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Four Reasons Why You Need A Tailored Finance Pre-Approval

A critical key to unlocking your dream property often lies in securing a properly assessed pre-approval from a suitable bank or lender. With access to over 30 major banks and lenders, AXTON Finance understands the importance of this initial step, especially for busy time-poor professionals, probably just like you.

Here’s why getting your tailored mortgage pre-approval properly assessed is crucial before venturing into the market:

Confidence

Imagine this scenario – armed with a properly assessed pre-approval, vetted by experienced human professionals rather than relying on a flimsy computer-generated bank ‘pre-approval’ that comes with all sorts of conditional clauses. This assurance stems from a thorough assessment by the expert mortgage brokers at AXTON Finance, who have taken the time to understand and outline specific options available to you. It is worth highlighting that any offer made at an auction is unconditional, which means bidding without a proper pre-approval is risky and certainly not advisable.

With this in hand, you can confidently navigate the property market, knowing that your pre-approval isn’t just a computer-generated ‘yes’ loaded with escape clauses. This assurance lets you focus solely on properties within your approved budget range, minimising uncertainty and providing a strong foundation for your property search.

Strength

When it comes to making an offer, the terms you present matter significantly and its not just about price. Offers that are contingent on ‘subject to finance’, even in a weaker market or before an auction, will significantly weaken your position. However, a thoroughly assessed pre-approval equips you to negotiate from a position of strength. You can craft a compelling offer not only in terms of price but also with the consideration of settlement parameters, making you an attractive option compared to those relying on uncertain finance ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’.

Speed

Contrary to what you might think, obtaining a pre-approval isn’t a time-consuming process, especially with the advanced tech stack and human expertise at AXTON Finance. Having that dialled in pre-approval means you may be ahead of others who might not have their lending strategy sorted. This advantage empowers you to act swiftly, staying ahead of those who are dithering and unprepared to seize opportunities in the market.

Success

Of course you are probably reading this because you actually want to buy your next property. So above all, a properly assessed pre-approval sets the stage for success. Delaying or avoiding this crucial step might mean missed opportunities. Many individuals hesitate to seek pre-approvals due to uncertainty or lack of understanding about their options. But with professionals like AXTON Finance by your side, you are laid out with a clear pathway for your property aspirations. Avoid the disappointment of watching potential homes or investment opportunities slip away because you weren’t prepared – speak to one of the experienced brokers at AXTON Finance today.

A properly assessed pre-approval isn’t just a step; it’s your strategic advantage in the competitive real estate arena. At AXTON Finance, we know that securing your finance pre-approval is of immense value in guiding busy professionals like yourself by providing confidence, negotiation strength, speed, and a clear pathway to achieving your property goals.

Don’t let uncertainty hinder your progress; secure your tailored pre-approval with an experienced AXTON Finance mortgage broker and open the door to your desired property with confidence.

Contact us today – and speak to a human who knows!

10 Ways To Get Your Finance Approved First Time

Whether you’re refinancing or looking to purchase your first or third home, financing can be daunting. Even for the experienced, getting your finance approved can be a stressful process and with the effects COVID-19 creating extra scrutiny being prepared matters more than ever. To have your financed approved first time is the dream, one that can be made a reality with a little groundwork. With these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to making that dream come true:

1. Assess your goals

Knowing how much to borrow from a lender is one of the most important pieces of knowledge you will require for this process. The goals you have in mind for the property you wish to purchase will have an impact on this. Know what you’re looking for in terms of a lifestyle and financial perspective. Marrying those together will help you buy for tomorrow.

Buying for tomorrow is distinctly important. Ask yourself; ‘Will this property be suitable for me in a year or two’? While the price-point may seem agreeable today, and it suits your current lifestyle, are either of those likely to change? It is much more expensive to trade up to something more appropriate further down the line than it is to get it right the first time.

Further, determine your own borrowing limit. Banks and Lenders maximum lending rates are stress-tested relative to interest rates. If or when interest rates increase, you could experience a great deal of mortgage stress by borrowing at the Lenders maximum rate. By using loan repayment calculator, you can look at what rates to expect to pay today, and at higher interest rates. This will allow you to know what loan size you need before speaking to Lenders.

2. Do you research

Knowing is half the battle, and with mortgages, it’s no different. Understanding what products are available, their features and the lingo will leave you informed before making a decision. While some features can seem alluring, such as offsets, you have to ask yourself: ‘does this benefit me’? ‘Is this offset worth higher rates, or extra fees’? Quite often the most basic mortgage products can be just as affordable and effective as more complex products.

