Save on Your Mortgage and Update Your Kitchen

Save on your mortgage, update your kitchen

Do you dream of a luxurious kitchen where family and friends gather over delicious home-cooked meals? You may think you don’t have the means to achieve it; however, by switching your mortgage provider you could make substantial savings to turn your dream kitchen into a reality, and add value to your home at the same time.

Find out how much money you could save over the life of your loan by using our home loan calculator. On a loan of $350,000 you could have saved $16,000 over ten years by switching to one of the smaller lenders from the big four banks. Find out how much you could save here.

Once you know how much extra budget you have, you can use this advice from some of Australia’s leading kitchen designers and suppliers on how to update your kitchen to get even more value out of your home.

Reece

Established for over 90 years, Reece now has over 300 showrooms across Australia, offering a broad range of Australian and international products for your kitchen update.

Before undertaking any kitchen makeover, Reece says you should plan as thoroughly as possible and be realistic about what you can achieve on your budget. Retrofitting is a great way of achieving maximum results with minimum spend, as you keep the existing plumbing points and install the new fittings around them. It’s amazing how effective a new sink and repainting the existing cabinetry can be.

Adding a double sink, like the AFA Flow and AFA Cubeline ranges, adds flexibility to a kitchen. A stylish, well-positioned tap can be of immense value, both practically and aesthetically. Reece is seeing an increase in the popularity of pull-out or pull-down extendable spouts and sprays, such as the Teknobili Flag Sink Mixer. Use the mortgage calculator to find out how much you could have saved by switching lenders – it’s possible both these items could have been installed in your kitchen already!

Carpet Court

As one of Australia’s largest retailers of flooring and blinds, Carpet Court prides itself on offering quality products at the best prices. They have an expert team on hand to help fit floor coverings and offer top interior design advice.

‘Work from the floor up!’ advises Carpet Court. The right flooring can add a whole new look to your kitchen and also provide a variety of practical benefits. Carpet Court offers a huge variety of colours and styles for a simple way of updating your home’s look. For a more spacious, contemporary look, timber boards add visual texture and are incredibly easy to keep clean, making it an ideal option for your kitchen update. Consider adding a splash of colour with a rug.

Carpet Court’s Quick-Step® Readyflor wood planks are a great way of achieving a timber effect on a budget. They’re quick and easy to fit, as they simply click together and ‘float’ on your existing floor.

Hotondo Homes

Hotondo Homes is a family-owned building company with over 70 builders located across Australia. Their extensive range of flexible designs have helped 24,000 Australian families build their dream homes.

In their experience, updating a kitchen is a great way of adding value to your home and needn’t be expensive or complicated. Simply adding a few new feature items can make a difference and a fresh coat of paint shouldn’t be underestimated. Light, contemporary colours are the best choice.

If you’re choosing items that will create the most instant visible update, Hotondo Homes recommends going for a new benchtop or splashback, as these items are immediately noticeable. For a less expensive way to update your kitchen, they suggest re-facing your cabinet doors and changing the doorknobs. Installing a new benchtop undoubtedly has a bigger impact both to the aesthetics and value of your home, so refinancing your mortgage could get you that extra cash needed to give your kitchen a desirable facelift.

ASKO

ASKO designs and manufactures high quality kitchen and laundry appliances inspired by minimalist Scandinavian designs. Their ranges have been recognised for their innovative features, functionality and clever design with several prestigious awards.

The design experts at ASKO say that a seamless, consistent look throughout your kitchen will instantly add aesthetic value and a more upmarket feel. Create this look by choosing appliances with clean lines that blend in well together. If any appliances stand out too much you can integrate them into your kitchen by using cabinet doors as front panels.

High quality, modern appliances make life easier and help save you money. Invest in appliances that use minimal power, as these will offer the best energy efficiency and least environmental impact.

Prebuilt

Australian-owned Prebuilt supplies modular pre-fabricated buildings throughout Australia. They control every aspect of the process from design and project management, right through to construction and delivery. The team have extensive training and experience in construction, architecture, engineering and cost estimation.

Prebuilt recommends updating the lighting in your kitchen, which, in combination with other fittings such as benchtops and tap ware, can completely transform the space. Another approach is adopting a new colour scheme to transform an outdated space into a fresh, modern kitchen.

