Home Loan Advice Centre guides you through the entire home buying journey, without charging you for our service. Click here for our 5 minute online enquiry page . We’ll assess your loan options and send you a full report of your capacity.
The amount you can borrow is affected by your income, your deposit, and bank’s serviceabilty criteria which is linked to interest rates, cost of living, and your existing liabilities etc. See our Borrowing Power calculator for a rough estimate.
See our first home owners grant page and our stamp duty calculator to work out benefits and costs for first home buyers.
Home Loan Advice Centre helps borrowers Australia-wide. We specialise in Sydney and NSW and regularly help clients in remote areas and other states. Feel free to contact us on 02-9210-1000 or 1300-729-177 to see how we can help you.
Frequently asked questions about “Loans ”
- What is the maximum amount I can borrow?
- Should I get a fixed rate or the variable rate loan?
- How much does Home Loan Advice Centre’s service cost?
- Can I pay extra off my loan?
- How much can I save by paying extra off the loan?
- Can I link an offset account with the loan?
- What is mortgage insurance and do I have to pay it?
- Can I redraw excess funds from the loan?
- What are the ongoing fees associated with the loan ?
- Should I go for the honeymoon rate loan?
What is the maximum amount I can borrow?
Each bank calculates your maximum borrowing capacity differently using their own serviceability calculators. We run your figures over all the banks calculators and determine the amounts each bank is willing to offer you. We can also suggest ways to increase your borrowing amount if required. In general, the higher your income and the lower your other liabilities are, the more you can borrow. See the How much can I borrow page and the Purchase capacity index page for more information.
Should I get a fixed rate or the variable rate loan?
It depends on your circumstances and your outlook. Fixed rates are usually a little higher than variable rates so you have to weigh up the alternatives ie comparative cost of each option, the requirement you have for certainty in your repayments, what you believe rates will do in the future, and the question of how long to fix for. Fixed rates have the benefit of giving you full knowledge of what you repayments will be over the term you fix however they also have a number of disadvantages. These include
- there is limit to the amount of extra repayments that can be paid off the loan each year. Most lenders limit this to an extra $5K or $10K over your agreed repayments
- there may be significant break costs if you have to break the fixed rate period before its expiry date ie if you decide to refinance or sell the security property.
- the fixed rate is usually set at time of settlement – not at the time the rate is quoted to you at the beginning of the arrangement of the loan. You can however “lock” the fixed rate upfront however there usually a charge for this and the amount is dependent on the lender you are using.
How much does Home Loan Advice Centre’s service cost?
It costs you nothing provided you keep your loan open for at least 18 months. Home Loan Advice Centre is a member of the Professional Lenders Association Network of Australia. As a group we refer large volumes of loans to each bank and commissions are paid back from these lenders based on this volume.The end result is that you end up with exactly the same loan as if you went to the bank directly but gain through getting our knowledge and advice on which banks it is worthwhile for you to approach and which banks are not. You also gain from our knowledge of loans and advice on the best way to structure your loan. The whole picture. The right loan.
Can I pay extra off my loan?
As long as it’s a variable rate loan, virtually all banks allow you to pay off as much as you like in extra repayments. With fixed rate loans the situation varies between banks. Most limit the extra amount you can pay off to $5000 per year but some allow up to $10,000 extra per year. Splitting your loan to half variable and half fixed overcomes the problem if you want pay extra and still have the security of a fixed rate loan.
How much can I save by paying extra off the loan?
You can potentially save very large amounts in interest cost by paying the loan off more frequently and by paying off extra amounts. The software used by Home Loan Advice Centre can show you exactly how much you would save in any given scenario and suggest ways you can achieve the greatest savings. Setting your loan up with an offset account also can be a way to pay your loan off more quickly because any funds placed within this account is effectively equivalent to paying principle off your loan.
Can I link an offset account with the loan?
It depends on the actual loan. There is no set rule but most standard variable rate loans and honeymoon rate loans will allow them but most discount variable rate loans won’t. They are useful to have because they save on interest and are convenient however there are other ways to set your loan up to do the exact same thing.
What is mortgage insurance and do I have to pay it?
Mortgage insurance covers the bank in case you default on your loan repayments. It does not cover you – the borrower. As a general rule, the banks require you to pay for this if the loan amount you are requesting is greater than 80% of the purchase price. The only way to avoid it is to borrow less than 80% or provide additional real estate security to bring the loan to value ratio (LVR) to below 80%.
Can I redraw excess funds from the loan?
It depends on the actual loan. Most variable rate loans have this facility and the cost varies between $15 and $50 per redraw and the minimum amount is usually $2000. Some loans allow free redraw.
