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Navigating The Loan Application Process: What You Need to Do

Applying for a loan can feel intimidating yet completely necessary when you are looking to make a major purchase, start a new business, or even cover emergency costs that have come up. After all, who has tens of thousands in cash sitting around?

Yes, navigating the whole loan application process can seem complicated at first, but it truly does not need to stress you out if you understand what lenders look for and you put in the work on the front end to come prepared with a solid application.

The goal here is to take some of the frustration and ambiguity out of financing for you. When you’re informed and feeling confident every step of the way, getting approved for the loan amount you need does not have to be mission impossible. So take a breath and know the funding to move your plans forward is well within reach!

Why You Might Need a Loan

There are many reasons why you might need to apply for a loan. Some of the most common include:

  • Consolidating high-interest debt: If you have accumulated debt across multiple high-interest credit cards or loans, you may want to consolidate it into a single loan with a lower interest rate. This makes payments more manageable.
  • Funding a major purchase: Few people have tens of thousands of dollars on hand to put toward buying a house or car or paying college tuition. Loans help fund these expensive purchases over time.
  • Covering emergency expenses: An unexpected medical bill, home or auto repair, or temporary job loss can result in cash flow issues. Loans provide fast access to money to cover these emergencies.
  • Improving your home: Home improvement projects like a kitchen remodel, finishing a basement, or installing solar panels often require more money than most people have saved. Home equity loans or cash-out refinancing utilize your home’s value to fund upgrades.
  • Starting or expanding a business: Small business loans provide funding to start a company or help scale an existing business by buying inventory/equipment, marketing, hiring employees, or securing a physical location.

Banks Aren’t For Everyoneloan application process

Getting approved for a bank loan can be challenging for some borrowers. Banks tend to view applicants as riskier and harder to approve if they:

  • Have limited credit history: Young borrowers like college students will often have short or non-existent credit histories that make it difficult for banks to assess repayment risk. Building some credit first allows better chances for approval later.
  • Have low or inconsistent income: Whether you are unemployed, self-employed, work part-time, or have seasonal income, banks want to see reliable monthly earnings to believe loan payments will be affordable. Without that, they will be hesitant to lend.
  • Have bad credit or high debt-to-income: Past credit mistakes, high balances owed, defaults, or bankruptcies raise red flags about repayment likelihood. Being overextended with too much-existing debt compared to earnings is also problematic.
  • Lack of traditional W2 jobs: Contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and small business owners often struggle to prove their income streams. More manual underwriting makes banks shy away.
  • Need smaller loan amounts: Big banks prefer lending higher dollar amounts to make origination and servicing fees worthwhile. They tend to avoid small personal loans under $10-15k.

Because these borrowers represent higher default risks, banks charge substantially higher interest rates and fees or, more commonly, deny lending altogether. This unfairly limits options, especially for lower-income households needing the money most.

In these cases, specialized subprime lenders can provide financing alternatives…

While the costs are steeper, subprime lending may be your only option if banks deny your application. Preparing a Strong Application Getting pre-approved for financing requires submitting a complete application showcasing your ability to repay the debt successfully. Key steps include:

  1. Check your credit – Processing your application starts with examining your credit score and history to quantify your risk level as a borrower. Order a free credit report to check for errors and take steps to improve your score if needed. Generally, scores above 620 qualify for better rates.
  2. Verify income – Lenders want assurance that you make enough money monthly to cover living expenses and loan payments. Gather pay stubs, tax returns, profit/loss statements, or other files confirming your recurring income.
  3. Minimize existing debt obligations – Too much-existing debt compared to your income makes approval harder. Consider paying down balances on cards and loans beforehand.
  4. Determine collateral – Loans backed by collateral you pledge, like a house, car, or cash savings account, control risk and often qualify for better terms.
  5. Research lenders – Compare interest rates, fees, eligibility criteria, and other loan features across multiple banks, credit unions, online lenders, etc. Weigh options to fit your financial situation.

Following Up After Submitting Your Loan Application ProcessFollowing Up After Submitting Your Application

Don’t be discouraged if your loan application requires additional follow-up or gets denied on the first attempt. Many lenders have reconsideration processes or allow you to reapply after addressing concerns about your credit, income, or ability to repay. Strategies include:

  • Checking in on application status – Call the lender directly to verify receipt and check if they require any other documents or clarification as they process your case. Proactively communicating shows responsibility.
  • Submitting an applicant appeal letter – Draft a formal letter justifying why you deserve loan approval despite any red flags like low income, short credit history, or past delinquencies. Provide context and outline additional steps you are taking to minimize risk.
  • Offering up a cosigner – Adding a cosigner with stronger credit/income may alleviate lender concerns about approving riskier applicants alone. Ensure any cosigners recognize implications.
  • Putting up collateral – If you own a house or car or have cash savings, offering these as collateral that transfers to the lender if you default can offset risk enough for approval.
  • Correcting credit report errors – Sometimes, medical bills, outdated information, or identity errors unfairly tank your credit, making denial more likely. Initiate disputes to amend and raise your score.
  • Meeting with a loan officer – Request an in-person review meeting allowing a loan officer to reassess your application details if you were initially declined manually. Be prepared to explain your situation thoroughly.

While extra work, overcoming initial denial through appeals, cosigners, collateral, credit fixes, or underwriter meetings allows access to financing you may desperately need. Be organized, persistent, and willing to negotiate terms throughout any reconsideration process.

The key is staying organized and persistent to process your loan application adequately. Do your homework preparing documents, meet lender eligibility standards to start, and keep following up if your case requires exception review or reconsideration.

Article by

Alla Levin

Hi, I’m Alla, a Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures. My mission is to help you grow in your creativity, travel the world, and live life to the absolute fullest!

About Author

Alla Levin

Hi, I’m Alla, a Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures. My mission is to help you grow in your creativity, travel the world, and live life to the absolute fullest!

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