Secondly, know the difference in the policies of lending institutions. Policy is one of the largest differences between lenders. By knowing what can and cannot be done, you can approach securing finance with a greater degree of confidence.

3. Speak to an experienced mortgage broker

There is a discernible difference between speaking with an experienced mortgage broker and direct with a lender. Lenders will only have one product and set of policies to offer. An experienced mortgage broker will have access to the broader market. With this access to the broader market, brokers will be able to identify a solution tailor-made to your scenario and needs. Experience matters.

With their exposure to the greater market, an experienced broker is invaluable. Their exposure equips them with the knowledge of lender products and policies. An experienced broker will talk you through policies and help you secure a product based on your needs. There are many brokers out there, some more experienced than others. As before, research matters, so research brokers. Look at their websites and reviews on Google. Even better still, ask for personal referral. They could prove a prime opportunity for a personal introduction to a quality broker.

4. Supporting information and documents

When it comes time to provide documentation and information, it pays to get it right the first time. Lenders will comb through your supporting documents seeking out inconsistencies between them and your customer fact find answers. Providing everything needed and answering the fact find honestly can and will avert many issues that may arise.

Banks and lenders have an obligation to report on the conduct of savings and mortgage accounts. There are many tools that lenders use to automatically read documents to determine your conduct as a customer. By keeping accounts paid up and to date, as well as not overdrawing, you will ensure your account is in good conduct. Conduct is very important factor in securing finance.

5. The Importance of savings

The importance of saving cannot be overstated. One of the first questions a bank or broker will ask is: ‘how much is your deposit’? This is because, as a very general rule, the larger your deposit, the easier it is to secure finance approval.

When looking at savings, lenders and banks are looking for what is termed ‘genuine savings’. Genuine savings are identified as funds that have stood in good stead for at least 3 months. Sudden windfalls will usually not all that favourable when securing finance. Genuine savings can also be recognised as shares or equity in other properties the customer owns or even rent currently paid.

Ideally, your deposit should be at least 20% of the value of the property you wish to acquire. This will allow you to avoid paying mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is a one-off fee, and in the name sounds fine, but it is of no benefit to the customer. This one-off fee, paid by the customer, only protects the lender and offers no insurance to your situation. While only a one-off fee, it can get quite expensive. The higher the loan amount, the more expensive the fee, relative to the Loan to Value Ratio (LVR). An LVR of 80% (loan is 80% of the price, deposit 20%) means no mortgage insurance is paid. An 82% LVR leaves mortgage insurance at a more reasonable level. Once in excess of 90%, the mortgage insurance premium becomes extremely costly. Talking to a broker about your current LVR and where you’d like it to be is an important step before making a finance application.

6. Don’t be late

More than ever, Lenders are looking for good conduct on your accounts. So it is imperative to avoid overdrawing your savings. The same goes for missing payments on mortgage loans or credit cards. When accounts are provided to lenders for assessment, their systems will usually automatically scan for tell-tale signs of poor conduct, such as late fees. This can affect your chances of securing finance.

Lenders will typically look back through the accounts provided across a period of six months. During the lead up to applying for a mortgage, it’d be best to keep all accounts ‘squeaky clean’. There can be issues that arise around credit defaults that may be listed, such as late payments on bills and utilities. Ideally, the defaults of this nature should be avoided. While it isn’t entirely detrimental, it can create unnecessary hurdles.

7. Do you really need it?

The advent of the ‘Pay-now, buy-later’ systems such as AfterPay and Zip Pay has created new hurdles in the process of securing finance. These systems, while technically not treated as credit, can still adversely impact the approval process. Lenders treat these systems as a form of conduct and affordability. They view this as conduct as by using this system, the customer has demonstrated they lacked the funds at the point of purchase. Ideally, it’ll be best to avoid have an AfterPay system, or equivalent, attached to your accounts.

8. It’s not all about the rate

While your gut reaction may be to ask ‘What’s the cheapest rate in the market’, you shouldn’t get hung up on the rate entirely. It’s an important question, but not all mortgage and loan accounts are structured the same. The rate you pay is influenced by several factors. How large the loan is, your LVR and credit history, features of the loan, funding models and more play into determining the rate you pay.

A more worthwhile question to ask is ‘can you identify the best products based on my scenario’? A good lender will ask you a series of detailed questions to determine your situation. From there they will be able to take you through and compare products that are ideal to your scenario. Products better suited to your scenario will ensure a greater chance of success in having your finance approved.

