With the right advice and follow-through, saving money on your mortgage is easier than you think.
The first step towards trimming your mortgage debt burden is to tweak your mindset, advises Jane Slack-Smith, director of Investors Choice Mortgages.
Many people just look at the interest rate when they’re shopping for a home loan, but Slack-Smith says it’s just as important to look at the loan features. For instance, would-be borrowers might baulk at the suggestion of paying $400 annually for a package fee, when in fact that investment could save you money.
“Maybe paying a professional annual package fee and saving $10 per month on a savings account, $90 on a credit card annual fee, and getting discounts on insurance is actual worth paying for the bells and whistles,” she says.
“In fact, you often get great interest rate discounts as well, so the interest rate could be the same or lower than many advertised basic rates.”
Here are Salck-Smith’s other top tips for saving money on your home loan:
- If you’ve got it, use it
“Offset accounts are a wonderful way to save money and get benefits,” she explains. “For homeowners, putting your additional savings in a savings offset account can save you years off your loan and still give you immediate access to your savings. As an investor with interest only loans, the immediate monthly cashflow benefits can also make life easier, not to mention keeping your deductible debt in tact.”
- Talk turkey
Banks are keen to attract new business, but they’re also just as keen to retain their existing client base, so you may not have to go through the trouble of moving lenders for a better deal. “Ring your current lender and tell them you have seen better deals elsewhere,” Slack-Smith advises. “Quote them, and ask what they can do. You might get a better rate on the spot.”
- Check your statements
“Let’s face it – everyone makes mistakes, and banks are no different,” she says. “Sometimes extra fees or charges can be allocated incorrectly to your account. Don’t just file your monthly statement; take a quick glance over it each month and make sure there is nothing unusual.”
- Health Check time
Just like you, your home loan could do with a periodic health check. Often your circumstances change and your home or investment loan is not reviewed. “Make it a practice every three years to speak to your broker and check in and see if your loan is still appropriate,” Slack-Smith says. “This might even mean checking in sooner and seeing if there is opportunity to fix some of your loan in a lower interest rate environment.”