5 features to consider when refinancing your mortgage

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 4th, 2016

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.

1. Low Interest Rate

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.

2. Offset Account

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.

3. No Ongoing Fees

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.

4. Application Fees

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.

5. Portability

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 December 4th, 2016
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Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
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
loans.com.au 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
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
ANZ Breakfree Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) $150k+
This 2 year fixed ANZ Breakfree Package rate comes with package discount and product bundle. Terms and conditions, package fee and fees, charges & eligibility criteria apply.
3.75% 4.62% $0 $395 p.a. 95% 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 20%.
3.69% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% 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
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. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Kick Start Variable Home Loan - 2 Years Introductory (Owner Occupier)
Borrow up to 90% LVR and enjoy an introductory rate for the first 2 years.
3.69% 3.87% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.59% 3.92% $0 $299 p.a. 80% 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.
3.84% 4.66% $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.
3.74% 4.12% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
A competitive budget rate without any unwanted bells and whistles.
3.87% 3.92% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Switzer Home Loan
No upfront or ongoing fees and a competitive variable rate for owner occupiers.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 90% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.69% 4.02% $0 $299 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A discounted rate with 100% offset account. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 4.27% $0 $375 p.a. 85% 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
ClickLoans The Online Investor Home Loan - LVR <70%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
3.79% 3.79% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74% 4.40% $0 $375 p.a. 85% 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
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Fixed - 5 Year Fixed Rate LVR <90% (Owner Occupier)
Get the security of knowing your repayments with this 5 year fixed rate package home loan.
3.98% 4.35% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
AMP Essential Home Loan  -  Owner Occupier
Take advantage of a redraw facility, competitive variable rate and no application or settlement fees for a limited time.
3.98% 4.00% $350 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - LVR<=80% $700k + (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy the discounted interest rate with redraw facility and no ongoing fees.
3.74% 4.09% $0 $350 p.a. 95% 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
Switzer Fixed Rate Home Loans - 2 Years Fixed Rate
A competitive 2 year fixed rate with your very own lending service manager.
3.97% 3.99% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package - (Owner Occupier)
Get a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.99% 4.02% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Get a short term fixed rate for that investment property with no application or ongoing fees.
3.69% 4.87% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
3.85% 4.26% $0 $395 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.69% 4.56% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Switzer Investment Loan
An investment loan with no application or ongoing fees, and your very own lending service manager.
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR < 80% (Owner Occupier)
100% offset account, unrestricted additional repayments and no monthly account keeping fees
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
No application or ongoing fees and a competitive 2 year fixed rate.
3.84% 4.75% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan with no application fees for a limited time. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
4.10% 4.14% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term. $1,250 cash back offer for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.84% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Special Offer $150k+ LVR <=90% Owner Occupier)
Lock in a special offer rate for 3 years for loans over $150k with LVR below 90%.
3.64% 4.26% $0 $375 p.a. 90% More info
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.07% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years
A low interest rate home loan and competitive two year fixed rate.
3.99% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
St.George Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
4.08% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - 3 Years Introductory Special Offer (New Owner Occupier, P&I)
A limited time deal for new owner occupiers. Advertised rate includes 1.03%p.a. discount for the first two years.
3.99% 4.37% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info

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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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.

NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)

Receive discounts on interest rates with the Choice Package. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.

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