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Learn more about home loans

When you own a business you have to stay on top of your day-to-day finances and be skilled at balancing your income and expenditure. However, getting a home loan can sometimes prove difficult for business owners because the paperwork that many lenders require is often not available when it comes to supplying proof of income. If this is a problem for you, it may be the right time to seek out a home loan that is specially geared towards business owners.

Why opt for home loans for business owners?

If you are self-employed, working freelance or are a relatively new entrepreneur in Australia, you might find that home loans for business owners are of great benefit. For example, a ‘low doc’ home loan allows you to minimise the amount of documentation that’s normally expected in order to get a loan – think pay slips, income evidence and tax returns. Of course, if you have sufficient up to date financial documentation you may be able to access a standard home loan instead. Some business owners opt for home loans purely for investment purposes, while others use them as business loans or to help them to continue to occupy their own premises.

What are the main choices for home loans for business owners?

The choices you will have reflect the home loans marketplace and when you are considering a low doc loan check out both the fixed rate and variable rate options, depending on your circumstances. If you have a secured property, you can also borrow against its value.

  • Fixed rate options mean you are locked into a specific rate for a given period, making it easier to manage your budget.
  • Variable rate options mean your repayments can go down as well as up and this provides you with a degree of flexibility, but also less certainty than the fixed rate alternative.
  • Borrowing against the value of your home is a third option, best utilised if you are confident that the property market is buoyant.

What are the rewards and risks?

On the plus side for home loans for business owners you have less paperwork to deal with in terms of providing documentary evidence of your income status; your personally signed statements are generally accepted. You also have a range of choices when it comes to the type of loan you want.

On the negative side, you will most likely discover you are paying higher interest rates and that higher fees may apply then are normally charged on home loans. You may also see that the lender will apply a lower LVR (loan to value ratio), which simply means that you can borrow against your property’s value but to a lower ceiling than applies to other types of home loans. Beyond this, if for instance you want to borrow more than 60 per cent of the value of your property, you may be required to take out additional insurance. Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is the most common and there may additionally be other fees. Always investigate every aspect of a loan agreement before committing to it.

Frequently asked questions

How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?

When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including:

  • the amount owing on your mortgage
  • the value of your property
  • your current interest rate
  • name of existing lender
  • property address

We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database, and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.

Who has the best home loan?

Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.

To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you. 

What is a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

Why are you doing this?

RateCity wants to prove that it pays to check your home loan rate, and provide some extra motivation for doing so. We want to encourage people to take an active interest in their home loans, and gain a thorough understanding of what they’re paying and how much they could save.

Are bad credit home loans dangerous?

Bad credit home loans can be dangerous if the borrower signs up for a loan they’ll struggle to repay. This might occur if the borrower takes out a mortgage at the limit of their financial capacity, especially if they have some combination of a low income, an insecure job and poor savings habits.

Bad credit home loans can also be dangerous if the borrower buys a home in a stagnant or falling market – because if the home has to be sold, they might be left with ‘negative equity’ (where the home is worth less than the mortgage).

That said, bad credit home loans can work out well if the borrower is able to repay the mortgage – for example, if they borrow conservatively, have a decent income, a secure job and good savings habits. Another good sign is if the borrower buys a property in a market that is likely to rise over the long term.

What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

The fine print – what are the eligibility criteria?

This competition is only available to Australian residents who are over 18 and check their home loan interest rate at RateCity. However, you are not required to refinance your home loan or apply for any financial products.

You can still enter if you don’t have a home loan yet – enter how much you plan to borrow and the details of the property you’re considering, and we’ll compare mortgage offers that may suit your needs and estimate how much you could save compared to a loan with an average interest rate. 

Does the Rate Guarantee apply to discounted interest rate offers, such as honeymoon rates?

No. Temporary discounts to home loan interest rates will expire after a limited time, so they aren’t valid for comparing home loans as part of the Rate Guarantee.

However, if your home loan has been discounted from the lender’s standard rate on a permanent basis, you can check if we can find an even lower rate that could apply to you.

How will Real Time Ratings��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��______ help me find a new home loan?

The home loan market is complex. With almost 4,000 different loans on offer, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to work out which loans work for you.

That’s where Real Time RatingsTM can help. Our system automatically filters out loans that don’t fit your requirements and ranks the remaining loans based on your individual loan requirements and preferences.

Best of all, the ratings are calculated in real time so you know you’re getting the most current information.

Monthly Repayment

Your current monthly home loan repayment. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate payment figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement.

What are exit and discharge fees?

The Federal Government banned exit fees in 2011, removing one of the biggest barriers to taking switching home loan providers. Lenders can still legally charge a discharge fee, which is payable when you come to the end of your home loan, however these fees are relatively small at an average of $304 while 134 products don’t have them at all.

What is the difference between offset and redraw?

The difference between an offset and redraw account is that an offset account is intended to work as a transaction account that can be accessed whenever you need. A redraw facility on the other hand is more like an “emergency fund” of money that you can draw on if needed but isn’t used for everyday expenses.

What does pre-approval' mean?

Pre-approval for a home loan is an agreement between you and your lender that, subject to certain conditions, you will be able to borrow a set amount when you find the property you want to buy. This approach is useful if you are in the early stages of surveying the property market and need to know how much money you can spend to help guide your search.

It is also useful when you are heading into an auction and want to be able to bid with confidence. Once you have found the property you want to buy you will need to receive formal approval from your bank.

Why is it important to get the most up-to-date information?

The mortgage market changes constantly. Every week, new products get launched and existing products get tweaked. Yet many ratings and awards systems rank products annually or biannually.

We update our product data as soon as possible when lenders make changes, so if a bank hikes its interest rates or changes its product, the system will quickly re-evaluate it.

Nobody wants to read a weather forecast that is six months old, and the same is true for home loan comparisons.

How much deposit will I need to buy a house?

A deposit of 20 per cent or more is ideal as it’s typically the amount a lender sees as ‘safe’. Being a safe borrower is a good position to be in as you’ll have a range of lenders to pick from, with some likely to offer up a lower interest rate as a reward. Additionally, a deposit of over 20 per cent usually eliminates the need for lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) which can add thousands to the cost of buying your home.

While you can get a loan with as little as 5 per cent deposit, it’s definitely not the most advisable way to enter the home loan market. Banks view people with low deposits as ‘high risk’ and often charge higher interest rates as a precaution. The smaller your deposit, the more you’ll also have to pay in LMI as it works on a sliding scale dependent on your deposit size.

What's the difference between Real Time Ratings and comparison rates?

A comparison rate calculates the cost of a $150,000 loan over 25 years. While a comparison rate is a good industry benchmark, it doesn’t consider your specific lending requirements.

Real Time RatingsTM factors in essential information like your loan size, your loan-to-value ratio (LVR), whether you want an offset account and whether you are an investor or an owner-occupier.

What is a draw down?

The transfer of money from a lending institution to a borrower. In a typical home loan, the funds are drawn down all at once in order to buy the property. In a construction loan, the money is drawn down in several stages to pay the builders as they progress through each phase of the project. In a line of credit loan, you can draw down money up to a limit based on your loan’s available equity.

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Results

These are the loans that may be suitable, based on your pre-selected criteria. 

How does Real Time Ratings work?

Real Time RatingsTM looks at your individual home loan requirements and uses this information to rank every applicable home loan in our database out of five.

This score is based on two main factors – cost and flexibility.

Cost is calculated by looking at the interest rates and fees over the first five years of the loan.

Flexibility is based on whether a loan offers features such as an offset account, redraw facility and extra repayments.

Real Time RatingsTM also includes the following assumptions:

  • Costs are calculated on the current variable rate however they could change in the future.
  • Loans are assumed to be principal and interest
  • Fixed-rate loans with terms greater than five years are still assessed on a five-year basis, so 10-year fixed loans are assessed as being only five years’ long.
  • Break costs are not included.

How much of the RBA rate cut do lenders pass on to borrowers?

When the Reserve Bank of Australia cuts its official cash rate, there is no guarantee lenders will then pass that cut on to lenders by way of lower interest rates. 

Sometimes lenders pass on the cut in full, sometimes they partially pass on the cut, sometimes they don’t at all. When they don’t, they often defend the decision by saying they need to balance the needs of their shareholders with the needs of their borrowers. 

As the attached graph shows, more recent cuts have seen less lenders passing on the full RBA interest rate cut; the average lender was more likely to pass on about two-thirds of the 25 basis points cut to its borrowers.  image002