The designers at Prebuilt suggest investing in some luxurious details for your kitchen. Opt for a Caesar Stone benchtop in Noble Grey, teamed with Signorino tiles. Their favourite finishing touches are an About Space Mode pendant light and a Caroma Vixen retractable sink mixer in black.

Eurowalls

Eurowalls is an Australian importer of wallpaper, contract wall coverings and upholstery fabrics, predominantly from Europe. They have extensive experience in offering interior advice for a variety of spaces, for both commercial and residential clients.

Wallpaper is no longer seen as an outdated concept! In fact, as Eurowalls says ‘many clients use wallpaper as a way to enhance their home, prior to putting it on the market.’ Creating a feature wall in your kitchen using wallpaper is a simple and effective way of achieving a new look on a budget.

There are a plethora of interesting textures and designs on the market, and the staff at Eurowalls can help you find the perfect option to add that all-important ‘wow’ factor to your kitchen. Consider a grass weave, beautiful silk or even a designer logo, such as Versace or Porsche.

Blinds on the Net

Established in 2006, Blinds on the Net is an online retailer of Australian and imported custom-made blinds. The site also offers measuring instructions, installation videos and a sample service, which can be invaluable to renovators.

Natural light is a vital feature in any kitchen, says the blind retailer, so it’s important to make the most of that when planning your kitchen renovation. The right window covering can help you maximise the light for an updated, modern look. A light-coloured roller blind in a sunscreen or translucent fabric lets in plenty of light by day, while offering you privacy at night.

Motorising your roller blinds with one of the battery-powered options on the market negates the need for an expensive electrician and it’s a great way to modernise your kitchen.

Paradise Kitchens

Over the last 35 years, Paradise Kitchens has become one of Sydney’s leading kitchen design and manufacture companies, offering innovative and flexible designs, expert craftsmanship, service and advice.

With their extensive experience, Paradise Kitchens have plenty of tips for updating your kitchen without breaking the bank. Instead of buying completely new cabinets, they suggest adding new doors and drawer fronts. Look for pre-loved and recycled countertops and splashbacks; this way you may be able to afford a high-end look for a reasonable price.

You can add value to your kitchen by updating some of the fixtures and fittings, say the kitchen experts. Recessed lighting above the table and counter spaces gives the appearance of brightness and space in smaller rooms. Overlay countertops made from composite granite and resin will give you the appearance of granite for a fraction of the cost.

Brisbane Appliance Sales

Brisbane Appliance Sales have been operating for 25 years helping Queensland homeowners update their kitchen with high quality appliances. They say that although it may be tempting to overload a kitchen with gadgets, it’s more important to spend money on essentials that are of a good quality, built to last and capable of doing everything you need them to do.

Before you start shopping around it’s important to think about what you really need from your kitchen. Careful planning and budgeting are a must, say Brisbane Appliance Sales.

For long-lasting impact, they recommend investing in a large capacity oven, induction or gas cooktop, integrated dishwasher and a quality extraction system. If you have the space, and are looking to sell, the added functionality of a double sink will appeal to potential buyers.

L&M Gold Star

L&M Gold Star is an electrical appliance retailer, wholesaler and rental organisation serving the domestic and commercial property markets of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. They say that it’s important to get expert advice when refurbishing your kitchen. Even though this will require an initial outlay, it could prevent you from wasting your budget further down the line.

They also advise to choose products that are easy to use and are from established brands that offer a good warranty. You should make sure the brands you choose have good reputations for service, as you never know when you might need it. Stainless steel appliances have offer a high-end, timeless look.

3 Pea’s Property Styling

3 Pea’s Property Styling is a premier home staging company based in Ballarat. Head Stylist and Director Jo Powell assists vendors to prepare properties for sale. Her services include property styling, de-cluttering, project management and advice.

Jo says that the simplest way to update your kitchen is to give it a thorough cleaning. Painting the walls, ceiling and any outdated cabinetry will instantly breathe new life into your kitchen, and it’s amazing what can be achieved by small details such as changing the cabinet handles.

If you have the extra budget to replace any fixtures or fittings, Jo recommends resurfacing your benchtops to achieve a modern stone or composite stone look. There are now some great products that enable you to do this yourself!

