Get the Best Deal: How to Refinance Your Home Loan

by | Aug 2, 2023 | Finance

When you choose to refinance a home loan, you replace your existing home loan with a new home loan. Refinancing usually aims to save money by taking advantage of lower interest rates. However, there are other reasons to refinance as well. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of refinancing, reasons to consider refinancing, and the refinancing process in detail. Choosing a new loan based on your individual needs is one of the most significant decisions you can make in your life.

Table of Contents

Reasons to Refinance Your Current Home Loan

Refinancing your home loan is a smart financial move that could save you money in the long run. There are several reasons why homeowners may consider refinancing their mortgage, such as securing a lower interest rate, reducing monthly payments, switching to a fixed-rate home loan, or accessing equity for home improvements or debt consolidation. In the following sections, we will explore these reasons in more detail, along with steps to take and potential roadblocks to be aware of during the refinancing process. Here are the most common refinancing reasons:

Lower Interest Rates

One of the primary reasons to refinance is to take advantage of lower interest rates. Interest rates fluctuate over time, and if rates have decreased since you first took out your mortgage, refinancing can save you money on your monthly loan repayments and over the life of the loan.

Lower interest rates can make a significant difference in your monthly mortgage repayments. For example, if you have a $300,000 mortgage with a 30-year term and an interest rate of 4.5%, your monthly payment would be $1,520. If you were to refinance that mortgage with a new interest rate of 3.5%, your monthly payment would drop to $1,347. That’s a savings of $173 per month or $62,280 over the life of the loan.

It’s important to note that interest rates are constantly changing, and keeping an eye on them is important. 

Changing from a Variable to a Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Another reason to refinance is to switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage. ARMs have variable interest rates that make it challenging to plan for the future. By securing a fixed interest rate for the duration of the loan term, refinancing to a fixed-rate loan can bring stability and peace of mind.

Cash-out Refinancing

A third reason to refinance is to access your home equity through cash-out refinancing. A cash-out refinancing allows you to borrow more over the value of your home and receive cash for the difference. This can be a helpful tool for consolidating debt, paying for home improvements, or financing other significant expenses like a car loan.

However, it’s also essential to consider the risks of cash-out refinancing. By taking out a larger mortgage, you are increasing your debt, and you’ll need to ensure you can afford the higher monthly payments you will need to pay.

How to Refinance Your Home Loan

Refinancing your home loan can be a great way to save money in the long run. Still, it’s important to approach the process with a clear plan and understanding of the steps involved.

Determine Your Goals

Before starting the refinancing process, it’s crucial to determine your goals for doing so. Do you want to lower your monthly payments, pay off your home loan faster, or take out cash for other expenses? Having a clear goal can help you make informed decisions throughout the process.

When setting your goals, consider your current financial situation, your long-term plans, and the terms of your existing loan. Consider working with a financial advisor or mortgage professional to help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.

Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a key factor in determining your new loan’s interest rate and terms. Your chances of getting better terms increase as your credit score rises. Before beginning the refinancing process, check your credit score and take any necessary steps to improve it.

Once a year, you can get a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Review your credit report carefully for errors and take steps to address any issues that may be affecting your score.

Shop Around for the Best Rates

It’s important to shop around for the best rates when refinancing your mortgage. Get quotes from several lenders and compare the terms and fees of each offer. Consider working with a mortgage broker who can assist you in navigating the complex lending landscape and determining the best options for your specific needs.

When shopping for rates, consider the interest rate, closing costs, and any other fees associated with the loan. Remember that the lowest interest rate may not always be the best option if the associated fees are high.

Gather Necessary Documents

Once you’ve chosen a lender and received pre-approval for your loan, you’ll need to gather the necessary documents needed to refinance to complete the application process. These may include:

  • Proof of income, such as tax returns or pay stubs
  • Proof of assets, such as investment accounts or bank statements 
  • Proof of employment, such as an employment contract or letter from your employer
  • Proof of homeowners insurance

Be sure to review the lender’s requirements carefully and gather all necessary documents well in advance of the application deadline. Having all of your documents in order can help speed up the application process and prevent delays.

Prepare for Your Home Appraisal

When you refinance your home loan, the lender will typically require an appraisal of your home to determine its value. This appraisal helps the lender determine how much home equity you have, which is an important factor in refinancing. Getting your home in good shape and looking its best will help you prepare for the appraisal. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the assessment:

  1. Clean and declutter: The appraiser will need to see every part of your home, so ensure it’s clean and decluttered. This will help the appraiser see your home’s actual value and prevent any distractions that could hurt the appraisal.
  2. Make minor repairs: Before the appraisal, fix anything you need to repair, such as a leaky faucet or a cracked window. This will show the appraiser that you take good care of your home and can help improve the appraisal.
  3. Enhance curb appeal: The appraiser will also consider your home’s exterior, so make sure it looks its best. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and make any necessary repairs to the outside of your home.

