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interest-only loan to a fixed interest rate loan, property investment

Should you shift from an interest-only loan to a fixed interest rate loan?

By Bianca Dabu

After building a 17-property portfolio, Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant and his financial team reviewed his mortgages and considered making changes to get a better interest rate and increase cash flow. One of the options they came up with was to move from interest-only loans to fixed rate loans.

Three of Phil’s 19 loans are with one lender. His highest interest rate with the said lender is 5.74 per cent while the lowest is 4.9 per cent. By shifting those three loans into a fixed position at 4.4 per cent, they can save $7,500 annually over a three-year period or $22,000 in total.

Pros and cons

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has implemented changes on investment lending in order to slow down the rampant price increase in several Australian property markets. Due to these changes, lenders haven’t been as aggressive in repricing existing loans, especially interest-rate loans.

According to mortgage broker Ross LeQuesne, fixed interest rate loans currently offer the most competitive rates in the market, which means Phil can potentially save more money by shifting his loans to a fixed position. However, as enticing as it sounds, this strategy also has some red flags.

Before implementing this, consider your overall investment strategy—are you planning to access the equity of the property in the future? Are you planning to renovate or add a granny flat? Are you looking to sell it? Do you have other plans within the duration of the fixed term?

All the major decisions stated above may not be made possible when you decide to use a fixed interest rate loan for financing.

According to Ross: “[You may not be able to] access finance under the new lending guidelines with that particular lender. You may want to … open up your options so you don't get hit with what they call a fixed rate break cost.”

Consider sitting down with your mortgage broker and the rest of your financial team to weigh all your options and make the best decision based on your own financial situation and borrowing capacity.

Phil said: “If you're not going to do anything, it's okay to fix because you're not going to need access to the cash. But if you choose to be proactive in portfolio development and you need to drill down equity in terms of buying new property or building granny flats, it might not be the right solution ... for you.”

Break costs

Another thing to consider if you plan to shift from interest-only loans to fixed interest rate loans is the fixed rate break cost. The break cost is the fee that the investor needs to pay the lender if he decides to refinance to a different product, make extra repayments, or repay the full amount before the term ends.

Ross explained: “The break ... depends on what the cost to the lender is going to be. If they could lend the same money that they've lent out to somebody else and get a higher interest rate from it, then the break cost is not going to be very much.”

“But if it's in reverse, where rates are considerably lower than the rate that you have locked in at the time when you're looking to break, then the fixed rate break cost will be higher because there's no way they can lend out to somebody else that money.

“That's the risk that you've taken in terms of choosing to fix so you're the one that's liable for that cost—that's where the break cost comes in,” the mortgage broker added.

Risk management

According to Phil, choosing the right lending option is a complicated task because of the unpredictability of the property markets.

He said: “You don't know what you don't know. You don't know what the market's going to do, you can't control the market. You might be able to control what you choose to do with your property or property portfolio in two [to] three years' time but you can be restricted if you do [fixed rate].”

However, Ross believes that a good review of the mortgages and the whole portfolio can help any property investor make the right decision. While it’s quite impossible to know how the markets will move in the future, but you know the numbers that make your portfolio—from cash flow to holding costs.

The mortgage broker said: “For [Phil who has] refinanced a number of times—if we take out that land tax cost, which is about $30,000, after you do these negotiations, you're looking at about $7,000 cost to hold a portfolio.

“Divide that [on] a weekly basis to hold 17 properties, it's $150 bucks a week. Not a bad thing. They're the things you do know … That's what you need to focus on as [an investor].

“For example … you're getting a 6 per cent to 7 per cent yield. If you just purchased that property to lock that in at 4.5 per cent, you're locking in the cash flow of that property. You've given yourself certainty for a three-year period … [about] what your cash flow is going to be,” he added.

At the end of the day, you have to study all available options and consider how each one will affect your long-term strategy. Ross and Phil also encourage diversification of lending products.

According to Ross: “We're not looking at fixing all of [Phil’s] loans because if all of [his] loans are expiring at ... one time [and] … say, if rates have jumped to 6 per cent, that would be a big cash flow hit on the portfolio all [at] one time.”

Tune in to Phil Tarrant’s portfolio update on The Smart Property Investment Show to find out how you can stay ahead of the game when attempting to get a loan from banks and lenders for a property and how the future plans for your investment can impact the loan you require.

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Purchasing their first property 15 years ago with the intention of creating a property portfolio which would see them comfortably supported during their retirement, Max and Jeanette Schudeboom now have a portfolio of 13 properties.

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Max and Jeanette joins  host Phil Tarrant to discuss their property journey, compare the Australian market to Max’s home town of Holland, and share their plans to maintain the size of their portfolio.

The pair also unpack how they manage and finance their portfolio, discuss the process they go through when choosing where to invest, and share the tips learned from 15 years as property investors.

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:

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Castle Hill
Point Cook
Elizabeth East
Huntfield Heights
Mt Warren Park
Albury
Cambridge Park
Penrith
Braemar
Morayfield
Melbourne
Mill Park
Edens Landing

 

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Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

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Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

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:

Eagleby
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Townsville
Brisbane
Paddington
Sydney
Orange
Melbourne 
Glen Iris
Bondi

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How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals

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