Top myths about home loans which need to die

Rates and Fees verified correct on October 26th, 2016

The top home loans myths that need to die

So you think you know everything there is to know about home loans? Think again.

If you’ve never applied for a home loan before, many aspects of the lending process will be a mystery to you. Even if you think you have a good idea about what’s involved in taking out a home loan, there are plenty of misconceptions about the mortgage process that are pretty far removed from reality.

From finding the best interest rate to choosing a lender, there are several myths and misunderstandings about mortgages that can confuse and even disadvantage some first-time borrowers. Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions about getting a mortgage and why they are simply untrue.

1. You must have a 20% deposit

There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the size of deposit you need to have saved in order to qualify for a home loan. The truth is that the loan to valuation ratio (LVR) you can access varies depending on the lender and your financial circumstances. A 20% deposit is a good figure to aim for as borrowing more than 80% LVR will usually require you to take out lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI), but some lenders offer loans of up to 95% LVR (meaning a 5% deposit) to borrowers who meet specific criteria.

In fact, some lenders even offer home loans with LVRs of as high as 100% for people in stable jobs with very high income-earning capacities, such as doctors.

2. The loan with the lowest interest rate is the cheapest

We’ll say it again. The interest rate is an important factor in determining the affordability of a home loan. But you also need to consider the fees that apply to a loan, including the monthly service fee, annual fee, application and establishment fee, legal fee and fees for using loan features such as a redraw facility. You can get a much clearer picture of which loan is the most affordable by checking out the comparison rate.

3. The “Big Four Banks” offer the best home loans

Australia’s largest banks (CommBank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB) may dominate the mortgage market, but that doesn’t mean they offer the best home loans. Compare the interest rates, fees and features of a wide range of mortgages at and you’ll soon see that there are plenty of other Australian lenders offering competitive home loan deals.

4. It doesn’t matter whether you make fortnightly or monthly repayments

If you make fortnightly rather than monthly repayments, you could save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. The simple fact that there are 26 fortnights in a year means that you will effectively make an extra monthly repayment each year, which in turn means you will pay your debt down quicker and incur less interest. Find out how you can save money by switching from monthly to fortnightly repayments.

5. Your current bank is the best choice for a home loan

The fact that you have a transaction account with a bank does not automatically make them your best option for a home loan, nor does the fact that you have been a loyal customer of the bank for decades. The Australian home loan market is competitive and there could be hundreds of loans out there that are suitable for you.

But if you limit yourself to the loans offered by just one lender, you could miss out on lower interest rates, lower fees and better loan features elsewhere. Shop around for a mortgage that meets all your requirements and you could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Compare current home loans today armed with this information

Rates last updated October 26th, 2016.

CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier

Maximum LVR now 90%

October 7th, 2016

Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years

Comparative rate increases by 0.08%

October 10th, 2016

ClickLoans The Online Home Loan - Owner Occupier ≤ 80% LVR

Maximum LVR now 80%.

October 11th, 2016

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Jodie Humphries Jodie
Loan purpose
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Your filter criteria do not match any product
Product nameInterest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only
Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.55% 3.57% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.64% 3.64% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info Essentials - New Purchases Only Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Low variable rate for new purchases as well as no application or ongoing fees.
3.39% 3.41% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.42% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Home Loan - Owner Occupier ≤ 80% LVR
Enjoy a competitive interest rate when you have a deposit of at least 25%.
3.69% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info Offset Variable - New Purchases Only Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
No application or annual fees, and access to a 100% offset account.
3.49% 3.51% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow from a minimum of $100,000 and $0 ongoing fee.
3.59% 3.60% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Kick Starter Home Loan
$0 ongoing service fees, maximum 80% LVR and a linked transaction account.
3.79% 3.82% $600 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
3.69% 4.62% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier)
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.85% 4.23% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
3.75% 4.87% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info Essentials - Variable Refinancers Only (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A low-interest rate loan suited for refinancing with no application or ongoing fees.
3.59% 3.61% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
Buy a new home even if you haven't yet sold your existing one with the bankmecu Bridging Loan
3.69% 4.24% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Accelerator Home Loan  - LVR <=80% $300k+ (Owner Occupier)
A two year discounted rate which reverts to an ongoing life of loan discount afterwards.
3.64% 4.39% $445 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive rate with redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan
A special low variable rate for Owner Occupier with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.73% 3.73% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your home value.
3.69% 4.76% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Investor Home Loan - LVR <75%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
3.79% 3.79% $0 $0 p.a. 75% Go to site More info
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan - Special Rate Offer (Owner Occupier)
A low rate variable home loan offer with no monthly fees or application fee charge.
3.79% 3.80% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info

