A home loan is one of life’s biggest monetary undertakings. Without meticulous planning, it can be a struggle, especially if you need to pay hefty monthly instalments due to high-interest rates. Therefore, before you decide to avail yourself of housing finance, you must exercise caution when negotiating home loan interest rates. But if you have already availed of a home loan and found a better rate elsewhere, you can easily switch your current loan for a more competitive one to reduce the overall interest cost.
Know Details of Home Loan Balance Transfer
A home loan balance transfer lets you shift your outstanding housing loan balance from the existing lender to a new lender, who extends a lower interest rate. Borrowers can secure favourable home loan terms from the new lender as per their repayment abilities and goals. It is especially useful for individuals who had previously obtained loans at higher interest rates, and are now eligible for lower rates as a result of improved credit profiles.
Under this facility, the new lender repays the outstanding principal of the borrower’s ongoing home loan to the existing lender and, in turn, sanctions a new loan. Thereafter, the borrower has to repay the loan according to the new conditions as discussed with the lender including the interest rate, loan tenor, processing fees, other charges and so on.
When Should You Consider a Home Loan Balance Transfer?
Borrowers can consider a home loan balance transfer for the following reasons:
Attractive Home Loan Interest Rates
Housing loan interest rates offered by banks and financial institutions vary widely. They are based on the credit profile of loan applicants, lenders’ cost of funds and other market-related parameters. Hence, borrowers should deliberate upon a loan transfer if other lenders show willingness in tendering home loans at much lower interest rates.
Improved Credit Profile
Lending institutions normally add the spread and Credit Risk Premium (CRP) to their underlying benchmark rate when fixing interest rates for prospective borrowers. Both the spread and CRP are usually decided on the basis of an applicant’s credit profile. Thus, borrowers with better credit records may be charged a lower CRP/spread, which translates into reduced interest rates, and vice versa.
The major aspects of an applicant’s credit history that ascertain the CRP/spread include the credit score, monthly earnings, job profile and employer’s profile, in the case of salaried individuals. Hence, existing borrowers, who were levied higher CRP/spread during the initial loan sanction and have improved their credit record since then, can opt for refinancing. The enhanced credit profile may make them eligible for modest interest rates.
Additional Top-Up Loans
Lenders provide top up loan to existing borrowers and/or to those securing a balance transfer, provided they have repaid a certain number of EMIs and possess good repayment history. A top-up can be availed for any number of reasons.
Generally, lenders charge lower interest rates for top-up loans when compared to other loan options. But sometimes, borrowers may be unable to obtain top-up loans from their lenders, or they could be levied higher interest rates for the same. In such cases, they can refinance their home loan to bring down the cost of credit and, simultaneously, avail of a top-up loan.
How to Get the Best of Your Home Loan Balance Transfer
Given below are a few points that you should keep in mind before refinancing your home loan:
Lenders appraise home loan balance transfer requests similar to fresh home loan applications. So, individuals who wish to transfer their housing loans to other lenders may have to pay processing fees, administrative fees and other charges usually levied during a fresh application. The new lender with whom you seek to shift your existing loan will also conduct a documentation assessment while processing your transfer request. Borrowers should, therefore, take into account these associated costs and efforts; and proceed with the loan transfer only if it leads to sizeable savings in the interest outgo.
Refinance in the Initial Stages
Monthly instalments comprise both the principal and interest components of your home loan. The proportion of the interest repayment in your EMI is normally higher in the earlier stages of your loan tenor. Then gradually, as the tenor progresses, the principal amount in the EMI increases, while the interest comes down. Hence, switch your loan during the initial phase of the tenor to maximise the savings.
Maintain the Same Loan Tenor
Borrowers must make sure that the tenor of their transferred loan and the remaining tenor on the original loan remain the same. In case you are offered a longer tenor, it will increase the interest outgo, which may nullify the primary objective of availing a balance transfer – that of reducing the interest payouts. However, one can select a flexible tenor if the monthly instalments appear too high, and you wish to restrict them to a comfortable range without straining your finances.
A home loan balance transfer is a beneficial feature of home loans that allows you to restructure housing credit according to convenience. That said, one should be thorough right at the outset when securing housing loans at the best possible rates and terms. If the need arises, refinance your home loan with reputed lenders who can proffer attractive deals and services. Also, use an online home loan balance transfer calculator to get a realistic overview of your loan switch and plan appropriately.