What are the benefits of a home loan health check?
A simple as an annual review from a mortgage broker can potentially save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headache.
A home loan health check can unlock a world of benefits including:
- Your home loan rate: You could be getting a better interest rate by refinancing to another lender.
- Switching between fixed and variable: Whether you started on a variable rate or a fixed rate, a home loan health check can help you make an informed decision.
- Your property value: We can provide a free property valuation and let you know if you are in a position to access equity in your home.
- Debt consolidation: If you’re struggling with mortgage repayments because you’re juggling multiple debts and bills, you can consolidate your debts into your home loan.
- Refinancing back to a prime lender: If you are currently on a low doc, bad credit or any other type of specialist home loan, you’re paying a higher interest rate and may be in a position to refinance back to a major lender at a sharper rate.
- Home loan features:You may not be getting the most out of your home loan features, especially if your personal situation will or has recently changed, such as starting a family, renovating your home or buying an investment property.
Not a Home Loan Experts’ client?
We can still complete a free review of your mortgage as a once off check!
Speak with one of our experienced mortgage brokers today by calling 1300 889 743 or by completing our online enquiry form.
How does it work?
A home loan health check can take as little as 15-20 minutes to complete and can be as simple as providing:
- Your most recent home loan statement to verify your balance and current repayment schedule.
- The address of your property so we can give you an indicative valuation.
A good mortgage broker can then assess whether you’re on top of your home loan repayments and ask questions about:
- How you’re using features like your offset account.
- Whether you could be getting a sharper interest rate.
- What your current Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) is on your home.
How to do a DIY home loan health check
Before speaking with a mortgage broker, there are some simple steps you can take to better manage your home loan including:
- Making extra repayments to pay down your loan balance faster (beware of break costs).
- Having your salary paid directly into your offset account (if you are on a professional package).
- Linking your offset account to the variable portion rather than the fixed portion (this is a common mistake we see when a home loan is first set up).
- Making sure there is money in the offset account to maximise interest savings rather than a direct debit or transaction account.
- Setting up autopay for your other financial commitments to avoid missed payments or mortgage default.
- Checking your interest rate every 1-2 years.
It’s not always about getting a better rate!
Most borrowers just focus on getting a sharper interest rate but there are other reasons you may be getting a raw deal from your lender:
- You’re being charged high account-keeping fees which could be avoided with another lender.
- You may not have the right loan product for your needs to long-term financial goals, whether it’s paying for features you don’t need or living without features that could better support your lifestyle and future plans.
- You’re receiving poor customer service but just assume it’s like that with every lender (it’s not!).
Is it time to fix your home loan?
Based on the state of interest rates and your own finances over the medium to long term, switching your loan to a fixed rate may be a more viable option than staying variable.
So how do you switch to a fixed rate?
The first step is to speak to your mortgage broker to discuss whether now is the right time to fix.
You will also need to determine how long you want to fix for based on your situation.
With most lenders, you can simply give them a call and they can fix your interest rate over the phone.
You also have the option of “splitting” your mortgage into accounts, keeping one fixed and one variable to give your more flexibility over the term of the loan. Some lenders require that you fill in a form, if you only want to fix only a part of your loan.
Most lenders will have a small processing fee of $300 or so to fix or split your home loan.
Your broker can tell whether fixing your home loan is the right decision for your situation so call 1300 889 743 or enquire online today!
What if I’m currently in financial hardship?
Losing your job, incurring illness or injury, or going through a divorce can be emotionally devastating for you and your family and it only compounds matters when you then struggle to make your mortgage repayments on time.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, talk to your bank.
Explain your situation and they may be willing to work with you and give you a short-term repayment holiday so you can get back on track.
Most of the major banks have a hardship programs in which they can assist you by temporarily charging interest only on your loan.
Other options include:
- Consolidate your debt into your mortgage to help you better manage your financial commitments.
- If applicable, swtiching from a variable rate to a fixed rate to provide you with more certainty with your repayments.
If you’re an existing client, one of our mortgage brokers can help to find you a solution.
Call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online today!
How to discharge your loan
If you’re planning on refinancing your home loan, you will need to notify your current lender that the mortgage they hold is going to be discharged and that your loan will be repaid.
In most cases, you will need to fill in a Discharge Authority Form or Release of Security Form. Luckily, you can simply fill this out and hand it to your mortgage broker to handle.
If you are not using a mortgage, our discharge of mortgage page can explain to you the process of discharging your home loan.
When you discharge your loan within the first two years you will generally incur a clawback fee of around 0.65% of your outstanding loan amount, although this does vary between lenders.
If you’re planning to refinance, did you know that some lenders offer rebates?
Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our brokers can assist you in discharging from your current mortgage and refinancing with a new one.
Increasing your loan
Rather than taking out a separate loan in order to renovate, paying other debts or simply because you need extra cash, increasing your loan is sometimes a better alternative.
One of the benefits of a loan top-up is that you can leverage the equity that is already in your home and you’ll generally pay a home loan interest rate rather than personal loan and credit card rates.
Most lenders will allow you to increase your mortgage limit as long as you can show evidence that you can afford it and you have enough equity in your home.
You can then use the equity to buy an investment property, undertake renovations and repairs on your home or even buy a family car.
The establishment fee for a loan increase varies but most banks will charge you a variation fee of about $300.
If you’re on a professional package, the variation fee can be waived for some lenders.
Why do people put off checking their mortgage?
- Many borrowers feel overwhelmed by mortgage terminology, features and the many options available to them.
- Time constraints prevent people from organising a mortgage review.
- Some borrowers view their home loan as a constant that cannot be changed.
- Many times homeowners are not completely aware of how their mortgage is set up and how to use the features and facilities available to them.
- It’s also common for borrowers to be unaware of how to unlock the hidden wealth in their homes.
A mortgage broker can help!
Call us on 1300 889 743 or fill in our free assessment form and we can provide you with a home loan health check.