known as formal approval, is when the lender has everything they need and can confirm that they are willing to approve your loan.

They will issue a letter confirming their approval so, at this stage, you can relax.

There may sometimes be some back and forth with the bank asking for additional documents before they can finalise approval.

This is normal for complex applications or where you haven’t provided everything that the lender needs upfront.

If you’re borrowing over 80% of the property value, you may need Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) approval as well.

In some cases, this will mean that your application will take longer to reach unconditional approval.

Loan offer issued

Once the loan has been formally approved, the lender will send you a loan contract for you to sign to accept their offer.

You can go through this contract with your solicitor if you’d like to receive independent legal advice.

Once you’ve signed the contract, return it to the lender with any requirements that they need to settle the loan.

Do this as soon as possible to avoid delays at settlement!


Once the lender has certified that all of your documents are in order, they can then advance the loan funds.

For a purchase, they will call your solicitor or conveyancer and let them know that the funds are available.

Your conveyancer will book in a settlement time and date with the lender.

For a home loan refinance, your new lender will arrange with your current lender to repay their loan and take possession of your mortgage title.

They will book in a time to meet and sort this out automatically.

Settlement has occurred when the loan is advanced and your bank or broker will notify you as soon as the lender informs us.

After the mortgage is set up

Did you know that we have a customer care team dedicated to looking after you even after your home loan has been settled?

Two weeks after settlement

After your loan is set up, we’ll contact you a couple of times after settlement to make sure that you understand the loan features and how to make repayments.

We’ll also ask for a copy of the settlement letter to make sure that the lender has not overcharged you.

Annual review

We call our customers annually on the anniversary of their settlement to check that they haven’t had any problems and review their home loan.

Ongoing help

We provide ongoing service to our customers long after they have settled their loan including:

  • Reviewing your interest rate.
  • Switching loan products.
  • Helping you make an educated decision on fixing your interest rate or staying variable.
  • Monitoring the value of your property so you can make better decisions about accessing equity to buy an investment property or moving house.
  • Switching the date and frequency of your repayments so it better suits your financial needs and commitments.

How long does a loan application take?

The time that a loan application can take will vary significantly as some borrowers will have more complex applications than others.

Lenders who offer a lower interest rate are often slower as they receive more applications.

Other lenders are completely incompetent!

We’ll warn you if any of the lenders we’re recommending are known to have poor service levels.

To give you some idea, it usually takes a customer 48 hours to send their documents to us.

It will then take 24 hours for us to confirm our recommendation.

When the lender receives the loan, it can take anywhere from four hours to two weeks for them to complete conditional approval.

The valuation can take from two days to one week.

Formal approval can take from one day to one week.

The best way to find out is to call us to confirm the time required.

As a general rule, if you’re buying a property allow a two-week cooling off period or finance clause to give us ample time to obtain an approval.

What documents will I need?

Throughout the application process, you’ll be notified of a list of documents that you’ll be required to supply.

These documents will include the following:

  • Payslips: These must be recent and when multiple payslips are required, they must be consecutive. They should clearly show employer name, your name and salary.
  • Account statements: These must show account numbers, balance, limit and transactions for the period specified.
  • Liabilities and Expenses documentation: Includes statements for car loans, other mortgages or credit cards.
  • Asset documents: These documents can include banks statements or rates notices to show your savings record.
  • Contract of Sale: Send through the details of the property you wish to buy and the signature pages. There’s no need to send through the entire contract.
  • Certified Identity Documents: This must show the certifier’s details, document number and date of issue. If you’re a non-resident or Australian expat then Australian consular staff are usually the best option for your IDs to get certified. Check the lenders requirements closely.
  • If your name has changed due to marriage or divorce, please provide a marriage certificate or other verifications. Statutory declarations will suffice.

Who’s involved in the application process?

There are many parties involved in the application process, including:

Download after pre-approval checklist

Post pre-approval checklist

The first step

To begin the application process and get your home loan approved, give us a call on 1300 889 743 or enquire online.

