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When is the Best Time to Refinance Your Home Loan?

As a home owner with a mortgage, chances are you’ve heard of the term ‘refinance’. A refinance involves reviewing your current home loan, and potentially swapping your loan to another lender who can better meet your current needs, wants and circumstances.

Refinancing can also allow you to consolidate your debts or pay down your mortgage more quickly. At Astute St Leonards, we are currently refinancing property loans in Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) to increase the value of the super funds. Thus reduces the loan and increases the equity plus more rental income retained.

As described above, another common reason borrowers look to refinance is so that they can access equity – the amount you’d get from selling your home after settling any associated loans, such as a mortgage on that property, and any other costs associated with the property. Depending on that amount, you may be able to access equity in the property without having to sell it, for example, to make home renovations or to buy an investment property.

However, refinancing is not suited to everyone. There are many different factors you will need to consider when thinking about refinancing a loan. Before you initiate an application to refinance, we will need to assess your needs and objectives as well as your current financial situation.

So how will you know that refinancing is the right option for you?

The first step is to speak to a professional, such as a mortgage broker like Astute St Leonards, about your needs and whether you can afford a different loan structure or other change to your mortgage, particularly if you have more than one property.

Are you looking to pay less interest?

Some people are savvy researchers and will want to take advantage of a lower interest rate from another lender should that be available to reduce repayments. If you aim for a lower interest rate, this could potentially save you a lot of money in the long term. One of our SMSF clients saw this as a great way to get a better deal, especially as they are getting close to retirement age and need their fund to have as much cash as possible.

While saving money is often one of the biggest benefits of refinancing, it may not be as straightforward as that and careful consideration is required. At this point, we will need to find out about your existing loan, repayments and current loan structure.

We will also need to find out more about your current financial situation, including your income, any other current debts and about any assets you own. The current value of the property is also taken into consideration, so we will have access to current data that will indicate what your property is estimated to be worth.

We then review the various loan options and figure out whether it’s worth it for you to refinance. Sometimes it’s not worth it if it’s only going to save a couple of hundred dollars a year, particularly when you take into consideration any exit and application fees involved. But if it’s going to save upward of $1,000 a year, refinancing might be a sensible approach. In some cases, we can tell you if getting a lower interest rate from your current lender can be achieved without refinancing.

Do you want to change your loan type?

One of the risks of refinancing your home loan is that you may need to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to your new lender. If switching your loan means you will need to pay LMI again, it may not be worth refinancing. This insurance is used to protect the lender from default.

If you do decide to refinance your home loan, working with us rather than going straight to a lender has advantages. We generally have access to loan options from a range of different lenders (up to 36 different lenders) and if there’s a better opportunity for you, we are able to access the new package. It is also important to consider that when you take up a new home loan, it can incur exit fees and may not have all the features your existing home loan has.

Have your circumstances changed?

If you had a recent major life change such as a loss of income or a change in marital status, you might be looking at a refinance of your home loan. If you want to refinance to lower lending costs to help you manage your monthly repayments, speak to us because we can negotiate with your current lender for a rate suitable to your current situation. We can also help you look at alternate options to consolidate your personal loans and credit cards into the one loan. This could help you in lowering your monthly repayments, or help you keep your repayments on time and even save you interest in the long-term.