Family Guarantee

Dreaming of owning your own home is a universal aspiration, but for many, the path to homeownership can seem daunting, particularly in today's competitive property market. However, there are innovative solutions available to help turn this dream into a reality. One such solution is the family guarantee scheme, a powerful tool that can provide a stepping stone for individuals and families looking to purchase property. In this article, we'll dive into the concept of a family guarantee, exploring what it is, how it works, and its potential benefits for aspiring homeowners.

What is a Family Guarantee?

A family guarantee, also known as a family pledge or family-supported mortgage, is a financial arrangement that involves enlisting the support of family members to assist a borrower in securing a home loan. Essentially, it entails a family member, typically a parent or close relative, offering a portion of their own assets as collateral to guarantee the borrower's mortgage. This additional security reduces the risk for the lender, making it easier for the borrower to obtain a loan or secure more favourable terms, such as a lower interest rate or a higher loan amount.

How Does a Family Guarantee Work?

The mechanics of a family guarantee are relatively straightforward. Let's break down the process into simple steps:

  1. Identifying the Participants: The borrower, typically a first-time homebuyer, identifies a suitable property and approaches a lender for a mortgage. Simultaneously, they enlist the support of a family member willing to provide a guarantee.
  2. Assessment of Eligibility: The lender assesses the financial circumstances of both the borrower and the guarantor to ensure they meet the necessary criteria. This assessment typically includes an evaluation of income, assets, and credit history.
  3. Signing the Guarantee: Once both parties are deemed eligible, the guarantor signs a legal agreement, commonly known as a family guarantee deed, pledging a portion of their assets, such as equity in their own property or savings, as security for the borrower's mortgage.
  4. Loan Approval: With the family guarantee in place, the lender approves the mortgage application, taking into account the additional security provided by the guarantor.
  5. Property Purchase: The borrower proceeds with the property purchase using the approved mortgage, with the family guarantee serving as reassurance for the lender throughout the process.

Benefits of a Family Guarantee

The family guarantee scheme offers several benefits for both borrowers and guarantors:

  1. Access to Finance: For borrowers who may not meet the stringent criteria required to secure a mortgage independently, a family guarantee provides access to finance that would otherwise be unavailable.
  2. Improved Loan Terms: With the added security of a family guarantee, borrowers may qualify for more favourable loan terms, including lower interest rates, higher loan-to-value ratios, and reduced deposit requirements.
  3. Avoidance of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI): In many cases, lenders require borrowers with a deposit of less than 20% to pay LMI, a costly insurance policy that protects the lender in the event of default. A family guarantee can help borrowers avoid this expense altogether.
  4. Preservation of Savings: Rather than depleting their savings for a large deposit, borrowers can preserve their funds for other purposes, such as home improvements or emergencies.
  5. Assistance for Loved Ones: For guarantors, providing a family guarantee is a tangible way to support their loved ones in achieving their homeownership goals without the need for a cash gift or loan.Family Guarantee

Key Points to Consider

  • Do You Need a Deposit if You Have a Guarantor?: While a deposit is typically required when purchasing a property, having a guarantor can mitigate or eliminate this requirement altogether. Lenders may be willing to waive the deposit or accept a smaller deposit when a guarantor is involved, as the added security reduces their risk.
  • Guarantor Requirements Australia: Each lender may have specific requirements for guarantors, but common criteria include being a close relative of the borrower, having sufficient equity in their own property, and demonstrating a strong credit history and stable financial position.
  • How Long Does a Guarantor Stay on a Mortgage?: The duration of a guarantor's obligation varies depending on the lender and the terms of the mortgage agreement. In many cases, the guarantor's responsibility may be discharged once certain conditions are met, such as the borrower reaching a certain level of equity in the property or demonstrating a history of timely mortgage payments.
  • What Happens if a Guarantor Sells Their House?: If a guarantor decides to sell their property while still under obligation for the mortgage, the lender may require an alternative form of security to replace the guarantor's collateral. This could involve refinancing the loan or finding a new guarantor to provide the necessary support.
  • Does Having a Guarantor Increase Borrowing Power?: Yes, having a guarantor can significantly increase the borrower's borrowing power by providing additional security to the lender. This may result in the borrower being eligible for a larger loan amount or more favourable loan terms, such as lower interest rates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs

1. How much can I borrow with a guarantor?

The amount you can borrow with a guarantor depends on various factors, including your income, expenses, and the lender's criteria. A mortgage advisor can help you determine the maximum loan amount you qualify for with a guarantor.

2. What are the requirements for a guarantor in Australia? 

Guarantor requirements in Australia typically include being a close relative, having sufficient equity in a property, and demonstrating a strong financial position.

3. How does the Westpac family guarantee work?

 Westpac's family guarantee scheme allows eligible borrowers to purchase a property with a smaller deposit by leveraging the equity in a family member's property as security for the loan.

4. Can I remove a guarantor from my mortgage?

 In some cases, it may be possible to remove a guarantor from a mortgage once certain conditions are met, such as reaching a specific level of equity in the property or refinancing the loan.

5. Does a guarantor have to be a family member?

 While guarantors are often family members, some lenders may accept non-family guarantors, depending on their policies and criteria.

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