One of our mortgage brokers will give you a call and get the loan application process started.

  • Benjamin

    For the home loan application, can I use my valuation report as it was completed just a month ago?

  • Hi Benjamin,

    Lenders employ separate companies as valuers who conduct an independent valuation of the property and prepare a report.The lenders will use that report as the base, and they will not accept the one done by the client.

  • Jess

    Once loan gets to credit assessor is it almost unconditional?

  • Hi Jess,
    Yes your loan is with the credit assessor then as long as the valuation has been completed and all missing documents have been provided then the loan should be approved relatively quickly. Some lenders are very slow at the moment whereas others are fast. Ask your broker for an estimate of how long it should take.

  • Jess

    Thank you :) it’s taken a while to get to this stage hopefully not much longer

  • Good luck Jess!

  • Jess

    Thank you ;)

  • Jess

    Have they usually assessed your ability to repay the loan, credit history etc by this stage? Or is that still to be done?

  • The credit assessor is usually the person who assesses this. So I’d say this is about to be completed.

  • Jess

    Thank you

  • Thom

    Hi, do you have any pages or resources on things to know or consider after home loan settlement? I’d very much appreciate any info especially on making sure everything is taken care of.

  • Hey Thom,

    We have an entire section on our website on managing your home loan, where we talk about the different ways you can manage your home loan yourself or how our mortgage brokers look after your loan even after it’s been settled. Here’s a link to that section and hope it helps:

  • Charlie

    Is it true that banks asses your ability to service a mortgage based on a significantly higher rate than the current rate ? I heard that the big 4 ensure you can pay 2% above current rates

  • Hi Charlie,
    Yes this is correct. APRA reviewed all banks and credit unions and required them to assess all loans at 2% higher than the actual rate OR 7.25%. Whichever is the higher.
    This is a good move as interest rates may increase in the future and we don’t want to approve loans now that people may not be able to afford later. However it doesn’t help a few people:
    – First home buyers often borrow to their limit and then increase their repayments later as their income increases. So it’s reasonable for them to borrow more than other borrower types.
    – Investors often have mulitple properties and negative gearing benefits. Many investors can’t borrow any more or even refinance their current loans.

    The good news is that not all lenders have made these changes. As a general rule we need to see you can genuinely afford the loan with your income and if so then we can often find a lender to assist.

  • Bec

    We are having problems with one bank not releasing top up loan docs to our broker who is doing the work for us to give to another funder to finalise approval of the home loan. How can we get help with this already had a 48hr extension and have until Monday to get the letter.

  • Hi Bec,
    Your mortgage broker should be able to solve this problem. I don’t think we could give any assistance without knowing the full situation which would be impossible in these comments.
    That being said, pushing lenders to do things faster rarely works. Every loan is urgent and so escalation requests typically do nothing. It’s best to push the real estate agent to delay the deadline. They almost always do this if you explain there are two banks involved and so the complexity means it is taking longer.

  • Andy

    We originally had a lot of trouble getting a home loan fully approved by a smaller bank (application time went on for 3 months – land&construction loan) so we went with a big 4 – a few days ago we now have formal approval from both banks, already signed the loan documents with the smaller bank What happens if we sign the 2nd loan offer as we would like to see who can get us to settlement faster? Is the home loan activated after settlement or as soon as the signed loan documents are certified?

  • Hi Andy
    You can sign both documents and cancel one later. FYI this is really not good practice to have two applications going at the one time and is something the lenders don’t like people doing as it’s very costly for them to process an application (several thousand dollars).
    If you’d like to settle quickly the most important thing is to double check the loan offer and make sure it is signed correctly and returned with all documents they need. Also for construction the banks often need additional documents prior to the first drawdown. Your mortgage broker can let you know what these are, or there is a generic list on this page

  • Manish Baisoya

    Hi, we signed to have an off the plan townhouse in August last year, which was expected to be completed in early Jan or Feb this year. We applied for a home loan and got it unconditionally approved from Bankwest in late October 2016. Unfortunately the whole townhouse project got delayed and the expected completion is June 2017 now. Since its been more than six months since we have got our loan approved, so do we need to go through the enitire application process again? because i would not to have another credit check appeared in mine and my wife’s credit history. Or is there a leverage where we can just renew the current loan?

