Ask any neighbour in your community who their home loan is with and it’s likely no house will be with the same bank – or have the same interest rate. Such is the lender environment in Australia where, on top of our big four banks, we have countless smaller lenders offering competitive rates and enticing mortgage products for wannabe home owners – and those who already own homes.
For those looking to buy their first home and crack the overwhelming property market, it can be incredibly confusing. Who do you turn to? The bank, a mortgage broker, or one of those new guys in town: the online mortgage broker?
Even for mortgage holders, it might surprise you to know that sticking to the same rate for the life of the loan may not be the best option. Australians are super loyal to their bank: research from online mortgage broker, uno Home Loans, found half of all Aussie home owners don’t believe they’ve found the best home loan deal, yet 63% haven’t bothered to switch.
uno’s comparison of interest rates reveals people who have switched pay an average interest rate 13 basis points lower than those who haven’t, which can equate to savings of around $14,000* over a 30-year loan. Think what you could do with that kind of money!
Getting a better interest rate isn’t even the only reason someone might switch their loan. If you’re worried about mortgage stress, would like to renovate your home like the McNamaras down the road have, or need some money to fund something big like a trip to Europe or your child’s wedding, these are all viable reasons to refinance.
Who do I see about that?
Now back to the big question: who do I see about that? In Australia, there tend to be three options:
The banks. Is lining up at Westpac or ANZ on your lunch break the best way to find out about the home loan rates applicable to you? Maybe not. You might have banked with CBA since you were a child but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the right options for you as a homebuyer or home owner.
There are mortgage brokers. Can you rely on a mortgage broker to show you all the options? Possibly. Possibly not. Aside from the difficulty they have in comparing all the options on the market manually, many are aligned with certain banks and receive commission for recommending customers to those banks. Again, you’re not seeing all the options available to you.
A helping hand – online
Which brings us to the reasonably new player in town: the online mortgage broker. An online mortgage broker lets you search and compare loans from the comfort of your living room (or quietly at your desk in between bouts of online shopping).
Online mortgage broker uno, based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, is one such business. With a support team working from 8am ‘til 10pm weekdays and 9am - 5pm on weekends, there’s always someone around to listen and help.
With uno, you can also chat with a broker over the phone, via chat, email, phone, text or video, which sounds awfully appealing in this cold, wet winter we’re having. No lining up at the bank in the rain? Hurrah!
uno’s technology, conceived by the guy who founded Pisces, a mortgage technology platform which was adopted by 90 per cent of banks in Australia, can search through thousands of rates from the big banks and smaller lenders, to find that needle in the haystack that best suits your needs.
uno does share some similarities with a traditional broker in that its team of advisers can negotiate with the bank on your behalf, help with filling in those befuddling forms, and answer questions you might have about where to buy or invest.
But uno’s advisers don’t receive an individual commission when you settle your home loan with them, so you can be confident they won’t favour a lender or product for anything other than suitability for your individual needs and circumstances.
So, the next time you think about lining up outside the bank in the cold, or pick up the phone to call that mortgage broker whose card you picked up at an open house, spare a thought for the new kid: the online mortgage broker. Don't be one of 88% of Australian home owners who wouldn’t leave their lender for a 20 basis point discount and miss out on a potential $14,000 in savings over the life of the loan.
*Source: CoreData mortgage holder survey on behalf of uno Home Loans n=1,500. Savings calculations based on a $500,000 principal and interest home loan.