How do home loans work?


We've got you covered if you want to get a home loan. In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about home loans, including what they are, how they work, and what you need to do to get one.

In Australia, loans are crucial in the real estate market and home-buying process. Prospective home buyers have various options for financing, including fixed-rate home loans, variable-rate home loans, and investment home loans. Mortgage lenders, such as banks and financial institutions, facilitate the approval process, considering loan amounts, debt-to-income ratio, and tax returns to assess borrowers' eligibility.

Let’s get to the following commonly asked questions: 

  • What are home loans in Australia?
  • How do home loans work?
  • How much of my salary should go toward home loan repayments?
  • What are the different types of home loans?
  • How do I choose the right home loan for me?
  • How do I apply for a home loan?

Q1. What are home loans in Australia?

A home loan is the money you borrow from a bank or lender to buy a property. When a lender gives you money, they expect you to repay the amount borrowed in instalments over time. These are known as home loan repayments. 

Some loans target rural and suburban homebuyers, providing a path to homeownership with low or no down payment. To better understand home loans, let’s examine how the process works.

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Q2. How do home loans work?

When applying for a loan, borrowers may encounter closing costs and the possibility of private mortgage insurance (PMI), depending on their financial situation and chosen loan type. Home buyers need to explore all available options, use loan calculators to understand monthly payments, and consider consulting mortgage brokers to find the most suitable loan rates.

To explain how the home loan process works, let’s break it down into parts.

  1. Deposits: Most lenders only provide a home loan totalling 80-90% of your total property value. This means you’ll need to cover the remaining 10-20%.
  2. Home loan repayments: Once you’ve taken out a loan and purchased your property, the lender will expect you to repay the money. You’ll usually repay your mortgage in monthly instalments over 20-40 years, though some lenders offer different repayment options. Many lenders will also allow you to make extra repayments to pay off your loan faster.
  3. Interest rates: Consider interest rates when agreeing on the terms of your home loan, as this determines how much you’ll pay over time. For example, a $400,000 25-year home loan with a fixed interest rate of 6% would mean you would pay $773,162 by the end of your home loan term. You can find out how much you’ll pay using a home loan repayment calculator.

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Q3. How much of my salary should go toward home loan repayments?

The money you earn directly impacts the amount of money you’re able to borrow. Many lenders require your monthly house repayment to total no more than 30% of your after-tax salary. This ensures you can confidently and reliably pay the money you owe each month.

Q4. What are the different types of loans for homes in Australia?

  1. Fixed-rate home loan: The interest rate of a fixed-rate loan remains the same throughout the loan repayment term. This means you’ll pay the same fixed rates in your first repayment year as your last.
  2. Variable home loans: The interest rate of a variable-rate loan is subject to change based on the market. Your variable interest rates could go up or down over your home loan repayment term.
  3. Split home loan: A split home loan allows you to divide your loan into multiple parts, meaning one portion of your loan can have a fixed interest rate, and the remainder can have a variable interest rate.

Choosing between fixed or variable interest rates can be tricky. Read more on the subject here.

Q4. What do I need to do to be eligible for a home loan?

When you apply for a home loan, you must meet specific lending criteria. A lender will assess your credit history, employment stability, and deposit amount to determine your borrowing capacity. This indicates the maximum loan you can receive. Let’s explore each deciding factor in more detail.

  • Credit history: Lenders look at the amount you’ve borrowed and repaid in the past to evaluate your borrowing power. A good credit score indicates you consistently make payments on time. This will increase your home loan borrowing potential. 
  • Employment stability: Your lender will also assess your employment stability to ensure you have a consistent and reliable source of income to meet loan repayments.
  • Deposit size: Most lenders want you to contribute at least 10-20% of the total property value. If you can’t make this payment, you must take out Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Are you looking to get a personal loan? Check out WeMoney’s personal loans, whereby you can compare and get approval on the best personal loan to suit your circumstances. 

Q5. How do I choose the right home loan for me?

There are many things to consider when comparing home loans. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best out of your borrowing.

  • Consider interest rates: Always search for the best home loan interest rate. Pick the option that aligns with your income and expenses.
  • Check for additional costs: Some lenders charge extra for application, ongoing, and early exit fees. Always check for fees and charges so you know exactly what you’re paying.
  • Use a comparison site: Check a trusted comparison site and compare home loans to find the comparison rate of different lenders and weigh up loan options.
  • Check for extra features: Lenders may offer additional home loan features to sweeten the deal. For example, offset accounts can offset the interest you’re charged. In addition, redraw facilities allow you to re-borrow any money you’ve already paid back to the lender.

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Q6. How do I apply for a home loan?

Getting started with a home loan is quick and easy. You can even apply online. You may submit your loan application once you have a signed contract for your property. Alternatively, you can start the process earlier by securing pre-approval. This gives you an idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow, even if you haven’t yet decided on your home.

When you submit your complete application and book an appointment, you’ll need to have some documents, such as an application form, ID, and evidence of income and savings. You’ll also need to declare any debts or loans you currently hold.

Once your lender processes your paperwork and checks your credit score, they will send out all relevant documents for you to sign. This usually takes about 1-2 weeks, but times may vary. After the paperwork is complete, your lender will transfer the funds to the property vendor, and you’ll gain access to your new property.

Home loans can seem overwhelming, but with some know-how and the correct information, you’ll be stepping through the doors of your new home in no time.

Summing up

Home loans can provide opportunities for home buyers to enter the real estate market and investment property sector, but they also come with considerations and risks. Understanding the pros and cons of different loan types is crucial to making informed decisions, whether for debt consolidation, paying off a mortgage, or using a line of credit.

Australia’s loan landscape in Australia is diverse, offering an array of opportunities for individuals to secure financing and achieve their homeownership dreams or investment goals. As the real estate market evolves and economic conditions fluctuate, staying informed about loan and mortgage rates is essential to navigate the lending process successfully.

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Disclaimer: The author is not a financial advisor, and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This article should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on this article as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation.

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