Save $300 a month by switching mortgages

Save $300 a month by switching mortgages

September 17, 2010

Moving your home loan from one lender to another isn’t always as easy as one, two, three. There could be costs involved, decisions to make and sometimes the whole process can end up costing you more. But with some careful planning and by doing some research, switching lenders can be worthwhile.

Make the switch and save
According to a Mortgage Choice 2010 Refinancers Survey of more than 1000 borrowers, almost one-quarter who switched to a different mortgage saved about $300 per month by doing so. After one year that saving equals $3600. If you think about what that could mean for your entire loan term, after 25 years you could be $90,000 better off.
Mortgage Choice also found that 88 percent of borrowers made a saving of more than $50 each month by switching to a different lender. It might not sound like much, but after 25 years that could be $15,000.

Costs involved
You do need to factor in not only the costs of exiting your current home loan but also the costs of setting up a new one.
The costs for exiting early from a home loan will depend on how long you have had your mortgage for, how much you have owing, what type of home loan you have and which lender you are with. Typically, if you try to break from your loan within the first few years you will be penalised heavier than what you would be if you had the loan for longer.

While some borrowers may not pay any exit fees, for those that do will pay anywhere up to more than $5000. According to the Mortgage Choice survey, 10 percent of the borrowers who did pay exit fees paid more than $5000, while the largest portion, 30 percent paid from $501 to $1000.

The costs involved for starting up a new home loan can include application fees which according to RateCity can average approximately $486. RateCity found 16 other associated fees that your lender could charge you including legal fees and administration fees.

Making the choice
If you are thinking of making the switch, keep your eye on the market and see what other lenders are offering. One of the best ways to do this is to compare home loans online, as you can easily keep track of interest rates and fees to see how your mortgage measures up

It is ultimately up to you which lender you decide to go with, but you can apply for another loan online or take the information you found on comparison sites to your current lender and ask them if they can do a better deal than what you are currently getting.

Make sure you find out all the fees that are involved for setting up your new loan and be sure to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before applying.

 

 

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Learn more about home loans

What is an ongoing fee?

Ongoing fees are any regular payments charged by your lender in addition to the interest they apply including annual fees, monthly account keeping fees and offset fees. The average annual fee is close to $200 however there are almost 2,000 home loan products that don’t charge an annual fee at all. There’s plenty of extra costs when you’re buying a home, such as conveyancing, stamp duty, moving costs, so the more fees you can avoid on your home loan, the better. While $200 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it adds up to $6,000 over the life of a 30 year loan – money which would be much better off either reinvested into your home loan or in your back pocket for the next rainy day.

Example: Anna is tossing up between two different mortgage products. Both have the same variable interest rate, but one has a monthly account keeping fee of $20. By picking the loan with no fees, and investing an extra $20 a month into her loan, Josie will end up shaving 6 months off her 30 year loan and saving over $9,000* in interest repayments.

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.

Does each product always have the same rating?

No, the rating you see depends on a number of factors and can change as you tell us more about your loan profile and preferences. The reasons you may see a different rating:

  • Lenders have made changes. Our ratings show the relative competitiveness of all the products listed at a given time. As the listing change, so do the ratings.
  • You have updated you profile. If you increase your loan amount, the impact of different rates and fees will change which loans are the lowest cost for you.
  • You adjust your preferences. The more you search for flexible loan features, the more importance we assign to the Flexibility Score. You can also adjust your Flexibility Weighting yourself, which will recalculate the ratings with preference given to more flexible loans.

What is a specialist lender?

Specialist lenders, also known as non-conforming lenders, are lenders that offer mortgages to ‘non-vanilla’ borrowers who struggle to get finance at mainstream banks.

That includes people with bad credit, as well as borrowers who are self-employed, in casual employment or are new to Australia.

Specialist lenders take a much more flexible approach to assessing mortgage applications than mainstream banks.

What is the average annual percentage rate?

Also known as the comparison rate, or sometimes the ‘true rate’ of a loan, the average annual percentage rate (AAPR) is used to indicate the overall cost of a loan after considering all the fees, charges and other factors, such as introductory offers and honeymoon rates.

The AAPR is calculated based on a standardised loan amount and loan term, and doesn’t include any extra non-standard charges.

Mortgage Calculator, Interest Rate

The percentage of the loan amount you will be charged by your lender to borrow. 

What factors does Real Time Ratings consider?

Real Time RatingsTM uses a range of information to provide personalised results:

  • Your loan amount
  • Your borrowing status (whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor)
  • Your loan-to-value ratio (LVR)
  • Your personal preferences (such as whether you want an offset account or to be able to make extra repayments)
  • Product information (such as a loan’s interest rate, fees and LVR requirements)
  • Market changes (such as when new loans come on to the market)

Interest Rate

Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Amount

How much you intend to borrow. 

Mortgage Calculator, Repayment Frequency

How often you wish to pay back your lender. 

What is the amortisation period?

Popularly known as the loan term, the amortisation period is the time over which the borrower must pay back both the loan’s principal and interest. It is usually determined during the application approval process.

Monthly Repayment

Your current monthly home loan repayment. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate payment figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement.

What is an ombudsman?

An complaints officer – previously referred to as an ombudsman -looks at formal complaints from customers about their credit providers, and helps to find a fair and independent solution to these problems.

These services are handled by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, a non-profit government organisation that addresses and resolves financial disputes between customers and financial service providers.

How does a redraw facility work?

A redraw facility attached to your loan allows you to borrow back any additional repayments that you have already paid on your loan. This can be a beneficial feature because, by paying down the principal with additional repayments, you will be charged less interest. However you will still be able to access the extra money when needed.