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Research could save you thousands off your home loan

Research could save you thousands off your home loan

Would you spend more time researching a holiday than the right home loan? According to reports, despite home loans being one of the biggest financial decisions most people make in their life time, some are still spending more time planning a holiday than their financial future.

Failing to shop around and do your homework to find a suitable home loan could cost you thousands of dollars in extra interest over the life of the loan. You might not think that a small difference in interest rate would have much of an impact in how much is repaid, but it all adds up.

Save money

In a similar way that an investment grows if the interest is added to the capital, a home loan does much the same but in reverse. The reason is ‘compounding’.

To see how a small gap in rates can have a big impact on the overall cost of a home loan, try using our mortgage calculator tool.

If you assume a home loan of $350,000 repaid at a rate of 6 percent over 25 years, the amount of interest paid is $326,515. If the rate is 5.5 percent, the amount repaid in interest falls to $294,791. That’s a staggering difference of $31,724 between the two rates.

Look beyond the rate

When shopping for a home loan, though, the option with the lowest interest rate may not necessarily be the best loan. It’s important to consider fees and charges, which can add thousands of dollars to the overall cost of a mortgage, so you’ll need to factor these in. All lenders are required to provide the ‘comparison rate’ alongside their advertised rates. It includes most of the fees, but not all and expresses those costs through the interest rate.

For more information about how to compare home loans online – or to find a mortgage calculator tool – check out RateCity and start your homework today; it’s simpler than you might think!

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Learn more about home loans

Does the Home Loan Rate Promise apply to discounted interest rate offers, such as honeymoon rates?

No. Temporary discounts to home loan interest rates will expire after a limited time, so they aren’t valid for comparing home loans as part of the Home Loan Rate Promise.

However, if your home loan has been discounted from the lender’s standard rate on a permanent basis, you can check if we can find an even lower rate that could apply to you.

What are the different types of home loan interest rates?

A home loan interest rate is used to calculate how much you’ll pay the lender, usually annually, above the amount you borrow. It’s what the lenders charge you for them lending you money and will impact the total amount you’ll pay over the life of your home loan. 

Having understood what are home loan rates in general, here are the two types you usually have with a home loan:

Fixed rates

These interest rates remain constant for a specific period and are a good option if you’re a first-time buyer or if you’re looking for a fixed monthly repayment. One possible downside of a fixed rate is that it may be higher than a variable rate. Also, you don’t benefit from any lowering of interest rates in the market. On the flip side, if rates go up, your rate won’t change, possibly saving you money.

Variable rates

With variable interest rates, the lender can change them at any time. This change can be based on economic conditions or other reasons. Changes in interest rates could be beneficial if your monthly repayment decreases but can be a problem if it increases. Variable interest rates offer several other benefits often not available with fixed rate home loans like redraw and offset facilities and free extra repayments. 

How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?

When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including the amount owing on your mortgage and your current interest rate.

We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.

 

How do I apply for a home improvement loan?

When you want to renovate your home, you may need to take out a loan to cover the costs. You could apply for a home improvement loan, which is a personal loan that you use to cover the costs of your home renovations. There is no difference between applying for this type of home improvement loan and applying for a standard personal loan. It would be best to check and compare the features, fees and details of the loan before applying. 

Besides taking out a home improvement loan, you could also:

  1. Use the equity in your house: Equity is the difference between your property’s value and the amount you still owe on your home loan. You may be able to access this equity by refinancing your home loan and then using it to finance your home improvement.  Speak with your lender or a mortgage broker about accessing your equity.
  2. Utilise the redraw facility of your home loan: Check whether the existing home loan has a redraw facility. A redraw facility allows you to access additional funds you’ve repaid into your home loan. Some lenders offer this on variable rate home loans but not on fixed. If this option is available to you, contact your lender to discuss how to access it.
  3. Apply for a construction loan: A construction loan is typically used when constructing a new property but can also be used as a home renovation loan. You may find that a construction loan is a suitable option as it enables you to draw funds as your renovation project progresses. You can compare construction home loans online or speak to a mortgage broker about taking out such a loan.
  4. Look into government grants: Check whether there are any government grants offered when you need the funds and whether you qualify. Initiatives like the HomeBuilder Grant were offered by the Federal Government for a limited period until April 2021. They could help fund your renovations either in full or just partially.