When you know what to look for and how to compare, it's easier to get a good deal by refinancing your mortgage.
Like any other financial decision you make, the decision to refinance is one that needs careful thought, research and strategy. As it can be a costly process, you need to ensure that refinancing your home loan will benefit you financially.
This is why it's important to research available products on the market, speak with professionals and crunch the numbers to ensure that the refinanced mortgage will lead to real savings.
What's the "best" refinance deal?
The best refinance deal is one that suits your home loan needs while not raising your expenses. Ideally, a good refinance deal will lower your ongoing expenses and periodic repayments by offering a lower interest rate and more suitable features, such as an offset account and a redraw facility.
Before doing your research, you should ask yourself the following:
- What type of loan do I want? You might want to switch from a variable rate to a fixed rate or vice versa, or you might want to refinance to a home loan which allows you to make unlimited additional repayments on your home loan when you have extra cash. During this stage, you should think about your lifestyle and how this may influence the type of loan that you need. Ideally, you should have a list of features and specifications you want in your home loan before starting a comparison.
- What are the savings? Savings are one of the most important considerations when refinancing. While it’s good to opt for a lower interest rate, make sure that the cost savings outweigh the costs of switching lenders. Ask your existing lender for details about any discharge fees or government charges that may apply when you exit your current home loan and consider any upfront costs charged by the new lender. Use our refinancing cost calculator to estimate your switching costs.
- What is the loan term? The length of the loan term can determine the cost savings that result from the refinance. For instance, if you have your mortgage refinanced after paying it off for 15 years and have the balance spread out over another 30 year period, you may actually pay more over the total 45-year duration despite the lower interest rate.
How to compare the best refinance deals*
- Speak to your current lender. Ask your lender if this is the best deal you can get. Lenders will usually have a number of incentives to retain customers thinking of refinancing, including discounted interest rates and waived fees. But you should also shop around.
- Compare interest rates. The interest rate provided by different lenders will be high on your list of considerations when looking for the best refinance deal. Decide on whether you want a fixed, variable or split rate and if you're selecting a fixed rate, decide how long you want to fix for.
- Look at fees. Compare the fees that apply to different lenders. Some of the common home loan fees include application or establishment fees, valuation fees, ongoing fees, monthly and annual fees and others upfront and ongoing costs. Take your time and compare the fees that apply to your new loan and their long-term impact on your mortgage costs.
- Compare features. Consider the features that you'd like from your new home loan and how these will match the purpose of your refinance. For instance, if you're looking to minimise your account-keeping costs you may want to compare home loans with no ongoing fees. If you've received a pay rise you may want to think about opting for a mortgage that allows you make unlimited extra repayments without penalty.
- Calculate the costs. You will need to calculate the expected costs with a refinancing calculator. This will help you identify the gains that you will make over the term of the loan. Remember to factor in discharge fees charged by your current lender as well as upfront fees applicable to your new mortgage.
- Check your credit history: Review your credit file to ensure that it’s in good standing as it will help support your refinance negotiations. You can check your credit score for free through finder in just a few minutes.
Refinance and get a better deal on your mortgage