Come to Closing with Cash

When you refinance your home loan, several costs are associated with the process, including closing costs and any prepaid interest. Sometimes, you may need to come to closing with cash to cover these costs. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Understand the Costs: Before you close on your refinanced loan, ensure you understand all the costs associated with the process. This includes the closing costs, prepaid interest, and any other fees associated with the loan.
  2. Get a Good Faith Estimate: Your lender must give you a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of the closing costs and other fees associated with the loan. This will give you a good idea of how much you can expect to pay at closing.
  3. Save for Closing Costs: If you need to come to closing with cash, it’s important to start saving early. You can save money by cutting back on expenses, such as dining out and entertainment.

Refinance a Home Loan: The Refinancing Process

Refinancing your home loan involves a process similar to the one you went through when you first obtained your mortgage. It typically consists of applying for a new loan, undergoing an underwriting process, and closing the new loan. Here is a breakdown of the refinancing process:

Applying for the New Loan

When applying for a new loan, you must provide accurate information about your current financial situation, including your income, assets, debts, and credit score. The lender will also require you to provide proof of income, such as recent pay stubs, and may require an appraisal of your property to determine its current value.

You should be honest and accurate in your loan application. If you misrepresent your financial situation, your loan can be denied, or worse, you may face legal consequences. Providing accurate information also helps the lender to provide you with a loan that suits your financial needs.

Underwriting Process

Once you have submitted your loan application, the lender will begin the underwriting process. During this process, the lender will review your credit score, income, assets, debts, and other relevant information to determine your creditworthiness. They will also look at your debt-to-income ratio, which is the ratio of debt payments to income.

Generally, lenders prefer borrowers with a low debt-to-income ratio because it indicates that the borrower can repay the loan. If you have a high debt-to-income ratio, you may still qualify for a loan but may get a higher interest rate.

Closing Process

If your loan is approved, you must sign the new loan documents and pay any associated closing costs. These costs may include application fees, appraisal fees, title search fees, and other charges. The closing process typically takes several hours, and you must bring a government-issued ID and any other documentation the lender requires.

Carefully review the loan documents before signing them. They contain important information about your loan, such as the interest rate, monthly payments, and repayment terms. Make sure that you understand all the terms of the loan before signing anything.

How Long Does it Take to Refinance an Existing Home Loan?

The refinancing process for a home loan in Australia typically takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but it can take longer in some cases. The time it takes to refinance your home loan can depend on several factors, including the lender’s processing times, the complexity of your application, and whether or not you have all the necessary documents and information readily available. It’s important to be patient and plan ahead when refinancing, as unexpected delays or issues can occur. Make sure to communicate regularly with your lender to stay informed of the progress of your application and to address any questions or concerns that may arise.

Potential Roadblocks to Refinancing

Refinancing a home loan can be an excellent way to save money on monthly mortgage payments. Still, there are potential roadblocks that can prevent some homeowners from refinancing. Some of the most common roadblocks to refinancing include negative equity, a low credit score, and insufficient income or assets. However, with careful planning and financial management, these hurdles can often be overcome.

Negative Equity

Negative equity occurs when the mortgage balance exceeds the home’s current value. This can make it challenging to refinance because lenders typically require that the amount being refinanced is less than the home’s value. However, there are a few ways to deal with negative equity, such as making extra mortgage payments to increase equity or seeking government-sponsored refinance programs that allow refinancing up to 125% of a home’s value.

Low Credit Score

The credit score is one of the most important factors lenders consider when refinancing. A low credit score can result in higher interest rates, making refinancing less financially beneficial. It is essential to monitor your credit score regularly and work on improving it before applying for refinancing. To improve credit scores, it is important to pay bills on time, reduce credit card balances, and dispute credit report errors.

Insufficient Income or Assets

When approving a refinancing application, lenders also consider the borrower’s income and assets. Insufficient income or assets can result in a higher default risk, making it harder to qualify for a new loan. To improve income or assets, borrowers can seek ways to increase their income, such as working overtime or taking on a part-time job, or sell assets, such as a car or unused property, to increase liquidity.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance When You Refinance Your Mortgage

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) may also apply when you refinance your home loan. LMI is a one-off insurance payment that protects the lender if the borrower can’t pay the loan. This typically applies if you are borrowing more than 80% of your home’s value. Remember, if you switch home loans, you may need to pay LMI again, even if you paid it on your existing loan. Therefore, before you apply to refinance, take into account whether you’ll need to pay LMI.

