While many people prefer to do their initial research about buying a home online, there comes a time when picking up the phone and speaking with an expert is the next best step.

Here are a few suggestions for when to give a lender or broker a call (hint: try before you’ve signed up to buy a property!).
 
When you want to know if you’re eligible for a loan
Each bank, credit union or other financial institution will have slightly different eligibility criteria, so it’s important to know you can get a loan with them in the first place.

There are certain things that nearly all lenders will require, such as:
  • You’re over 18
  • You’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • You have evidence of genuine savings
Other information such as your credit history and employment status could also affect your eligibility.
 
When you want to know how much you can borrow
There are plenty of online calculators to give you an indication of how much you can borrow, but speaking to a lender will give you a clearer picture. A lender can go through all the relevant information and give you a closer estimate of what you can borrow according to your situation.

They’ll also be able to let you know how much loan repayments could be, and what you’ll need to provide upfront to cover the deposit, fees and charges.
 
When you want to apply for an Approval in Principle
If you want to know the exact amount you can borrow, and have this handy so you can make offers on properties, it’s a good idea to apply for an Approval in Principle. Getting an Approval in Principle is also known as being pre-approved, as it’s a formal letter saying that based on all the evidence you’ve provided, the lender would provide you with a home loan of a certain amount.
 
The first step to applying for an Approval in Principle is to call a lender (or broker) and make an appointment. They’ll be able to advise what documents you’ll need to get started.