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Switch and save on your home loan

07 May 2020Stephen Smyth 3 min read
Switch and save on your home loan
Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

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One of the biggest things you can do to save money is to refinance your existing home loan. It is not uncommon to get a home loan refinance that reduces your interest rate by 0.5% or more. On a home loan of $500,000 that is over $2,500 in direct savings to you each year. Over the course of a 25 year Home Loan savings can be even bigger as you are able to pay down the home loan balance sooner.

Using MoneySmart Mortgage Calculator, check out the following example:

You are currently paying 3.1% interest on a $500,000 mortgage over 25 years. Your total repayments are $719,000 of which $219,000 in interest is paid. If you find a new home loan with an interest rate of 2.6% the total repayments fall to just $680,000, a saving of just under $40,000!

Finding the right loan for you and filling out all the paperwork can be a daunting task. That’s why over 50% of Australians continue to use mortgage brokers to help them wade through the complexity.

It is important to understand that brokers are paid by the lender though. According to ASIC in their review of broker remuneration, brokers make on average $4,000 in commission for a $500,000 loan- they make more from the refinance in the first year than you do! The Royal Commission into banking uncovered several instances where these incentives did not always produce good outcomes for borrowers.

You should really be shopping around, as even a broker recommended by a friend might not be proposing the absolute best deal for you. At ClearScore we work hard to find lenders that you can browse to see if they have a great interest rate for you. Plus, through our site, you can apply to these lenders directly. We are not a broker but we do make a commission from this process. However, we never promote or rank one lender over another based on commissions they pay us. Do your research and finding a great deal may be easier than you think!

Paying a lower interest rate is what saves you money. However many lenders will charge you for either setting up a home loan, valuing your property or even for leaving your existing home loan. Some providers are low or no fee models and this can make a big difference. So ask about all the fees associated with the loan.

Although you should shop around, do your research without making a full application as that can leave an enquiry on your credit report, which may ultimately affect your credit score. If your credit score deteriorates this can impact your ability to get a loan or a credit card.

Remember, if you do too many enquiries in a short period of time, this can hurt your credit score.

Be sure to ask the lender what’s involved in the application process. Lenders have to tell you if they are going to check your credit report and leave an enquiry and most can give your guidance on your eligibility without leaving an enquiry on your credit report. Luckily with ClearScore you can check your credit score and credit report for free and it won’t affect your score. So it makes sense to use our service in advance to see if there are any issues with your credit history that you should be aware of.

Refinancing a home loan might save you thousands but you do need to put in a few hours of work to complete the process. Preparation is key. You will be asked questions about your current home loan, your financial situation including your income and expenses. Make sure you have these things ready as a starter:

  • Recent payslips
  • PAYG summaries
  • Bank statements
  • Home loan statements
  • Identity documents e.g. Drivers Licence or Passport
  • Your partner will also need the above documents

If you’re organised the process can just be a few hours of work for a whole lot of savings. Start browsing today!

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Written by Stephen Smyth

Head of International Expansion

Stephen Smyth has worked in financial services since 1999, specialising in consumer credit. He has worked in banks and consumer credit companies in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, India, South African and has lived in Australia since 2013. He believes that people around the world can benefit from services liked ClearScore to make finances clearer, easier to understand and to find better deals to save money.