Using a Home Lone Refinancing Calculator

A vital tool in your refinancing journey is a home loan refinance calculator. These calculators are online tools that help you estimate how much you could save by refinancing your home loan. They take into account factors such as your current loan amount, interest rate, monthly payment, and the new proposed loan terms. By inputting this data, you can get an approximation of your new monthly payments, the overall savings, and how long it might take to break even on the closing costs of the new loan. This can provide invaluable insights and guide you in making an informed decision. However, keep in mind that these are estimates, and the actual figures can vary based on other factors not included in the calculator.


Refinancing a home loan can help homeowners save money on monthly mortgage payments, reduce interest rates, and shorten the loan term. To refinance successfully, borrowers should determine their refinancing goals, check their credit score, shop around for the best rates, and gather the necessary documents. Potential roadblocks to refinancing, such as negative equity, low credit score, and insufficient income or assets, should also be considered and addressed before applying for a new loan. With careful planning and preparation, refinancing can be a beneficial financial decision. 

Speak to the Experts at Zanda Wealth Mortgage Brokers About Your Home Loan Options

Our team at Zanda Wealth Mortgage Brokers is here to help you be on top of your mortgage situation. We deal with banks, lenders, and credit unions and compare deals and options to make sure you end up with the best possible outcome. Maintaining the highest levels of customer service standards by keeping communication with customers up to date, as well as continually growing and training their team to do the best work possible, is how Zanda Wealth Mortgage Brokers make their customers feel at home. We offer a range of home loans and property services depending on what kind of mortgage you are looking for. Contact us today to get expert advice!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a new home loan?

A new home loan is a loan that is taken out to finance the purchase of a new property.

What are the benefits of refinancing?

Refinancing your home loan can have several benefits, including lowering your interest rate, reducing your monthly repayments, consolidating debt, accessing equity in your home, or switching to a loan with better features.

What is an interest rate?

An interest rate is the percentage charged by a lender for borrowing money. It is a fee paid on top of the principal loan amount.

What is home loan refinance?

Home loan refinance is the process of replacing an existing home loan with a new one. This is usually done to take advantage of better loan terms, lower interest rates, or to access equity in the property.

What is a loan contract?

A loan contract is a legally binding agreement between a borrower and a lender that outlines the terms and conditions of the loan, including repayment terms, interest rates, fees, and other obligations.

How can I refinance my mortgage?

To refinance your mortgage, you need to research and compare different lenders and loan options, submit an application with the chosen lender, provide all required documentation, and undergo a credit assessment. If approved, the new lender will pay out your existing loan, and you will start making repayments on the new loan.

What is switching your home loan?

Switching your home loan refers to changing your current loan to a new loan product, either with the same lender or a different one. This is often done to take advantage of better loan terms or lower interest rates.

What is a new home loan contract?

A new home loan contract is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of a new loan, including the loan amount, interest rate, repayment terms, fees, and other obligations.

What is a home loan health check?

A home loan health check is a review of your current home loan to assess its suitability and identify any potential opportunities to save money or improve your loan structure. It can help you determine if you should refinance or make any changes to your existing loan.

What is a comparison rate?

A comparison rate is a tool that helps borrowers compare the true cost of a loan by including the interest rate and most fees and charges associated with the loan. It is expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR).

Other Blogs

When Will Interest Rates on Mortgages Go Down?

When Will Interest Rates on Mortgages Go Down?

In the current economic climate, Australian homeowners and prospective homebuyers are eagerly anticipating potential declines in mortgage interest rates. Understanding when these rates might decrease hinges on various economic indicators and predictions from financial...

Switching Home Loans: A Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage

Switching Home Loans: A Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage involves transitioning from your current home loan to a new loan arrangement, potentially with another bank or lender. This process, often undertaken to secure a lower interest rate, access better loan features, or adjust the loan term, can...

What Are Low Doc Home Loans?

What Are Low Doc Home Loans?

Low Doc Home Loans in Australia provide a vital financing option for self-employed individuals, small business owners, and others who can't supply traditional income proof required for standard home loans. These loans simplify the application process by requiring less...

Austin Rulfs

Austin Rulfs is the Director of Zanda Wealth Mortgage Brokers, with over 17+ years of experience in the financial services industry.

He is an alumnus of St Peters College Adelaide and holds a Diploma of Financial Services and Mortgage Broking Management from the Institute of Strategic Management.

Under his leadership, Zanda Wealth Mortgage Brokers has become a renowned mortgage broking firm in Australia, assisting hundreds of clients to invest in property and manage their mortgages effectively.

Share This