To ensure you find out everything you need to know about a home loan, make sure you utilise a key facts sheet.
Today’s home loan market is full of jargon and other terms which can make it hard to compare products and find the right one.
To make home loan comparison easier, and so you know what the costs associated with your home loan will be, you can request a key facts sheet from any home loan lender. By law, they have to provide one to you.
A key facts sheet is an instrument that aims to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. It will outline the information you have provided to the lender, for example, how much you want to borrow and the loan term, and provides accurate information after incorporating these details. This means you get a realistic picture of what you need to pay back, plus any information on additional fees to help you in making your decision.
You can typically find out the following information on a key facts sheet:
- Repayment method
- Repayment frequency
- Interest rate
- Comparison rate
- Amount to be paid back
- All associated fees
- Any additional information directly related to your home loan.
The history of the key facts sheet
On 5 September 2011, the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment Regulations 2011 (No.5) was registered. Following this, on 1 January 2012, the regulation set out the operational detail in the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Home Loans and Credit Cards) Act 2011. This act recognised the need for information for consumers and aims to provide consumers with a relevant and informative key facts sheet for each home loan available. This ensures consumers better understand what they are getting themselves into. A key facts sheet is available for every home loan on the market in Australia.
How can you get a key facts sheet?
Each financial lender provides their key facts sheets in different ways, but most are relatively easy to access. Some lenders require you to request a facts sheet after providing your information, after which they will email the key facts sheet back to you. Other lenders will require you to call them and request one to be sent to you.
Some larger providers offer an online key facts sheet tool on their website. With this tool, you simply input information such as your loan amount, property value, term and interest type, and then select the loan you are interested in learning more about. You will then get a ready-to-view key facts sheet for your reference.
You can do this as often as you like, and generate key facts sheets for a range of home loans and lending situations.
How can you compare a home loan using a key facts sheet?
Comparing home loans with the guide of a key facts sheet is relatively easy to do. These are just some of the key features you should use to compare home loans and are all found on the key facts sheet:
- Interest rate. One of the first things you should compare is the interest rate associated with the home loan. Other than the loan itself, interest is typically the largest expense you will have to pay so you will want to look out for a competitive interest rate.
A section of the key facts sheet displaying the basics of a home loan.
- Fees. Another comparison point on a key facts sheet are the fees and charges you will be liable for. Fees, such as ongoing fees, establishment fees, and settlement fees, all have a way of adding up, resulting in you paying more. Check what the fees and charges are and compare your options using this.
One section of a key facts sheet displaying some of the fees information.
- Repayment frequency. This is another important feature to compare. How often will you be making repayments? Are you able to line up your repayments to suit your pay frequency? This section will stipulate what you can and can’t do when repaying your loan.
- Faster repayment options. Your key facts sheet will have a section titled ‘how can I repay my loan faster?’. In this section, there will be details on how you can repay your loan faster, including if there’s an increase in repayments allowed. This is crucial to compare for those who want to pay off their loan before their term length to avoid additional interest.
A section of the key facts sheet displaying faster repayment options.
- What happens at the end of the fixed period? If you are locking in a fixed interest rate, it’s important to find out what happens after your fixed period is over and is definitely something to take into consideration.
- Other features. Other features such as split loan options, offset accounts or redraw facilities are also worth comparing.
Key facts sheets are a great way to easily compare home loans and understand how much you will need to pay back in your borrowing situation. Every home loan has a key facts sheet available and they must be given when requested. Key facts sheets are distributed by financial lenders in different ways including: requests over the phone, requests via email or through the key facts sheet tool on the website. Key facts sheets help you compare different home loans and help you make the right decision. Get your key facts sheet and start comparing home loans today.