The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly frustrating for Victorians with stage 4 restrictions imposed on us back at the start of August 2020.  For home buyers it has meant that it is particularly hard to purchase a property at the moment because you are unable to physically visit houses on the market.

I have many first home buyers with pre-approvals in place ready and waiting to purchase their first home but are nervous about purchasing something sight unseen which is fair enough.  Whilst you are still able to view a property virtually, it really is not the same as seeing it in person especially if it’s the very first property you are about to purchase.

Even though Victorians do not yet have a clear roadmap out of the stage 4 restrictions, now is as good a time as any to get yourself organised and if possible apply for a pre-approval so that when we are able to go to open homes you will be ready to put an offer in.

Have lenders tightened up their lending criteria?

I am getting asked a lot lately whether lenders have tightened up their credit assessment policies.  The short answer to this is yes, however as with all lending everyone’s situation is unique so you shouldn’t assume that you won’t be eligible for a home loan until you get a professional opinion.

The policy changes will depend on the industry you work in as many lender policies may not have changed if you work in an industry that has not been impacted by COVID-19.

As a mortgage broker I have access to many different types of lenders all of whom have different credit policies, so potentially if you are getting told no by one lender there might be another lender out there who will consider your situation.

Is it taking longer to get a home loan approved?

The wait times to get a loan application assessed with some lenders has definitely blown out since COVID-19 hit, however there are plenty of other lenders who are assessing applications within 24 to 48 hours.

It is hard to determine what the wait time will be for a client until such time as a full assessment has been done and I can work out which lender or lenders they have available to them based on their unique financial circumstances.

Are lenders accepting JobKeeper as income?

Early on when JobKeeper was introduced there were a few lenders who would consider this for servicing, however that list has now grown considerably so if you are on JobKeeper you could still potentially be eligible for a home loan but just need to understand the lender’s policy around this.

Are there still spots on the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?

The first home loan deposit scheme spots were snapped up very quickly again this time around with the larger banks involved in the scheme, NAB and CBA, having no spots currently left.  There is a possibility that you could go on a waitlist with these lenders, but you will need to check with your broker or the lenders themselves to see if they have a waitlist.

There are still spots available with the smaller lenders such as Auswide, Health Professionals, Firefighters Mutual and Australian Military Bank, but again these are going very quickly so you need to get yourself prepared if you want to take advantage of the scheme.

It is also important to remember that if you do secure a spot on the scheme it only lasts for three months at which point it will expire and you’ll have to apply for it again.

Along with the first home loan deposit scheme there other Government incentives available to first home buyers so if you are hoping to buy something in the near future or think you are close to being ready to buy something, now would be a great time to get in touch with Nikki from Cherry Lending & Finance who will help you put a plan into place and take you through the Government incentives.

To find out more about the other Government incentives you can read my blog on purchasing a new home – https://cherrylending.com.au/first-home-buyer-case-study-new-home-in-victoria/.

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