After a few months stuck at home, you’ve probably put a lot of time to good use; whether it’s dusting off your application for MasterChef 2021, ticking off the last item on a very long and overdue to-do list, or perhaps you just hid in a couch fort and trawled the darkest corners of Netflix (Really, Fuller House?)
Refinancing might be the last thing on your mind with everything that’s happening, but here are five solid reasons why it should to be first.
1. You can (most likely).
You might not even be aware you could do it. But since many home loans are refinanced with the intention to save money, the timing could be better than ever.
However while that sounds too good to be true, the decision made by your bank or lender will be based on your eligibility for refinancing. So, for a lot of Australians facing job loss or reduced hours, now may not be the best time. But if you have seen minimal impact financially from COVID-19, it’s worth a look.
2. Lockdown the low rate.
In 1989-1990 (when the original Full House was airing – you probably ‘never saw that’ either), home loan interest rates hit an all-time high at 17% p.a.
At the time of writing, the RBA interest rates are at the lowest they’ve been in 60 years, at just 0.25% p.a.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has delivered a serious financial blow to many homeowners, however now could be the time to take advantage of the lowest rates in Australia’s recorded history and start saving big bucks.
3. Help with cash flow.
It is a pretty unpredictable time financially, and while a few months off expensive cocktails, fine dining out and new threads to show off have helped, there’s always other ways to keep on track.
Perhaps you’d like to release some equity to have some cash on standby? You may continue the lockdown into renovation mode. Plus, domestic and international flights will reopen and if anyone deserves a holiday in 2020, it’s absolutely everyone.
Or you could be wanting to consolidate your debts into your home loan, reducing your repayments and likely interest on credit cards or personal loans.
Speaking of cash, cash back offers can be tempting – but be careful of low-hanging fruit and take into account other factors like ongoing rate, reputation and even customer service.
4. Make sure you’re on the right loan for you.
You’ve probably stumbled upon enough dating reality shows recently to know that not everything’s a perfect fit – and the same goes with you and home loans.
You could be on a variable loan and want to take advantage of the current low fixed rate.
You may want to access different features or flexibilities of a loan that you currently can’t, such as extra repayments without penalty. Or your bank or lender just isn’t wooing you the way you deserve
Whatever your reason, it may be time to make the move to a different home loan.
5. You’ve never refinanced – or haven’t in a long time.
If you’ve had a home loan for a while and never refinanced, turn off Netflix immediately. Because studies show 58% of Australians spend about the same time watching an episode of their favourite show as they do inspecting a property. And if Australia’s putting that little effort into finding their dream home, imagine how little they’re putting into choosing their loan. Refinancing and saving thousands could even be done on the couch when you’re not in charge of the remote.
The five reasons above are all worthy considerations, but the main one is just to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride. It quite literally pays to look around. Turns out all that time locked down at home might’ve been the perfect time to start saving on it?
Please be aware that you should always consider getting mortgage or financial advice first and be aware of the potential downsides. Talk to your broker or ME for a full list of potential risks and rewards.