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Low Doc Renovation Loans

There are times in life that you may not have access to the documentation and records usually needed to easily secure a loan. Maybe you’re a new arrival to Australia with a limited local financial record, or perhaps you’re self-employed or work freelance with no weekly pay slips.

This is where a low-doc loan for renovations can fit the bill. Potentially, all the funds without the lengthy loan application process and paperwork.

What’s the catch?

Borrowing money costs money, and the cost of a loan all comes down to the level of risk. A lender weighs up a borrower's risk by looking at their employment history and credit score. The more creditworthy background they can obtain about your financial history, the better. So to make up for not having a long history of employment, or a high credit score, Lenders need to change a little more to make it worth their while. Lenders consider low-doc loans to have more risk than a secured or unsecured personal loan, so they’ll offer higher interest rates to offset that risk. 

In the longer term, your credit score will benefit from having an unblemished loan repayment record, so the next time you apply for a loan you’ll appear to be a lower risk candidate. 

Paperwork or no paperwork

The amount of documentation required for a low-doc loan is, as the name suggests, minimal. You won’t need to provide as many pay slips and tax returns as standard personal loans. This means the process to apply is far simpler and less time consuming. 

Banks, credit unions and online loan providers will look mainly at your credit history or how long you’ve been operating as a business owner. 

If you choose a secured low-doc loan then you’ll need an asset such as the home you are improving, a car or other valuable items to mitigate the risk and bring the interest rate down. This will involve a  more complex application and more paperwork, as you’ll need to provide details of the value of the asset. 

Who offers these loans?

Most money-lenders such as banks, credit unions and online loan providers have a low-doc loan option that can apply for home improvements. Some, however, offer an alt-doc loan, which requires more documentation, but the documentation is less traditional. 

Before you start applying, do your research and compare the different loans on offer. You can compare loans with the Plenti comparison calculator including comparison rates, interest rates, application fee and loan term. Also enquire about exit fees should you wish to pay out your loan early and default and missed payment fees. 

The comparison rate will show one figure that encompasses the entire cost of the loan you are researching. 

Remember Plenti’s lending market is live, so it’s good to check our live rates often as they can vary depending on our lending markets.

The good and the not so good

Before we get over excited at the ease of securing a low-doc loan, remember these loans are usually for those who don’t meet the eligibility requirements of a lower rate loan. 

Borrowing money with a low-doc renovation loan may be an easier option but think of them as a last resort if you can’t get approval for other kinds of loans. It’s important to be confident in your ability to make all your repayments on time, so when considering your loan amount, less is really more in the long run to prevent undue stress and more debt.

Interest rates on low-doc loans will indeed be higher while flexibility and features offered will be less. You’ll also be paying interest on every repayment, plus any lender fees involved. 

However, interest rates will still traditionally be lower than a credit card. But both can get you in trouble if you overspend or over borrow. 

If you’re a freelancer or work in seasonal employment or have a seasonal business it’s worth your while to seek out redraw facilities and lines of credit. This means that you can make extra repayments when cash is flowing and should you need to, you can then draw against that extra money if cash flow slows.

Can I spend the money how I want?

Within reason. You are borrowing money to renovate your home or property, so that should be where you are spending most of the money receive.  Compared to a mortgage top up (or home loan extension) a renovation loan offers you a great deal of flexibility and independence. Your lender won’t need to approve your home improvement plans. And what you choose to do to improve your home is entirely up to you. No judgement, make your dreams a reality. 

What will it cost me?

The answer will always come down to the interest rate and the fees. Which is where comparison sites matter, try the Plenti loan comparison link to do your research.

Remember when comparing low-doc loans that the advertised rate is the rate without fees and the comparison rate includes all fees and charges. The comparison rate will always be the better rate to compare. 

What will I need to apply?

Now you’ve settled on the provider you want to apply with, you’ll need to ensure you have the information they need to approve it.

Obviously, it will be less documentation than the usual personal loan which requires two years of personal and business taxes, profit and loss financial statements, ATO assessments and more.

For a low-doc loan you’re more likely to just need your ABN or ACN certification, 12 month BAS statement, and identity certification. Depending on the lender you may need to provide less or more. Either way a letter from your accountant would be a good idea. 

If you’re self-employed then the loan provider will look at how long you’ve been in business and what your overall income is via your BAS statements. 

How much can I borrow?

As a rule of ‘low-doc borrowing’ thumb, you should be able to apply for anything from $5000 to $50,000 depending on your circumstances. This will vary depending on on your loan provider, and your own financial situation. 

Can I get a low-doc loan if I have bad credit?

Credit matters. Always. Of course, there are ways to improve your credit score, and one is to repay your loan on time every time. However, if you have a less than stellar credit rating there are money lenders that will support you, so do your research as each lender’s credit policies will apply.

If you’re not sure of your credit rating then you can check your credit report for free via a registered agency such as Equifax, CheckYourCredit and Experian.

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