low doc loans

Helping Self-Employed People Become Homeowners

How Low-Doc Loans Can Help Self-Employed People Become Homeowners

Often it’s far harder to get a self-employed home loan than it is to get a standard mortgage.

Why is that?

Information from the Australian Investments and Securities Commission stipulate there are many Australians who make good money being self-employed. The problem, however, stems from the fact that the income isn’t consistent.

While self-employed people have the income and assets that are needed for home financing, banks and other traditional lenders want paperwork that accurately show it. That’s where the problem lies. Without income verification such as financial statements or tax returns, freelance workers have a much harder time proving their worth to attain a loan.

Although difficult to attain, it’s not impossible. Thankfully, there are several self-employed home loans that were created to provide some flexible options so the self employed can prove their income.

A Brief Overview Of The Low Documentation Loan

Low documentations (low doc, for short) loans disregard the limits tied to traditional mortgage loans. There’s no need to provide an in-depth array of information regarding your income.


In order to qualify for low-doc home loans, you must meet three pre-requisites:


  • You need to have an active Australian Business Number that goes with the self-employed status. It is best if this number has been active for the last year 12 months.
  • You will need a minimum of 20 percent (as a general rule) of the property’s value to be down (deposit).*
  • You need to have some proof of income.

* The Team at Sherlock also has access to 85% and 90% Low Doc Loans. Contact us for details on how you can apply today.


Since there’s not a lot of documentation, the entire process of applying goes smoother. When asked to provide evidence that you have reliable income, you have a choice of one or more of the following three options:


  • Bank statements that show the business income and expenses
  • Business activity statements
  • Accountants letter


There’s no reason you can’t get a home loan just because you are self-employed. Stop allowing the conventional methods of mortgage requirements keep you from doing so. With Sherlock Holmes Lending Solutions, you can get into the home market now, not later. Ask about our low-doc home loans today!


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Sherlock Holmes Lending Solutions

Budget for Settlement Costs – Loan Origination Fees, LMI (Lenders Mortgage Insurance) & Stamp Duty

Once you reach an agreement on the purchase of a home, things start moving quickly. In the chaos, it is important to remember to budget for settlement costs.

Settlement costs are fees associated with miscellaneous events associated with a home purchase, things such as property inspections, stamp duty, conveyancing fees etc. Even if you are purchasing a home for the first time, you are probably aware there are closing costs that have to be paid. Rarely, however, are you aware of just how much and how fast the can accumulate. If you have not budgeted for them, they can put a kink in the settlement or even cause you to lose the home.

A couple of closing costs to keep in mind are origination fees for home loans and lenders mortgage insurance. The mortgage related costs are only a small part of the overall closing costs you can face, but deserve a closer look.

Origination fees for home loans can be a shock to first time buyers. Few realise they are going to have to pay such things. Origination fees are costs charged by a lender for services used to determine if the lender should give you a loan in the first place. For example, a lender will often charge you fees for having a valuation done on the property. Infuriatingly, the lender will also charge you fees for processing the loan and preparing the loan documents. On a $400,000 loan, the origination fees can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.

Lenders mortgage insurance, often called LMI, can also be a nasty little surprise. The magic number when considering LMI is 20 %. If you pay a deposit on the home that is less than this amount, you are almost certainly going to have to pay LMI. LMI is simply insurance that protects the lender should you default on the loan. The cost can add up to hundreds and into the thousands of dollars, so make sure you know what is expected of you.

Stamp Duty is the one, in my experience, that is consistently overlooked.  As a general rule I always tell clients to allow approx. 4% of the purchase price to cover these costs.  It is usually a little less, and varies from state to state – however I find it always better to lean towards the conservative side. Settlement costs are aggravating – budget for them up front, and you will feel less aggravation.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Once you reach an agreement on the purchase of a home, things start moving quickly. In the chaos, it is important to remember to budget for settlement costs. Settlement costs are fees associated with miscellaneous events associated with a home purchase, things such as property inspections, stamp duty, conveyancing fees etc. Even if you are…

Demystifying mortgages – 12 myths about lending every first home buyer should know.

Myth #1
You need at least 20% deposit to get a mortgage         
In today’s market that is not necessarily true.  While it is correct that having a deposit is the ideal situation, if you are currently renting and just cannot save enough for a deposit there are many lenders that offer low deposit home loans.  Borrowers can often borrow up to 95% of the purchase price which is a tempting offer for any first time home buyer wishing to get into the property market. A low deposit home loan may often attract higher interest rates or more stringent policy restrictions but if you are confident you can afford the repayments then you can achieve the dream of owning your first home with a minimal deposit.