9. Be realistic

Due to increased compliance requirements, and the disruption caused by COVID-19 to bank processing systems, patience will be required. Pre-approval and overall approval of loans will likely take some time depending on which lender you use. It is important to be realistic about how long this may take. Pre-COVID, this process still took some time, with processing times between lenders varying from a few days to many weeks.

Same day approvals or ‘instant pre approvals’ should be taken with a grain of salt. These systems typically are computer generated and subject to the vetting of support documents. Quite regularly, there will be a disconnect between the questions you answer the assessment the lender applies to you. Applying for finance well before bidding for properties will be important.

10. Be realistic with your borrowing capacity

Your own assessment of repayments based on current interest rates is not what lenders look at. In their assessment, they look at interest rate increases in the future. They consider if the loan you are acquiring will still be suitable when interest rates rise in the future. They will also consider that some income is inconsistent, such as commissions or overtime. Subsequently, lenders will shade a component of this payment to around 60% to 80%. Rental income may also not be accepted in fullness, and may only be accepted at around 70%.

The living expenses banks apply to you may differ from your estimates. Banks apply a Living Expense Ratio lower than your actual expense ratio. Therefore, it is important to have a realistic assessment of your expense before doing a Customer Fact Find or finance application. Lenders will digitally assess savings accounts statements to apply a sense check to compare your estimate to theirs. This is another important consideration when applying for financial approval.

Finally, have contingencies in place for lenders and your income. Consider which lenders would be second or third choice if your ideal one doesn’t work out. Consider what will happen if your income is disrupted or reduced in a meaningful way. It isn’t wise to put every spare cent available to mortgage repayments. Nor is it wise to secure finance approval and not have emergency buffer funds available. It is also highly recommended to look into insuring the asset you are in the process of acquiring. Information and advice should be gathered from a licensed financial planner regarding this. They can provide valuable advice around income and risk insurance regarding life, trauma and Total Permanent Disability (TPD).

Securing approval for finance from a lender has many moving parts. With the right guidance and research, you’ll be ready to secure the approval tailored to your scenario. With that, you’ll be well on your way to refinancing and securing a better rate or securing an approval to allow you to bid competitively at that next action. 

Good luck in your ventures, and if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of experts, we’ll always be happy to assist you with securing the best structure possible!

The team at Axton Finance                

Ph: 1300 706 540

Alternatively see our availability and book an obligation free Zoom meeting here.

Finance Tips For Aussie Expats

So you are an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident (PR Visa holder) living and working overseas and looking at buying or refinancing a property back here in Australia?

We look after lots of time poor Aussies needing help with tailored expat and non resident lending needs from our panel of over 30 major banks and lenders.

The following key questions provides a high-level summary of the available policies generally applied by the major Australian banks and lenders who offer mortgages to Australian expats and non resident with permanent residency status.

What is the maximum LVR that an Australian Expat can get?

The Maximum loan to valuation (LVR) ratio is generally 70% or 80% of a property’s value (some lenders may allow higher up to 90 or even 95% but there are caveats to this which are usually higher rates and mortgage insurance being applied).

How much foreign income can I use?

Your overseas income is usually shaded by 20% for currency risk purposes before converting to Australian dollars ($AUD). The resultant figure is then hypothetically ‘taxed’ at Australian tax rates to determine what net income (after tax income is available to support your loan). This is applied because Australian lenders are generally not resourced to deal with understanding every countries different tax systems.

What if I earn tax-free income in the UAE? 

If you earn tax-free income in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or similar tax jurisdictions – you may be in luck then. In many circumstances, we have a handful of lenders who will not apply hypothetical Australian tax rates to your expat tax free income in places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This will usually result in you being able to secure a larger loan size than what most Australian banks would otherwise approve.

Can I use bonus income as an expat? 

This depends heavily on which lender is being proposed and how often the bonus income is paid. It can be difficult to use for servicing purposes when it comes to expat and non-resident lending.

How much income do I need to secure an expat loan approval? 

Because of the rules above that most lenders apply, your taxable income generally needs to exceed $250,000 AUD PA equivalent. Shading due to currency risk and different tax assessment rules can significantly reduce your borrowing capacity as an expat.  If your income is less than this it is often very difficult for us to meet current expat lending rules even for modest loan sizes.

What currency do I need to earn to be eligible for an Australian expat home loan?

Most lenders require that your income is earned in primary currencies like;

  • United States Dollars (USD)
  • Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • European Euros (EURO)
  • Singapore Dollars (SGD)
  • Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)

A smaller list of lenders still accepts other countries depending on individual lender policies and includes but are not limited to;

  • Indian Rupee (INR)
  • Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
  • Vietnamese Dong (VND)
  • Chinese Yuan (CNY) / Renminbi (RMB)
  • Emirati Dirhams (AED)

What if my payslips and other supporting information are in a foreign language?

