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Choosing the right home loan involves plenty of thorough research 

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Once you've saved up for a deposit on your first property, the next step is to find a home loan. When comparing home loan rates, it's easy to choose the first mortgage that comes along, or the home loan with the lowest interest rate, but even the cheapest home loans could cost you dearly, if you’re not careful.

With so many home loans out there to compare, it can sometimes feel impossible to narrow down your options. This is where a mortgage broker can prove invaluable. A broker can carry out a home loan comparison on your behalf and present a range of different options, with home loan rates that may suit your budget. This way, you can get a better idea of what home loan products are available, and how much you’ll have to borrow.

How big does my home loan need to be?

Everyone has a different financial situation, which is why there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all home loan. You will need to weigh up your individual circumstances and select a home loan that's most suitable for your needs.

A good place to start is the RateCity mortgage calculator. Just enter a few figures and it will give you an idea of what your first home loan repayments may be, as well as a list of lenders offering mortgages that might be right for you.

It's important to ask yourself 'how much can I borrow?' during the early stages of the search for a mortgage. Whether you're looking for your first home loan, or refinancing your existing mortgage, it's important to know exactly where your finances stand before approaching a lender.

The size of your deposit will likely play an important part when you’re choosing a home loan. When working out how much money you need for a house deposit, keep in mind that the more money you can put down on a property, the more likely a lender will offer you an affordable interest rate.

Many home loans require a deposit of around 20% of the property's value, though there are options available for 10% or even 5% deposits. Keep in mind that low-deposit home loans often require you to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Remember to use home loan comparison tools to help you determine which home loan rates will likely suit your household budget.

Why should I use RateCity to compare home loans?

Are you in the market for your first home loan? Do you want to know if you're getting a competitive deal on your current home loan? Want to find out which bank has lowest interest rate for a home loan that suits your needs?

RateCity allows you to search, compare and apply for more than 2000 home loans. Just enter your details to find mortgages that suit your finances, with home loan rates you can afford.

Some benefits of using RateCity for your home loan comparison include:

  • Using our mortgage calculator to get an idea of your borrowing power
  • Comparing investment home loans, SMSF loans, and line of credit and equity loans
  • We compare home loans from some of the biggest lenders in the country, as well as smaller ones you might not have otherwise considered

Which home loan should I choose?

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The only person who can decide what is the best home loan for your needs is you. Industry experts can provide facts and figures to help you make a home loan comparison, but the final decision rests with you.

You might be applying for your first home loan or moving up the property ladder. In either situation, it's important to understand the short and long-term financial effects of your decision, and to select a home loan that most accurately reflects your requirements.

It’s important to find the right mortgage for you, as not only will you be able to rest assured that you have made the right decision, but you may also be able to confidently save money in the long term, thanks to affordable home loan rates.

RateCity's Mortgage Guide provides tips and useful information on what to consider when applying for a mortgage. Whether you want to know about how mortgage repayments are calculated, the fees involved with getting a mortgage, or the different features available with some home loans, you are in the right place.

Financial Dictionary

AAPR, Comparison rate or Real Rate of loan

Three ways of saying the same thing. The Average Annual Percentage Rate (AAPR), Comparison Rate and the Real Rate refer to interest rates plus fees and charges rolled into a single percentage rate for ease of comparison

Amortizing Loan

The most commonly used loan which requires set repayments of principal and interest over a period of time.


Fees charged by your lender if you exit your loan early

Bridging Finance

Helps you to “bridge” the gap between the sale of one property and the purchase of another.

Capped or Tunnel Loans

Capped limits only how high the loan rate can go while Tunnel limits both how high and low a rate can go.


Legal fees on a property purchase are called conveyancing fees.


The amount of cash you need to contribute towards your home loan application.

Fixed Rate Loan

Interest rates that are locked in for a certain period of time.

Interest Capitalisation

Rare in personal lending because no interest or principal repayments are required. Find out more Interest Only No principal repayments are required – only the interest portion.

Introductory or Honeymoon Rate Loan

So named because they give you a low rate honeymoon period before they revert to the reality of a 30-year marriage

Loan to Value Ratio (LVR)

The percentage of the total loan the institution will lend you.

Mortgage Offset

This is a way of paying off your mortgage quicker by attaching your everyday account to the loan and using the balance to reduce interest.

Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance safeguards the lender in case of borrower default.

Ongoing Fees

Ongoing fees are those charged periodically over the life of the loan.


An overdraft is a loan that does not need to be paid off in regular, structured repayments.

Parental Leave

A short break from loan repayments allowed by some lenders due to parenthood.


Portability means simply that you can pick up your loan and take it with you when you move houses.

Progressive Drawdown

When building a home rather than buying, funds can be accessed in small lump sums at various intervals to suit the building process.


Pay extra money into your loan and withdraw it back if you need it in the future.


Refinancing simply means taking out a new loan to pay out an old one.

Repayment Holidays

Proven hardship such as an unexpected loss of income can give you a temporary “holiday” from loan repayments.

Revolving Line of Credit

This is essentially a giant overdraft where money paid in can be withdrawn again.

Salary Loan

What would you call a loan that your salary could be paid directly into?

Split Loans

Dividing your loan into one-part fixed and one-part variable interest rates gives you the best of both world.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is a State Government duty on financial and some other transactions.

Switching Fees

Moving from one loan type to another during the term of a loan often incurs a switching fee.

Upfront Fees

These are charged by a lender to process your loan application.

Variable Rate Loan

Also, know as a standard variable loan, it fluctuates with money market movements.


Tip: You can use RateCity how much can I borrow calculator to get a quick answer.

How much money you can borrow for a home loan will depend on a number of factors including your employment status, your income (and your partner’s income if you are taking out a joint loan), the size of your deposit, your living expenses and any other debt you might hold, including credit cards. 

A good place to start is to work out how much you can afford to make in monthly repayments, factoring in a buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent to allow for interest rate rises along the way. You’ll also need to factor in additional costs that come with purchasing a property such as stamp duty, legal fees, building inspections, strata or council fees.

If you are planning on renting the property, you can factor in the expected rental income to help offset the mortgage, but again it’s prudent to add a significant buffer to allow for rental management fees, maintenance costs and short periods of no rental income when tenants move out. It’s also wise to factor in changes in personal circumstances – the typical home loan lasts for around 30 years and a lot can happen between now and then.

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