Why You Should Consider Refinancing | Your Finance Adviser

As the Australian economy gets back to normal on the back of the COVID-19 enforced shutdowns easing, borrowers are sitting in an enviable position.

The moment lockdown measures started, the RBA acted quickly and cut the official cash rate to a record low, of 0.25 per cent. What that means for borrowers is that this is the best time since the 1950s to access money.

If you’ve already got a home loan, then you should consider refinancing, to take advantage of the revised low cash rate and to make sure you’re getting the very best deal you possibly can.

However, there are also several other benefits to refinancing.

Better Interest Rates

The first thing to understand is what exactly it means to refinance. Basically, refinancing is just taking out a new home loan on the same property.

The first and most obvious reason to do that is to get a lower rate of interest. Lower interest rates mean lower mortgage payments, which can mean thousands of dollars being saved over the lifetime of your home loan.

A number of lenders offer great introductory rates when you take out a loan with them. However, unlike with other industries, you’re not rewarded by sticking with one lender for the long-term. In some cases, it’s the opposite. Those who have not reviewed (or refinanced) their loans can get stuck with far worse deals than necessary.

We must remember that banks and lenders are businesses and sometimes it’s far more valuable to attract new clients than worry about the ones’ you’ve already got. This is where a good mortgage broker can really help you with sifting through the fine print on suitable loans.

Better Loan Products

Back in our parents’ day, it was really just a matter of taking out a principal and interest loan and paying it off over the next 30 years. Fortunately, things have changed for the better and now lenders have a host of great products that can really save you money on your home loan.

A great example would be a 100% offset account attached to your mortgage. An offset account is a transaction account meaning you can use it for everyday things. However, because it is linked to your mortgage it attracts the same higher rate of interest as your mortgage.

More accurately, it saves you interest, in that you effectively only pay interest on the difference between your outstanding loan and your offset account balance.

An offset account can really supercharge your progress if you park your spare money in there and use smart money management techniques.

Access to Cash

If we’ve learnt anything during the COVID crisis, it’s that having some money tucked away for a rainy day is important.

Fortunately, if you’re a homeowner who has owned their property for any length of time you might very well have built up some equity in your property. That’s certainly the case for owner-occupiers and investors in large parts of the east coast, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne who have seen median homes values rise dramatically in the last decade.

By refinancing, it’s possible to access that equity and draw it out as cash. That money can then be used to buy another property as an investment, or as required.

It’s quite possible to access equity and leave it in an offset account. That way it’s not costing you anything but it’s there if you need it. Again, speaking to a mortgage broker will be the best way for you to find out what you can do, given your individual circumstances.

Consolidate Debt

Not all debt is good debt. When you buy a house to live in or as an investment, that’s an example of good debt.

The asset you’re purchasing has a high likelihood of appreciating in value over a long period of time, which will leave you well placed.

Using credit or a loan to buy things that do not appreciate, like a new car or online shopping, will get you into ‘bad debt’. These things will not only depreciate in value almost instantly, but the debt comes with a high rate of interest.

High-interest debt not only weighs heavily on your borrowing capacity, but it is expensive to pay back. An option when you refinance is to roll some of these debts into your home loan and capitalise on the lower rates of interest.

This is a great time to be borrowing money and it hasn’t been this good since the 1950s. With the economy facing a short term downturn, it’s more important than ever to have access to cash for a rainy day. There’s plenty of additional benefits to refinancing and a mortgage broker will be able to get you on the right track.

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    Westpac

    $2,000 Refinance Cashback: For new refinance applications received between 23 September 2019 to 30 September 2020 and settled by 30 November 2020.

    Eligibility

    • Offer current as at 23 September 2019.
    • Offer available on the Premier Advantage Package and Flexi First Option Home Loans for Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments and all Investment Loans.
    • Offer may be varied or withdrawn at any time.
    • $250k min loan per property refinanced.
    • Only 1 cashback per property refinance will be paid regardless of the number of loans involved.
    • Excludes Portfolio Loans, switches and refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include St.George, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS.
    • Offer not available for Owner Occupier Interest Only loans or residential lending originated under family or company trusts.
    • Applicants must have a Westpac Choice transaction account linked to the home loan at the time of settlement and must keep this account open for 60 days after settlement.
    • The cashback will be automatically deposited into this account within 60 days after settlement.

    Owner Occupied Loan

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to St George. Excludes Portfolio Loans, switches, and refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS.

    For new refinance applications received between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 and settle by 30 November 2020. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Terms and conditions available at St.George
    • Offer available on the Advantage Package and Basic Home Loans for Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments and Investment Loans.
    • Offer current as at 1 April 2020.
    • Offer may be varied or withdrawn at any time.
    • $250k min loan per property refinanced.
    • Only 1 cashback per property refinance will be paid regardless of the number of loans involved.
    • Offer not available for Owner Occupier Interest Only loans or residential lending originated under family or company trusts.