Myth #2
Fixing your rate is safer than a variable rate
When interest rates are high, many are tempted to fix their rate to protect against further hikes.  All is well with the world and as a borrower, you feel incredibly happy that you are not affected by the next huge rate increase.  The problem here is that if rates fall, you end up paying a higher interest rate compared to the variable rate.  Fixed rate home loans do offer some security in an uncertain market, and also allow borrowers to know exactly what their mortgage repayments will be for the next one, three or seven years. Everyone is different and has varying financial requirements so talking through your options with a mortgage broker is recommended.

Myth #3
A bad credit history means you won’t get a home loan
Let’s get one thing clear.  A bad credit history is not good.  Any missed or default payments on credit cards or mobile phones are recorded.  Even if the amount was small or years ago, it affects your credit rating.  However, not all is lost.  Lenders will consult your credit history and feed this into their own credit scoring system.  If it turns out there are issues, the lender may take a closer look and may still approve a home loan if you meet the requirements.  Similarly, non-conforming lenders provide an alternative option for borrowers who have been refused finance by traditional lenders.  Non conforming lenders are an ever expanding avenue and offer in many cases quite competitive products providing opportunities which were once deemed impossible.

Myth #4
I can still get a home loan even though no income, because I have several assets
Yes, you may have a collection of stamps from the 1920’s to be proud of, but it’s not going to convince a bank to lend you $400,000.  Assets aren’t the same as income, and it’s your regular income that lenders get excited about.  Lenders will only lend as much as people can afford to repay, and a first time home loan is a big commitment. The amount of income earning capacity you have will ultimately determine how much you are able to borrow.

Myth #5
Get the lowest rate possible
Be cautious with low interest rates.  A cheap rate is attractive, especially to first home buyers, but take note because these low rates often come with less features on the home loan, reduced flexibility and higher fees. They may only be an introductory rate and once that honeymoon period is over you could find yourself paying a much higher rate.  Often a loan with a slightly higher rate but more features will save you money over the life of the loan.

Myth #6
Credit cards are okay if I pay them off.
When it comes to credit cards it’s not all about the balance on your card, or cards, it’s the total available credit that counts. Having a large range of credit does not necessarily equate to a good credit history.  Often it’s the credit card limit, not the balance that counts.  So even if you pay off all your credit card debts, if you still have a high limit this can affect your servicing and chances of approval.

Myth #7
I can roll my personal debts into my mortgage
So you have a car loan and credit card debts, and you want to roll all of these into your home loan?  Makes sense, as the interest rate on your mortgage will be lower than your current rate.  But, first home buyers are not usually able to just throw all their debts together like this.  Usually you have to build up equity in the property and then use this equity to service the additional debt.

Myth #8
A low-deposit home loan means you don’t need any savings.
This one is most certainly not true.  First home buyers get excited and tend to think that a 95% per cent loan means that they do not have to pay much money upfront.  But, a 95 per cent home loan only covers most of the cost of the property, and not all the purchase costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, property inspection fees and lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).  You will still need some savings to cover these costs as well as the 5% deposit.

Myth #9
Start by paying just the minimum amount
Many first home owners pay only the minimum monthly repayment, as they adjust to the new financial commitment.  However, at the start of the loan you are really only paying interest so by paying more than the minimum, you quickly reduce the amount of interest and principle on the loan.  As interest is calculated daily, repaying twice a month instead of once per month can also save you thousands in interest.

Myth #10
Mortgage insurance protects the borrower
Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) protects the lender, not the borrower.  Borrowers who can put down a 20% deposit should not need to pay LMI but borrowers with any less than this will pay LMI to the lender.  The less deposit you have, the higher the premium.

Myth #11
Offset accounts save you money
Home loan offset accounts are a great idea, but only for those borrowers who are responsible with their money and have a regular income. If you have a shoe addiction or tend to buy all your mates extra rounds at the pub, you may want to think twice about offset accounts.  Your income goes straight into your home loan account, pays your mortgage repayment and then you can use the extra funds for other expenses.  However, if you have bad spending habits you could end up spending more.  Be careful not to end up in negative equity because you didn’t monitor your spending.