  • Hi Manish
    It’s BankWest’s decision about this so its up to them. However they have a unadvertised discount right now so it may be worth reapplying. You must be borrowing $750k and less than 80% of the property value to get the discount.
    Alternatively other lenders may have a better discount for you. Feel free to call us if you’d like a quote.

  • Rozier

    If I go with you guys, how will the loan application process go? Will your brokers assist me through it?

  • Yes, our mortgage brokers will do all of the hard work and all you’ll be required to do is fill out the application and supply the required documentation. We can then complete a preliminary assessment and give you some options to choose from. Once we know which lender you would like to proceed with then we lodge the loan online directly into their system for a quick approval.

  • Imogen

    Hi, is it generally a bad sign if the loan process is taking a while? We put an application in and it’s now been almost 2.5 weeks. An upfront valuation was done and we were asked to provide a couple of extra things at the 1 week mark but have heard nothing else since!

  • Hi Imogen,
    Our industry is extremely inefficient at the moment due to recent changes made by APRA. Every lender is struggling and often asks for more information than they did several years ago. I wouldn’t be too concerned.

  • Rachel Ahern

    We have an application in with Auswide that has taken 3 weeks of jumping through hoops. Today they told us it is with ‘credit’ for approval. Would the assessor already have assessed our credit worthiness before this stage? I would of thought checking our credit rating and credit score would of been the first thing they would do?

  • Hi Rachel,
    Auswide have low rates at the moment so they’re inundated with applications. Some of ours went through quickly a few months back but recently they have become too busy. So your experience isn’t surprising. Credit is the name of the team who assesses applications so yes they would have already checked your credit file. Now it’s waiting on the credit assessor for approval. Best to just wait. If you are purchasing a property then discuss with your broker and conveyancer about how to manage possible delays with settlement.

  • catherine bradley

    Just after some advice, we were approved for finance in Brisbane and signed all the paperwork loan documents ect, and on the day of settlement the bank Westpac refused the loan – it this legal for them to do

  • Hi Catherine,
    We cannot give legal advice unfortunately. However we have seen banks do this in the past and our understanding is that there is no legal obligation to lend someone money. It’s best to check with a solicitor about this.
    In most cases where a bank withdraws the loan offer then it is because the loan was actually never approved (if you signed the loan docs with a mortgage etc then it was approved) or their auditing uncovered fraud in the application.

  • Nias

    How long does it take to get the formal approval, lender had few clarifications. I have given the justification for them. Last time I did so on last Friday (3 working days ago). Still no response from the lender.

    Will the lender formally notify the applicant even the application failed? (Nail biter)

    Please give me your thoughts. Fingers crossed!

  • Priyanka

    Hi, I got unconditional approval from NAB, but the bank asked for another 3 months bank statements, then they told me it’s in 2nd verification now. How long does it take and is it normal to ask for additional documents after unconditional approval?

  • Hi Priyanka,
    Generally, no but sometimes lenders do ask for more documents even after an unconditional approval. Once you’ve submitted all the documents they asked for, it should take NAB 4-5 business days to get back to you. Hopefully, your issue is resolved soon.

  • Bridges

    Hi, how long is the application process if we have sufficient savings and all the documents are readied?

  • Hi Bridges,
    First of all, we will have to assess your situation and find a suitable lender for you so that we can ask for documents as per the lender checklist. But, generally, our brokers will take around 2 business days to lodge your application and after the application has been submitted, it might take 4 to 5 business days for the bank to approve it, if everything else is satisfactory. Everything will depend on how quickly you’re able to provide us with the necessary documents and applications to be submitted to the bank.