BOQ Specialist is considered to be one of the preferred home loan providers for professionals like Doctors, Dentists, Vets and Accountants. It was previously known as Investec before Bank of Queensland bought it in 2014.
Some say BOQ Specialist is just BOQ in name only and runs as a separate bank – but is this true?
With some really sharp interest rates on home loans and special offers for Doctors and other Medico Specialists (like being able to borrow up to 100% without LMI), BOQ Specialist is becoming a popular bank for medical professionals.
Today we review Bank of Queensland Specialist, including their home loans and interest rates – and put them through their paces!
Note this review, interest rates, and product information is correct as at 8 May 2023, and all of this information is subject to change without any further notification. Any credit applications are subject to meeting the specific bank’s criteria, and the decision is at their final discretion.
Table of Contents
What are BOQ Specialist Home Loans like?
The top 5 things BOQ Specialist are good at:
- Great home loan products for medical professionals.BOQ Specialist has niched itself with medical professionals. They offer up to 90% no lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) loans for medical professionals to buy a house to live in or for investment properties.
- A comprehensive suite of commercial loans and business products. If you are looking at buying commercial property, BOQ offers some really sharp products, including the ability to borrow up to 100% for owner-occupier purchases, repayment structure flexibility, plus finance for GST and stamp duty. They also have some sharp SMSF deals, including being able to borrow up to 80% to purchase a commercial owner-occupied property.
- Flexible lending on equipment and car finance. BOQ Specialist need minimal paperwork for car loans up to $150,000 and might even look at future projected figures.
- Goodwill, practice purchases and fit-out finance. The bank offers pretty unique goodwill and practice purchase loans, allowing up to 100% of the purchase price of an existing practice and finance to help with a fit-out. This includes costs to cover interiors, equipment, software, furnishings and building renovation with no repayments needed until the fit-out loan is converted to a lease or chattel mortgage.
- Allow the use of current and projected income. Their credit team can consider your current and projected income and wealth. This is particularly useful for recently graduated Doctors or Specialists who have changed fields with high potential income earning.
The top 5 things BOQ Specialist aren’t so good at:
- Higher interest rates on unsecured portion of your home loan. To lend over 90% LVR, BOQ Specialist will give you a personal loan to get to 100% LVRThis personal loan generally has a higher interest rate and needs to be repaid within 2-5 years.
- Interest Rates & specials are not advertised. BOQ Specialist review each application individually and will offer an interest rate based on your deposit, your risk as a borrower, and many other factors. Like their parent company, they have specials from time to time, but these aren’t advertised online, so you don’t know whether or not you have a competitive interest rate.
- People with bad credit. Due to their credit policy, Bank of QLD Specialist aren’t typically able to help people with bad credit, like discharged bankruptcies. However, If you have over a 20% deposit, BOQ Specialist might consider a lower credit score on a case-by-case basis.
- May not consider smaller home loans. BOQ Specialist has only recently launched into the Mortgage Broker channel, and they will only do residential home loan lending if there is over $1m in lending. You may be able to get a smaller home loan if you are buying a car or commercial property at the same time.
- Strict qualification criteria.BOQ Specialist only works with Medical, Dental, Veterinary and Accounting Professionals. So if you don’t work in one of these professions, even if you are a Nurse, you won’t qualify for finance through BOQ Specialist!
What are the different home loan products they offer?
BOQ Specialist has a wide range of home loan products, and the 5 most popular include:
1. BOQ Specialist Banking Package
BOQ Specialist Banking Package is pretty similar to most banks’ professional package home loan, where you receive a discounted home loan interest rate and a few other banking products, all under the one annual package fee of $495. The variable home loan rate is similar to BOQ’s Privileges Package Home Loan.
It offers the following features:
- Special interest rate discounts and fee savings on Standard Variable Rate Loans, Line of Credit Facilities, Personal Loans and Personal Overdrafts
- Borrow up to 90% LVR with no LMI
- With the variable rate home loan, you can get an optional offset transaction account to reduce interest payments.
