5 features to consider when refinancing your mortgage

Rates and Fees verified correct on February 27th, 2017

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 February 27th, 2017
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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
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.
3.84% 4.22% $0 $395 p.a. 95% 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.
3.75% 3.77% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($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
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 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
Auswide Bank Home Loan Plus with Freedom Package - Special Package Discount LVR <= 90% (Owner Occupier) P&I
A high maximum LVR home loan with redraw facility and additional payments.
3.79% 4.18% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier
A basic mortgage with flexible repayments options.
3.89% 3.94% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate)
A limited time 2 year fixed rate for owner occupiers. Conditions apply.
3.89% 4.79% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow a minimum of $100,000 with a $0 ongoing fee.
3.79% 3.83% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ING  DIRECT Orange Advantage Loan - $150,000+ (LVR <= 80% Owner Occupier)
Pay no annual fee for the first year with this packaged variable rate home loan with offset.
3.89% 4.11% $0 $199 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
3.85% 4.26% $0 $395 p.a. 80% 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
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.84% 4.59% $600 $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
3.94% 4.33% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate)
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.99% 4.73% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
A discounted 2 year fixed rate loan with high maximum LVR and no application fee.
3.69% 4.31% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ME 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.
4.09% 4.80% $0 $0 p.a. 95% 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.
3.82% 4.17% $595 $350 p.a. 95% 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
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.
4.49% 4.90% $0 $0 p.a. 95% 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.
4.05% 4.08% $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.
4.49% 4.95% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
100% offset account, unrestricted additional repayments and no monthly account keeping fees
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
ANZ Simplicity PLUS Home Loan - Special Offer (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a home loan with no aplication fee or ongoing fee.
4.03% 4.07% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now
3.88% 3.89% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Enquire now
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) P&I
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
3.99% 5.00% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
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% 5.04% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years
A low interest rate home loan and competitive two year fixed rate.
4.19% 5.32% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now
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% Enquire now
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% Enquire now

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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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.

Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.

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.

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