Home LoanHow to Get the Right Home Loan in Sydney

October 2, 2023

Choosing the perfect home loan is a crucial milestone for anyone aiming to own a home. In today’s economic landscape, where interest rates are once more climbing due to the Reserve Bank’s measures against inflation, the significance of this decision cannot be emphasised enough. It’s important to recognize that a home loan isn’t just a financial agreement; it’s a long-term commitment. Even the slightest difference in your interest rate can have a substantial impact on your financial journey over time.

Flexibility vs. Cost – Choosing the Right Loan Features

For some individuals, a flexible loan that permits accelerated repayments is crucial due to the potential for substantial savings. While peace of mind is important, it is essential to weigh these “extras” against their associated costs and always keep interest rates at the forefront of your considerations.

The Down Payment Dilemma

Let’s begin by tackling the critical issue of the down payment. Ideally, you’d want to aim for a deposit that accounts for 20% of the total value of the home. This is the sweet spot where you can avoid the need for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), which can substantially hike up your overall repayment costs.

Now, if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t muster that 20%, don’t worry; it’s still possible to secure a loan with a smaller deposit. However, it’s essential to be aware that this might lead to higher interest costs and potentially larger monthly repayments. To assess how much a lender is willing to offer, most of them rely on a loan-to-value (LVR) calculation, which is expressed as a percentage of the bank’s property valuation. Generally, if your LVR exceeds 80%, you’ll likely need to factor in the cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Building Savings and Obtaining Pre-Approval

Purchasing a house represents a substantial commitment that necessitates ongoing financial discipline to meet mortgage obligations. Saving for a deposit is a time-consuming endeavor, and many find that establishing automatic deductions from their weekly or monthly income into a dedicated savings account facilitates their efforts.

Once your savings reach the targeted deposit amount, it’s time to seek loan pre-approval. This signifies that a lender has provisionally agreed to lend a specific amount toward your home purchase. While not a final approval, it provides a strong indication of the maximum available borrowing capacity. This step is not only exciting but also valuable in streamlining your search and bidding with confidence at auctions.

Three Levels of Home Loans

Home loans come in three variations: basic, standard, and package.


As the name suggests, a basic home loan offers a low-interest rate but has limited features. This may not be suitable for those looking to make extra repayments and draw on them later, as such actions typically entail restrictions and fees. Basic loans are no-frills, offering minimal additional features.


A standard home loan provides greater flexibility than a basic loan, allowing for the redrawing of extra funds paid into the mortgage. There is also the option to switch to a fixed rate or split the loan into both fixed and variable portions. Some standard loans come with a 100% offset account.


A package loan combines a standard loan with an interest rate discount of up to 1.2%, depending on the loan amount. This often makes it more cost-effective than many basic loans. However, package fees of up to $400 per year may apply. Lenders may also include a free transaction account or a credit card with no annual fee.

Home Loan Repayment Strategies

Homebuyers can structure their loans in various ways based on their needs:

Home Loan Repayment

Principal and Interest Loans (P&I):

In these loans, monthly repayments cover both the interest and the principal loan amount. Making additional payments toward the principal balance can expedite loan payoff and reduce the overall cost. P&I loans are often preferred by owner-occupiers aiming to become mortgage-free sooner.

Interest-Only Loans:

Initially, typically for the first two years, repayments cover only the interest on the borrowed amount. While this yields lower initial repayments, they will eventually increase. It’s vital to ensure affordability when transitioning to paying both principal and interest. Property investors often opt for interest-only loans.

Variable Rate Home Loans:

These loans feature interest rates that fluctuate over time, typically in response to the RBA’s official cash rate changes.

Fixed Home Loans:

Fixed-rate loans maintain a constant interest rate for a specified period, providing budget certainty as borrowers are shielded from RBA rate increases. However, they do not offer the advantage of lower rates if market rates fall.

A split loan, also known as a partly-fixed loan, offers an alternative to choosing between fixed and variable rates. It allows borrowers to divide the loan into fixed and variable portions at any time during the loan’s term.

Comparing Home Loans in Sydney

When you’re in the process of comparing home loans, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind:

  1. Interest Rate: Your primary goal should be to secure the most favourable interest rate available.
  2. Comparison Rate: To get a true sense of the cost, take into account all the associated fees and charges in addition to the interest rate.
  3. Monthly Repayment Amount: Strive to ensure that your monthly repayments are manageable, ideally staying below 30% of your pre-tax income.
  4. Annual Fees: Consider any annual fees that may be associated with package home loans and ensure you’re comfortable with them.
  5. Additional Features: Evaluate the value of extra features like offset accounts, the option for extra repayments, and the availability of repayment holidays. These can make a significant difference in the long run.

Reduce Interest Costs with Shorter Home Loan Terms

While home loan terms typically span 25 or 30 years, opting for a shorter term, like 15 or 25 years, can significantly impact total repayment amounts. Though shorter terms require higher monthly payments, they result in lower overall costs by reducing interest payments.

Finding the Best Home Loan Calculators

Home loan calculators are invaluable tools for determining borrowing capacity, monthly repayments, and the impact of extra payments. Click here for dedicated home loan calculators.

Common Home Loan Fees

Be mindful of fees that may appear insignificant at the property purchase but accumulate over the loan’s lifespan:

  • Exit Fees: One-time fees for ending a loan prematurely.
  • Redraw Fees: Charges for accessing funds paid into the mortgage.
  • Break Fees: Costs incurred for early loan repayment or changing terms during a fixed-rate period.
  • Account-Keeping Fees: Ongoing charges for account administration.
  • Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI): Insurance to protect the lender from borrower default.
  • Valuation Fees: Cover property assessment costs conducted by third-party valuers.

Refinancing or Switching Home Loans

Refinancing involves transitioning from one home loan to another, potentially leading to substantial savings. Keep an eye out for better loan options, as lenders often provide more attractive terms to new customers. Before refinancing, consider negotiating with your current lender for rate reductions or matching competitive rates to retain your business.


Securing the right home loan in Sydney requires careful consideration of various factors, including your financial situation, loan features, and future goals. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision that ensures your homeownership journey is a smooth and financially sustainable one.