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Loan Application Process

Applying for a home loan can be a long complicated process.

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

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 are likely to be eligible for a loan. It is the 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 compete our paper or online application. We will also require supporting documents such as your ID, pay slips and banks statements.

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

Preliminary Assessment

After we have your application and supporting documents we are able to do 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.

Our brokers will then assess which lenders can assist and compare the most suitable loans at the lowest interest rates. After the preliminary assessment we then present two or three recommended loans to you so you can pick which one your prefer.

Submit to a lender

When you have chosen the most suitable loan for you, we will 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. 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, then we click submit on the lenders system and email your supporting documents to the lender.

Conditional Approval/ Pre-Approval

Pre-Approval, also know as indicative or in-principle, is not full approval. Once the lender has all your application and supporting documents, the lender then assesses your application and confirms that you meet their policy. The lenders issue an approval subject to particular conditions. For example, a condition could be that the property being used as security is acceptable to the bank.

If you have not yet found a property then we can get your loan pre-approved by a lender. That means, as long as the property meets the lenders guidelines then they are likely to approve the loan.

A pre-approval is valid for ninety days with most lenders. They can be extended if need be by providing up to date pay slips and other documents.

Some people buy a property before they have a pre-approval. They sign the contract to buy a property and then they organise their loan. This can be risky. If they can’t get a loan then they may lose their deposit on the property.


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

The bank does not employ valuers, they are separate companies. As a result the time taken by them 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 up front valuations with many of our lenders, which enables the bank to skip the first two steps and go straight to formal approval.

Unconditional Approval/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 lend you the money.

They will issue a letter confirming their approval. At this stage you can relax.

Sometimes there is some going back and forth asking for additional documents before the bank can finalise approval.

This is normal for complex applications or where you have not provided everything that the lender needs up front.

If you are borrowing over 80% LVR then you may need lenders mortgage insurance approval as well.

In some cases this will mean that your application will take longer before a final approval.

You should get formal approval before the end of the cooling off period.

Loan Offer Issued

Once the loan has been formally approved then the lender will send you a loan contract for you to sign to accept their loan.You can go through this contract with your solicitor if you would like to receive independent legal advice. This is optional for most loans.

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


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 refinance loan, your new lender will arrange with your current lender to repay their loan and take possession of your certificate of title. They will book in a time to meet and sort this out automatically.

Settlement has occurred when the loan is advanced. We will notify you as soon as the lender informs us.

Two weeks

After your loan is set up we will call you a couple of times after the settlement to make sure that you understand the loan and know how to make repayments.

We will also ask for a copy of the settlement letter. We will check the settlement letter to make sure that the lender hasn’t overcharged you.

Annual Review

We will call a customer annually on the anniversary of their settlement to check that they have not had any problems and review their home loan.

Ongoing Help

We provide ongoing help with our customers, long after they have settled their loan. During these opportunities we are able to help customers:Applying for a new loan

  • Reviewing their interest rate
  • Switching loan products
  • Determine whether they should fix their loan rate or not
  • Discuss any hardship or potential problems with their loan.This is to make sure that you are getting the most out of your loan.

How long does a loan application take?

The time that a loan application can take will vary significantly as some borrows 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 will warn you if any of the lenders we are recommending are known to have poor service levels.

Indicatively, it takes most customers 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. However, as a general rule, if you are 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 will be given a list of documents required. These 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 is no need to send through the entire contract.
  • Certified Identity Documents. This must show certifiers details, document number and date of issue. If you are a non-resident or Australian expat then Australian consular staff are usually the best option. 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 is involved in the application process?

There are many participants in the application process. These people include:

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