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How to refinance your home loan during lockdown

While your social life may have come to a halt recently, your home loan obligations will likely continue - even through a lockdown. So, it’s worthwhile to find a competitive home loan that suits your personal and financial circumstances. Interest rates are still low, but they won’t last forever, so it might be time to take advantage of low rates.

For many borrowers, refinancing during a lockdown will mean refinancing online. Some lenders have closed their branches, forcing customers to move online for home loan and banking services.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how refinancing during a lockdown works, when to consider it, plus the pros and cons of online refinances.

Should you refinance during a COVID-19 lockdown?

There will always be homeowners who need to refinance, regardless of what extraordinary events are going on in the world. If you need to refinance, it’s entirely possible to do it during lockdown.

However, there may be reasons to avoid refinancing during a COVID-19 lockdown, depending on your circumstances. If you prefer an in-person customer service experience, or have limited internet access and your bank branch is closed, it may be better to wait until lockdown ends and in-person banking services recommence. Of course, there can be situations that require an urgent refinance, such as:

  • If your finances change and you need to restructure your loan (e.g. due to income loss, issues with cash flow)
  • The fixed period of your fixed rate home loan is coming to an end
  • Your interest only period is coming to an end, if you have an interest only loan
  • Wanting to get a low interest rate before rates rise.

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Are banks open during lockdown?

Many banks still have certain branches open during lockdown, but some are closed or have reduced operating hours. If you plan on visiting your local bank branch, check online or give them a call to make sure they’ll be open and book an appointment if necessary.

How does refinancing during a lockdown work?

The refinancing process during lockdown will differ depending on your lender or mortgage broker. Some lenders are still operating their branches, allowing for in-person refinancing to continue as normal. Although, make sure you book an appointment and check what the lender’s COVID-safe procedures are.

Most lenders, however, have expanded their refinancing services so they can be done online. This will likely involve phone calls, or possibly even video calls - especially if they need to verify your identity.

The same applies to mortgage brokers who have mostly moved operations online and are communicating with clients through phone and video calls. For online home loan platforms like Lendi, refinancing online is nothing new. After inputting some information about your existing loan and what you’re looking for, you can compare home loans from over 35 Australian lenders easily on our website. Our Home Loan Specialists will be on hand to guide you through the refinance process and answer any questions.

How to refinance online

  1. Figure out what you’re looking for: why are you refinancing? It might be because you know you can get a better deal elsewhere, or because you want to add on an offset account, consolidate your debt, switch to a fixed rate mortgage, or take out an equity loan. Knowing what features and terms you want in a loan can help narrow down the search.
  2. Research and compare: take the time to research different lenders and home loan products and interest rates to get an idea of what is out there. You can compare loans from multiple lenders in one place using online home loan platforms like Lendi which take into account your specific requirements.
  3. Choose the right loan: if you compare home loans with Lendi, you’ll end up with a shortlist of potentially suitable home loans. After reviewing these possible loans, it’s time to choose which one would be most suitable for your personal and financial needs. Our Home Loan Specialists can help guide you when needed.
  4. Apply: online home loan applications are a bit different. You’ll need to upload all supporting documents online and fill out a range of online forms. If you go through a lender or broker that is experienced with online home loans, the process should be straightforward and you’ll find out whether you’ve been approved soon.

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What are the benefits of refinancing online?

You don’t have to wait until there’s a pandemic and lockdowns to refinance online. Online platforms like Lendi have been offering online home loans for new purchases and refinances for years. Here are some of the benefits to refinancing online:

  1. Easily compare home loans: using online home loan platforms and comparison websites, you can compare loans from dozens of lenders in one place. However, if you just look at one lender’s website, you’ll be limited to the loans they offer.
  2. Get a new loan when and where you want: what’s more convenient than refinancing without having to leave the house? Plus, you can often work on your application outside of conventional banking hours.
  3. Avoid health risks: while some banks still have branches open, leaving the house during a COVID-19 outbreak does come with serious risks.

What are the drawbacks of refinancing online?

Refinancing online is not for everyone. Here are some downsides to online refinancing:

  1. This is new territory for some lenders and mortgage brokers: while online brokerage platforms like Lendi have been doing online home loans for years, this isn’t the case for many lenders and brokers. If you refinance your home loan with a lender that lacks experience with online home loans, you may encounter a clunky, frustrating process.
  2. Lack of in-person contact: for some, having that face-to-face, in-person customer service experience is important. There can be a sense of personal connection that is lost in online home loan applications.
  3. Technology issues: to refinance online, you’ll need to have good internet connection, computer access, and often access to scanners to upload supporting documents.

Even if you just want to know what your refinancing options are, Lendi is here to help. Our Home Loan Specialists can provide you with free, expert advice and walk you through the refinancing process.

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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: home loan, interest rate, offset account, refinance, interest only

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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.
*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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