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.


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 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.


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 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

Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

When do mortgage payments start after settlement?

Generally speaking, your first mortgage payment falls due one month after the settlement date. However, this may vary based on your mortgage terms. You can check the exact date by contacting your lender.

Usually your settlement agent will meet the seller’s representatives to exchange documents at an agreed place and time. The balance purchase price is paid to the seller. The lender will register a mortgage against your title and give you the funds to purchase the new home.

Once the settlement process is complete, the lender allows you to draw down the loan. The loan amount is debited from your loan account. As soon as the settlement paperwork is sorted, you can collect the keys to your new home and work your way through the moving-in checklist.

Cash or mortgage – which is more suitable to buy an investment property?

Deciding whether to buy an investment property with cash or a mortgage is a matter or personal choice and will often depend on your financial situation. Using cash may seem logical if you have the money in reserve and it can allow you to later use the equity in your home. However, there may be other factors to think about, such as whether there are other debts to pay down and whether it will tie up all of your spare cash. Again, it’s a personal choice and may be worth seeking personal advice.

A mortgage is a popular option for people who don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay for an investment property. Sometimes when you take out a mortgage you can offset your loan interest against the rental income you may earn. The rental income can also help to pay down the loan.

When does Commonwealth Bank charge an early exit fee?

When you take out a fixed interest home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you’re able to lock the interest for a particular period. If the rates change during this period, your repayments remain unchanged. If you break the loan during the fixed interest period, you’ll have to pay the Commonwealth Bank home loan early exit fee and an administrative fee.

The Early Repayment Adjustment (ERA) and Administrative fees are applicable in the following instances:

  • If you switch your loan from fixed interest to variable rate
  • When you apply for a top-up home loan
  • If you repay over and above the annual threshold limit, which is $10,000 per year during the fixed interest period
  • When you prepay the entire outstanding loan balance before the end of the fixed interest duration.

The fee calculation depends on the interest rates, the amount you’ve repaid and the loan size. You can contact the lender to understand more about what you may have to pay. 

How to use the ME Bank reverse mortgage calculator?

You can access the equity in your home to help you fund your needs during your senior years. A ME Bank reverse mortgage allows you to tap into the equity you’ve built up in your home while you continue living in your house. You can also use the funds to pay for your move to a retirement home and repay the loan when you sell the property.

Generally, if you’re 60 years old, you can borrow up to 15 per cent of the property value. If you are older than 75 years, the amount you can access increases to up to 30 per cent. You can use a reverse mortgage calculator to know how much you can borrow.

To take out a ME Bank reverse mortgage, you’ll need to provide information like your age, type of property – house or an apartment, postcode, and the estimated market value of the property. The loan to value ratio (LVR) is calculated based on your age and the property’s value.

What do people do with a Macquarie Bank reverse?

There are a number of ways people use a Macquarie Bank reverse mortgage. Below are some reasons borrowers tend to release their home’s equity via a reverse mortgage:

  • To top up superannuation or pension income to pay for monthly bills;
  • To consolidate and repay high-interest debt like credit cards or personal loans;
  • To fund renovations, repairs or upgrades to their home
  • To help your children or grandkids through financial difficulties. 

While there are no limitations on how you can use a Macquarie reverse mortgage loan, a reverse mortgage is not right for all borrowers. Reverse mortgages compound the interest, which means you end up paying interest on your interest. They can also affect your entitlement to things like the pension It’s important to think carefully, read up and speak with your family before you apply for a reverse mortgage.

What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.

Can I get a home renovation loan with bad credit?

If you're looking for funds to pay for repairs or renovations to your home, but you have a low credit score, you need to carefully consider your options. If you already have a mortgage, a good starting point is to check whether you can redraw money from that. You could also consider applying for a new home loan. 

Before taking out a new loan, it’s good to note that lenders are likely to charge higher interest rates on home repair loans for bad credit customers. Alternatively, they may be willing to lend you a smaller amount than a standard loan. You may also face some challenges with getting your home renovation loan application approved. If you do run into trouble, you can speak to your lender and ask whether they would be willing to approve your application if you have a guarantor or co-signer. You should also explain the reasons behind your bad credit rating and the steps that you’re taking to improve it. 

Consulting a financial advisor or mortgage broker can help you understand your options and make the right choice.

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.  

How to apply for a pre-approval home loan from Bendigo Bank?

Applying for pre-approval on your home loan gives you confidence in your ability to secure finance while looking at potential new homes. You can get a free and personalised pre-approval home loan from Bendigo Bank in just a few minutes, without any credit checks or paperwork. 

Bendigo Bank offers pre-approval for home loans that allow you to understand the home loan size you may be able to get before looking for a new home. 

With the pre-approval, Bendigo Bank provides an estimate of your borrowing power. This figure incorporates stamp duty, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) and any first home buyer incentives you may be eligible for. You may also qualify for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme initiative, depending on your circumstances. 

To apply for a pre-approval on your home loan from Bendigo Bank, all you need to do is fill in a smart form. You could also contact the bank directly on 1300 236 344.

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.

How long does ANZ take to approve a home loan?

The process of applying for a home loan usually stays the same across all lenders. On the other hand, the time it takes for a lender to approve the home loan differs from lender to lender. When it comes to ANZ, it takes anywhere between 15 to 18 business days to approve a home loan from the day of the application to approval. This timeframe is highly dependent on the credibility and availability of your documentation. You can apply for an ANZ home loan in two ways; a Quick Start home loan application or a full online application.

If you opt for the Quick Start home loan option, you’ll need to fill out a form with basic details. During this stage, you don’t need to add any supporting information. An ANZ representative will then call you within 48 hours. The representative will help take your application forward, including assessing all relevant information, documentation and conducting a credit check.

You can also submit your entire home loan application with ANZ online by filling out a comprehensive form with all the information and documentation needed.

Once ANZ has conducted the preliminary checks, you’ll be informed of the pre-approved amount they’re willing to offer. Based on this amount, you can set a budget for your property search and make sure you stay inside your budget. Pre-approval will last for three months but can be extended by applying with ANZ if you don’t find a property. But it’s best to find a property as soon as possible as ANZ may decide to change the amount if your financial situation changes.

After you find a property and have your offer accepted, ANZ may send an assessor to the property to verify it’s value. If everything is per their terms and conditions, ANZ will finalise your home loan’s approval and release the funds.

How much deposit do I need for a home loan from ANZ?

Like other mortgage lenders, ANZ often prefers a home loan deposit of 20 per cent or more of the property value when you’re applying for a home loan. It may be possible to get a home loan with a smaller deposit of 10 per cent or even 5 per cent, but there are a few reasons to consider saving a larger deposit if possible:

  • A larger deposit tells a lender that you’re a great saver, which could help increase the chances of your home loan application getting approved.
  • The more money you pay as a deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow in your home loan. This could mean paying off your loan sooner, and being charged less total interest.
  • If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, you might incur additional costs, such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

What are the benefits of getting a pre-approved home loan from Citibank?

While hunting for your dream home, getting a Citibank home loan pre-approval can have multiple benefits, which include:

  • You'll have an idea on your personal price range, which can save time to find your home.
  • With a pre-approved home loan, you may find yourself with more financial control to better decide how much you can spend.
  • A Citibank pre-approved home loan is a commitment  by a lender that signals you're ready to jump into the property market.

You can apply for pre-approval by providing basic details, such as name, email, and phone number on the bank’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the bank on 1300 361 922 or find a home lending officer on the website.