Do you know when your fixed rate term is coming to an end? Once it finishes, the bank is free to quietly switch you to a higher interest rate – unless you act fast! Think of how costly it could be if you simply let the bank choose your interest rate. If your bank charges you just 0.5% more than the competitive interest rates, this adds up to a significant amount over the term of your loan. You can save yourself a great deal of money and perhaps even cut years of your loan, if you are proactive about monitoring your interest rates and choosing the right option for you.
Switching to a variable rate
A variable rate can be a great option if you want to take advantage of low interest rates, or if you want the flexibility to redraw or make extra payments. When your fixed rate term expires, the bank will automatically switch your loan to the Bank Standard Variable Rate (BSVR). Do some research to find out whether this is a competitive rate; if not, you can talk to your bank and try negotiating a better deal. And if they do not offer you a competitive rate, you can switch lenders.
Lenders generally prefer to negotiate rather than lose a customer, while they don’t generally make their best offers to customers with a proven history of loyalty. So when it comes to your interest rate, stay alert and ask questions – keep your lender busy, trying to keep you happy!
Extend your fixed rate
One option is to ask the bank to refix your home loan, extending it for another one, three, five to ten years. The fixed rate is a good option for you, if you are planning to pay off your loan steadily over a long period of time, and you want each mortgage payment to be a regular amount so you can budget your money precisely. Fixed rate protects you from rate rises and you could be paying less than the variable rate. However, there is also the risk that you could end up paying higher than the market rate if you are locked into an outdated fixed interest term. There may also be a break fee if you change or pay off your loan within the fixed period; this means the fixed rate is not a good option for anyone planning to sell their home.