- Fee-saving on all loans under the package, including no monthly maintenance fees on associated BOQ Specialist Offset transaction account
- A Platinum credit card that comes with premium rewards and benefits.
- Annual package fee is around the same as the big 4 banks.
- Limited to 5 separate loan accounts under the package
- Only up to $1,100 of valuation costs covered
Read More: What specials do Doctors get on home loans?
Fixed Rate Home Loan
Like their parent bank BOQ, the private banking division can offer protection from interest rate rises and provide a fixed rate term of 1 to 5 years.
- Maximum loan term of 30 years
- Borrow up to 100% of the property value, including Lenders Mortgage Insurance (on principal and interest lending)
- Repayments set at weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals
- Additional repayments limited during the fixed-rate period
Fixed Break Costs could apply if you repay the loan early.
3. Basic Home Loan
The BOQ Specialist Basic Home Loan is fairly similar to most banks’ basic home loan packages.
It’s a no-frills product with minimal features and, at the same time, minimal fees. You might be able to save a bit on your costs using this product, provided you don’t need any of the other fancy features offered on the Banking Package product.
The BOQ Specialist Basic Home Loan package has the following features:
- Available on owner-occupied and investment housing
- Interest-only repayment options available, with both variable and fixed home loans
- Redraw is available on variable home loans (fees may apply)
- Construction home loans aren’t available on this product.
- Mortgage offset is not available.
- A $10 monthly home loan fee applies unless you open a BOQ specialist Transaction account (One Account) and make repayments from this account.
The major downside to this product is the fees and the fact that you need to move all your lending to BOQ Specialist to avoid paying account-keeping fees.
Commercial Property Loan
Bank of Queensland Specialist has a strong Commercial Property Loan offering, including up to 100% LVR (no deposit) lending for medical professionals.
In other words, if you are buying commercial property to run your medical business from, you won’t need any deposit. They might even provide additional finance for GST and stamp duty.
The features of the commercial property loan include the following:
- Borrow up to 90% with no Lenders Mortgage Insurance if you are buying premises to occupy.
- Borrow up to 80% LVR if the commercial property is an investment.
- If the purchase is in SMSF, borrow up to 90% on commercial owner-occupied properties without any LMI.
- Construction loan available
- Up to 30-year term with interest only, principal and interest, variable and fixed rate options.
- Some set-up fees are payable
- Annual reviews to apply
The commercial offering from BOQ Specialist is one of the better ones in the market if you are considering buying commercial premises to operate from.
5. Asset, Equipment Purchase, Chattel Mortgage and Professional Overdrafts
Their fit-out finance offering is also quite good for medical professionals, allowing the funding of interiors, equipment, software, furnishings and building renovation.
It offers the following features:
- Fairly relaxed credit policy for medical, dental, veterinary and accounting professionals looking for car loans up to $150,000.
- Ability to borrow as little as $2,000 to larger sums to assist with practice equipment and fit-out finance.
- Possibility to lend against non-tangible assets
- Ability to consolidate finance for all your business assets.
- BOQ Specialist One Account overdraft facility can provide up to $50,000 of unsecured credit.
- Some set-up fees may be payable.
- No repayments during the drawdown stage to free up cash flow.
Like other Private Banks, BOQ Specialist can provide a bit more flexibility if you are looking at starting a new practice or purchasing an existing one.
What’s the best BOQ Specialist home loan rate?
Determining the best interest rate for BOQ Specialist can be a bit difficult as each application is reviewed individually. BOQ Specialist will offer an interest rate to reflect how much deposit you have, what your risk is as a borrower, and lots of other factors.
Like their parent company, they have specials from time to time, but these aren’t advertised online.
BOQ Specialist Home Loan Repayment Calculator
A home loan repayment calculator can help you estimate your monthly mortgage payments, understand how different interest rates and loan terms will impact your payments, and determine how much you can afford to borrow. This can help you make informed decisions when shopping for a home and ensure that you can comfortably afford your mortgage payments over the life of your loan.
