Following a difficult year, 2021 is all about finding ways to save on your home loan. In this article we’ll point out some saving tips to help existing borrowers and first home buyers.
On a 25 year $400,000 home loan with a 3% interest rate, you’d pay almost $170,000 in interest. If your interest rate was 2.5%, you’d spend just under $140,000 in interest for the same loan. .
This just goes to show how much interest homeowners can pay over the life of their home loan. Even a slightly lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars. So, finding a competitive interest rate is something to take seriously.
Interest rates are at all time lows right now and they’re on track to stay this way for the next three years, according to the RBA. So, make sure you are taking advantage of these low rates. Here’s how you can increase your chances of getting a low interest rate:
Sometimes it’s as simple as calling up your lender and making a case for why you deserve a lower interest rate. If they are offering new customers a lower rate than you’re receiving, it’s likely that they’ll reduce your rate if you ask.
Tips for negotiating a lower interest rate:
If you aren’t up for negotiating with your bank, a Home Loan Specialist can do this on your behalf.
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Refinancing is probably less scary than you’d think, and there’s a strong chance that there are savings waiting for you on the other side. If you think about it, refinancing is just switching to a new home loan that better suits your needs.
A home loan is a long term debt, and naturally the home loan you got 5 years ago probably doesn’t work for you anymore. Typically, if you haven’t refinanced in 18 months, you’re probably spending too much on interest.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, but here are some reasons to consider refinancing:
Read our guide to refinancing to learn more about the process, benefits and drawbacks of refinancing.
Find out what your new repayments might be in seconds.
To increase your chances of getting a good home loan deal and low interest rate, you’ll have to make sure your credit score is healthy. Lenders assess your credit history closely when looking at home loan and refinancing applications to determine your risk as a borrower.
You can usually get a copy of your credit report for free once per year, so it’s a good idea to take a look at it when you’re thinking about refinancing or applying for a mortgage.
Here are some tips to help you improve your credit score:
Calculate how much you could save by rolling your loans into one.
Where possible, always try to find ways to save on home loan interest as it can really add up over time. One of the best ways to save, other than getting a lower interest rate, is to get an offset account or redraw facility.
An offset account is a popular loan feature that acts like a savings account attached to your mortgage. You’ll want to keep plenty of money in this account, as any funds will offset how much you are charged in interest. You can easily access the money in your offset.
If you have a home loan balance of $300,000 with $30,000 in your offset account, you’ll only be charged interest on $270,000.
So, the more money in your offset account, the better. There are usually annual fees associated with an offset account, so it’s important to ensure that the savings will be worth it. Lenders suggest having at least $10,000 in the account monthly to have an impact on your home loan balance.
Find out how much you could save each month.
A redraw facility is very similar to an offset account in that the funds in your redraw facility reduce how much interest you are charged. However, the difference is that a redraw facility pools any extra home loan repayments you make, rather than acting as a ‘savings account’.
You can still access these funds, but it will be slightly more difficult and you can expect to incur a fee for doing so. Most borrowers with a redraw facility avoid touching the extra repayments, unless they’re withdrawing a large amount to fund a project or big purchase.
|Offset account||Redraw facility|
|Reduces interest charged, while acting as a savings account||Pays off the principal loan balance while reducing interest charged|
|Funds in your offset can be accessed easily and quickly||You can expect delays and withdrawal fees if you want to access money in your redraw facility|
|There is usually an annual fee||The fund pools your extra home loan repayments|
Since there are more and more lenders and interest rates are at historic lows, lenders are finding new ways to stand out from the crowd. Increasingly, some lenders are offering zero-fee home loans. This means that you might not have to pay:
See if you qualify for a no-fee or reduced fee home loan by speaking to a mortgage broker who can recommend some low fee options.
If you’re gearing up to buy your first home in 2021, you may be eligible for a number of government-run schemes aimed at assisting first home buyers. These schemes can save you money and help get you closer to buying your dream home. However, most only apply to borrowers buying a property that they intend to live in (i.e. owner-occupied).
The First Home Owner Grant is a one-off grant provided by the government to eligible first home buyers. The details of it vary between states, so it’s best to check how it will apply to you. Typically, about $10,000 is granted to first time buyers purchasing or building a new home.
Several Australian states and territories offer stamp duty concessions or full exemptions to first time property buyers. Find out how stamp duty works in your state and whether you’ll be eligible for any concessions:
The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme helps first home buyers with low deposits (under 20%) purchase or build a new home without having to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This means that if you have a deposit as low as 5%, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) will guarantee to a participating lender the remaining 15% of the value of the property purchased.
This scheme helps you save money for your first home deposit within your super fund. Superannuation is taxed at a lower rate than your income, so you can save faster due to this concessional tax treatment.
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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: interest rate, home loan, refinance, lender, credit score, debt consolidation, fixed interest, variable interest, offset account, redraw facility, stamp duty, first home buyer, first home owners grant
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