Myth #12
Refinancing saves you money
Perhaps you have just bought your first home, and you are enjoying all the benefits of your own home.  Your first time mortgage is going well, but perhaps you fixed your rate six months ago and now rates are coming down, or maybe you want to switch to a different lender.  Refinancing sometimes costs money. In the way of exit fees for existing home loans, and settlement fees for the new loan.  However, the market is quite competitive currently and some lenders are giving all the power to the home owner.  Shopping around and refinancing your home loan can save you thousands over the life of you loan, but can also end up costing you more, so talk your possible choices through with a mortgage broker before making your decision.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Myth #1 You need at least 20% deposit to get a mortgage          In today’s market that is not necessarily true.  While it is correct that having a deposit is the ideal situation, if you are currently renting and just cannot save enough for a deposit there are many lenders that offer low deposit home loans. …

Timing the market: how the cycles affect your portfolio

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns.

Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can be determined more easily and profitably by understanding the real estate cycle and the important attributes of its behavior.

It is tough to be at the beginning of a trend. People tend to follow the crowd (or the media) and consequently buy yesterday’s deals. It is much easier to profit when you are buying at the beginning or even in the middle of a cycle. If you can accurately time a rising market, you can benefit from higher rental income due to higher occupancy which results in upward pressure on property values and conversely liquidate when the opposite is evident.

Fortunately for real estate investors, the movements of real estate prices are slower and more predictable than the stock market due to the slow response to promising or discouraging economic movement.  The real estate cycle displays different characteristics based on whether the property is a free-standing house, a high density unit or a commercial property. Property values in office buildings are generally more susceptible to swings in a cycle than industrial buildings, retail buildings, apartment buildings and residential.

Demand drives each of these sectors. In the case of office buildings, the demand for office space is tied in directly to employment and the financial sector. Demand for industrial space is powered by manufacturing, transportation and the need for warehouse space.  Demand for retail space and apartment units is stimulated by population and growth of income.

All cycles are local

The real estate cycle can vary significantly from city to city and even down to suburb, compared to aggregate national statistics. A local real estate cycle can react differently based on economic demand for housing and can have longer or shorter peaks or troughs than the national cycle and nationally reported statistics.

It is important to understand the local real estate cycle wherever you decide to invest in order to make decisions that will be profitable. Being able to predict what will be happening in your local market based on specific key indicators will allow you to analyze expected returns, forecast property income and potential value increases or decreases. This can also aid in buy or sell triggers in your portfolio based on over or undersupply in the market.

Stages of the real estate cycle

There are typically four stages to each real estate cycle. In order to properly analyse, you need local data describing historic appreciation or depreciation which ultimately boils down to supply and demand.  For instance, demand for office space increases as a result of higher employment which in turn stimulates retail and residential demand. Conversely, demand for office space decreases as the value of market rents goes up. This factor spills over to retail and residential.

One must be aware of other indicators that are prevalent in each of the four stages of “top”, “down”, “bottom” and “up” of the cycle, specifically pertaining to residential properties.

1. Top of the market

Many Australian metropolitan cities today have been touted as being at the bottom of their market whereas others are on their way back up, some are booming and yet others remain stagnant. Historically cycles last from seven to 10 years, which allows us to learn from the past and better prepare for what and when our next move should be.

There are key indicators that are indicative of any real estate cycle. At the top of a market, prices are high. This sounds like an obvious statement, but what contributes to factors driving prices up?

Typically when there is high demand, the price goes up. This is usually triggered by employment opportunities, an enticing lifestyle or a retirement destination.

To properly analyse a residential market, you need to know the if the number of sales are increasing month to month, the number of days on the market it takes for a property to sell, if multiple offers on properties are becoming common – this drives property prices up even higher.

Other indicators can be observed just by driving around observing the construction industry. If stock is low and demand is high, people are generally very optimistic.

Vacancy rates will be lower so there will be less “For Rent” signs evident.

Your game plan

  1. If you can raise your rents, now is definitely the time.  Renew leases. With low vacancy and high migration to the area, there is high demand for properties. However, if interest rates are low, renters may be jumping into new homes.
  2. Once over-building is evident, you may consider liquidating one or more of your properties, particularly any underperforming properties, which may sell for a great price.
  3. Buy-reno-sell strategies can work well at the beginning of this phase provided the property is acquired under fair market value.
  4. You may consider selling later in this cycle.

2. A down market

A downward trending market happens after the top of a cycle. This move can be subtle at first. Many inexperienced investors can “get caught” during this shift, resulting in potential losses.

This can result from maintaining a selling price higher than the market will bear rather than anticipating the downward trend and unloading the property with good pricing or speculating in preconstruction.

A downward trending market occurs when new construction exceeds demand and/or prices hit maximum affordability. Once this happens, prices begin leveling off, demand slows down, and public optimism becomes uncertain.