    Criteria

    • The cashbacks will be paid into a St.George transaction account within 60 days of settlement.
    •  The transaction account must be linked to the home loan at the time of settlement and kept open for 60 days after settlement.
    • Tax consequences may arise from this promotion for investors and customers should seek independent advice on any taxation matters.

    Notes

    • St George do have an online ONLY offer of $3,000 cash back for the first refinance Application.  Please note, this can be approved through BDM.

    First Home Buyer Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) Offer5

    Offer details

    • For eligible first home buyers with a Loan to Value Ratio (LVR7) up to 85%, the LMI will be reduced to only $1.00.
    • This offer is not an LMI waiver and clients will be charged $1.00 for LMI which will be reflected in their Loan Offer Documents.
    • The offer is available on eligible home loan applications submitted from Monday 13 July 2020 and can be withdrawn or varied at any time.
    • Clients must adhere to LMI obligations during the loan agreement. The LMI factsheet will also be issued to the customer along with the other Loan Offer Documents.
    • Clients are not required to be receiving the First Home Owner Grant to be eligible for the First Home Buyer LMI Offer.
    • First Home Buyer Flag must be selected within Apply Online and notes section to include instructions to apply First Home Buyer LMI Offer. For more information, refer to the training pack on the secure portal.
    • Available with the Basic Home Loan and the Advantage Package6 Home Loan, both Fixed and Variable rate ($395 annual package fee applies).

    Eligibility criteria:

    • Applications must be for a first home loan for a first property (for joint applications, only one applicant must be a first home buyer).
    • Loans with an LVR7 up to 85% at the time of formal approval.
    • Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments only.
    • Maximum loan size of $850,000.
    • Only one property to be financed per application.
    • Available for applications submitted from Monday 13 July 2020.

    Loans not eligible:

    • Owner Occupier with Interest Only repayments.
    • All Residential Investment Home Loans.
    • Portfolio Loans.
    • Construction Loans.
    • Offer not available in conjunction with the Family Pledge option.
    • Residential lending originated under family or company trusts.
    • Switches and internal refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include St. George, Bank of Melbourne, Westpac, BankSA and RAMS.

    Suncorp

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 ($250k - $749k ) and $3000 ($750k+) to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to Suncorp.

    Applications must be submitted before Wednesday 30 September, 2020, with loans funded by Tuesday 29 December, 2020. Minimum refinance amount $250,000. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Owner Occupied Home Loans; and
    • All Investment Home Loans; and
    • All Lines of Credit.

    Criteria

    • To be eligible, the approved loan/s must satisfy the following
    • Regulated Retail Home Lending
    • Minimum new home loan amount of $250,000, with the purpose of Refinance from an external financial institution
    • Application fully received before the 30th of September 2020
    • Settlement on or before the 29th of December 2020
    • Standard Variable, Back to Basics Variable and Fixed Rate Home Loans
    • Loan to Value Ratio (“LVR”) including Lenders Mortgage Insurance (“LMI”) is less than or equal to 90%

    Note

    • Personal/Owner Occupied & Investment lending
    • Principal and Interest or Interest Only
      • Annual Fee Offers

        • Home Package Plus: 1 x Annual Package Fee Waiver
          • Waivered for the first year – save $375. The first annual package fee is waived for new Home Package Plus customers only with new lending of at least $150,000.
        • Home Package Plus for first Home Buyers: Ongoing Annual Fee Waiver
          • For First Home Buyers, we’ll refund the $375 annual Home Package Plus fee for the life of the loan saving you up to $11,250 over a 30 year term. Applicable for Owner Occupier First Home Buyers who have never previously purchased a property. An eligible home loan has minimum new home lending in the Home Package Plus of $150,000 or more
          • Refinance Cash Bonus Offer (1) – how much is the customer eligible for?

            • >= $250,000 will receive $2,000, or
            • $750,000+ will receive $3,000

            Frontline Extra Cash Bonus Offer (2) – for eligible occupations

            • >= $250,000 will receive a total of $3,000 or;
            • $750,000+ will receive a total of $4,000

    ANZ

    Effective 1 June 2020, ANZ home loans eligible customers who are refinancing $150,000 or more from another lender (which may include some additional new lending), a cashback amount of upto $3,000 will be available. See below for details

    Eligibility criteria

    • Loan amount refinanced: at least $150,000 but less than $250,000 - $1,200 cashback
    • Loan amount refinanced $250,000 or more - $3,000 cashback

    Dates:

    • Loan applications must be submitted by 23 November 2020
    • Loans must be drawn down by 22 January 2021

    Eligible home loans

    • ANZ Standard Variable Rate Loan;
    • ANZ Fixed Rate Loan;
    • ANZ Simplicity PLUS Loan;
    • ANZ loan product which permits a borrower to draw down credit progressively for the purchase and/or construction of a property or a home;
    • ANZ bridging loan;

