The dos and don'ts of refinancing
Most borrowers refinance their home loans to save money. But doing some research upfront can save you significant money in the long run.
If you think you can find a better home loan and are considering refinancing, take a look at our list of do's and don'ts before deciding on a loan.
DO consider FASTRefi. Many lenders now offer FASTRefi, which can help cut the refinancing process to days instead of weeks. All correspondence is done electronically, and all the work is organised between your current lender and new lender.
DON'T assume refinancing will save you money. If you find a lender with a cheaper rate and refinance without doing any further research, you could find that you actually don't save anything. Refinancing has other costs such as establishment fees for the new loan and closing fees for the old loan. It is also important to look at the new lender's ongoing fees and home loan features to ensure you can maximise your savings.
DO speak with your current lender before refinancing. If you are looking for a more competitive interest rate or a different home loan product, your lender may be able to meet your requirements, and it will save time and paperwork.
DON'T send in multiple home loan applications to different lenders. Although it is recommended to do your research and compare different lenders, every application will leave a hit on your file. This can have a detrimental effect on your borrowing power, as lenders will not know whether you were declined or you simply changed your mind. It is best to submit only one application with a lender that you intend to proceed with.
DO clean up your finances before refinancing. It is important to remember that just because you were approved for a home loan in the past, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be approved for a home loan now. If you know that your finances are not in the best shape, take the time to pay off as much debt as you can and improve your repayment history. Not only will this improve your chances of getting a home loan, but it may also help you get a more competitive interest rate.
DON'T forget about Lender's Mortgage Insurance. If you want to refinance your home loan, but you want to borrow over 80% of the property's value, there is a good chance that you will have to pay Lender's Mortgage Insurance. This is a particularly important point if you are looking to consolidate your debt into one home loan.
DO consider a shorter loan term. Depending on how many years you have left on your current loan and your current income, you may want to consider shortening your loan term when refinancing. Although you may have a higher repayment amount, if you are able to handle it, you could save a lot of money in interest and reach financial freedom faster.
DON'T rely on special offers or honeymoon rates. If this is the only reason you want to refinance, it could end up costing you. Many mortgage holders get caught out with honeymoon rates as they are very low for the first few years, but then revertto a less competitive rate after the honeymoon period. This is why it is vital to look at the whole home loan product, not just the bells and whistles.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of homeloans.com.au. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual's financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from a finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.