How do I correctly declare expenses on a home loan application?

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Consumers who fail to correctly declare expenses when completing a bond application may limit their chances of getting the best home loan deal possible.

When lenders assess an application, affordability - which considers your total income relative to living expenses - is an important measure used to determine whether you would be able to keep up with monthly home loan instalments or not.

This can further influence the home loan amount and the interest rate you would be quoted for the term of the loan.

Therefore, taking the time to ensure that your living expenses are declared correctly can go a long way to ensuring that you get the best possible bond deal from your bank.

Here are some of the common mistakes that consumers make when completing the expenses portion of a home loan application:

• Duplication – some applicants fail to get a good home loan deal due to the duplication of expenses.

For example: If you have declared funds that you prepay into your credit card monthly, which you may be using to fill up for petrol and for groceries, you need not complete the groceries and petrol expenses portion in the form.

Another form of duplication may arise if you are co-applying with a partner or individual that you stay with. In this instance, only one applicant may declare shared living expenses. For example, rent, water and electricity costs.

If the expenses are duplicated, lenders may not always be aware that the co-applicants stay together and share some expenses.

• Dishonesty – being dishonest about your living expenses may lead to your application being declined.

When applying for a home loan, banks require that you submit a payslip and six months’ worth of bank statements, amongst other documents. As a result, any disparity in the expenses portion of the form can easily be picked up by the bank.

• Entertainment - be careful not to mistakenly declare a high entertainment expense by failing to separate needs from wants.

For example, a need could be monthly costs for educational or recreational activities. While a want can be anything that you would possibly cut back on in tough times, such as movies or eating out at restaurants etc.

If you aren’t sure about how to correctly declare expenses, it is advisable to consult your bank or an expert to avoid making costly mistakes.

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