What is a reverse mortgage, and what are the risks?

A reverse mortgage is a financial product that allows retirees to unlock the value of their family home. Sometimes called an equity release loan, a reverse mortgage lets you access a lump sum, line of credit or income stream to support your lifestyle in retirement. But just like any other financial product, there are risks involved with reverse mortgages, which you should be aware of before you apply.

Aussie lenders now offering home loan rates below 2% | RateCity

At the end of June, the 2 per cent barrier was broken and several lenders have joined the sub-2% club since then.

Can I get a home loan with no credit history?

If you prefer to avoid borrowing money wherever possible, you may run into some trouble when it comes to buying property. Not only is a home loan almost essential when it comes to Australian real estate, but having no credit history could make your mortgage application a little bit more challenging.

How low could home loan rates go?

With Australia entering its first recession in decades, banks and mortgage lenders are eager to sign up new customers, and are making discounted interest rates available to first home buyers and refinancers. Large and small banks have been slashing both fixed and variable interest rates, and may continue to compete by offering further discounts.  

Five reasons to refinance this financial year

With the next financial year right around the corner, if you’re looking for a way to cut down on your biggest bill, you may want to consider refinancing your home loan.

Five home loans to let you borrow more in July 2020

Many people manage to secure a home loan with a deposit of less than 20 per cent, and that all comes down to what the lender allows.

Top 5 refinancing home loan rates in July 2020

Is your home loan rate still competitive? If you’ve let it go for a while, chances are you’ll be paying more than you should.

Five home loans for getting cash out from your equity

With social distancing restrictions affecting many Australian workplaces, a lot of us have had to rethink our personal finances, including our home loans. And with big banks and smaller lenders slashing interest rates to new record lows, it’s no surprise that many Australians are refinancing their mortgages, as shown by recent ABS data.

Top five refinancing home loans that could save you money in the long run

Refinancing isn’t free, but it can save you money in the long run if you switch to a home loan with a lower interest rate, such as these home loan choices.

What is a cooling off period, and how do they work?

A cooling off period is a length of time that follows signing a contract to purchase property, during which a buyer can choose to terminate the agreement without being in breach of contract and losing their deposit. This gives you a window of opportunity to change your mind about a property purchase if your circumstances change, or you decide it’s not right for you.

CQU property expert reveals home truths on housing affordability

It’s never been harder for younger Australians to enter the property market, we regularly hear.

How I cut my home loan by 1.45 percentage points

I’ve just refinanced my home loan from one of the biggest mortgage lenders in Australia to one of the smallest. Why? I now have a much lower interest rate.

First Home Owners Grant

Learn more about the First Home Owners Grants available around Australia with our interactive map.

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Who has the best home loan?

Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.

To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you. 

How do I refinance my home loan?

Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.

Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.

How do I know if I have to pay LMI?

Each lender has its own policies, but as a general rule you will have to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) if your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) exceeds 80 per cent. This applies whether you’re taking out a new home loan or you’re refinancing.

If you’re looking to buy a property, you can use this LMI calculator to work out how much you’re likely to be charged in LMI.

What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?

If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.

When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.

There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.

What happens when you default on your mortgage?

A mortgage default occurs when you are 90 days or more behind on your mortgage repayments. Late repayments will often incur a late fee on top of the amount owed which will continue to gather interest along with the remaining principal amount.

If you do default on a mortgage repayment you should try and catch up in next month’s payment. If this isn’t possible, and missing payments is going to become a regular issue, you need to contact your lender as soon as possible to organise an alternative payment schedule and discuss further options.

You may also want to talk to a financial counsellor. 

How personalised is my rating?

Real Time Ratings produces instant scores for loan products and updates them based what you tell us about what you’re looking for in a loan. In that sense, we believe the ratings are as close as you get to personalised; the more you tell us, the more we customise to ratings to your needs. Some borrowers value flexibility, while others want the lowest cost loan. Your preferences will be reflected in the rating. 

We also take a shorter term, more realistic view of how long borrowers hold onto their loan, which gives you a better idea about the true borrowing costs. We take your loan details and calculate how much each of the relevent loans would cost you on average each month over the next five years. We assess the overall flexibility of each loan and give you an easy indication of which ones are likely to adjust to your needs over time. 

How often is your data updated?

We work closely with lenders to get updates as quick as possible, with updates made the same day wherever possible.

How can I get a home loan with no deposit?

Following the Global Financial Crisis, no-deposit loans, as they once used to be known, have largely been removed from the market. Now, if you wish to enter the market with no deposit, you will require a property of your own to secure a loan against or the assistance of a guarantor.

How much of the RBA rate cut do lenders pass on to borrowers?

When the Reserve Bank of Australia cuts its official cash rate, there is no guarantee lenders will then pass that cut on to lenders by way of lower interest rates. 

Sometimes lenders pass on the cut in full, sometimes they partially pass on the cut, sometimes they don’t at all. When they don’t, they often defend the decision by saying they need to balance the needs of their shareholders with the needs of their borrowers. 

As the attached graph shows, more recent cuts have seen less lenders passing on the full RBA interest rate cut; the average lender was more likely to pass on about two-thirds of the 25 basis points cut to its borrowers.  image002

What is 'principal and interest'?

‘Principal and interest’ loans are the most common type of home loans on the market. The principal part of the loan is the initial sum lent to the customer and the interest is the money paid on top of this, at the agreed interest rate, until the end of the loan.

By reducing the principal amount, the total of interest charged will also become smaller until eventually the debt is paid off in full.