Home Loan Health Check

First Home Buyers | 18 Jun, 2022

We go to the dentist, we consult our doctor and we take our pets to the vet. But unfortunately, many of us neglect to conduct regular home loan health checks.

Yet, your home is likely one of the largest purchases and investments you will make in your lifetime. So, it’s surprising that many homeowners will make regular repayments for decades without making sure that their home loan is still right for them.

This is where a home loan health check can bring you confidence and comfort.

But what is a home loan health check? And how can you check your own home loan?

What is a home loan health check?

A home loan health check is essentially a regular inspection of your home loan where you consider whether it continues to suit your personal and financial circumstances. Your home loan was likely an excellent choice when you first bought your home. But over time, as your job, family and lifestyle has changed, your home loan should as well.

A home loan check should take into account a number of factors. This includes your loan’s specific features and interest rate, as well as your household income and equity in the home. You should consider whether it has an offset account or a redraw facility, or whether you may need that in your current situation. And you should consider if the market has moved, and if you could get a better rate or features from another lender.

The ultimate aim is to determine whether you should keep the same loan or change to one that better serves your needs.

Why is a home loan health check important?

There are many benefits to conducting regular home loan health checks.

  1. Better finance management. First of all, an evaluation will help you to better manage your finances generally. You may find that you’re ‘paying’ for features that you don’t need. Or that a new lender can offer you a better interest rate. With a home loan health check you’ll be in a position to take advantage of those opportunities.
  2. New financial tactics. Your health check may also motivate you to take other financial steps. For example, you may wish to consolidate your debts into your loan to make repayments simpler. Or you may wish to refinance to reduce your interest rate. Switching loans or lenders could also help you to have an easier, less stressful everyday life.
  3. Pay off your loan more quickly. Tweaking or changing your loan might also mean paying off your home loan sooner – an excellent result! You may be able to make additional repayments or link an offset account to reduce your interest.
  4. Free up funds. A change in home loans can also help you to free up funds for big life moves such as renovating or moving house, or enabling other investments.
  5. Combat interest rate rises. Regular home loan health checks are always important, but they are particularly vital during volitive economic environments. As Aussie interest rates rise – and with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia warning they will likely continue to rise – it’s no wonder that many homeowners are concerned. Conducting a home loan health check is a great way to ensure you are in the best position to withstand any future rate rises.
  6. Refinance maturing fixed-rate loans. One of the most dramatic changes in the home loan market during the pandemic was the vast increase in fixed-rate mortgages. In fact, by mid-2021, around 46% of all new home loans in Australia were fixed rate. This is a massive jump from the 15% that was common pre-COVID.These fixed-rate borrowers need to be prepared for ‘what’s next’ as these loans mature over the next six to 12 months. Fixed-rate loans have a ‘go-to’ variable rate (the automatic variable rate that clients revert to after the fixed-rate period). And, depending on the lender, the ‘go-to’ rate can be a higher variable rate (up to +0.5%) than for a standard variable rate or basic rate with the same lender.
  1. Manage your variable rate. The cycle of cash rate increases has commenced (and looks set to continue), so, it is important to ensure that your variable rate is ‘best in class’. It is very likely that borrowers who have not reviewed their home loan variable rate in the last two years are leaving money on the table.

How to conduct a home loan health check

There are many points to consider when checking if your home loan is still right for you. Be sure to evaluate the suitability of these features of your existing loan:

  • current interest rate (or the ‘go-to’ variable rate if your fixed-rate period is coming to an end)
  • loan fees and charges
  • repayment type
  • loan features (do you need any additional features, e.g., unlimited repayments, or could you lose some?)
  • your property value (and if you can access any equity in the home)
  • your financial goals (including any aspirations to renovate or purchase additional properties)
  • whether your personal situation has changed (e.g., marital status, number of dependants, household income, job stability)
  • the service received (do you feel valued as a customer?)

Can you DIY your home loan health check?

Yes, you can. But a financial expert can be a boon – particularly during volatile economic circumstances. Our team at Stapleton Finance are deeply involved in the financial market every day. We can help you understand both your financial position, and how to better it. And we have the partners and contacts to ensure that you’re making the most of your money – even on your home loan.

Reach Out for Your Stapleton Finance Home Health Check

We know the importance of understanding where you are with your home loan. We’ve set aside some dedicated time for you to have a Home Loan Health Check with our dedicated Stapleton Finance Team. Just follow the link below to book in a time!

GET A HOME LOAN HEALTH CHECK

Knowledge. Communication. Connection.

**Disclaimer**

This article is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon as financial advice. It is always best to speak with your own financial adviser or accountant. You should seek formal financial advice if you have a particular matter of interest arising from this article.

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