When you check your existing loan against what else is out there, you may find worthwhile savings. Such “refinancing” works particularly well if you can add other debts into your home loan, letting you pay off a car loan or personal loan at lower home-loan rates. Make sure you don’t end up paying your debts off more slowly. Take the refinancing savings and use them to pay off your loan faster.

Service matters

Lenders may promise quick service, yet take weeks to deliver your loan. Big banks can be as slow as small mortgage companies. Paperwork gets lost or delayed. In these cases, it helps to have a representative/mortgage broker who can push the lender along on your behalf.

“Unbelievable rates” are that way for a reason

Some lenders have been offering “honeymoon” rates as low as 3.99 per cent. But those eye-grabbing rates “revert” to a much higher standard rate after a few months and the fees can be fierce. The loan with the amazing rate may leave you paying more for years afterwards. Or it may only be available under very strict conditions – conditions you don’t want to meet.

Watch out for exit costs

Certain loans carry a hefty fee if you pay them off early. One of these products may be your best loan – so long as you know you want to keep your mortgage for many years.

Understand how mortgages work

Taking out a home loan can seem scary, especially if it’s your first. Talking with friends and relatives will take away some of the mystery. The 1300HomeLoan site offers assistance and guidance to help you understand the home loan process.

Don’t buy features you won’t use

Many borrowers often say they want a product such as an “all-in-one” loan, which lets you bundle your salary, borrowings and savings into one account. They find that a highly featured loan perfectly suits their needs.

But beware that you will pay higher interest rates and fees for all those features. After talking with lending experts, some customers decide they don’t need as many expensive features as they thought they did. Whether you use eChoice or get your loan some other way, ask yourself: “what am I really going to use?”