What are the ongoing fees associated with the loan?
It depends on the actual loan. Most loans have a monthly service fee of around $8 to $10 however others have none. Usually the loans which have a monthly fee have a lower interest rate which can often make them worthwhile. There are also a number of premier package loans on offer by many of the main lenders which charge an ongoing yearly fee of between $295 and $350 and where the benefits are rate discounts and other advantages.
Should I go for the honeymoon rate loan?
Honeymoon rate loans can be good for those people in a situation who want as low a rate as possible in the early days of their loan – usually the first 12 months. After that these loans usually default to the standard variable rate. Whether it is better to go for the honeymoon rate loan or a discount variable rate loan from the out set is dependant on the client’s individual preference and situation however it is very simple to calculate exactly the interest payments for each option to determine which is best for you.
Frequently asked questions about – The application process
- How do I get a loan application started?
- How do I know what I can afford?
- What is a loan pre-approval?
- What do I do when I’ve found the property I want?
- Is there an overview of the whole process?
How do I get a loan application started?
Contact Home Loan Advice Centre (02-9210-1000) and go over your situation with a loan consultant or fill out the Enquire/Apply now page on our website. We spend about 10 minutes getting an idea of your personal situation and what you you’d like to do. We present your options to you and you choose a loan and lenders which we can then submit an application for approval in principle. There is no charge for this and it does not bind you into using this lender for your loan. However, an approval in principle, gives you the knowledge of your capacity and allows you to confidently bid at auction or at private treaty.
How do I know what I can afford?
We assess your situation and give you a loan report which shows you a breakdown of all costs for a particular cost property . From this you know what your loan capacity is, how much the total cost of a property will be, and approximately what the repayments will be at current interest rates.
What is a loan pre-approval?
An application for pre-approval means submitting an application to a lender of your choice and asking them to give you an approval in principle to purchase a property up to a certain cost. This generally means that, given the information you have provided to the lender is correct, they “in principle” agree to lend you a certain amount. This allows you to begin your property search with the knowledge of what price property you can afford. There is no cost in getting a pre-approval and it is the best way to prepare yourself for your purchase.
What do I do when I’ve found the property I want?
Its an exciting time for most home buyers! Our advice here is that before you decide on a particular property you should be fairly certain of your decision. We recommend that you should have spent at least 2 – 3 months searching, so that you develop a feel for the property market in the area you’re interested in, and know with some degree of certainty the property’s market value.
Once you’ve found a property you like and have agreed on price, there are a number of things that need to be done …
Firstly, you will need to provide us with the front page of the contract of sale (your real estate agent will provide you with this) so that the lender can arrange a valuation (if they require it) before they will provide you with Full Approval.
Secondly, get in contact with your conveyancer so they can arrange the necessary checks ie pest inspections, strata searches etc. Home Loan Advice Centre has a select few conveyancers we use and recommend on the recommended services section of the website.
If all checks and approvals are satisfactory, both your conveyancer and Home Loan Advice Centre will advise you when you are safe to proceed and complete the purchase (Exchange of Contracts)
Is there an overview of the whole process?
See our Application process page for a complete overview of the property buying process.
Frequently asked questions about – The settlement process
- I found the property I wanted! What do I do now?
- When do I receive the documents off the bank?
- What happens once the documents have been returned?
- When is the settlement of the property?
I found the property I wanted! What do I do now?
If you haven’t already faxed the front page of contract of sale to Home Loan Advice Centre, do so, and we will arrange for the bank to order the valuation on the property if required. The next step is for the bank to issue unconditional approval. This usually takes a couple of days from when they receive the valuation.
When do I receive the documents off the bank?
Once the bank grants unconditional approval, they will prepare the Letter of Offer and mail these to you. The Letter of Offer is the formal loan contract between you and the lender and is brought into effect once signed by you and sent back to the bank.
What happens once the documents have been returned?
Once the documents have been returned and the Letter of Offer is actioned by the lender, they will then begin the process of liaising with your conveyancer to conduct the settlement of the property.
When is the settlement of the property?
Settlement is usually 4-6 weeks from the date of exchange of contracts. This is arranged by your conveyancer and the lender you have chosen. If it’s a refinance you’ve organised, settlement should occur within 2 weeks from the time the lender receives back your signed loan offer documents.
On settlement day your conveyancer receives funds from various sources and pays out the entities required ie vendor, state government etc.
On this day you receive your keys and the property is officially yours!
Is there a more indepth overview of the whole process?
See our Application process page for a complete overview of the property buying process.