Sartorial Interiors

Based in Sydney, Sartorial Interiors is a boutique interior design practice established in 2008. The team specialises in bespoke residential projects with an emphasis on beauty, quality and functionality.

When designing your updated kitchen, Sartorial Interiors recommends choosing products that won’t date as your kitchen should last for many years. Mid- to dark-toned timber cupboard doors and concealed appliances look welcoming and classy. Consider using finger pulls instead of doorknobs and handles for a premium, streamlined look.

Thick natural or engineered stone bench tops such as Smart Stone or Caesar Stone are built to last, but can be expensive. The same look can be achieved for less with a false front known as a mitred apron. Extend the stone look into the splashback for a sophisticated kitchen.

McRae & Lynch Interior Design

McRae & Lynch provides a complete, custom interior and exterior design and construction service to clients in both the residential and commercial sectors. No matter whether you’re designing a commercial kitchen or updating your own home, it’s vital to make the best use of the space in terms of flow and functionality, say McRae & Lynch.

Placing appliances correctly will allow for more bench and storage space. Once the layout is right, then you can start work on the aesthetics. The interior designers recommend reconstituted stone benchtops in a neutral colour, with a splashback that complements them.

When choosing appliances, go for quality products like induction cooktops and pyrolitic ovens, which make cooking a joy and contribute to your overall quality of life. McRae & Lynch’s favourite brand is Miele.

My Beautiful Abode

My Beautiful Abode is an interior design and styling consultancy, that works with clients to give their homes more aesthetic appeal and comfort. They suggest looking for ways to reinvigorate any elements of your kitchen that look tired and worn. Many of these can easily and simply be fixed on a budget.

Dated tiled splashbacks with dirty grout can be given a new lease of life with some tile paint and fresh white grout. New handles on your cabinet doors can update a kitchen, as can adding some beautiful pendant lighting.

Granite Transformations offers some wonderful granite veneers that can be installed over your existing benchtops. Adding new contemporary tiles will give your kitchen instant visual impact; My Beautiful Abode particularly recommends Byzantine Design’s collection.

Alana O Interiors

Alana O has been providing home renovation and design services in Perth since 2010, offering advice on furnishings right through to complete interior layouts. Alana also offers an e-design service for interstate clients.

Small cosmetic changes can make a big difference to a kitchen, says Alana. But if you’ve got enough budget to replace your cabinetry or add integrated storage solutions, make sure you have your measurements right! An interior designer can help you make your kitchen work perfectly for you.

Engineered stone benchtops add beauty and value while being less expensive and lower maintenance than natural stone. A tiled or glazed splashback and stainless steel or brushed aluminium kickboards will add an instant contemporary touch.

Splendour Interiors

Splendour Interiors provides interior designs combining functionality and flexibility with beauty and character. The company loves to ‘showcase the talent of local designers and artists within our community’, while delivering a space that brings joy to a client’s eyes.

Changing the flooring of your kitchen makes a huge difference to the look and feel of the space, say the interior designers, as will adding pendant lighting. If you need to replace items, it’s a good idea to concentrate on benchtops and tapware.

For a luxurious and practical look, Splendour Interiors recommends installing Universal black granite; however, Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation is a great product for making a laminated benchtop look like granite. For tapware, it’s hard to beat the copper and matte black Sussex collections from Reece.

As these interior experts show, it’s possible to create a luxurious kitchen on a budget. And with the extra cash saved on your mortgage in your pocket, enjoying your dream kitchen with friends and family could be closer than you think!

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Learn more about home loans

What are the responsibilities of a mortgage broker?

Mortgage brokers act as the go-between for borrowers looking for a home loan and the lenders offering the loan. They offer personalised advice to help borrowers choose the right home loan for their needs.

In Australia, mortgage brokers are required by law to carry an Australian Credit License (ACL) if they offer credit assistance services. Which is the legal term for guidance regarding the different kinds of credit offered by lenders, including home loan mortgages. They may not need this license if they are working for an aggregator, for instance, as a franchisee. In both these situations, they need to comply with the regulations laid down by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

These regulations, which are stipulated by Australian legislation, require mortgage brokers to comply with what are called “responsible lending” and “best interest” obligations. Responsible lending obligations mean brokers have to suggest “suitable” home loans. This means loans that you can easily qualify for,  actually meet your needs, and don’t prove unnecessarily challenging for you.