When a market has too much inventory, sales decrease, ultimately triggering the amount of listings to increase.  This causes the average “days on the market” (DOM) of each property to increase, naturally triggering a downward pressure in prices. The market ultimately dictates when the decline will stop and what prices are reasonable.

Vacancy rates begin increasing as tenants have more choice of units and landlords begin offering discounted rents or move in specials.

Your game plan

  1. If you missed selling at the top of the market, sell fast and don’t hold out for top dollar.
  2. You may need to decrease rents or offer incentives to attract or keep tenants.
  3. Many landlords will have higher vacancies and may be highly negotiable on price (wait until later in the cycle).
  4. If you don’t sell now, hold your existing properties until the market corrects.

3. The bottom

At the bottom of a market, general public perception of the economic outlook is negative. Higher unemployment prevails and the banks’ lending criteria becomes more stringent. Prices tend to decline and it is not until prices ultimately begin to increase and vacancies begin to decrease that you will know where the bottom is (or was). Foreclosures or power of sales become more frequent and economic pessimism prevails as demand continues to slow.

New construction during this time drops. However, new builds already underway still come on line. Many contractors either become renovators or get out of the business.

Your game plan

  1. Take buying slowly but start buying distressed properties later in the cycle.
  2. Holding and waiting for the “up market” indicators if you are looking to ultimately sell.
  3. Provide furnished rentals to keep your unit rents up.
  4. Approach builders who have unsold inventory and purchase one, several or all of their unsold inventory at a discount or with a purchase option.

4. The Up Market

During this time falling housing prices have bottomed out and are stabilizing and demand is slow. New inventory is down as new construction is almost at a standstill. However, as the cycle continues and demand becomes more evident, new construction begins as does pre- construction speculation.

In an “up” market prices will begin to increase based on stimulation of the local economy, thus increasing demand. With less property available, there are less listings, the days on market decrease and multiple offers on property become prevalent.

From a rental perspective, this creates a diminishing supply of units, which triggers lower vacancy and higher rents.

Your game plan

  1. Buy for bargain prices from other investors who still haven’t realised a new cycle has begun.
  2. Increase rents.
  3. Buy, reno and sell.
  4. Refinance existing properties to buy more.
  5. Sell if you can move the equity into a more valuable property.

The public is usually driven by the media who are usually trailing the middle or even the end of a wave. This gives those who are studying the key market indicators a distinct advantage. However, acting when no one else has acted takes knowledge, courage and sometimes trusting your gut.

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today or contact us via email and we will be happy to assist you.

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns. Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can…

investment property

Investment Property – 5 ways to sniff out secret sales

Investment Property - 5 ways to sniff out secret sales

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find an investment property before it went onto the market? We reveal how you can find secret property sales.

If you are a buying property for yourself and want to get access to unlisted properties you need to get clever.

1. Become better friends with your local real estate agent
As the key contact between sellers and buyers, agents are the first to be aware of properties for sale – yet so many people are shy about handing over their mobile number at open inspections.
How are you ever going to be made aware of deals or changes in a vendor’s expectations unless you make contact with the agent? You need to persuade the agent that you are very serious about buying an investment property.

Make sure they know you are pre-approved for finance, are serious about buying and can make a quick decision followed by a signed, unconditional contract.

People are often scared about telling an agent what their budget is, as they think the agent will make them pay more. I always say that I can buy up to any amount if it is the right deal, but I am only prepared to pay what it’s worth – and I will get an independent valuation to double check the figure.

2. Letterbox drops
Do what the agents do and letterbox drop in the areas you want to buy.

If you are a serious buyer for the right investment property, the vendor can save time and money by going directly to you. It takes more personal effort and will cost you some money, but spending a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars could get you a great property at a great price.

A lot of vendors always think their property is the best in the street and want a fortune for it, but some do not keep up with the market and want something more realistic.

3. Get organised
Make sure you are ready when the right deal comes along. Get pre-approved for finance and have your valuer, building inspector and strata inspector all in place so they can check you are buying the right property at the right price.

You are never 100% guaranteed of any deal when it happens, so at some point you have got to make a decision and jump in. The more organised you are, the more likely that decision will become easier.

4. Tell friends, family and colleagues you are looking to buy
Often those close to you will know of someone else looking to sell, so spread the word. People love talking about property, so if you mention you are looking every time you talk to someone it won’t be long until you make the right connection.

5. Pay a professional
If you buy an investment property once every few years and a buyers’ agent does it every day and has all the industry contacts, who do you think will buy better? Sometimes you’ve got to spend a dollar to make two.

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today and we will be happy to assist you 0434 087 735 e: [email protected]