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Top five reasons to look at mortgage refinance

Top five reasons to look at mortgage refinance

Thinking of trading in your home loan for a newer model? Here are the main reasons people start searching for better home loans:

To save money

The main reason people explore other options on their current mortgage is to save money on interest. The aim of the game with refinancing is to maintain your repayments at their current rate but with a cheaper interest rate, so you can start making a dent in the principal and therefore reduce the lifespan of your loan.

Extra features

Many people find that their current home loan doesn’t offer adequate features, such as a redraw facility or line of credit. Having these extra banking features attached to your home loan means that, if things change, you have access to funds to boost your cashflow.

Finance renovations or investment

You may wish to refinance for a higher amount than your current home loan and use the extra money to invest in property or stocks, pay for your child’s education or to renovate your current home to increase its value.

Consolidate debt

Many people find greater peace of mind, not to mention reduced interest payments, in rolling all of their outstanding debts into one. When credit cards, the mortgage and personal loans are all combined, repayments are easier to manage.

Changing times

Your circumstances may have altered since you first took out your mortgage. What might have been the best home loan at the time might not be working to your best advantage now – particularly if your mortgage was negotiated before the mortgage industry exploded with highly competitive products.

Compare refinancing home loans:

So with all this in mind, is now a good time to refinance? 

While the only person who will be able to answer this question definitively is you, there’s a good reason why now may be a good time to consider refinancing. Competition at the lower end of the market is fierce, and interest rates below 4% are not uncommon if you look at some of the smaller lenders. 

If you initially took out your loan with a big bank on a high interest rate because you thought it was more secure, by now you may have realised this isn’t the case. Smaller lenders are not to be sniffed at, and the savings that can be made by switching could potentially be in the tens of thousands. 

Also keep in mind that there’s no such thing as loyalty in the home loan game. Lenders often offer low interest rate deals to new customers, overlooking customers that have been with them for decades. Don’t be afraid to switch to get some of the bargains for yourself!

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Head of Content Leigh Stark before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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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.

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 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.

 

Can I take a personal loan after a home loan?

Are you struggling to pay the deposit for your dream home? A personal loan can help you pay the deposit. The question that may arise in your mind is can I take a home loan after a personal loan, or can you take a personal loan at the same time as a home loan, as it is. The answer is that, yes, provided you can meet the general eligibility criteria for both a personal loan and a home loan, your application should be approved. Those eligibility criteria may include:

  • Higher-income to show repayment capability for both the loans
  • Clear credit history with no delays in bill payments or defaults on debts
  • Zero or minimal current outstanding debt
  • Some amount of savings
  • Proven rent history will be positively perceived by the lenders

A personal loan after or during a home loan may impact serviceability, however, as the numbers can seriously add up. Every loan you avail of increases your monthly installments and the amount you use to repay the personal loan will be considered to lower the money available for the repayment of your home loan.

As to whether you can get a personal loan after your home loan, the answer is a very likely "yes", though it does come with a caveat: as long as you can show sufficient income to repay both the loans on time, you should be able to get that personal loan approved. A personal loan can also help to improve your credit score showing financial discipline and responsibility, which may benefit you with more favorable terms for your home loan.