    Exclusions

    • Equity Manager
    • Other lines of Credit
    • Non-Credit Critical (NCC) Applications
    • Internal ANZ Refinances (e.g. New Loan containing the same borrower(s))
    • Credit Cards and Personal Loans

    Conditions

    • Must include an OFI Home/Residential Investment Loan
    • 1 cash back offer per customer within any 12-month period
    • This switching cashback offer is not available in conjunction with any other advertised switching offers (but is available in conjunction with any special interest rates discounts available to the customer)
    • Cash back account: Must be an ANZ Transaction Account (cannot be OFI/Cheque)

    Note

    Important note: ANZ's home loans switching cashback discretion can be varied by ANZ from time to time and may be withdrawn at any time.

    First home buyer conveyancing rebate

    Up to $1,000 rebate for eligible first home buyers (including recipients of State or Territory government first home buyer concessions) with home loans over $250,000.

    Apply by 30 September 2020 and draw down by 31 December 2020. Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.

    Eligibility

    • Offer is only available to eligible First Home Buyers (including recipients of a government First Home Owner Grant and/or first home buyer stamp duty concession and apply for an eligible ANZ loan [refer to www.firsthome.gov.au for eligibility details of the State or Territory government First Home Owner Grants and stamp duty concessions.]).
    • Offer available only on application and is limited to one rebate of up to $1,000 per single property purchase for eligible First Home Buyers who take out an eligible ANZ Loan for an owner occupier purpose.

    Other Conditions

    • To enable reimbursement of conveyancing fees, you must hold an ANZ Access Advantage or ANZ One account at draw down.
    • Offer is not available in conjunction with or in addition to any other offer, discount or benefit unless specifically advised by ANZ in writing.
    • Offer may be altered or withdrawn by ANZ at any time.
    • For full terms and conditions of the offer, contact any ANZ branch or ANZ Mobile Lender.
    • All applications for credit are subject to ANZ’s credit approval criteria.
    • Terms and conditions apply and are available on application.
    • Fees and charges and eligibility criteria apply.

    BOQ

    Cashback Offer for customers refinancing their existing lending to BOQ, meaning eligible customers will be able to take advantage of the $2,500 cashback.

    The end date for applications to be received is Saturday, 26 September 2020, with loans required to settle by Saturday, 12 December 2020.

    Eligibility

    • Personal customers taking out a new home loan with BOQ
    • The loan is refinanced to BOQ from another financial institution (excluding Virgin Money and BOQ Specialist)
    • Applications need to be submitted through ApplyOnline (and supporting documents received) on or after Wednesday, 17 June 2020 and on or before Saturday, 26 September 2020
    • Loans must settle prior to Saturday, 12 December 2020
    • Minimum new lending of at least $250,000 with maximum LVR of 70%
    • Lending must be flagged with refinance purpose on the loan application.

    All customers will be paid the cashback, provided the lending meets the eligibility criteria outlined above. Provided customers have opened a BOQ transaction account the cashback will be paid to the account within 30 days of the loan settlement.

    Note

    Special limited time $2,500 cashback offer only available for new refinance applications received between 17 June 2020 and 26 September 2020 (inclusive) and that settle by 12 December 2020. This offer is open to Australian residents aged 18 and over who are personal customers taking out a new home loan with BOQ, refinanced from another financial institution. Offer available on BOQ’s Clear Path, Economy, Intro Rate, or Fixed Rate home loan products only. Minimum total new lending of at least $250,000. Maximum loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of 70%. Not available for the refinance, restructure or switches of home loans within BOQ Group, which includes BOQ, Virgin Money (Australia) and BOQ Specialist. An applicant will be eligible for a maximum of one cashback payment during the offer period, regardless of the number of loan applications they are party to, provided the total amount drawn at settlement across all loans is at least $250,000

    CBA

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to CommBank.

    Applications must be submitted before Saturday 31 October 2020, with loans funded by Thursday 31 December 2020. Minimum refinance amount $250,000. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Owner Occupied Home Loans; and
    • All Investment Home Loans; and
    • All Lines of Credit.

    Criteria

    • Owner Occupied Interest Only are eligible if funded on or from 7 April 2020.
    • Customers must refinance their eligible Home/Investment Home Loan from an OFI.
    • The refinance amount from the OFI must be $250,000 or more. New money and Top Up applications are not included in the $250,000.
    • Refinancing of an existing CommBank or Bankwest Home/ Investment Home Loan is not eligible for this offer.
    • Limit of one $2,000 cashback payment per borrowing entity and per customer over a 12-month period.
    • We will credit the $2,000 cashback amount only to a CommBank Transaction Account within two weeks of loan funding.
    • We will not combine the $2,000 cashback offer with our MAV fee waiver.

    Note

    • This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.
    • We reserve the right to terminate the offer at any time.