Using our BOQ Specialist Home Loan Repayment calculator, you can work out the monthly, fortnightly or weekly repayment on your potential home loan.
If you would like to know more info, call us on 1300 088 065 or get in touch.
What documents does BOQ Specialist need for a home loan?
The application form for Bank of QLD Specialist is fairly standard compared to most banks. Assuming you are a salaried employee and you are purchasing a home, they would ask for the following:
- Signed Application Form, and Privacy Act form completed by all borrowers
- Assets and Liabilities Position and Monthly Living Expenses completed in full.
- Identification documents: Birth Certificate + Current Medicare + Drivers licence, or Australian passport
- If you work for yourself:
- Two (2) consecutive years’ tax returns for all business entities and guarantors, with the most recent being no more than 18 months old at the date of application
- If you earn income from a partnership or trust, bring 1 set of business financial statements and the last 2 years’ business tax returns.
- If you work for a medical practice or receive a salary:
- 2 Most Recent computer-generated payslips
- If you don’t bank with BOQ, you must provide a bank statement from 3 consecutive months showing regular salary credits and your employer’s name.
- For Doctors in the hospital system, please provide a salary packaging statement.
- Evidence of your Genuine Savings, being statements to show the funds have been held for more than 3 months
- Most recent statement showing all continuing liabilities – i.e. any open credit card, personal loan, or overdraft statements.
- Signed Contract of Sale
- Proof of deposit
- Details of your solicitor, conveyancer
The document checklist for commercial lending is much the same, except for requiring lease agreements and tenancy schedules for existing leases in place.
BOQ Specialist has fairly stringent requirements on documents for both residential home loans and commercial lending. They also require you to be working full-time as a Doctor, Dentist, Veterinarian or Accountant.
What does ‘Allied Health’ actually mean?
Allied health professionals are professionals who can treat conditions and illnesses. According to the Australian Government, allied health professions meet all the below criteria.
- “a university qualification accredited by a relevant national accreditation body
- a national professional organisation with clearly defined membership criteria
- clear national entry-level competency standards and assessment processes
- autonomy of practice
- a clearly defined scope of practice.”
Allied Health professions include:
- Dental Tech
You may receive a larger discount if you are a Doctor, Dentist or Vet. Speak with one of our doctor home loan experts on 1300 088 065 or by filling out our online enquiry form.
How much can I borrow from Bank of QLD Specialist?
BOQ Specialist’s credit criteria are subject to change at any time, and all lending is up to credit verification and satisfactory approval but as an indication.
That said, we would usually run the following scenario through their borrowing calculator:
- A single person living in Brisbane (postcode 4000)
- Earning $70,000 PAYG salary income
- Average monthly expenses of $2,000
- Has a credit card of $5,000 and no other debts
- Assuming this person has a 20% deposit as genuine savings
Figures as at 8 May 2023 are subject to credit criteria and will change without notification.
Remember: BOQ Specialist is a little different to some other banks. As a medical professional, they will consider your projected income and wealth and could even lend up to 100% of the purchase price without lenders mortgage insurance if you’re buying a home to live in. This means the figures of how much you can borrow will be slightly different from the regular scenario.
If you want to understand how much you can borrow based on your future earnings, get in touch with our Mortgage Brokers at 1300 088 065 or complete the free assessment form online.
How much does not paying LMI save?
In a word: heaps.
Lenders Mortgage Insurance is paid on a sliding scale—the more risk for the bank, the more the premium costs.
Let’s look at a few examples of what LMI would cost if you don’t qualify to have it waived.
On a $900,000 loan based on a $1,000,000 purchase, the LMI premium costs as much as $30,256!
(But wait, it gets higher)
On a $950,000 loan, assuming a $1,000,000 purchase, you will be paying $58,729 in lenders mortgage insurance!
If you are a Veterinary, Doctor, or Accounting Professional, it is worth looking at having your LMI waived.
What else does BOQ Specialist offer?
In addition to home loans, BOQspecialist offers everything you’d expect from a full-service bank:
- Bank accounts,
- credit cards,
- car loans,
- personal loans
- term deposits.