If your support documents are not in English they must be translated into by an accredited translator (most Australian lenders accept NAATI as a standard translation service).

What if I don’t have Australian Citizenship or PR Visa status – can you help me?

Unfortunately if you do not hold Australian citizenship, PR residency or New Zealand citizenship we are currently unable to assist you based on our available lending policies.

I am a self-employed expat – can I secure loan approval? 

Being self-employed has many benefits but borrowing money as a self-employed expat can greatly reduce the number of lenders who may be able to support your plans. While not impossible we may be able to assist you especially if your tax returns are up to date and are published in English.

I want to know more about expat mortgages – how do we meet?

Want to get some tailored mortgage advice from someone who knows what they are talking about then feel free to book a time here for a quick 15 minute chat or jump onto the chat box on our website now (it will confirm if one of our brokers are online for a chat).

Book your 15 minute online chat here!

Of course, you can also call us in the office on 1300 706 540 for a chat during normal business hours. If we miss your call leave a message and one of our team will usually get back to you within one or two business hours.

Moving house doesn’t have to be so heavy

We of course help clients everyday arrange competitive home loans for new homes and renovations and of course one of the outcomes is having to move all of your stuff from one place to the other.  Now we have all been there and moved ourselves and our friends many times over and I am pretty sure no one enjoys the joy of getting a four seat couch down a staircase! I for one will never forget dropping my mates grandmothers old piano on the front garden when I was in my late twenties (sorry Simon!!).

Now while you could look up ‘removalist’ online and take your chances an Australian company has come up with a great but simple idea. Muval is a platform that connects removal companies with people and businesses looking to move items locally or interstate. It removes the hassle of calling around for multiple quotes from different companies and removes the uncertainty and dread that is often associated with the moving process.

Given how time poor we all are and how much most of us loath moving why not lookup Muval and give them a go for your next home move – we recommend their services to our clients so give it a go next time for your move.

10 tips that can help your mortgage application

As you have probably heard in the media the nations lenders have clamped down on their lending criteria as a result of pressure from various government agencies like APRA and ASIC and from recommendations made during the Banking Royal Commission into banking misconduct.

It would be fair to say that many lenders have perhaps taken this a little too far which has resulted in a market place full of inconsistent applications of an incomprehensible set of rules for borrowers to deal with.

As a result of this we felt that the following information can be used as bit of a guide to help maximise your chances of securing finance approval by implementing any number of the following tips.

1. Fill out your application form in full

Lenders will often apply a score to your loan application based on the information you supply and if you skip on optional questions this can be detrimental to the strength of your application if things a little tight. For example even if you have a savings account with another bank with a small amount in – tell your proposed lender. If you have a middle name don’t forget to include it – it matters. If you have moved a couple of times try and be accurate with your living history as lenders often marry up data they can see on your credit file with the information supplied in your application.

If you are looking to refinance or buy your next property check out client fact find here – this is a fantastic form which is responsive to asking you the questions we know a lender will want to know – nothing more and nothing less! We can contact you after you have completed to run some tailored options past you.

2. Don’t submit your application to too many lenders or brokers

Lenders get very concerned when they see on your credit file that you have applied to a number of credit providers within a short period of time for about the same amount of money. The lender in question will often take the pessimistic view and think that there is something wrong with your application and has been declined by other lenders prior to it so will pick over your file with more detail trying to find out why you would apply so many times.

3. Do you have credit defaults?

This might sound scary and a reason for a lender to decline a loan but many lenders have different policies that may consider your scenario depending on the circumstances and what you have done to remedy the situation. As a general rule of thumb defaults from utility providers like power and telecommunication companies have less impact on your scenario than do defaults on financial service providers like personal loans, credit cards and home loans.

It is important to realise that with the evolution of the positive credit reporting regime lenders can now increasingly see the conduct of other institutions credit facilities. So if you are late on your credit card payment with the CBA and your home loan application is with Macquarie Bank, then there is a good chance that they can see this on your credit file down to which months you were on time and those that were not!

Treat your repayment history with a healthy level of respect and you will find your application will run pretty smoothly. A good mortgage broker or banker will be able to work with you prior to submission to identify any sort of severity and work out the best course of action and the lenders most suited the scenario you have presented.

If in doubt you can get a free copy of your credit file from mycreditfile.com.au (a service from Equifax Pty Ltd). We can take a look at it for you free of charge and provide you with some insight – feel free to contact us here.

