Can you get a mortgage if you are self employed in Australia?

Securing a mortgage as a self-employed individual in Australia presents unique challenges, such as proving consistent income and navigating a more scrutinising application process. However, with thorough preparation, clear financial documentation, and strategic planning, you can get a mortgage as a self-employed Australian.

In Australia, the number of self-employed individuals is on a steady rise, reflecting a growing trend towards entrepreneurship and flexible work arrangements. However, when it comes time to buy a home, those who are self-employed often encounter unique challenges, particularly in securing a mortgage. This article delves into the ins and outs of obtaining a mortgage as a self-employed individual in Australia, dispelling common misconceptions and providing a roadmap to buy your own home.

Self-Employment in Australia

Recent statistics illuminate the significant role self-employment plays in the Australian economy, with an estimated one in five Australians engaging in some form of self-employment. Despite this, there's a persistent myth that being self-employed severely limits one’s ability to secure a mortgage. The reality, however, is not so black and white. While self-employed individuals may face a more scrutinising application process, achieving mortgage approval is very much within reach.

The Mortgage Application Process for Self-Employed Individuals

The standard mortgage application process requires applicants to prove their income, assets, debts, and financial stability. For self-employed individuals, the essence of the process remains the same, albeit with a few additional requirements to demonstrate the sustainability and profitability of their business ventures. Lenders often request additional documentation, such as tax returns, profit and loss statements, and business activity statements, to get a clearer picture of the applicant’s financial health.

Lender's Assessment Criteria for Self-Employed Applicants

Lenders assess self-employed mortgage applications with a keen eye on the applicant's ability to sustain a stable income. Unlike salaried employees, whose income can be easily verified through payslips, self-employed individuals must provide comprehensive financial records. Tax returns for the last two years, profit and loss statements, and business activity statements become crucial in this scenario. These documents serve to establish not only the business’s profitability but also the borrower's financial responsibility and stability.

Challenges Faced by Self-Employed Applicants

One of the primary obstacles self-employed individuals face is the variability in income, which can lead lenders to perceive them as high-risk borrowers. Additionally, the complexity of business finances and tax minimisation strategies can sometimes obscure the true financial standing of a self-employed individual. To counteract these challenges, maintaining clear and comprehensive financial records is imperative. Engaging a professional accountant to ensure that your finances are meticulously documented and easy for lenders to understand can significantly enhance your application's appeal.

Success Stories and Strategies

Despite these hurdles, many self-employed Australians successfully secure mortgages every year. Success stories often share common themes: thorough preparation, strategic financial management, and sometimes, a larger deposit. Reducing personal and business debts and demonstrating a consistent income over several years can also strengthen your application. Moreover, working with a mortgage broker who has experience with self-employed clients can provide invaluable guidance through the application process.

Additional Support and Resources

Several resources are available to assist self-employed individuals in navigating the mortgage application process. The Australian Government's business website offers guides and tools for financial management and planning, which can be beneficial in preparing for a mortgage application. Additionally, professional organisations and networks provide support and advice tailored to the self-employed. Mortgage brokers, especially those experienced in working with self-employed clients, can offer personalised advice and connect applicants with lenders who have favourable terms for self-employed borrowers.


The journey to homeownership as a self-employed individual in Australia is undoubtedly filled with additional complexities. However, it is an achievable goal with proper preparation, accurate financial documentation, and strategic planning. The key lies in understanding the unique challenges posed by self-employment and taking proactive steps to address them. By maintaining clear financial records, seeking professional advice, and perhaps opting for a larger deposit, self-employed Australians can significantly improve their chances of mortgage approval.

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