5 features to consider when refinancing your mortgage

Rates and fees last updated on

The refinance checklist every borrower should consider

refinance home loanIf you’ve had your home loan for several years already, it’s likely that your needs have changed and you need to conduct a financial health check.

You may have a different financial or personal situation, and your current mortgage may not offer a range of valuable features that suit your needs.

Whether you want to scout for a more competitive interest rate or opt for a loan with fewer fees, many borrowers refinance their mortgage to reduce their periodic repayments or to find a loan with more suitable features.

When making the decision to refinance, you should consider your total refinancing costs including the fees associated with exiting your current loan and taking out a new loan.

It is also important to evaluate the features of the new loan to make sure that the refinance will cater to your individual needs, and that it will benefit you financially.

Read on to discover which money-saving features you should look out for when refinancing.

The primary reason to refinance is to find a better interest rate to reduce your interest liability and to lower your mortgage repayments. As the home loan market is competitive, many lenders offer discounted rates which could lead to significant cost savings for the lifetime of your loan.

For example, if you took out an average mortgage of $471,000 at an average standard variable rate of 5.35%, and found a loan with a lower rate of 4.85%, you could save approximately $144 each month or $1,700 each year.

This would amount to a staggering saving of $52,000 over the life of your loan.

When refinancing, check out the comparison rate to understand the true cost of the new loan. You can do so in the table below by clicking on the 'Comparison rate' heading and sorting by home loans without a fee.

An offset account acts as a transaction account which can reduce the interest payable on your mortgage by the amount maintained in the account. Every dollar that sits within the account effectively ‘offsets’ the amount of interest your bank can charge on your loan.

When you have your salary or any other income deposited into the offset account, this will contribute to the reduction of the interest payable on your loan. When you need these funds, you can access them the same way you would with a normal savings account.

The offer of no ongoing fees, or low monthly account charges is a common feature of many home loans. A mortgage that waives ongoing fees reduces the overall cost and process of refinancing as you won’t have to incur additional expenses throughout the life of your loan.

You can sort through home loans with no ongoing fees in the table below by clicking on the 'Ongoing fees' column header.

While not strictly a feature, your new loan will charge application fees and mortgage registration fees which you need to consider before making the switch between providers. Depending on the lender, application fees can range from $400 to $750 and mortgage registration fees start at approximately $100-$150.

You need to evaluate the cost that these fees will contribute to your entire mortgage and consider whether this is a realistic cost for your situation.

Finding a home loan with no application fees could help save you hundreds of dollars in upfront fees than you would otherwise have to pay on an alternative loan.

Keep in mind that although some lenders may charge no application fees, they may compensate for this by charging expensive fees for valuations or legal costs.

Loan portability means that you can transfer your existing loan to another property, given that your new property fulfills the criteria outlined by your lender. The portability feature can save you the fees associated with closing one mortgage and applying for a new one.

You may wish to sell your home and purchase another simultaneously, especially if you see a good deal, or if your family needs more living space. Exercising the portability option provides you with increased flexibility in the event that you decide to relocate. This allows you to avoid a range of fees such as discharge fees and application fees.

To secure loan portability, the settlement date of your new property must coincide with the settlement date of the sale for your old home. It is also essential that the new loan amount is similar, or lower, than your existing loan.

Top Home Loans for Refinancing

Rates last updated September 23rd, 2017
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic home loan with a competitive rate and low fees.
3.64%
4.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Owner-occupiers can lock in a competitive rate with no ongoing fees. Conditions apply.
3.49%
4.47%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Combine a low variable interest rate and free redraw with no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A home loan with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.69%
3.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Take advantage of a 100% offset account along with no annual or application fees.
3.79%
3.84%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
A special limited time offer for owner occupiers. An IMB Transaction Account must be opened with this loan.
3.86%
3.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees on a competitive variable rate home loan.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.74%
4.06%
$0
$299 p.a.
95%
A loan with no application fee and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.99%
4.02%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Take advantage of a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.97%
4.02%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a competitive rate without features you may not use.
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Requires a family member to act as guarantor. Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate product with low fees offered by a 100% online lender.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A basic low-rate home loan that still offers some useful features.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available.
3.74%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A special variable rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.97%
3.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A great interest rate home loan offer with unlimited redraw and unlimited extra payments.
3.74%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a competitive 2-year fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate with a redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.88%
4.89%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A fixed rate package with flexible repayment options. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.97%
3.97%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.72%
4.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a variable 3 year introductory rate with the Bankwest Equaliser Home Loan.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access the equity in your home with a competitive interest rate and no application fee.
3.99%
4.02%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A flexible low-rate variable home loan that lets you combine your loan with other financial products.
3.69%
4.45%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.83%
3.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A special low variable rate for owner occupiers with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.89%
3.91%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Package your owner-occupied loan with your investment loan and enjoy low rates for both.
3.69%
4.73%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.79%
3.92%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A competitive variable rate home loan with flexible features. You can earn 30,000 Velocity Points for every $100k you borrow (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements).
4.09%
4.11%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low variable rate loan with no application or ongoing fees.
4.19%
4.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
100% offset account, unrestricted additional repayments and no monthly account keeping fees
3.69%
4.00%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
Fix your rate for 3 years and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.99%
4.77%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
3.74%
4.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your property's value.
3.54%
3.54%
$440
$0 p.a.
80%
Borrow up to 80% LVR with no ongoing fees and a 100% offset account.
4.33%
4.33%
$363
$0 p.a.
70%
A variable home loan with $0 annual or monthly fees.
3.80%
3.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
4.03%
4.07%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy a basic home loan with a high LVR and no application or ongoing fees.
3.88%
4.47%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
This competitive introductory rate is a limited time offer for new owner-occupiers
3.68%
3.69%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low variable rate along with some important basic features.
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Minimum loan amount for this basic home loan is $750001.
4.39%
5.42%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Lock in a fixed interest rate term for repayment certainty.
3.69%
4.03%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no application fee.
3.99%
4.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
3.85%
4.95%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cashback available for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.99%
4.90%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Lock in a discounted fixed rate with a low service fee.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% of the value of the property.

Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

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Refinancing your mortgage is an important decision so it is vital that you understand the features that can help you select a new loan that suits your individual circumstances. While the above features are useful to consider when comparing refinance home loans, other features such as the ability to make

While the above features are useful to consider when comparing refinance home loans, other features such as the ability to make unlimited additional repayments and a free redraw facility are also worth considering.

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Belinda Punshon

Belinda is a journalist here at finder.com.au. Specialising in the home loans and property sections, she is passionate about helping Australians improve their financial wellbeing.

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