Getting a home loan will cost you money, and not just in interest charges. Many mortgage lenders charge upfront fees when you successfully apply for a home loan, to help cover a range of costs. While these are one-off charges, they can make applying for a home loan more expensive than you may expect. 

Choosing a home loan with low upfront fees may help you minimise your home loan’s initial cost, though it’s important to also compare interest rates and ongoing fees before you apply.  

Find and compare home loans with low upfront fees

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Advertised Rate

2.55%

Fixed - 1 year

Comparison Rate*

3.21%

Company
Adelaide Bank
Repayment

$638

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 79.9999%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.48

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.84%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.46%

Company
Athena Home Loans
Repayment

$710

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.94%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

3.34%

Company
Newcastle Permanent
Repayment

$1,413

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.57

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.84%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.68%

Company
Athena Home Loans
Repayment

$710

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

3.29%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

3.71%

Company
NAB
Repayment

$823

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.46

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.74%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.74%

Company
UBank
Repayment

$1,382

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.76

/ 5
Go to site

Winner of Best investment home loan, RateCity Gold Awards 2021

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Advertised Rate

2.29%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.23%

Company
Athena Home Loans
Repayment

$1,314

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

3.63

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.59%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.60%

Company
Greater Bank
Repayment

$1,359

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

3.23

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.05%

Fixed - 2 years

Comparison Rate*

2.65%

Company
Adelaide Bank
Repayment

$1,279

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 94.9999%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.68

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.69%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.69%

Company
NAB
Repayment

$1,375

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

1.99%

Fixed - 5 years

Comparison Rate*

3.34%

Company
Newcastle Permanent
Repayment

$1,270

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 95%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

4.54

/ 5
Go to site
More details

Learn more about home loans

What are the types of upfront fees?

There are several different types of upfront fees that your mortgage lender may charge, such as:

  • Application or establishment fee: Charged by your mortgage lender to help cover the admin costs of processing your home loan application.
  • Valuation fee: Covers the cost of an accredited valuer assessing a property as part of your mortgage application’s approval process. 
  • Legal fees: If your mortgage provider uses a legal team to help prepare and organise documents for your application, you may be charged a fee. This is separate to the fees charged by your own solicitor or conveyancer, who helps you manage the exchange of contracts and settlement process. 

As well as fees, there may be other upfront costs you’ll need to consider, such as:

  • Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI): If you have a low home loan deposit, your lender may take out an insurance policy to cover themselves against the risk that you may default on your mortgage payments, and pass the cost on to you. The smaller you home loan deposit, the higher the potential cost of LMI. 
  • Stamp duty: A tax on the sale and exchange of property. Check with your local state government to find out how much you can expect to pay in stamp duty. 
  • Transfer fee: Another state government fee, covering the cost of transferring a property’s title from one owner to another. Varies from state to state. 
  • Mortgage registration fee: Covers the cost of registering your home loan with the state government. Varies from state to state. 

Which home loans come with low upfront fees?

While many home loans come with some upfront fees or administration fees, it’s also possible to find home loans with low or no upfront charges.

When you apply for a home loan, you or your mortgage broker may be able to negotiate with your lender to have one or more upfront fees discounted or waived. Banks and mortgage lenders may be happy to give up their upfront fees to secure your business. 

Keep in mind that upfront fees are just one of the many costs involved with a home loan. There may be other fees and charges to consider, including ongoing fees that apply for the rest of the loan’s term. Comparing home loans can give you a better idea of what home loan costs you could expect, and contacting a mortgage broker could let you benefit from personal home loan advice around which costs may offer you the most value in return. 

Should I get a home loan with low upfront fees?

Home loans with low upfront fees may not suit everyone. 

While one home loan may look cheaper due to lower upfront fees, it may have higher interest rates or ongoing fees than the next loan.

Before making a mortgage decision, it’s important to consider all of a home loan’s costs, from beginning to end.

Frequently asked questions

What is upfront fee?

An ‘upfront’ or ‘application’ fee is a one-off expense you are charged by your bank when you take out a loan. The average start-up fee is around $600 however there are over 1,000 loans on the market with none at all. If the loan you want does include an application fee, try and negotiate to have it waived. You’ll be surprised what your bank agrees to when they want your business.

What is an ongoing fee?

Ongoing fees are any regular payments charged by your lender in addition to the interest they apply including annual fees, monthly account keeping fees and offset fees. The average annual fee is close to $200 however there are almost 2,000 home loan products that don’t charge an annual fee at all. There’s plenty of extra costs when you’re buying a home, such as conveyancing, stamp duty, moving costs, so the more fees you can avoid on your home loan, the better. While $200 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it adds up to $6,000 over the life of a 30 year loan – money which would be much better off either reinvested into your home loan or in your back pocket for the next rainy day.

Example: Anna is tossing up between two different mortgage products. Both have the same variable interest rate, but one has a monthly account keeping fee of $20. By picking the loan with no fees, and investing an extra $20 a month into her loan, Josie will end up shaving 6 months off her 30 year loan and saving over $9,000* in interest repayments.

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. 

How do I refinance my home loan?

Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.

Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.

What fees are there when buying a house?

Buying a home comes with ‘hidden fees’ that should be factored in when considering how much the total cost of your new home will be. These can include stamp duty, title registration costs, building inspection fees, loan establishment fee, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI), legal fees and bank valuation costs.

Tip: you can calculate your stamp duty costs as well as LMI in Rate City mortgage repayments calculator

Some of these fees can be taken out of the mix, such as LMI, if you have a big enough deposit or by asking your lender to waive establishment fees for your loan. Even so, fees can run into the thousands of dollars on top of the purchase price.

