Conditional Approval: Key Insights for Australian Expats and Foreign Buyers

Applying for a mortgage in Australia can be an overwhelming experience, especially for expatriates and foreign buyers. One term that often comes up during this process is conditional approval. But what is conditional approval, and how does it impact your mortgage application? 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the importance of conditional approval, address common concerns, and provide valuable tips for Australian expats and foreign buyers who are looking to apply for a home loan.

Conditional Approval: The Green Light You've Been Waiting For

Conditional approval, also known as pre-approval or approval in principle, is an agreement from a lender to provide a mortgage up to a specific amount, provided that certain conditions are met.

This is an essential step in securing your dream property, as it demonstrates to sellers and real estate agents that you are a serious buyer with financing in place.

Benefits of Conditional Approval

  • It gives you a clear understanding of your borrowing capacity, allowing you to search for properties within your budget.
  • It provides a competitive edge, as sellers may prioritize buyers with conditional approval.
  • It can streamline the mortgage application process, as you have already undergone a preliminary assessment.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Navigating the Steps After Conditional Approval

Once you’ve secured conditional approval, there are several steps to take before you can close the deal:

  • Property Selection: With your borrowing capacity determined, you can confidently search for properties within your budget. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research on the local market, attend inspections, and consult with local experts to find the right property.
  • Loan Application: Once you’ve found the perfect property, submit a formal loan application to your lender. They will assess your financial situation and confirm your eligibility for the loan. Ensure that all required documents are up to date and accurate to avoid delays.
  • Property Valuation: Your lender will typically require a property valuation to ensure it is worth the loan amount. A professional valuer will assess the property’s value based on factors like location, size, and market conditions. This step is crucial to protect both you and the lender from overpaying for a property.
  • Satisfying Conditions: Your lender may outline specific conditions that must be met before final approval. These may include providing additional financial documents, completing a satisfactory property valuation, or obtaining mortgage insurance. Promptly address these conditions to avoid delays in the approval process.
  • Mortgage Insurance: If your deposit is less than 20% of the property’s value, your lender may require you to obtain Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This protects the lender in case you default on the loan. Be prepared to factor this cost into your budget.
  • Contract of Sale: Once all conditions have been satisfied, you can sign the contract of sale and pay the deposit. Ensure that you review the contract with a legal professional before signing. This step is crucial to safeguard your interests and avoid potential disputes.
  • Settlement: The final step in the process is the settlement, where the remaining funds are transferred to the seller, and you officially take ownership of the property. This stage may involve coordinating with your lender, solicitor, and the seller’s agent to finalize the transaction.

Is Conditional Approval a Good Sign?

Yes, conditional approval is a positive sign that your mortgage application is on track. While it’s not a guarantee, it indicates that your lender is willing to lend you the money, provided you meet certain conditions. This can give you confidence as you search for properties and negotiate with sellers.

Factors that Influence Conditional Approval

  • Credit history: A strong credit history demonstrates your ability to manage debt responsibly and increases your chances of obtaining conditional approval.
  • Employment stability: Consistent employment history and a stable income can assure lenders of your ability to repay the loan.
  • Deposit size: A larger deposit reduces the risk for lenders and increases your chances of obtaining conditional approval.

Loan Declined After Conditional Approval: What Went Wrong?

Though rare, it is possible for a loan to be declined after conditional approval. This may occur if you fail to satisfy the conditions outlined by your lender, such as providing inaccurate information, experiencing a change in your financial situation, or selecting a property that doesn’t meet the lender’s criteria.

Possible Reasons for Loan Decline

  • Changes in financial circumstances: A job loss or reduced income can impact your ability to secure final approval.
  • Property issues: The property valuation may be lower than expected, or the property may not meet the lender’s criteria, such as being in a high-risk area or having structural issues.
  • Inaccurate documentation: If you provided inaccurate or incomplete information during the pre-approval process, your lender may decline your loan during the final assessment.

How Long Does Conditional Approval Take?

The timeframe for conditional approval can vary depending on the lender and your individual circumstances.

Generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. To expedite the process, ensure you have all required documentation ready and respond promptly to any requests from your lender.

Tips to Speed Up the Conditional Approval Process

  • Organize your financial documents in advance, including payslips, tax returns, and bank statements.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report to check for any errors or issues that may impact your application.
  • Be proactive in communicating with your lender and responding to their requests.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Conditional Approval Before Appraisal: A Risk Worth Taking?

Obtaining conditional approval before a property appraisal can be a strategic move, as it allows you to demonstrate your financial readiness to sellers. However, there is a risk that the property’s valuation might not align with the loan amount.

To mitigate this risk, research the local market and ensure the property is realistically priced before proceeding.

Strategies for Minimizing Valuation Risks

  • Consult with local real estate agents to gain insights into market trends and property values.
  • Attend property inspections to assess the condition of the property and identify any potential issues that may impact its valuation.
  • Be prepared to negotiate the purchase price if the valuation comes in lower than expected.

How Long to Close After Conditional Approval?

The time it takes to close a deal after conditional approval can vary based on several factors, including the time it takes to satisfy all conditions, the property’s valuation, and the negotiation of the contract of sale.

On average, it can take between 30 and 60 days to close a deal after conditional approval.

Tips for a Smooth Closing Process

  • Stay in close communication with your lender, solicitor, and real estate agent to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Address any outstanding conditions or requirements promptly to avoid delays.
  • Be prepared to be flexible with settlement dates, as unexpected issues can sometimes arise.

Understanding Conditional Approval

Understanding the ins and outs of conditional approval is crucial for Australian expats and foreign buyers navigating the mortgage process. By familiarizing yourself with the steps, timeline, and potential pitfalls, you’ll be better prepared to secure your dream property in Australia.

Remember, conditional approval is not a guarantee, but it is a crucial step in demonstrating your financial readiness to sellers and real estate agents.

If you’re still unsure about the conditional approval process or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our specialist mortgage brokers. They can provide personalized advice tailored to your unique circumstances and help you navigate the complexities of the Australian mortgage market.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

No, conditional approval is not bad. In fact, it’s a positive indication that your lender is willing to provide a mortgage, provided certain conditions are met. It demonstrates your financial readiness and can give you an edge in the competitive property market.

Yes, you can make an offer on a property with conditional approval. However, it’s essential to include a finance clause in the contract stating that the offer is subject to obtaining final loan approval. This provides a safety net in case your loan is not ultimately approved.

To increase your chances of obtaining conditional approval, ensure you have a strong credit history, a stable employment situation, and a solid deposit. Additionally, providing accurate and complete documentation can help streamline the approval process.

Conditional approval is typically valid for a set period, often 90 days. If you have not found a property within this timeframe, you may need to reapply or request an extension from your lender. Keep in mind that an extension may require a reassessment of your financial situation.

If your loan is declined after conditional approval, it’s crucial to understand the reasons for the decline and address any issues. This may involve improving your credit score, increasing your deposit, or selecting a different property. Speak with your lender or a mortgage broker to identify the best course of action.

Odin Mortgage Logo
Featured In
Geo Expat Logo
Asia xpat Logo Logo
Expat Living Logo
Easy Expat Logo

10 Best Tips for Australian Expats to Maximise Borrowing Power & Approval Success