6. You can’t get a home loan if you’re single

This is completely untrue. As long as you can afford to make the necessary loan repayments and pay down your debt, you can qualify for a home loan. Sure, you may have greater borrowing power if you’re a couple and have two incomes to service the loan, but just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t take out a mortgage.Home loan myths - you have to be single to get a home loan

7. It’s the lender’s responsibility to ensure that you can repay the loan

In reality, both parties have a responsibility to ensure that you can afford to service the loan. Your bank will have a range of lending criteria in place to minimise the risk of offering financing to anyone who is likely to default on their mortgage, but it’s also up to you to make sure you’re not over-extending yourself.

Home loan myths - it's your responsibility

8. A bad credit history doesn’t matter if the debt has been paid off

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Any defaults are recorded in your credit file and will be viewed in a negative light by lenders. In fact, even one blemish on your credit file could lead to your home loan application being rejected.

9. The Reserve Bank of Australia determines your home loan interest rate

The Reserve Bank of Australia sets Australia’s official cash rate, but it’s up to a lender to decide whether they want to pass rate cuts or rises on to their customers. Lenders also get to decide when they pass rate changes on to their customers, so don’t assume that a drop on the official cash rate will automatically lead to a decrease in your home loan interest payments.

10. The interest rate alone determines your monthly repayments

While the interest rate is undoubtedly a hugely important factor in working out your monthly repayments and the overall cost of your home loan, it’s certainly not the only element that determines how much you pay each month. Your repayments are also influenced by the principal (the amount you borrow), any ongoing fees, lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) premiums and potentially a few other factors.

11. A deposit is all you need to buy a home

Not true. There are several other costs you’ll need to factor into your calculations when budgeting for the purchase of a home. These include stamp duty, building and pest inspections, LMI, home insurance, conveyancing costs and home loan fees. Our cost of buying a property calculator can help you work out the expenses involved and how much money you need to save.

12. A fixed rate is better than a variable rate (or vice versa)

Both fixed and variable interest rates have their own pros and cons - neither one is inherently better than the other. The benefits of a fixed rate are that it allows you to budget for consistent repayment amounts and offers protection against any interest rate rises. Of course, this means you will also miss out on any interest rate drops that may occur.

Variable interest rates offer more flexibility, allowing you to take advantage of interest savings whenever rates drop. However, if interest rates rise then your regular repayment amounts will increase.

13. You have to pay a fee to use a mortgage broker

Some people put off enlisting a mortgage broker to help them find the right home loan out of fear that the broker will cost too much. In reality, most mortgage brokers offer their services free of charge. Instead of charging you, brokers make money on the upfront commission they receive from a lender for generating new business, and the trailing commission they receive every year you still owe money on your loan.

14. Online loans are simpler and faster

Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of online lenders and loans. These loans offer undeniable benefits, including competitive interest rates and a fast and convenient application process.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will find it easier to apply for an online home loan than you would with a traditional lender. In fact, depending on your circumstances the traditional lending approach may be simpler and help you find a more suitable mortgage. Traditional lenders today can make the application process easier with lenders who visit you.

Now that the record has been set straight, hopefully these few home truths will help you find a mortgage that matches all your borrowing needs.

Images: Shutterstock

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Related Posts

HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only

Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.

ME Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR <=80% Owner Occupier

A low variable rate loan with no application or ongoing fees.

CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier

A basic mortgage available only to customers who switch their everyday banking to CUA.

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2 Responses to Top myths about home loans which need to die

  1. Default Gravatar
    Paul | August 25, 2016

    Can you be declined because of your age?

    • Staff
      Anndy | August 29, 2016

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      When it comes to applying for a home loan, there is no generally accepted maximum age limit. We also have Australia’s anti-discrimination legislations, namely the Age Discrimination Act 2004 and National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, that prevent lenders from discriminating home loan applicants due to age.

      However, please note that lenders also have their set of eligibility criteria to ensure that borrowers can afford to repay the loan without any undue financial hardships. Because of this, the older you are, the more difficult it might be to obtain home loan approval.

      I hope this helps.


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