4. To Afterpay or not…

The advent of the ‘buy now and pay later with no interest’ companies like Afterpay and Zip Pay creates an interesting situation for lenders. In simple terms these are not seen as a great look on your bank statements because the lender makes the assumption that these often relatively low cost purchases were made because you did not have the money in the first place and with retailers quick to jump on the band wagon with this offering its even available on products and services that may be considered essential. Our recommendation is generally not to have these buy now pay later arrangements if you are seeking to make a mortgage or finance application.

5. Support Docs

You will of course have to supply items like payslips, ID, mortgage statements and tax returns etc depending on your situation. This often slows down the process when the information requested is not provided in a timely manner. Many lenders simply get to your file and if information is missing they request whats needed and place your file at the back of the queue again. Sometimes information supplied can result in additional questions being asked so be prepared for this to happen and its nothing unusual albeit it can be frustrating.

6. How much do you spend?

OK I get it that a budget is boring but again an increased focus is being made on just how much borrowers are spending on living expense and there is a general reduction on the reliance of HEM (Household Expenditure Measures) standards and a more tailored approach. Having a summary ready before your finance meeting will help you have a more productive and realistic expectation of your borrowing capacity for any sort of approval. There are often many ways that you can reduce and improve your living expense without making drastic changes in the months lading up to when you are looking at securing a mortgage. Go through your statements and look at where you may save money via;

  • Reducing utility bills by shopping around suppliers
  • Reducing or eliminating credit card debt
  • Do your food shopping with a list and don’t buy by impulse
  • Take a packed lunch (this $10 per day can save you $216 per month in after tax dollars!)
  • Love coffee (so do we) but consider a pod machine or something similar over the 4.90 large flat white with almond milk once or twice a day
  • Pay yourself first (savings) – putting money away first before you pay for everything else is a simple yet powerful process to help you get ahead. Think of every time you get a pay rise how easy it is spend that new amount of hard earned cash! There are some great online tools that can help with this. One that we love is Raize.com.au and ING Bank – these two companies have variations of a system that automatically squirrels away savings by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and allows a regular savings plan. Simple, effective and above all – happens without effort. (note if you click the link above to Raize you receive a $5 credit to your new account as do AXTON Finance)

7. What happens if you are having or planning for a child

Lenders are now required to ask about any expected changes to your future income that may affect your ability to meet repayments. This of course is a requirement to be answered truthfully and is strengthened by your ability to provide other information about how you may deal with such a situation. For example if you are about to go on maternity or paternity leave you could state that you have a certain amount of funds available for the estimated period of you being on reduced income to meet the commitments of your loan. A return to work letter and using a lender with a strong appetite for this sort of scenario will also help you a lot.

8. How good is your mortgage broker or banker?

Of course we may be a little biased here but having an experience broker working with you will help explain things in plain English for you and be across the lending policies of dozens of lenders and not just one (like you would get directly at a bank).

The quality of your application submission that is made by your broker or banker can really dictate how smoothly your application goes. Do some simple research like looking up your preferred broker or banker online through Google, LinkedIn and the other usual social media links. Usually you will get a pretty quick impression as to how experienced and professional they are. If in doubt trust your instincts!

9. Consider the wider market

It is often that the more competitive products and policies lie outside the big four banks. Well over 50% of all mortgage lending goes to just four of the major banks. At AXTON finance, only 20% of our lending in the last six months has gone to a majors! There are better deals to be had if you are willing to look outside of the square it can save you tens of thousands over the life of your loan.

10. Is the cheapest rate the best?

A business mentor once told me of the following three things;

Good, fast and cheap…. pick two. It is impossible to have all three. 

Wise words to live by indeed.

A quick search of the internet may list some amazing rates that look too good to be true and while it is still may be worthwhile considering you should also think about;

  • How volatile is that rate online? Sometimes a great rate may be unsustainable for a lender to offer for a long term and you end up getting rate creep with increases outside of RBA changes. While you will be rather annoyed if this happens it would be good to understand what sort of history has been evident with the lender in question?
  • Does the lender’s computer say NO?.  In many instances lenders try and shoe horn customers into rigid processes with offshore credit decisioning driven by computer systems. If you fall outside of this sort of lenders policy due to any complexity then you want a human with experience going into bat for you. Paying an extra 0.1% or 0.2%pa in rate can often mean the difference between submitting to a lender who may view your application as being poor versus another one that is fine with your set of circumstances. Use a quality mortgage broker who understands the rules to maximise your outcomes and reduce your stress.
  • Does the lender have a good application and onboarding process or is it a process with baked in systems that worked in 1991 when fax machines were cool? This can have a significant impact on turn around times – a good broker will have excellent experience of this fist hand and can guide you.
  • Cheap online specials often blow out credit application queues resulting in turn around times that can take weeks (even months). Currently there is one lender that is out to almost 20 business days to pick up a file – do you have that sort of time to wait?
  • Enquire about what sort of service the lender has with clients. A quick look up of reviews online can give you a feel about one lender over another. However read with caution as people often use the internet to complain and rarely to praise.
  • Ensure that you understand the product that you are seeking really does have the features you need. There is no point paying for stuff you are unlikely going to benifit from if there is a cheaper and/or simpler product available that does what you need it to?

So there you have it – ten tips on helping get your mortgage application approved!

Please feel free to contact us on 1300 706 540 and ask for Clint or one of the team to help you out. We a sure you will love speaking to an experienced person and not a call centre!

Best regards,

Clint Waters
0422 464 353
AXTON Finance

4 Easy Ways To Get a Better Interest Rate For Your Home Loan

Have you ever had that feeling of frustration that comes from buying an item at a store, then seeing it substantially cheaper at another shop?

It can also happen with your home loan. And if you’re refinancing your mortgage, it’s smart to shop around for a better interest rate.

The reality is that, even though your interest rate might have been fantastic when you first applied for your mortgage, other lenders are competitive and can have better deals on offer.

And if your current interest rate is not ideal, the end result can be many thousands of dollars wasted over the life of your home loan.

The good news, though, is that you can take practical steps to fix the situation.

In the current Australian home loan market, there are always discounted interest rates available and by comparing the different options available to you, there could be valuable savings to enjoy.

To help you refinance your home loan,  try these tips to save money on your mortgage by shopping for a better interest rate deal.

1 – Improve Your Credit Rating

Even if you already have a home loan and you are keen to refinance your mortgage for a better deal, improving your overall credit rating can still have an impact.

With a healthy credit rating, you have more choice available – and the more options you can access, the better chance you have of securing a competitive interest rate.

Always pay utility bills on time (or, better yet, pay them well before the due date and save money with the earlybird discount).

When it comes to credit cards, get rid of any unnecessary extras and keep the available balance as low as possible on the one you do keep. By reducing available credit and avoiding late payments and defaults, you give your credit rating the best possible boost that lenders appreciate.

2 – Research The Rates

In these days of the online world, when comparison rate websites put information at our fingertips, shopping around for great interest rates is easier than ever. The days of approaching your bank for a home loan because of some sense of customer loyalty are gone and the truth is that the interest rates deals that can benefit you the most may be found in some unexpected places.

For access to the best interest rate comparison, talking to an experienced mortgage broker is always recommended. Researching available rates is more than just comparing numbers on a screen – it’s about understanding which lenders service which client demographic best and what unique criteria each lender has as a potential barrier to your entry into doing business with them.

By putting some effort into researching a great rate that is actually available to you, you can save tens of thousands of dollars – and years – from your home loan.

3 – Be prepared to switch banks

Switching banks for a better deal on your mortgage payments is not the enormous hassle it once was. Make sure you do your research – checking application fees and other associated costs will reveal the true picture of the complete cost of your mortgage. If crunching the numbers reveal that switching banks really will save you money in the long-term, it is worth making the switch to save money on your interest rate for the life of your loan.

4 – Ask For A Better Interest Rate

Sometimes, it’s possible to access the benefits of these competitive interest rates without even having to change home loans. Depending on your lender and the history of your loan with them, simply letting them know that you are keen to shop around for a better interest rate can be enough to get them to offer you a lower interest rate in an effort to hold on to your business.

Try asking your current lender this question: “I’m shopping around for a better interest rate and I want to know if you can give me a better deal on my mortgage?”

Or, better yet, get an experienced mortgage broker to do it for you. By having a thorough understanding of different interest rates available at a wide variety of lenders, professional mortgage brokers are in a strong position to negotiate a more positive deal.

For more information about refinancing your property, talk to our team today.

Why is your interest rate increasing?

If the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate is so low, then why is your interest rate going up?

We are asked this question a lot.

The official cash rate, as set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), has remained at 1.5%pa since August 2016 when it was then cut by 0.25%. The below graph shows the last thirty years of the official cash rate – you would have to go back to the 1950’s to see rates this low.

There are a few simple reasons why some rates are increasing. As you probably know in the past few years, we have experienced a boom in property prices (mainly only in Melbourne and Sydney though). This has resulted in significant growth in investment and interest only lending.

Interest only loans are of course an attractive form of mortgage lending as it reduces your monthly cash flow commitments but it does significantly increase the total cost of a loan over its effective life. You can actually simulate this using one of our online calculators to see for yourself here.

Most accountants and financial planners will rightly recommend that you setup your investment purpose lending as interest only (the theory being do not pay down a debt that gives you a tax deduction first if you have a home loan mortgage that does not). While this structure is in most cases a wise one, it has also seen a significant increase in owner occupied home loans that have been set up as interest only. This of course means that borrowers have had more cash flow available to them to either spend on more investment debt or, more worryingly so, on living and lifestyle expenses – without having to pay off what they owe.

The government has recognised this trend and has been concerned with the level of indebtedness that Australian households have taken on; coupled with low wage growth and rising house prices. When interest rates increase (and they will) and if left unchecked this could create significant economic pain for borrowers and the government alike.

Subsequently APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), the government body tasked with ensuring sound governance of our banking system, set a speed limit that states that lenders cannot exceed 30% of all new loans being interest only – which has been running at something closer to 40% of all new loans approved.

Until recently, interest only and investment lending has traditionally been priced at the same rates as owner occupied mortgages and even the same as interest only loans – so effectively the rate you paid was the same across the board regardless of what the purpose or structure was.

This has now changed so there are effectively four types of rates on the market (excluding fixed options) They are summarised as follows and ordered cheapest to most expensive;

–    Owner Occupied – Principal and Interest (3.7%pa – 4.2%pa)*

–    Owner Occupied – Interest Only (3.9%pa – 4.5%pa)*

–    Investment – Principal and Interest (3.8pa – 4.5%pa)*

–    Investment – Interest Only (4.2%pa  – 5.00%pa)*

*Approximate interest rate ranges as at early July 2017

In summary – interest only and investment lending is now more expensive.

Mortgage lending policy is being tightened

As a result of these restrictions we are seeing significant changes in lending policies and rules across all lenders. In combination these rules have a direct effect of reducing demand for interest only and investment lending purposes.

Across the board there have been countless changes which cannot be summarised in this brief blog but at a high level they can be summarised as follows;

Reducing higher lending ratio loans

Generally higher lending ratio loans for investment and interest only lending are being capped at around the 90% loan to valuation (LVR) ratio with strong pricing incentives for borrowers to be at 80% or less.

Increased stress testing of borrowers

While the mainstream media may have made broad brush statements about irresponsible lending by the nation’s banks and lenders, this is simply not quite true. Banks have always maintained rigorous assessment criteria and have always sensitised interest rates in their calculations to account for a ‘what if’ scenario for when, not if, interest rates rise. Most lenders test borrowers for affordability at around 7.0% to 8.0%pa and apply minimum benchmarks to acceptable living allowances to determine affordability.

This latter requirement has come under significant scrutiny recently with most lenders demanding borrowers to summarise their own basic living expenses which will be compared against the banks own standards (some lenders now will also index living expenses according to the amount of income an applicant earns with those on higher incomes having higher minimum living expenses applied.).

Lender rules first, rates second

In this environment, more than ever before, it is important to get quality advice around your finance options. There are significant differences between what one lender’s rules are and anothers. There may be a slight difference in the rate but a huge difference in policies that will affect your ability to be approved, your structure and of course your total borrowing capacity.

What you can do about it

Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do about it. If you are completely unsure then just get in contact with us here or fill out our FREE mortgage health check link here

A few recommendations include;

  • Consider fixing some of you loan

Some of the lenders are offering some pretty attractive fixed terms that are the same or cheaper than many variable investment and interest only loans. With the likelihood of further increases for this sort of lending, now would seem like a pretty good time to consider your options around locking in a near historical low rate

  • Switch to Principal & Interest

Given that the banks are under significant pressure to reign in interest only lending taking a principal and interest repayment is attractive to all lenders these days and they have priced their products accordingly to increase demand for principal and interest repayments. It does of course increase your monthly repayments but you are paying down the loan and ultimately paying much less interest in the long term

  • Set up an offset account

If you have some funds sitting in a interest bearing account it can be a suitable option to put the same funds into an offset account. The effect is it reduces the balance of your loan and interest charged on your mortgage by the amount you have in offset (eg $10k in an offset account reduces the balance of a $100k loan to an effective balance of $90k). The rationale being that an interest bearing account may earn you a poultry 2.0%pa currently, less tax, less the effect of inflation and you aren’t really going anywhere. Where an offset account saves you interest at a much higher rate with nil tax payable on the saving. Consider it that saving money is better than making money.

  • Ring your current lender

You might be surprised at how a simple phone call may result in you getting a better rate. The recent rate increases have been a pretty broad brush 0.15%pa increase here or a 0.3%pa increase there on top of whatever you are paying. If your product is out of date and hasn’t been looked at recently you could be paying well above what is available currently. It also helps to use the magic words ‘Im looking at refinancing what can you do for me?’

  • Refinance to a new lender

There are dozens of lenders out there and you might just be better off refinancing to a new lender. We can of course give you some options around this. Here are two useful tools to help you start that process.

We hope that this helps shine some light on the current situation around why mortgage interest rates have been increasing recently. As mentioned please feel free to contact us here or call the office on 1300 706 540 to discuss your option tailored to your scenario.

Are you an Australian Expat?

Over the years I have helped countless Australian expat clients working in all corners of the world to appropriately finance their property portfolio back here in Australia.

Building your property portfolio with tailored mortgage advice

With the advent of new technologies, expat acquisition of property in Australia has become significantly easier. By getting in touch with me and using various simple yet powerful tools on the internet you can gain easy access to our experience and expertise. We offer packaged mortgage broking and portfolio structuring advice encompassing:

– Purchase of owner occupied home and investment properties

– Owner occupied purchases or refinances

– Lines of credit establishment for investment purposes

– Property portfolio planning

– Mortgage health check reviews

Where initial face-to-face meetings are not possible, I can conduct client meetings via SKYPE video (see my availability & book obligation free skype meeting here) and I will provide you with much more than just an opinion of a rate and product offered by a bank. I provide a live shared screen viewing of proposed structures and worksheets especially tailored to your individual circumstances.

Quick Facts for Australian Expat mortgages

– Expats can generally borrow up to 90% of the value of the property purchased

– Some professions are eligible for the waiver of mortgage insurance if lending >80%

– No loading on interest rates – normal resident discounts apply
Interviews can be completed on SKYPE

– Foreign Currency Loans (FCL) available in certain circumstances
Private banking solutions available

Get access to our network of trusted professionals:

Over the years I have established trusted relationships with some of Melbourne’s best professionals who you too can confidently leverage upon without having to trawl the internet remotely trying to find the right people to help you with your property needs.

We have direct access to leading professionals in the following fields:

Buyers advocates – where clients are not able to inspect or bid for a property in Australia, a buyers advocate can source and review properties and negotiate on your behalf. Our advocates have years of experience and can help ensure clients make the right decision with the confidence as if they were undertaking the transaction themselves.

Solicitors/conveyancers – aside from arranging the settlement and legal transfer of real estate into a client’s name,  it is vital that property contracts and disclosure documents (known as section 32’s in Victoria) are closely examined to identify any hidden pitfalls.  Our preferred conveyancers are experts at assuring a smooth settlement process and identifying issues early before they become bigger problems.

Accountants – a good accountant should be proactive and be across such matters as the taxation entitlements  expats may be eligible for while non-resident.

Financial planners – generally expats are considering the purchase of a property as part of a longer term wealth creation strategy. The purchase of a property may form part of a much bigger wealth creation picture that needs careful consideration. Our preferred planners can provide you on a tailored fee for service basis with quality advice on risk insurances, superannuation, retirement planning and financial goal setting and reviews.

Property managers – you wouldn’t give the keys to an expensive car to just anyone so equally why would you hand over the management of a valuable property to someone you didn’t trust? We have access to some of Melbourne’s best property managers with whom we have had extensive personal experience.

Licensed pre purchase inspections – buying an established property can unearth all sorts of issues, many of which are only found after settlement. Help avoid this situation by requesting an insured pre purchase inspection by one of our selected professionals. Each inspection generates a detailed report covering such matters as structural issues, any unregulated improvements/renovations, asbestos risk and pest infestations.

Our growing expat business is due in no small part to the comprehensive set of services we provide that are tailored to individual needs and involve access to a range of technical and professional skills that are designed to take the hassle out of property investments.

Contact me now to make an obligation free review of your proposed mortgage finance needs on 1300 706 540 or email me direct at [email protected]

Alternatively see my availability & book obligation free skype meeting here.

I’ve been a long term client with Clint and have recommended him to many other clients who have been most impressed. The formation of AXTON has seen service taken to another level – with Bertrand and Richard proving to be top-notch resources – mostly in the clarity and well laid-out instructions in each timely and informative communication they provide. I am living in Canada so the logistics are not simple – however the constant attention and care made the transaction relatively easy. Thanks Guys! Stuart Sandiford – Expat Australian Newfoundland Canada – July 2016