Author: Bob Lowcock

Top 10 things to ask your lender

One of our Central Coast mobile lenders, Bob Lowcock, answers the 10 questions that Your Mortgage Magazine suggests prospective mortgage holders should ask a potential lender.

Q1. How long will it take for my loan to be approved? Does the lender offer pre-approval to speed matters up?

The Greater can get you a formal approval in a week. It’s a great idea to get a pre-approval before you make an offer on a purchase. It speeds things up by a couple of days because with pre-approval we haven’t sent a valuer out to the property.

For those people refinancing from another bank or financial institution, our Fast Refi service cuts the time it takes to settle an approved refinanced loan to just a few days.

Q2. Can I pay bi-weekly or weekly if I desire? Bi-weekly and weekly repayments reduce the loan faster than a monthly or twice-monthly repayment schedule.

Yes. Paying more and more often is the best way to pay your loan back faster.

Q3. Does the loan offer a line of credit? And don’t forget, not all home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are created equal. What is the miminum amount I can withdraw? What is the maximum number of withdrawals I can make?

Yes, The Greater offers a line of credit with no withdrawal restrictions. Line of credit loans aren’t as popular an option as they once were. To get easy access to money in a hurry, most people use a redraw facility or offset account nowadays.

Q4. If the loan includes line of credit, how are the withdrawals arranged? Some lenders require a written request each time a withdrawal is required; others, following the initial request, may grant access to funds from a bank machine or online transactions.

You can access a Greater Building Society line of credit loan via branches, ATMs, cheque book, as well as internet, phone and mobile banking. It’s as easy as accessing your everyday account.

Q5. Can I make additional repayments? Are there limits on how many I can make without charge? Again, is this done by phone internet, at the branch – how, when, where?

Yes, you can make extra payments on all our loans – even our fixed rate loans. A prepayment fee may apply to some extra payments on fixed rate loans but it will always be to your benefit to pay as much as you can off your loan. There are no limits on the amount of extra payments you can make. You can make payments at branches, online, over the phone and via mobile banking.

Q6. Does the lender offer personal service? A loan manager you can speak to in person can be an advantage if you have problems or queries.

Yes, we’re proud of our 95.5% customer satisfaction rating. We are a customer owned financial institution so we understand the value of providing personalised face-to-face service. We provide personal service through our branches, over the phone, or we have mobile lending managers who can come to you.

Q7. Does the lender have branch locations? And if so what are the opening hours?

Yes, The Greater has the largest branch network of any Australian building society. We are also open longer hours than most banks - Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday mornings from 9am to 12 noon.

Q8. Can I access my loan online? Ask whether you can use the internet for additional payments and redraws, and ask how much it will cost you.

Yes, we offer free internet banking and mobile banking – including free, unlimited home loan redraws via internet banking.

Q9. Is the loan portable? Can it be transferred from one property to the next without incurring a hefty fee?

Yes, our loans are fully portable from one property to another for a $300 fee.

Q10. Can I switch from a variable to a fixed interest rate? And what will it cost me?

Yes, you can convert from variable to fixed interest rate for a $250 fee.

If you have a fixed rate loan, another important question to ask is what rate will the loan revert to once the fixed rate period ends? Don’t get caught in the revert rate rort.

What other questions would you want to ask?