Their most popular product is the BOQ Specialist One Account.
It’s an everyday transaction account with no monthly fees and a 0.85% interest rate. It also offers an optional overdraft with an unsecured line of credit.
The downside is BOQ Specialist charge a $5 overseas ATM fee. Well, the other downside is, if you aren’t a Medical Professional, Doctor, Allied Health Professional or Accountant, you can’t get one!
Is BOQ Specialist the same as BOQ?
Yes and no.
So in effect, their home loan, credit card and transactional products are pretty much the same as Bank Of Queensland.
Where they are different is their service offering and approach to credit policy (the bank considers BOQ Specialist part of their business bank.
The benefit is that if you are a Medical, Dental, Veterinary Professional or Accountant, you will find BOQ Specialist to be a bit more flexible in their approach to approving your Home Loan.
What are some BOQ Specialist customer reviews?
As we covered in our review of BOQ, their customer satisfaction ratings were one of the highest out of the Australian banks at over 87% compared to the major banks, whose customers rate them at 78.50%.
Being a Private Bank, you would expect BOQ Specialist to excel in customer service and from their reviews, they do.
Is BOQ Specialist the right bank?
If you are earning a high income in a professional role, you probably want to know where you can:
- Get a sharp interest rate
- Avoid paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)
- Continue to invest without getting held back by your bank
We have over 30 lenders on our panel, and many of them offer discounted interest rates and no LMI for doctors and other select professionals.
How does BOQ Specialist compare to other Medico banks?
Overall each Bank and Credit Union has its own advantages and disadvantages, which will come down to your personal situation. When choosing a home loan, it is important to consider things like your financial goals, your spending habits and income. Take the time to measure the pros and cons of each before making a decision, and if you are uncertain, get the help of a mortgage broker.
Bonus: How Australian Banks look at your expenses
Since the Royal Commission, the banks have delved into living expenses more than ever and look at them in detail on a case-by-case basis.
When making an application for a home loan, the bank asks for 3 months of your day-to-day transactions, and they look for the following things:
- Your conduct. The banks want to see any late fees or any arrears notices. If you have a raise or late payments on any of your credit facilities or over drawings on your day-to-day accounts, the banks will ask questions and want to understand why this is happening. If it’s simply mismanagement of your funds, meaning that you’ve got a lump sum of savings in another account and you’ve just been a little tardy with your account, you can generally get around it. If, in fact, you were falling short of funds each month, that might cause concern for the banks.
- Undisclosed liabilities. When they go through your day-to-day transactions, they will also be looking for any undisclosed debt you’re paying or any credit cards you’ve paid but haven’t included in your statement of position. The banks are also interested in things like Afterpay or Wallet Wizards, which most people think are insignificant.
- Large withdrawals over $1,000. Once again, they want to get an understanding of whether or not this $1000 is an ongoing recurring payment that’s going to continue and, if not, why such a large withdrawal was taken.
- Large deposits over $1,000. In this case, they want to make sure you haven’t received money that you’re going to have to replace, e.g. a loan from a family member or friend.
- Ongoing child support. The banks will also look at your bank statement to see if you have to pay child support. This cost of child maintenance will be included as an ongoing liability in your application.
- Private school fees. The impact of this cost depends on the lender. Some banks include school fees as a separate expense which drastically increases your expenses and could reduce your borrowing power.
- Ongoing medical costs. If you have a recurring medical cost of $200 or more, include it in your expense summary because the banks also look at this when assessing your application.
- Hex or your ongoing education debt. Even though this is shown on your payslip and does not come from your bank account, it can impact your application significantly because it is an ongoing expense.
Next steps and getting your home loan.
Are you wondering whether or not BOQ Specialist is the right bank for you, or do you want to buy a home but are unsure where to begin? Our mortgage brokers are here to help you.
Our team at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Australia. Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one-person operations, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping make your home loan journey as simple as possible.
If you want to get started, please call us on 1300 088 065 or book a free assessment online to see how we can help.
More resources for homebuyers: