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Buying a home

Five tips on the refinancing process from a lending expert

5 October 2021

Laying the groundwork before you refinance can help you get even more out of your home loan – but the trick is knowing where to start.

To get you off on the right foot, here are five expert refinancing tips from Cameron Selwood, a Senior Suncorp Bank Lending Manager.

1. Being prepared could speed up your refinance

Want things to go as smoothly as possible during your refinance? Staying organised during the refinancing process can be a simple way to accelerate your application.

“It’s really important to come in armed with the information of your current loan,” Cameron says.

“An internet summary with things like rates, limits and repayments is always required, so it’s worth having at least that.

“If you can get the Discharge Authority for your current institution signed as early as possible in the process and give that to the lender, it may save time when trying to settle.”

2. Discover special loan features and offers

The number of loans available on the market may seem daunting, but you can actually use this to your advantage.

Rather than sift through offers with a fine-toothed comb, talking to a lender can help clarify specifics. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that there are no obligations on your part until you sign formal loan documents. At the end of the day, lenders want to help you make an informed decision.

“We’ll calculate whether you get any monetary gain from moving to us, and, under responsible lending, will ask why you’d like to move if you don’t save any money by doing so”.

Value doesn’t just lie in interest rates, though.

“Sometimes the benefit may be a product or service not offered at your current bank. Or you might want to consolidate your banking with one institution.”

Depending on your personal circumstances, features like the term of the loan, repayment schedules, offset accounts, redraw facilities, or the option to move from a fixed to variable interest rate could be just as beneficial as a low interest rate.

3. Plan for current and future fees

Accounting for fees might seem obvious, but there’s a good reason to consider them before you shop around.

Aside from helping you create a more accurate budget, understanding how costs work in your current loan can help you calculate any savings you might make from refinancing.

“The main thing is to make sure it’s worth moving,” Cameron says. “Most people who talk to me about refinancing have no idea what the costs of leaving their current bank are. Some aren’t even sure of the rates they’re paying.”

Rather than focusing exclusively on interest rates, look more closely at relevant fees (including any fixed interest rate break costs) and product features. This is the key to more effectively comparing offerings from lenders.

4. Remember we’re here to help

When you refinance with Suncorp Bank, we take the time to help you find a loan that meets your objectives, financial situation and needs.

“Our loan term at Suncorp is usually 30 years minus how long you’ve held your home or the same remaining term as your current facility,” Cameron says.

“This is because we don’t want to extend the loan out any longer than necessary.

To ensure smooth sailing in the future, our lenders may also take the time to understand your long-term plans.

“If you want a longer term, we want to make sure it’s for the right reasons. This is to ensure you have a good ‘exit strategy’ if the loan goes beyond usual retirement age.”

5. Consider consolidating other debts

Cameron also points out that if you refinance, it’s possible to use the equity in your home to consolidate other debts into a new separate home loan. This is what’s known as an ‘equity loan’.

“We can refinance personal loans and other consumer debt over to Suncorp,” he says. “This can save you interest and potentially allow you to pay off your loans faster.

“However, you’ll need to be mindful that we take consumer debt as a separate ‘equity’ loan and over a shorter period -- usually eight or ten years.

“This is because we want to do what is best for our customers, and extending debt for a car, holiday or even just paying out credit cards over 25 years or so is not in your best interest.”

Get refinancing help from the experts

If you’re unsure about whether refinancing is the right option for you, talking to a lending specialist could help clear things up. Suncorp Bank’s professional lending experts can help you understand your options. All consultations are 100% obligation-free

Talk to a home lending specialist

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Home Loans are provided by Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722 AFSL No. 229882 Australian Credit Licence 229882 (“Suncorp Bank”) to approved applicants only. Fees, charges, terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

The information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries