The road to buying a home is no longer about getting from a to b. For many people, getting a mortgage and sticking with it simply doesn’t fit in with the twists and turns of life.

Things change – relationships end, children are born, the economy booms or busts, you get a promotion or get sick – and the time may come when you need to change your home loan too.
 
Refinancing is an increasingly common part of the home buying process, and it pays to approach this decision with the same care that you would when taking out a home loan for the first time.

Here we share some insider tips from HomeStart’s loan consultants, who help customers in all kinds of situations.
 
Why would you refinance?
People want to refinance for all sorts of reasons. Probably the number one reason is marital separation or the end of a relationship. They might be looking to refinance for the stability of our repayment safeguard.

They could be looking to consolidate some debt. They might want the stability of a government backed lender like HomeStart, or they might have heard about us from friends.
 
Why wouldn’t you refinance?
Refinancing isn’t for everyone. It really does depend on your personal situation. For example, if you have a fixed interest rate on your current mortgage, it might cost a lot – thousands even – to break that contract and refinance somewhere else.
 
If you’ve got a bad track record with your credit or are on a limited income, you might find that a lender won’t be able to refinance your loan.
 
And at HomeStart, we don’t refinance for renovations.
 
How much does it cost to refinance?
Fees and charges do apply when you refinance, most likely at your current financial institution and where you’re looking to refinance to.  As well as the fixed rate break cost, you could be looking at establishment fees, settlement fees, mortgage registration fees, valuation fees and more.

It’s important to find out exactly what you’ll be charged, as this can help you assess whether it’s really worth your while to make the move.
 
What can I do to get started?
Get your paper work ready!  You’ll need to have details of your income, credit commitments, how much you owe on your home, and how much debt you’d like to consolidate if that’s relevant. And that’s just the start.
 
Also, if you’re thinking of refinancing to HomeStart, we’d suggest getting familiar with the Repayment Safeguard as it works differently to most home loans.