Keep this in mind when deciding if you are ready to make the move in to the property market.

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.

Mortgage Balance

The amount you currently owe your mortgage lender. If you are not sure, enter your best estimate.

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.

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.

How can I get a home loan with bad credit?

If you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to convince a lender that your problems are behind you and that you will, indeed, be able to repay a mortgage.

One step you might want to take is to visit a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit home loans (also known as ‘non-conforming home loans’ or ‘sub-prime home loans’). An experienced broker will know which lenders to approach, and how to plead your case with each of them.

Two points to bear in mind are:

  • Many home loan lenders don’t provide bad credit mortgages
  • Each lender has its own policies, and therefore favours different things

If you’d prefer to directly approach the lender yourself, you’re more likely to find success with smaller non-bank lenders that specialise in bad credit home loans (as opposed to bigger banks that prefer ‘vanilla’ mortgages). That’s because these smaller lenders are more likely to treat you as a unique individual rather than judge you according to a one-size-fits-all policy.

Lenders try to minimise their risk, so if you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to do everything you can to convince lenders that you’re safer than your credit history might suggest. If possible, provide paperwork that shows:

  • You have a secure job
  • You have a steady income
  • You’ve been reducing your debts
  • You’ve been increasing your savings

How can I pay off my home loan faster?

The quickest way to pay off your home loan is to make regular extra contributions in addition to your monthly repayments to pay down the principal as fast as possible. This in turn reduces the amount of interest paid overall and shortens the length of the loan.

Another option may be to increase the frequency of your payments to fortnightly or weekly, rather than monthly, which may then reduce the amount of interest you are charged, depending on how your lender calculates repayments.

How do I take out a low-deposit home loan?

If you want to take out a low-deposit home loan, it might be a good idea to consult a mortgage broker who can give you professional financial advice and organise the mortgage for you.

Another way to take out a low-deposit home loan is to do your own research with a comparison website like RateCity. Once you’ve identified your preferred mortgage, you can apply through RateCity or go direct to the lender.

How much money can I borrow for a home loan?

Tip: You can use RateCity how much can I borrow calculator to get a quick answer.

How much money you can borrow for a home loan will depend on a number of factors including your employment status, your income (and your partner’s income if you are taking out a joint loan), the size of your deposit, your living expenses and any other debt you might hold, including credit cards. 

A good place to start is to work out how much you can afford to make in monthly repayments, factoring in a buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent to allow for interest rate rises along the way. You’ll also need to factor in additional costs that come with purchasing a property such as stamp duty, legal fees, building inspections, strata or council fees.

If you are planning on renting the property, you can factor in the expected rental income to help offset the mortgage, but again it’s prudent to add a significant buffer to allow for rental management fees, maintenance costs and short periods of no rental income when tenants move out. It’s also wise to factor in changes in personal circumstances – the typical home loan lasts for around 30 years and a lot can happen between now and then.

What if I can't pay off my guaranteed home loan?

If you can’t pay off your guaranteed home loan, your lender might chase your guarantor for the money.

A guaranteed home loan is a legally binding agreement in which the guarantor assumes overall responsibility for the mortgage. So if the borrower falls behind on their mortgage, the lender might insist that the guarantor cover the repayments. If the guarantor fails to do so, the lender might seize the guarantor’s security (which is often the family home) so it can recoup its money.

What is a low-deposit home loan?

A low-deposit home loan is a mortgage where you need to borrow more than 80 per cent of the purchase price – in other words, your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price.

For example, if you want to buy a $500,000 property, you’ll need a low-deposit home loan if your deposit is less than $100,000 and therefore you need to borrow more than $400,000.

As a general rule, you’ll need to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance) if you take out a low-deposit home loan. You can use this LMI calculator to estimate your LMI payment.

Interest Rate

Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

How can I get ANZ home loan pre-approval?

Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience and getting a pre-approval on the loan may give you the peace of mind that you are looking at properties within your budget. 

At the time of applying for the ANZ Bank home loan pre-approval, you will be required to provide proof of employment and income, along with records of your savings and debts.

An ANZ home loan pre-approval time frame is usually up to three months. However, being pre-approved doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your home loan. Other factors could lead to your home loan application being rejected, even with a prior pre-approval. Some factors include the property evaluation not meeting the bank’s criteria or a change in your financial circumstances.

You can make an application for ANZ home loan pre-approval online or call on 1800100641 Mon-Fri 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (AEST).

Savings over

Select a number of years to see how much money you can save with different home loans over time.

e.g. To see how much you could save in two years by switching mortgages,  set the slider to 2.

How personalised is my rating?

Real Time Ratings produces instant scores for loan products and updates them based what you tell us about what you’re looking for in a loan. In that sense, we believe the ratings are as close as you get to personalised; the more you tell us, the more we customise to ratings to your needs. Some borrowers value flexibility, while others want the lowest cost loan. Your preferences will be reflected in the rating. 

We also take a shorter term, more realistic view of how long borrowers hold onto their loan, which gives you a better idea about the true borrowing costs. We take your loan details and calculate how much each of the relevent loans would cost you on average each month over the next five years. We assess the overall flexibility of each loan and give you an easy indication of which ones are likely to adjust to your needs over time. 

Do other comparison sites offer the same service?

Real Time RatingsTM is the only online system that ranks the home loan market based on your personal borrowing preferences. Until now, home loans have been rated based on outdated data. Our system is unique because it reacts to changes as soon as we update our database.