How can refinancing help you pay off your home loan quicker?

You may have heard that refinancing your home loan to a cheaper rate can help you pay off your mortgage sooner. This can be true but there are certain steps you need to follow to make sure this is the case.

The following tips will help you refinance in a way that shortens your loan and leaves you debt free as soon as possible.

Always refinance to the same or shorter loan term

Some first time refinancers may fall for the trap of switching their loan to a longer loan term than they are currently on. While this will reduce their monthly repayment size, it will also increase the amount of interest they pay over the life of their loan. 

To avoid this, the first thing you should do is to establish how much of your current loan term is remaining. You can do this by contacting your existing lender to determine how many years are left on your mortgage. Once you know how long is left on your loan, it is important to make sure you do not refinance to a longer period.

You can discuss this with a potential lender when you have your initial phone chat. Let them know how many years are left on your loan and make sure they are aware that you don’t want to extend this time period.

Low rate refinancing home loans

 

Use lower repayments to get ahead

If you are refinancing to a lower interest rate your monthly repayment size will be reduced. To figure out how much cash you will be freeing up each month you can use a mortgage calculator.

With this extra cash freed up each month you have the opportunity to shorten the life of your home loan. If, instead of pocketing the cash, you continue to make the same size repayments you could potentially knock years and thousands of dollars off your home loan. 

Example – Kelly switches loans

Kelly has 25 years left on her mortgage and refinances her $300,000 loan to one with a lower interest rate. She ends up saving around $100 a month on mortgage repayments. She wants to work out if putting this money back into her mortgage is worth it in the long run.

Kelly calculates that by keeping her repayment amount steady on her $300,000 loan she will save close to $20,000 in interest and knock over two years off the loan term with her new loan. She decides that this is a good strategy to adopt as she wants to be debt free as soon as possible.

Take advantage of flexibility and features

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Another way that you can use refinancing to shorten your mortgage term is by refinancing to a loan that offers flexible repayment options. For example, if your current loan does not allow you to make weekly or fortnightly payments you are missing out on an opportunity to use more frequent repayments as a way of reducing the length of your loan.

Similarly, if your current loan doesn’t allow you to make extra repayments whenever you wish, you could be missing out on an opportunity to pay off you loan quicker. By putting bonuses, inheritances and gifts as lump sums towards your mortgage you will be paying down the principal amount faster meaning you have to pay less interest in the long run.

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Learn more about home loans

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.

What is an interest-only loan? How do I work out interest-only loan repayments?

An ‘interest-only’ loan is a loan where the borrower is only required to pay back the interest on the loan. Typically, banks will only let lenders do this for a fixed period of time – often five years – however some lenders will be happy to extend this.

Interest-only loans are popular with investors who aren’t keen on putting a lot of capital into their investment property. It is also a handy feature for people who need to reduce their mortgage repayments for a short period of time while they are travelling overseas, or taking time off to look after a new family member, for example.

While moving on to interest-only will make your monthly repayments cheaper, ultimately, you will end up paying your bank thousands of dollars extra in interest to make up for the time where you weren’t paying off the principal.

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. 

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Term

How long you wish to take to pay off your loan. 

How much are repayments on a $250K mortgage?

The exact repayment amount for a $250,000 mortgage will be determined by several factors including your deposit size, interest rate and the type of loan. It is best to use a mortgage calculator to determine your actual repayment size.

For example, the monthly repayments on a $250,000 loan with a 5 per cent interest rate over 30 years will be $1342. For a loan of $300,000 on the same rate and loan term, the monthly repayments will be $1610 and for a $500,000 loan, the monthly repayments will be $2684.

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.

How can I pay off my home loan faster?

The quickest way to pay off your home loan is to make regular extra contributions in addition to your monthly repayments to pay down the principal as fast as possible. This in turn reduces the amount of interest paid overall and shortens the length of the loan.

Another option may be to increase the frequency of your payments to fortnightly or weekly, rather than monthly, which may then reduce the amount of interest you are charged, depending on how your lender calculates repayments.

How can I calculate interest on my home loan?

You can calculate the total interest you will pay over the life of your loan by using a mortgage calculator. The calculator will estimate your repayments based on the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, the length of your loan, whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor and whether you plan to pay ‘principal and interest’ or ‘interest-only’.

If you are buying a new home, the calculator will also help you work out how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty and other related costs.

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Purpose

This is what you will use the loan for – i.e. investment. 

What is a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

How do I calculate monthly mortgage repayments?

Work out your mortgage repayments using a home loan calculator that takes into account your deposit size, property value and interest rate. This is divided by the loan term you choose (for example, there are 360 months in a 30-year mortgage) to determine the monthly repayments over this time frame.

Over the course of your loan, your monthly repayment amount will be affected by changes to your interest rate, plus any circumstances where you opt to pay interest-only for a period of time, instead of principal and interest.

What are extra repayments?

Additional payments to your home loan above the minimum monthly instalments, which can help to reduce the loan’s term and remaining payable interest.

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who provides a legally binding promise that they will pay off a mortgage if the principal borrower fails to do so.

Often, guarantors are parents in a solid financial position, while the principal borrower is a child in a weaker financial position who is struggling to enter the property market.

Lenders usually regard borrowers as less risky when they have a guarantor – and therefore may charge lower interest rates or even approve mortgages they would have otherwise rejected.

However, if the borrower falls behind on their repayments, the lender might chase the guarantor for payment. In some circumstances, the lender might even seize and sell the guarantor’s property to recoup their money.

How do I take out a low-deposit home loan?

If you want to take out a low-deposit home loan, it might be a good idea to consult a mortgage broker who can give you professional financial advice and organise the mortgage for you.

Another way to take out a low-deposit home loan is to do your own research with a comparison website like RateCity. Once you’ve identified your preferred mortgage, you can apply through RateCity or go direct to the lender.