Starting 1 January 2021, mortgage brokers must comply with best interest obligations in addition to responsible lending obligations. These require mortgage brokers to act in the best interest of their customers and also requires them to prioritise their customers’ interests over their own. For instance, a mortgage broker may not recommend a lender who gives them a commission if that lender’s home loan offer does not benefit that particular customer.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out. 

Why is it important to get the most up-to-date information?

The mortgage market changes constantly. Every week, new products get launched and existing products get tweaked. Yet many ratings and awards systems rank products annually or biannually.

We update our product data as soon as possible when lenders make changes, so if a bank hikes its interest rates or changes its product, the system will quickly re-evaluate it.

Nobody wants to read a weather forecast that is six months old, and the same is true for home loan comparisons.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

I can't pick a loan. Should I apply to multiple lenders?

Applying for home loans with multiple lenders at once can affect your credit history, as multiple loan applications in short succession can make you look like a risky borrower. Comparing home loans from different lenders, assessing their features and benefits, and making one application to a preferred lender may help to improve your chances of success

What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

How much money can I borrow for a home loan?

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.

What is equity? How can I use equity in my home loan?

Equity refers to the difference between what your property is worth and how much you owe on it. Essentially, it is the amount you have repaid on your home loan to date, although if your property has gone up in value it can sometimes be a lot more.

You can use the equity in your home loan to finance renovations on your existing property or as a deposit on an investment property. It can also be accessed for other investment opportunities or smaller purchases, such as a car or holiday, using a redraw facility.

Once you are over 65 you can even use the equity in your home loan as a source of income by taking out a reverse mortgage. This will let you access the equity in your loan in the form of regular payments which will be paid back to the bank following your death by selling your property. But like all financial products, it’s best to seek professional advice before you sign on the dotted line.

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 to break up with your mortgage broker

If you find a mortgage broker giving you generic advice or trying to sell you a competitive offer from an unsuitable lender, you might be better off  breaking up with the mortgage broker and consulting someone else. Breaking up with a mortgage broker can be done over the phone, or via email. You can also raise a complaint, either with the broker’s aggregator or with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority as necessary.

As licensed industry professionals, mortgage brokers have the responsibility of giving you accurate advice so that you know what to expect when you apply for a home loan. You may have approached the mortgage broker, for instance, because you have questions about the terms of a home loan a lender offered you. 

You should remember that mortgage brokers are obliged by law to act in your best interests and as part of complying with The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) regulations. If you feel you didn’t get the right advice from the mortgage broker, or that you lost money as a result of accepting the broker’s suggestions regarding a lender or home loan offer, you can file a complaint with the ASIC and seek compensation. 

When you first speak to a mortgage broker, consider asking them about their Lender Panel, which is the list of lenders they usually recommend and who may pay them a commission. This information can help you decide if the advice they give you has anything to do with the remuneration they may receive from one or more lenders.

Will I be paying two mortgages at once when I refinance?

No, given the way the loan and title transfer works, you will not have to pay two mortgages at the one time. You will make your last monthly repayment on loan number one and then the following month you will start paying off loan number two.

Does Australia have no cost refinancing?

No Cost Refinancing is an option available in the US where the lender or broker covers your switching costs, such as appraisal fees and settlement costs. Unfortunately, no cost refinancing isn’t available in Australia.

Can I get a home loan if I am on an employment contract?

Some lenders will allow you to apply for a mortgage if you are a contractor or freelancer. However, many lenders prefer you to be in a permanent, ongoing role, because a more stable income means you’re more likely to keep up with your repayments.

If you’re a contractor, freelancer, or are otherwise self-employed, it may still be possible to apply for a low-doc home loan, as these mortgages require less specific proof of income.

Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

There is no set limit to how many times you are allowed to refinance. Some surveyed RateCity users have refinanced up to three times.

However, if you refinance several times in short succession, it could affect your credit score. Lenders assess your credit score when you apply for new loans, so if you end up with bad credit, you may not be able to refinance if and when you really need to.

Before refinancing multiple times, consider getting a copy of your credit report and ensure your credit history is in good shape for future refinances.