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How much refinancing might cost

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There are a number of costs that may be involved in your refinancing journey. What costs may apply will depend on your lender, your personal circumstances and what you are looking for in your new home loan.

Refinancing can be a great way to secure a lower interest rate and save money. It can also help you adapt to new financial circumstances, consolidate debt, switch between a variable and fixed interest rate, add on loan features or access your home equity.

1. Break costs

Those with fixed rate home loans may be subject to break fees should they refinance before their fixed period is over. A home loan with a fixed interest rate can offer a great deal of stability, given that you know exactly how much your repayments will cost. However, these loans don’t offer much flexibility and it’s easy to feel tempted by lower interest rates elsewhere.

By refinancing from a fixed rate to a variable rate, you will likely benefit from a lower interest rate and improved flexibility — such as the ability to make unlimited extra repayments. When refinancing to a variable interest rate, you may choose to utilise certain loan features.

When considering whether to break your fixed rate loan by refinancing, work out whether the benefits will outweigh any fees attached. Check with your existing lender to find out whether you will need to pay break costs. Sometimes, if you refinance and stay with your current lender, you may avoid many of the usual refinancing fees.

2. Home loan features

Home loan features are ‘add-ons’ that you can attach to your home loan to improve your experience. The most common home loan features that borrowers use are offset accounts and redraw facilities.

An offset account is a kind of savings account attached to your home loan balance. Any money in this account offsets the interest you have to pay. For example, if you have a loan balance of $200,000, with $20,000 in an offset account, you only pay interest on $180,000.

You can use your offset funds however you like, as you have easy access to them and don’t have to pay withdrawal fees. You may need to pay an annual or monthly fee that will add up to a couple hundred dollars per year.

A redraw facility is very similar to an offset account. It effectively pools any extra repayments you make on your home loan into an account that you can access. Like an offset account, the funds in your redraw facility offset your interest costs. While you can access your redraw facility funds, you may be subject to withdrawal fees and wait times.

3. Exit fees

Exit fees may apply to loans entered into before 1 July 2011. What this means is that if your loan is discharged prior to a particular date, as outlined in your loan contract, you may be subject to fees.

Speak to your lender about what fees might apply should you refinance your home loan.

4. Application and establishment fees

Most lenders will charge an application fee that covers the cost of documentation and the establishment of the new home loan. While many lenders choose to waive this fee during promotional periods, or for certain loans, it can cost upwards of $200.

If you’d like to avoid application and establishment fees, Lendi may be able to help you find a home loan that works for you.

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5. Annual or monthly fees

Annual or monthly fees are charged on some home loans as a form of ‘loan maintenance’. Annual fees usually cost between $200 and $400. While this may not seem like a lot, it adds up over time. Paying $300 every year over the course of your 30 year loan term will cost you a total of $9000.

Many lenders offer home loans with no monthly or annual fees. You can ask your lender or broker about these options and whether the loan package will work for you.

6. Property valuation fees

A crucial part of the refinancing process is the property valuation. A property valuation helps to calculate how much equity you have in your home. Valuations help lenders understand your borrowing capacity and ensure they don’t lend you more than the property’s value.

Property valuation fees are determined by your property’s value. They typically cost between $200 and $600. Many lenders will value your property for free, so this may be a fee you can avoid.

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7. Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

When refinancing, lenders analyse your loan to value ratio (LVR). LVR indicates how much of the property’s value you intend to borrow. If you have less than 20% equity in your home, you may still be able to secure the new loan, but you are likely to face Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) fees.

Some lenders may not charge LMI when you have less than 20% equity, but this could come with a less competitive interest rate and annual fees.

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8. Other fees

You may also encounter mortgage registration fees and legal fees. Mortgage registration fees are paid once per home loan and vary between states, but range from about $130 to $190. If you receive legal help from a solicitor or conveyancer when refinancing, you will likely incur costs.

Before you refinance, it’s smart to have a thorough understanding of what fees may be involved. If the refinancing fees outweigh potential savings, it may be best to reconsider or get in touch with an expert. Lendi’s Home Loan Specialists are here to help you find a home loan that suits your needs and saves you money.

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The information in this post is general in nature and should not be considered personal or financial advice. You should always seek professional advice or assistance before making any financial decisions.

Tags: refinance, interest rate, home loan, debt consolidation, loan term

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Important legal stuff

Lendi is the trading name of Lendi Pty Ltd (ACN 611 161 856), a related body corporate of Auscred Services Pty Ltd (ACN 164 638 171, Australian Credit Licence 442372). We will never sell your email address to any third party or send you nasty spam, promise.
# Quoted rate applies only to PAYG loans with LVR of 80% or less with security in non-remote areas. All applications are subject to assessment and lender approval.
Lendi is a privately owned and operated Australian business. Our mission is to change the way Australians get home loans by providing a faster, smarter and more secure home loan experience designed around the customer’s convenience and needs. Although Lendi compares over 1600 products (2,500+ products including feature and pricing variations) from more than 35 lenders, we don't cover the whole market or compare all features and there may be other features or options available to you. While Lendi is 35% owned by founders and employees, we have also been supported by some great minority shareholders including Bailador, Macquarie Bank Ltd and a number of Australian sophisticated investors. Lendi's board is majority independent and non-executive.
WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the example given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. The comparison rates are based on a loan amount of $150,000 over a loan term of 25 years. Fees and charges apply. All applications are subject to assessment and lender approval. Quoted rate applies only to PAYG loans with LVR of 80% or less with security in non-remote areas. All applications are subject to assessment and lender approval.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Loan terms of between 1 Year and 40 Years are available subject to lender and credit criteria. Maximum comparison rate will not exceed 14.99% (see comparison rate warning above). Any calculations or estimated savings do not constitute an offer of credit or a credit quote and are only an estimate of what you may be able to achieve based on the accuracy of the information provided. It doesn't take into account any product features or any applicable fees. Our lending criteria and the basis upon which we assess what you can afford may change at any time without notice. Savings shown are based on user inputted data and a loan term of 30 years. All applications for credit are subject to lender credit approval criteria.
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