[3 min Wed finance series] Thinking to refinance in order to renovate? Here’s how!

Refinancing your assets to renovate a property is a significant decision that will hopefully improve your standard of living or add substantial value to your property.


Refinancing isn’t as straightforward as you might expect. The type of renovation proposed goes a long way to dictating the loan required. If the wrong loan is chosen, you could be left with a pile of unexpected debt.


Work out your budget required


Before considering refinancing, you need to have a clear idea of your budget. If you underestimate your budget, you run the risk of getting knocked back from your lender.


I know a lot of homeowners who have estimated a budget of say $100,000 to do renovations, only to discover it will cost a lot more. This means you may have to reapply for the loan, which banks generally don’t like. Be conservative with your projection. If you think you need $100,000, consider applying for $150,000 just in case (if you can afford it). The key is stick to your budget.


The next step is to speak to your broker to determine which loan will suit your needs and objectives.


Home equity loan


Also known as an Line of Credit loan, to be eligible, one must be looking to make upgrades to the cosmetic domain of their property.


Installing a new bathroom or kitchen, painting the interior or exterior of the house and other basic construction falls under an equity loan. These renovations, more often than not, do not supersede the costs of structural changes, so homeowners can call on up to 80 per cent of their Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR).


A home equity loan is a “revolving door” of credit that combines your home loan, daily spending and savings into one loan.


To calculate the value you can potentially borrow, subtract your current loan balance from your property value and then multiply by 80 per cent. For example, if your property is worth $500,000, and you have $250,000 left on your loan, your home equity is $250,000. You then multiply this total by 80 per cent. If you’re uncertain of your home value, contact your broker who can assist you to arrange for an appraisal or valuation.


If you choose a home equity loan, it essentially works as a large credit card. You can use it to purchase cars, cosmetic renovations and other investments. However, the interest-only charge starts when the equity is drawn down.


Keep in mind, home equity loans provide you with money that can gather interest quickly, so if you are not disciplined with repayments or money, contact us to discuss a plan that matches your unique circumstances.


Construction loans


Construction loans are suitable for structural work in your home, for example, if you’re adding a new room or making changes to the roof.


Construction loans give homeowners the opportunity to access larger sums of money, with the amount dependent upon the expected value of the property after renovations are completed.


The advantage of a construction loan is that the interest is calculated on the outstanding amount, not the maximum amount borrowed. This means you have more money available in your kitty, but only pay interest on the money you choose to spend. For this reason, the broker may recommend that you apply for just one loan, but leave some leeway in your borrowed kitty.


When applying for a construction loan, council approval and a fixed price-building contract are required, which your mortgage broker can assist with to reduce the paperwork and stress.


Your lender will appoint an assessor to value your construction at each stage of the renovation. This will happen before you pay your installment. When construction is complete, speak to your mortgage broker as you may be able to refinance back to a loan that will meet you goal and benefit you in the long run.


When looking at both these loans, consumers can call on other property they own to boost their overall borrowing amount if they wish. Depending on the client, they can use other property to get an equity loan and a construction loan. Or they might get a typical construction loan if there is going to be an extensive framework change on the building.


Broker advice


If you speak to us we will be able to determine which loan will give you the options you seek. This advice is essential, as a poorly planned construction loan could cost you more down the road.


If you already have a broker then you should check with him/her, ‘What type of loan am I eligible for?’, because if you don’t get your construction loan right, you may be jeopardising your bank security.


Contact us today for a detailed discussion to make your grand renovation plans a reality.

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