Finance advice

Fixing your home loan rate: From negotiations to buffers

By Bianca Dabu
home loan rate, interest rates, negotiation to buffers

As interest rates continue to rise, some investors are opting to fix their home loan rates for a set period to minimise costs and ultimately continue growing their portfolio. How can you make this strategy work?

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant is expecting to save at least $2,100 a month or $25,000 a year after he fixed the rates on some of the home loans across his 18-property portfolio for a set period of two to three years.

By shifting from variable rate home loans to fixed rate home loans, the investor will see rates decline from 4.79 per cent to 4.29 per cent, 5.02 per cent to 4.44 per cent, 5.86 per cent to 4.44 per cent and 5.31 per cent to 4.19 per cent.

Moreover, he will not have to worry about interest rate fluctuations. For the duration of the fixed rate period, he will be required to pay the same amount of mortgage repayments.

From these rate declines, he could save at least $149 a month or nearly $2,000 a year on mortgage repayments.

According to mortgage broker Ross Le Quesne: “Looking at $2,100 a month, if you convert that into another loan repayment, it's $588,000 in borrowings. As an interest-only repayment, it's 4.29 per cent—that's a lot of coin when you look at how much further you could leverage with the same cash flow.”

The savings could then be used to add value to some of Mr Tarrant’s properties through simple renovations and subdivisions.

The process of fixing rates

Mr Tarrant and his team have recently finished signing forms and doing paperwork for four different lenders, which indicates their intention to shift his variable rate home loans to fixed rate home loans in a span of two to three years.

Note that these home loans are interest-only and will remain as such after the switch. Since there will be no changes in the credit contract, no credit assessment will be necessary.

One of the key consideration for the investor is the ‘expiration date’ of the interest-only loans, or when the loans will automatically revert to standard principal-and-interest loans.

The mortgage broker explained: “A key consideration when you are looking at fixing is, ‘Is it going to take me past my current interest on the expiry dates?’ It's important to keep it within that because you don't want it rolling over onto a principal-and-interest line halfway through. Quite often, the lenders won't fix it if your interest-only expires.”

“For example, we will only fix for two years that’s within that interest-only expiry date. It is a product switch from a variable to a fixed rate product, remaining on an interest-only. That goes to the lender, they apply, and it's a fairly simple process,” he added.

Since it passes as a simple product switch and does not involve a change in credit, the chances for rejection are low. In fact, Mr Le Quesne said that instead of an approval process, it is to be viewed as an ‘internal lending process’.

There are advertised fixed rates, which vary from lender to lender. While negotiations could be possible, most of the time, investors get the advertised rates.

A confirmation letter from the bank or the lender will finalise the switch. It will indicate your new details, including repayment options, as well as the possible scenarios once the fixed rate period ends.

After the fixed rate period...

When the fixed rate period is over, the home loans will move back to being variable rate home loans.

The investor will have to continue making interest-only repayments until the interest-only period expires, then he will revert to making principal-and-interest repayments.

Once your home loan is on variable rate and principal-and-interest repayments, fluctuating interest rates will be influencing your repayments once again. Moreover, you will also have to start repaying the principal amount you owe to the lender.

Mr Le Quesne said: “When you automatically shift to principal-and-interest, your repayments will go up considerably and the rate that you receive will be whatever the principal-and-interest rate is at that current time.

“Right now, there's quite a large disparity between a principal-and-interest rate and an interest-only rate, so your rate should discount once it goes onto a principal-and-interest.

“It's important to look at when your interest-only expires and make sure you've got cash flow buffers,” he highlighted.

The mortgage broker strongly encouraged investors to have updated documentation of the home loans and craft a well-thought-out plan in advance to prepare for the transition.

If you have other plans to manage your mortgage repayments other than reverting back to variable rates and principal-and-interest repayments, you can submit a new home loan application to your current lender or refinance your home loan with another lender.

Building buffers

Going over different loan products will certainly affect your ability to make repayments and finance your entire portfolio.

To avoid any negative impact on your wealth-creation journey, Mr Le Quesne strongly encouraged setting up buffers and long-term financial plans.

In general, he recommended having at least $1,000 worth of cash buffer per million. “On a $2 million portfolio, that's an extra $2,000-$4,000 a month that they need to come up with in cash flow,” the mortgage broker said.

Investors may opt to utilise offset accounts attached to their home loans to help them build cash flow buffers.

According to the mortgage broker: “A number of our clients have used that strategy where they've paid money into the offset account against their owner-occupied loan. It reduces the interest on the owner-occupied loan, and from a cash flow perspective, they know how they would track if their loan was to move from interest-only to principal-and-interest.”

At the end of the day, one of the true measures of success in property investment is the ability to hold the assets over time to achieve long-term capital growth.

Investors are advised to be just as proactive in financial and portfolio management as they are when actively growing their portfolio by purchasing assets.

While surrounding yourself with the good professionals will definitely help you navigate your way through the investment landscape, their services can only be as good as the information and the attention you give them.

“The lending space at this point in time is changing and I'm sure there'll be plenty that will happen in a month. But you can win this property game if you got the right people on your side,” Mr Le Quesne concluded.

 

Tune in to Phil Tarrant's portfolio update to know more about the best ways to minimise costs, improve cash flow and continue growing your portfolio amidst the changing lending environment.

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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”.  He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How to profit from changing market conditions
Quit the 9 to 5: Taking control of your income and your career
4 tips for first time property investors

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide

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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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