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How Much Can I Borrow?


You've probably got a rough idea of the
sort of home you'd like, and how much you'll have to borrow to buy it.
But will a lender actually lend you this amount? That depends chiefly
on two things:

  • What you can afford to repay from your income
  • How much a lender will lend on a property

What you can afford to repay

Try the Sorted repayment options calculator to see what size loan you could afford with these repayments.

Other lenders calculate a minimum surplus which you should have left
over each month after fixed payments and a living allowance are counted.

If you're a couple, the calculations are based on your combined
income. If you have children, lenders will expect you to have less
disposable income left over than people without children.

If you're borrowing a high proportion of the purchase price, lenders
will expect you to have more spare income so you can better deal with
any future uncertainties like a rise in interest rates or the lowering
of your income.

If you plan to have flatmates in your new home to help pay the
bills, some lenders will include 70 or 80 percent of their rent in your
income; other lenders won't include any.

The easiest way to find out what a lender will give you is to give
them your income and spending details and ask them to make the
calculation. Alternatively, you could ask a mortgage broker to do this for you.

How much a lender will lend on a property

  • "low equity premium"
    or "mortgage indemnity insurance" if you borrow over 80 percent. This
    protects them from the risk that you might not keep up repayments. It
    is a lump sum which you can pay in cash or add to the amount you borrow.
  • Lenders may also ask you to get a valuation
    on the property. If there is a difference between the purchase price
    and the valuation, lenders usually work out how much they'll lend on
    the lower figure.

Most lenders want you to have a cash deposit to put towards your
home. You'll be more committed to keeping up payments on the loan if
you have some of your own money in the property right from the start.

Whether the cash is money you've saved or is a gift from another
member of your family doesn't matter to most lenders. But some won't
accept deposits raised through loans such as credit card cash advances,
since this will raise your financial commitments and make it tougher
for you to meet all your payments.

To get a good idea of the lending limits for the types of property
you want to buy and the area you want to buy in, you'll need to talk to
one or two lenders, or a mortgage broker, in your area.

Government assistance

If you can afford mortgage repayments but don't have a deposit, you may be eligible for a Welcome Home Loan.
With this scheme you can borrow up to $200,000 with no deposit, and up
to $280,000 with a small deposit, to buy a home. Lending criteria are
different to standard loans. The scheme structure is particularly
well-suited to extended families.

If you join KiwiSaver you may become eligible, after three years of membership, for a first home deposit subisdy.
The subsidy will be $1000 for each year of membership after 2007, to a
maximum of $5000. A couple both in the scheme could therefore get up to
$10,000. The subsidies become payable from 2010..

Your credit record

If you've been chased by debt collectors for things like unpaid hire
purchase payments or an unpaid power bill, you'll probably have a bad
credit record. This means that lenders may want to lend you a lower
proportion of the property price, or may turn you down altogether. If
you can't get a loan from standard lenders, you may have better success
if you approach a low doc lender who specialises in higher-risk loans.


Content provided by, Your Independent Money Guide.


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