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5 ways refinancing your home loan can help you

There are few financial commitments that carry as much weight as your home loan. So it makes sense that we should be checking it regularly. Refinancing is a fantastic way to not only review your home loan and check that it still works for you, but also take advantage of some pretty great benefits.

You could secure a lower rate on your home loan

We’ll start with the popular one first. One of the main reasons people choose to refinance their loan is to get a lower interest rate, and put more money back into their pockets instead of paying the banks. When done correctly, refinancing your home loan could save you thousands over the life of your loan, and free up cash now. With rates sitting low at the moment, now is the perfect time to see if you can save by refinancing.

You could switch between variable & fixed rates

Another popular reason to refinance your home loan is to switch between a variable rate and a fixed rate. With a fixed rate, some want peace of mind - knowing exactly how much their monthly repayments will be without the possibility of it changing is worth a slight increase in rate. Conversely, you may decide you'd like to take advantage of a lower variable rate as you can accept the risk that rates may rise in future.

You could be eligible for a home loan with better features

There are some great home loan features around at the moment, and refinancing could help give you some of the features that weren’t available to you before. You might want to switch to a home loan that allows you to make lump repayments without fees or open up an offset account to reduce your interest.

There are some pretty cool boutique features as well like getting a repayment holiday (a break from repayments), or the loan portability feature which allows you to take your home loan with you when you move without much hassle.  

You could consolidate your debt

Many of us have multiple debts like car or credit card along with our home loan. Often our car and credit card loans have pretty high interest rates, meaning more out of your pocket. Refinancing could give you the opportunity to streamline your debt and potentially reduce the overall interest you’re paying through ‘debt consolidation’, streamlining all of higher interest debts into one lower interest debt, reducing your monthly repayments.

You could release some equity in your current property

You may be thinking about joining the thousands of Aussies that have invested in property, renovate your home or go traipsing around Europe on that trip of a lifetime. With your current home usually being your most valuable asset, it only makes sense to release as much of the value in your home as possible.  

Not so long ago, the only way home owners could access their home equity was by selling up and upgrading to another property. These days, home loans are flexible and it’s possible to get access to the equity in your home without having to sell up. Reviewing your home loan can help you see exactly how much equity is available to you, and refinancing can help you access the equity to use for other things.

 

An example of refinancing

Let’s have a look at a refinancing example using some numbers to better understand the benefits and costs.

Meet Sue.

Sue has a $300,000 loan repayable over 25 years. Her current rate is 6.4% and her monthly repayments are $2,006. If Sue can refinance to a loan with a rate of 5.9%  a rate reduction of 0.50%, she can lower her repayments to $1,914  a saving of $92 each month.

Looking at the cost side of things, we'll assume Sue will pay $1,000 to refinance her loan. In this case it would take about 11 months ($1,000 divided by $92) for Sue to claw back the costs through the savings she makes.

That's not a bad time frame. If it was to take several years to recover her costs, refinancing may not be worthwhile.

The cost of refinancing

While refinancing has some amazing benefits, there are costs associated with refinancing your home loan - costs that may outweigh the potential benefits. We’ve included two of the main costs associated with refinancing, but we have put together a complete list here.

Exit Fees
Exit fees may apply when you pay out a loan early, usually in the first three to five years of your term. It could be a percentage of the remaining loan balance or it may be a set charge. Check your loan contract for more details. Although exit fees have been banned on new loans taken out after 1 July 2011, they could still apply to loans taken out before this date.

Borrowing costs
When you refinance, your new lender may charge a range of upfront fees. However not all lenders charge these fees and some may be negotiable.

Mortgage brokers can help

We’ve gone through the potential benefits of refinancing, the costs associated and a short example. That’s alot to take in. When it comes time to make a decision about refinancing your home loan, the best suggestion is to sit down with a mortgage broker you trust, to help you go through your options.

We will be able to tell you what loan products are going to benefit you the most and the costs that might be associated with them, so you can make an informed decision.

 

We compare your current loan with hundreds of others from our lenders to see if we can find you a better deal. Contact us on 9707 1199 or david.thurmond@mortgagechoice.com.au. We'd love to help you too. 

 


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