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Buying a home: Can you switch mortgage lenders after being pre-approved?

Many aspiring homeowners will seek out pre-approval when applying for a mortgage. Pre-approval can make buying a home much easier as you will have a better idea of what you can actually afford.

You aren’t obligated to stick with the lender who pre-approved you and it can make sense to switch if you find a more suitable home loan. However, there are some things to be aware of if you’re planning on switching lenders after getting pre-approved.

In this article we’ll go through the pros and cons of switching lenders after pre-approval, as well as what you need to know about getting pre-approved.

What is home loan pre-approval?

Home loan pre-approval is simply a formal indication from a lender that they will most likely approve you for a particular home loan amount. They are under no obligation to actually provide you with the home loan, but unless your situation changes, it is unlikely that they will reject you.

The main benefits to getting home loan pre-approval are:

  • Getting a clear idea of what properties you can afford which directs your focus to properties within your budget
  • No more wasting time looking at palatial mansions outside of your budget
  • You can feel confident about your borrowing power
  • Sellers may view you as a more attractive buyer. Pre-approval shows that you are a serious buyer and settlement could probably occur sooner

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How long does it take to get home loan pre-approval?

This will vary between lenders, but it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks for a lender to grant your pre-approval.

How long is mortgage pre-approval valid for?

Pre-approval is typically valid for 3-6 months, but it will vary between lenders. Ideally, if you want to move on with a different lender, you’ll make the switch before you’ve got serious about a property. You can typically extend your pre-approval by simply ringing up your bank or mortgage broker.

Why would you switch lenders after getting pre-approved?

There are a number of reasons why you would switch lenders after being pre-approved. A lot can happen between getting pre-approved and making an offer on a property. Here are some reasons to consider applying for pre-approval with a different lender:

  • Interest rates have changed
  • Another lender is running an offer (e.g. a zero fee home loan)
  • You find a more suitable home loan
  • Your personal or financial situation changes (e.g. your income has changed)
  • You come across less favourable lender reviews
  • Your needs change (e.g. you want to borrow a larger amount)

All of these reasons provide a very valid basis for applying for pre-approval with another lender. It’s important that you find a home loan that meets your needs and is competitive in terms of its interest rate and other factors. In saying this, you aren’t locked into one mortgage for the entirety of your loan term — refinancing is always an option.

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The impact of pre-approval on your credit score

A home loan pre-approval requires an assessment of your credit history. When you apply for multiple pre-approvals, this actually damages your credit rating. Every application is recorded in detail as a credit enquiry in your file.

Since pre-approval isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be formally approved for the home loan in the end, accumulating pre-approvals could harm your borrowing power. A bank could decide not to loan the pre-approved amount leaving you in a difficult position.

You would be less likely to experience issues if you lodged multiple pre-approval applications with the same lender.

How to switch lenders after getting pre-approved for a home loan

You generally don’t have to do anything formal to ‘switch’ lenders after your initial pre-approval. You simply just lodge your pre-approval application with another lender as you did for your first pre-approval application, or your broker will do it for you.

As mentioned above, the more pre-approval applications you lodge, the more your credit score is impacted. So, be thoughtful about what you apply for and be realistic about your timeframe.

How to get pre-approved for a mortgage

The pre-approval process is fairly straightforward:

  1. Take the time to do your research on different lenders and home loans. You can search and compare dozens of suitable home loans from 35+ lenders easily with Lendi.
  2. Submit an application for home loan pre-approval, with the assistance of the mortgage broker or lender.
  3. The lender will assess your application, looking at your documentation.
  4. Your pre-approval will be granted (or declined). Pre-approval is usually valid for up to 3 to 6 months, but some lenders offer extended options.
  5. Use your pre-approved loan amount to help you find and make an offer on a property you love within your budget.
  6. You’ll then be required to complete a full home loan application.
  7. If approved, your loan will be funded and you’ll be ready to formally buy the property.

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What is Approval Confidence™?

While formal home loan pre-approval involves a credit check, you have another option if you’d like to get a realistic insight into how much you could be able to borrow with Lendi’s Approval Confidence™ feature.

Using integrative technology to connect with the internal decision engines of multiple banks, Approval Confidence can give you a look into the likelihood of you getting approved for your desired loan amount. The whole process takes just a matter of seconds and doesn’t impact on your credit score.

Got a home loan question? Just ask!

We're here to help. Get free expert advice at a time that suits you. Choose a time to chat with a Home Loan Specialist here

The information in this post is general in nature and should not be considered personal or financial advice. You should always seek professional advice or assistance before making any financial decisions.

Tags: interest rate, home loan, lender, credit score, first home buyer, pre approval

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Lendi is a privately owned and operated Australian business. Our mission is to change the way Australians get home loans by providing a faster, smarter and more secure home loan experience designed around the customer’s convenience and needs. Although Lendi compares over 1600 products (2,500+ products including feature and pricing variations) from more than 35 lenders, we don't cover the whole market or compare all features and there may be other features or options available to you. While Lendi is 35% owned by founders and employees, we have also been supported by some great minority shareholders including Bailador, Macquarie Bank Ltd and a number of Australian sophisticated investors. Lendi's board is majority independent and non-executive.
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