Your guide to mortgage repayment – Forbes Advisor Australia


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A mortgage is a necessary part of buying a home for many Australians, but figuring out what you can actually afford can be difficult. However, with home loan interest rate in March, it’s more important than ever to know your budget inside and out so you can cover your mortgage payments and have a reserve for rainy days.

The key to this process is understanding how your mortgage payments work, common terminology used by lenders, and how to accurately calculate your costs.

Related: How to choose the best home loan for you

Mortgage fees and costs

If this is your first time shopping for a mortgage, the terminology can be daunting. It can also be difficult to understand why you are paying and why.

Here’s what to look for when reviewing your mortgage costs and fees:

  • Director: The principal is the amount of money you borrowed against the mortgage. A portion of each payment will go towards paying it back, so the number will decrease as you make monthly payments. In Australia we have what are called interest-only loans. These are much cheaper than principal and interest loans, especially in the beginning.
  • Interest rate: This is basically what the lender asks you to borrow money from. Your interest rate is expressed as a percentage and can be fixed or variable. The RBA raised rates for much of 2022, putting an end to Australia’s historically low cash rate, which at the start of 2022 was 0.1%. It was not uncommon for borrowers to get loans starting with a two.
  • Package fees: Some loans will come with a flat fee, especially if there are a number of bells and whistles attached, such as compensation or a credit card.
  • Initial costs: Applying for a mortgage and buying a property can be expensive. Be sure to factor in application fees, title transfer fees, government fees, and mortgage registration fees.
  • Ongoing charges: You may also need to factor in fees if you switch to another lender, repay the loan too soon, redraw, or miss a repayment.
  • Home and contents insurance: Home and contents insurance protects you and your lender in the event of damage to your home. Contact your local insurance agent for a quote or access a range of free quotes online.
  • Mortgage insurance: Also known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance, or LMI, it protects the lender in the event of default on your mortgage, and you’ll need to consider this if your deposit is less than 20%. Try to avoid this as much as possible because insurance can easily add thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, to the cost of your loan.
  • Stamp duty : Finally, we come to stamp duty, a levy imposed by each state as a percentage of the purchase price of the property. For example, in Victoria it is calculated on a sliding scale and starts at 1.4% if the property is valued at $25,000 and goes up to 5.5% if the property is valued at $960,000 or more, which corresponds to most properties in Melbourne. Stamp duty is a controversial tax, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the state coffers with every purchase, and NSW has since added an alternative option for homeowners to pay an annual property tax instead of the hefty initial slug .

Estimate how much you can afford

How much can you the means depend on several factors, including your monthly income, existing debt service and the amount you have saved for a deposit. When determining whether to approve you for a certain mortgage amount, lenders pay close attention to your credit score, assets, and liabilities.

Keep in mind, however, that just because you can afford a house on paper doesn’t mean your budget can actually handle the payments. Beyond the factors your bank considers when pre-approving a mortgage amount, consider how much money you’ll have on hand after making the deposit. It is best to have at least three months of payments in savings in case you run into financial difficulties.

In addition to calculating how much you expect to pay each month for maintenance and other home-related expenses, you also need to consider your other financial goals. For example, if you’re planning to retire early, figure out how much money you need to save or invest each month, then calculate how much you’ll have left to pay off a mortgage.

Ultimately, the home you can afford depends on what you’re comfortable with. Just because a bank gives you pre-approval for a mortgage doesn’t mean you should maximize your borrowing power.

What is the best mortgage term for you?

The term of a mortgage is the length of time you have to pay off your mortgage. The most common mortgage terms are between 20 and 30 years. The term of your mortgage dictates (in part) how much you’ll pay each month. The longer your term, the lower your monthly payment. That said, you will pay more interest over the term of a 30-year loan than over 20 years.

To determine which mortgage term is right for you, consider how much you can afford to pay each month and how quickly you prefer your mortgage to be paid off.

If you can afford to pay more each month, but you’re still not sure which term to choose, it’s also worth considering whether you would be able to break even or, perhaps, break even. save on interest by choosing a lower monthly payment and invest the difference.

How to get a lower mortgage payment

There are several ways to get a lower monthly payment on your mortgage:

  • Choose a longer duration
  • Have a larger deposit
  • Choose a cheaper property
  • Get a lower interest rate

How to choose a mortgage lender

You have several options when it comes to choosing a mortgage lender. Banks, credit unions, and online lenders all offer mortgages directly, while mortgage brokers and online research tools help you compare options from different lenders.

It’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with the broker or company you’re working with, as you’ll need to communicate with them frequently during the application process and, in some cases, after the loan is closed.

You may want to start with banks or other institutions where you already have accounts, if you like their service. Also ask your network of friends and family, and any real estate professionals you work with, for referrals. However, be aware that as rates rise, it is important to lock in the lowest possible rate and keep reviewing it. Many borrowers stop shopping once they get a loan and end up paying a “loyalty tax”: that is, because they don’t pressure their bank to drop their rate based on introductory offers, they end up paying a lot more than they need.

The advice and information provided by ForbesAdvisor is general in nature and is not intended to replace independent financial advice. ForbesAdvisor encourages readers to seek expert advice regarding their own financial decisions.

Do mortgage repayments decrease over time?

Whether or not your mortgage payments increase over time has more to do with the interest rate you pay rather than how long you have left on the loan. What happens is that the makeup of the loan changes over time: at first the borrowers are paying mostly the interest on the loan, but as the loan progresses you are paying more and more of the principal real.

How can I repay my loan faster?

There are many things borrowers can do to make sure they pay off their loan as quickly as possible. This includes paying a supplement each month; switch to semi-monthly rather than monthly pay cycles because there are fewer monthly pay periods; use a clearing account to reduce the amount of interest paid; and renegotiate a lower interest rate with your lender on a regular basis, perhaps annually.

How do mortgage repayments work?

Mortgage repayments in Australia can be weekly, semi-monthly or monthly, and usually the bank makes the repayment on the designated date by direct debit. Although it may seem easier to pay off your mortgage on a monthly basis, if you opt for weekly repayments, you will pay off the loan faster because there are more weekly payment cycles than monthly. Most homeowners opt for a principal and interest (P&I) loan, while some investors prefer interest-only loans because these loans are cheaper, at least initially. If you have a variable interest rate rather than a fixed rate, you will be subject to movements in the RBA cash rate. When rates go up, so will your mortgage. When rates are reduced, your mortgage should also decrease, although some banks have been criticized in the past for not passing on rate cuts to their customers, while invariably passing on increases.

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