Complete Home Loan Package Review

Nicki Bourlioufas
Jul 15, 2016( 8 min read )

The basics

Whether you are buying your first home, upgrading to a new one, investing or refinancing, the Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package enables you to do all your banking fee-free once you pay an annual fee. There are some very flexible features of the package which make it worth a look.

Borrowers can choose between variable or fixed home loans as well as equity loans, which are also know as lines of credit, and function like a big credit card. Otherwise, you can split a home loan between these three loan types at no additional cost with competitive interest rates offered. Once your loan is up and running, there are no ongoing fees for any of the loans or the other products that come with the package such as a credit card.

The Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package offers flexible feature such as the ability to make unlimited free redraws and repayments on variable loans, a 100 per cent offset account facility with variable loans and even a partial offset account on fixed loans.

In addition, with the Complete Home Loan Package, borrowers can benefit from a competitive interest rate if they take out more than one home loan, with the interest rate on new loans based on your overall package home loan borrowings. So the more you borrow, potentially the better the rate.

The size of the annual fee is comparable to that charged by the big four banks on a home loan package. But you’ll need to complete a review of the benefits to understand if this product is for you. More specific product information is available here.

Review of the Highlights

The great thing about the Bankwest package is that it really does offer some useful features which give you flexibility in how you repay your home loan and access funds when you need to. Once you pay the annual fee, there are no other ongoing fees for the products in the package. Upfront fees apply, for instance there is a $150 settlement fee on Bankwest loans, however this is on the low end of the market and there is no application fee.

Bankwest Complete Variable Loans for owner-occupiers or investors come with free unlimited redraws that allows you to draw back some cash if you’re ahead on your repayments. Or you can make unlimited additional repayments at no cost, which will help you to reduce interest costs over the life of the loan.  You have the option of repaying in monthly, fortnightly or weekly instalments, with more regular repayments allowing you to cut interest costs.

You can get a 100 per cent offset facility available on the Complete Variable Home Loan and there are no electronic or counter transaction fees on the account.

While you can make unlimited repayments on your variable home loan, there is a cap on the amount of additional repayments allowed on a Bankwest Complete Fixed Home Loan. This is a nice feature because many other home lenders don’t allow extra repayments on fixed loans. Out of the lenders who do allow extra repayments on fixed loans, $10,000 is the most common amount – however some lenders allow $20,000 or more. The package also allows you to pay interest only repayments for up to five years on a variable or fixed loan. Again, five years is common for this.

Another bonus is that you can get a partial offset account with your Complete Fixed Home Loans, a feature not offered on all fixed loans. Borrowers can lock in interest rates for between one and five years.

The package also offers borrowers the ability to access an equity home loan, similar to a line of credit. This is a flexible credit facility and it comes with a low interest rate. Borrowers have a pre-approved borrowing limit and can draw on as little or as much of that sum as needed, with interest paid on the outstanding balance. There are no loan maintenance fees and you can use this facility to fund the deposit for your next investment property or to buy other assets. You also have the option of interest only repayments when your loan limit is reached. Another bonus is that if you get a construction loan, no progress payment fees are required.

Under the package, one Bankwest More Platinum MasterCard account or Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard account is allowed per customer and you won’t pay an annual fee.

If you like convenience, then this package could be for you, but conduct a full review of the benefits and costs. The Commonwealth Bank owns Bankwest so you get free access to over 4000 Bankwest and Commonwealth Bank ATMs Australia-wide. Bankwest also provides 24-hour banking service options via its website. A nice bonus is that you can contact a home loan specialist by phone or email (their details are on the Bankwest website), a level of personal service not always available.

Review of the lowlights

The Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package is aimed at those borrowing larger amounts of money, as the minimum loan size is $200,000. That may not suit home buyers who have a large deposit and just want a small loan to fill the gap. The big minimum loan may also put off those refinancing smaller home loans.

The annual fee for the Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package may be a turnoff for those on a tight budget as there are lower cost home loans on the market. Having said that, the package cost is comparable with most package deals offered by the big four banks and is an easy way to get a discounted rate on a full-featured loan with a big bank.

Another downside is that Bankwest will charge you a reasonable high portability fee if you sell your property and move your loan with you to a new property. This option is often offered free under other package deals and even on low-cost home loans.

The periods available on fixed loans are limited from one to five years, which may put off borrowers who like the insurance of longer fixed loans. You can repay $10,000 on your fixed loan, which is nice, but you can repay more under some other home loan package deals. Bankwest will charge a fee if borrowers terminate the loan or repay it before the end of the agreed fixed period. But this is pretty standard on fixed home loans offered by any lender.

Investors can only borrow up to 90 per cent of the property value whether under a fixed loan or a variable loan, so if you want 95 per cent, then this loan package probably isn’t for you. But you should review this limitation against the other benefits outlined above.

 The verdict after review

The Bankwest package is worthy of consideration. It offers some very useful features not always offered by other home loan package deals, including an equity home loan and a partial offset account with fixed loans.

Once you pay the annual fee, there are no ongoing fees on the other products in the package and the upfront fees are relatively small. The key advantage of combining all of your products into the Bankwest package is that you’ll get a free credit card and free transactions on your home loan and offset accounts.  You’ll also get a decent discount on a depreciation schedule, which is an essential item to fill out your tax return if you’re an investor and such a schedule can otherwise be very costly.

The main downside of this product is the relatively high annual fee, which should be weighed up against the discounted rate and the discounts on the other products. The portability fee may also put you off. But if you already pay a high annual fee on a credit card and transaction account fees, this loan package could be considered a good option as it will allow you to reduce your fee payments and give you the features on home loans which allow you to repay flexibly and cut interest costs.

Whatever your financial situation, you need to do a review of the numbers before taking out this package to make sure you’ll get ahead by bundling together your financial products. Before swapping all your products to one lender, make sure you review your needs for each product as you may save money on fees and gain some features, but you may also lose some other benefits as all providers have different offerings. If saving money on interest is your main priority, then there are other lower cost home loans on the market. But many also lack the added extras that can help you cut interest costs substantially over time, such as offset accounts and free and unlimited repayments on your home loan.

Note: This review provides general information about the above home loan. Any views expressed are the author’s own. It is not intended to be a recommendation of a particular product. To the extent that this commentary may constitute general advice, this advice is of a general nature and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs. We recommend that before you make any financial decision you seek professional advice from a suitably qualified adviser and read the PDS. Read more about our important disclosures here.

About the author

Nicki Bourlioufas

Nicki Bourlioufas is a personal finance expert and freelance writer for RateCity. She has more than 20 years' experience in journalism and has previously written for News Corp, Dow Jones and Fairfax Media.

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