Getting a home loan is a big commitment, and this of course involves choosing an interest rate that suits your needs. The following tips are a good starting point, but don’t forget we’re always here to help.
First: Don’t get fixated on the lowest rates…
No matter how low they are, the interest rates are only one component of a home loan—Your home loan structure, for example, should also get a fair share of your attention.
The main point with interest rates is that they largely depend on the market and how strong the economy is; therefore, you can’t really control them. What you can do is choose from a few options, based on what you can afford, how long you’re going to have the property, its purpose, and your earning potential.
Rather than simply opting for the lowest interest rate you can find, it’s important to take a close look at how your mortgage should be structured for your needs.
… but if you do, don’t fix too long
If you’re opting for a fixed rate, for example, try not to fix for too long (five years or more). Some people recommend choosing a split between shorter or longer terms, or floating and fixed portions. As a matter of fact, unless you’re on an extremely tight budget, and there’s a solid chance of a rate rise, locking your home loan for a long period of time may prove costly in the long run.
And remember, if you decide to get out of a fixed rate contract before the term ends, your lender may charge a break fee to cover the early repayment.
What about floating rates, then?
Depending on how interest rates are moving in the wider market change, floating mortgage rates rise and fall. Usually, if interest rates go up, so will your home loan repayments and vice versa. The rate can go higher than fixed term rates, putting a squeeze on your budget; but remember, the opposite is also true.
Another pro of choosing a floating rate is that you can make lump sum repayments, or increase your repayments, without any penalty. And with some types of loans, you can change to a fixed interest rate at any time.
Split loans: probably the best of both worlds
As we mentioned, there’s a ‘third way’: split loans. A split loan is where you have a portion of your mortgage on a floating rate, and a portion on a fixed rate. This provides greater flexibility and goes some way to balancing the effect of interest rate changes.
If you want to discuss how you can get off your mortgage faster, including possible lump sum repayments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Mortgages can be confusing, and part of our role is offering you guidance throughout the process.
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