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 July 23rd, 2017
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Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
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Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A basic home loan with a competitive rate and low fees.
3.64% 3.66% $0 $0 p.a. 80% 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% 4.48% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Standard Variable Rate Value Offer (Owner Occupier P&I)
Combine a low variable interest rate and free redraw with no application or ongoing fees.
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I) First Home Buyer Special
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.86% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.69% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Reduce Home Loans Rate Buster 100% Offset Variable Home Loan - Up to $750k (LVR <=80%)
Borrow up to 80% LVR with no ongoing fees and a 100% offset account.
3.54% 3.54% $440 $0 p.a. 80% Enquire now More info
Mortgage House Advantage Home Loan 80 - Special Owner Occupier ($500K+)
A low interest rate home loan that lets you borrow up to 80% of the property's value.
3.73% 3.88% $0 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Offset Variable - Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier P&I)
Take advantage of a 100% offset account along with no annual or application fees.
3.72% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Kick Start 2 Year Introductory Variable Home Loan - (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A competitive rate for owner occupiers looking to buy or refinance.
3.79% 3.97% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
ING DIRECT Orange Advantage Loan - $150,000+ (LVR <=80% Owner Occupier, P&I)
A fully featured home loan with an offset account and discounts available. $1000 cashback offer available for loans over $300k. Terms and conditions apply.
3.79% 4.11% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
Owner-occupiers can lock in a competitive rate with no ongoing fees. Conditions apply.
3.84% 4.86% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Finsure Home Loan Deal
Enjoy a low variable rate with no application fee.
3.69% 4.03% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Enquire now More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I)
A fixed rate package with flexible repayment options. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.88% 4.89% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
SCU Basic Variable Rate Home Loan
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available. Take out a new SCU loan and enjoy $500 cash back on loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.77% 3.81% $200 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Home Loan - Owner Occupier ≤ 80% LVR, P&I
Enjoy a competitive variable interest rate, no application fee, limited annual fees and an offset account with redraws.
3.69% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan - Up to 110% LVR
Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 110% Go to site More info
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan - Special Rate Offer (Owner Occupier) New Customers Only
A great interest rate home loan offer with unlimited redraw and unlimited extra payments.
3.99% 4.04% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
Get a competitive rate without features you may not use.
3.97% 4.02% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier, P&I)
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
P&N Bank & Home Loan & Bag
A flexible low-rate variable home loan that lets you combine your loan with other financial products.
3.99% 4.02% $395 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Bankwest Equaliser Home Loan - LVR ≤80% (Owner Occupier, P&I & $200k+) new customers only
Enjoy a variable 3 year introductory rate with the Bankwest Equaliser Home Loan.
3.72% 4.19% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Select Encompass Credit Union Special Offer 2 Year Fixed Rate Home Loan
A fixed rate loan with limited fees and a competitive interest rate.
3.74% 4.15% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Of Queensland Economy Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
Take advantage of a basic no-frills home loan with extra repayments and fee free redraw.
3.89% 4.04% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.79% 4.46% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayment options.
3.89% 4.72% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan - LVR <70%
A special low variable rate for owner occupiers with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.83% 3.83% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate Discount Rate $150k+ <80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
This fixed rate loan includes a special offer for new lending of $150000 with an LVR of 80% or less. Offer extended.
3.79% 4.44% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier)
Access the equity in your home with a competitive interest rate and no application fee.
3.69% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
SCU My Life Fixed Rate Home Loan Package - 3 Years
Fix your rate for 3 years and borrow up to 95% LVR. Enjoy $500 cashback on new loans above $150k. Terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.00% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
QT Mutual Bank Mortgage Saver Home Loan
A low rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees. Note that to be eligible for this loan you must be QLD resident.
3.95% 3.95% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier
A basic home loan with flexible repayment options.
3.99% 4.00% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - Smart Loan Package P&I
Package your home loan with your investment loan to get the same rate for both. Offer ends 31st July.
3.64% 3.66% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.89% 4.78% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable rate with a redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.99% 3.99% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
ME Basic Home Loan - LVR <=80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A low variable rate loan with no application or ongoing fees.
4.09% 4.11% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
4.17% 4.21% $600 $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
4.19% 4.19% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
4.19% 4.82% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Standard Rate, P&I)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your property's value.
4.54% 4.99% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ANZ Simplicity PLUS Home Loan - Special Offer (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Enjoy a basic home loan with a high LVR and no application or ongoing fees.
4.03% 4.07% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Standard Rate, P&I)
Investors can take advantage of a short term fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
4.54% 5.04% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
3.78% 3.79% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Enquire now More info
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
No application or ongoing fees and a competitive 2 year fixed rate.
3.88% 4.84% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site 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%.
3.80% 3.81% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Lock in a fixed interest rate term for repayment certainty.
4.39% 5.42% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 95% Enquire now More info
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% 4.99% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
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 cashback available for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.99% 4.98% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years, P&I
Lock in a discounted fixed rate with a low service fee.
3.88% 4.88% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Virgin Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR <= 80% ($750k+ Owner Occupier, P&I)
Earn Velocity points on a competitive variable rate home loan with flexible features.
3.79% 3.92% $0 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Enquire now 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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Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate Discount Rate $150k+ <80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)

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NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I)

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