Smart decisions can only be made by asking ALL the right questions.

The most common question I’m asked by clients who are thinking of fixing is “Will rates go up or down?”​​ ​

“What are the chances of beating the bank’s variable rate by fixing?”

Although consensus ​at the moment ​seems to be that rates will go up, this is crystal ball territory​ and the banks have much better and more sophisticated crystal ball gazers working for them. Choosing a fixed rate should be more about gaining certainty around your repayments rather than an attempt to win on rate over time. If there is a saving at the outset, it’s a bonus.


What struck m​e​​ in reflection were other ​smart questions that should be asked. These often aren’t as obvious, but they can be answered​ when we look at each client’s specific strategy and circumstances.

This came into focus for me this week after being contacted by a number of clients all considering fixing their rates.  ​One of these clients​ had been chatting over a BBQ with friends on Friday evening. ​​On Saturday morning, they happened to be walking past a branch and thought that while they were there they’d pop in and ask the question.​ ​They were offered a fixed rate almost 0.2% cheaper than their current variable rate to fix the loan. The branch staff cheerfully advised them that this would save them around $800 a year.

Fortunately, they didn’t go ahead as they wanted to run the idea past me first.

​So what questions should you ask?​

What the​se clients​ weren’t aware of before we unpacked their options was that once the loan was fixed, they would lose access to their somewhat substantial redraw. They also weren’t advised that their​ offset accounts (in which they had around $30 000 saved) would no longer offset the loan. The offset accounts currently save them $1 100 in interest a year.

​Had they fixed without asking the right questions, ​they would have ended up paying more interest, not less!

A better outcome

After our quick discussion around what would suit them best​, it was clear that some certainty around repayments was important. After a little negotiating with the bank on our part, we ​were able ​to arrange the best of both worlds for them. ​ ​

We squeezed a little more discount out of the bank for an even better deal on the fixed rate and we split the loan. Now they have a variable loan with their redraw protected and their offset accounts saving them interest, and a fixed rate loan with a great rate and certainty around how much their repayments are. Their existing ongoing annual savings of $1 100 are protected and they’ll be saving an extra $1 000​ in interest​ per year as well, based on current variable rates.

Fixed rates and interest only loans

Another area that can get tricky, particularly for investors, is fixing interest-only loans. ​This is where different fine print with different lenders creates a bit of a minefield. ​If the end of the fixed rate and the interest-only period aren’t the same, some lenders will cut short an interest-only period to match the end of the fixed rate. This could result in a​n unexpected​ jump in repayments and if this isn’t something you’ve planned into your cashflow, you could get caught short.​ ​

As you’ll often hear me say, it’s about​ both​ strategy ​and execution. This is where a knowledge of the fine print can make all the difference.

We’ll always keep an eye on both the bigger picture​ (​and the fine print​)​ but — most importantly — what’s in your best interests. Make us your first call.

Reach me on 0430 383 996 or tanya@affinitasfinance.com.au to start a conversation.

What our customers have to say:

Adam, Brisbane

I wish there were more people like Tanya out there. She is such a lovely person, she knows her industry and she can explain finance in terms that anyone can understand. She is very professional, and approachable. I have already recommended Tanya to a work colleague, and they purchased their new home also finding Tanya a breath of fresh air. Thanks again Tanya for your help, and I will always use your services for any other investment opportunities that may arise.

Adam, Brisbane

Rachel, Sunshine Coast

No task was ever too great for you to handle. I found your service was extremely prompt and no query was ever too simple nor difficult for you to take on. Tanya, I felt as though I had trust in you from the very first phone call and you certainly met all of my expectations and more in a professional and friendly manner. Thank you.

Tanya, your interpersonal skills are second to none. Apart from being exceptionally savvy when it comes to your role, I found you incredibly approachable. Your happy disposition just made the whole experience of buying a property a joy. Thank you.

Rachel, Sunshine Coast

Pol, Brisbane

Your solution also took a lot more into consideration than just our home loan. You also answered all our many, many questions simply and quickly. You have an ability to explain intricate financial details in 'plain speak'. Your overall easy going personality and professionalism was refreshing along with honesty and frankness which was also appreciated.

Pol, Brisbane

Trish, Brisbane

It's difficult to narrow down what impressed me most - you provide an excellent service. I think one of the greatest things was that you genuinely cared about the result. You worked so hard and so efficiently to ensure that I was able to move forward in the process of purchasing my first home.

Trish, Brisbane

Shayn, Brisbane

Considering the complexity of the loan we have applied for Tanya has left me with a sense of assurance that our best interests were always first and foremost. Her explanation of how the whole process works was always presented clearly and confidently. She was always prepared to answer any questions we put forward and never hesitated in incorporating her own personal experience in any of her responses. We will continue to keep in touch with Tanya and when next we require loan assistance, Tanya will be number one on our list.

Shayn, Brisbane

Graham, Brisbane

Tanya du Preez has given me the advice that I couldn't get from the banks. Tanya advised us exactly how to achieve our investment goals for the next 5 years. If you are thinking about investing, your first investment should be 30 mins with Tanya. It will cost you nothing and could mean you retire early.

Graham, Brisbane

Sally, Brisbane

All parts of the process were explained simply and clearly so that I could understand what was going on as I have never applied for a loan before so this was all new territory for me. Thanks for all your help Tanya we were so glad to have your help rather than having to deal with a bank directly; much more personal and caring service.

Sally, Brisbane

Jennifer, Brisbane

I really appreciate your flexibility to meet with me at my convenience, advice based on knowledge and experience, referrals to other products and services and general sense of 'relief' that my future financial state is in good hands.

The whole team is both professional and friendly - a great wealth of experience. The service greatly exceeded my expectations and I gladly recommend your services to others.

Jennifer, Brisbane

David, Brisbane

All queries were promptly answered. Great staff correspondence, we were always able to access someone to raise concerns. We were impressed with the attention to details. Tanya really listens and takes notes of the type of people we are and what loan setup would suite us. The services you referred us to have impressed us as well. You are very approachable and never made us feel silly with our questions.

Knowing you & your team are looking after our lending needs gives us a peace of mind and has made the process almost stress free.

David, Brisbane

Brian, Sunshine Coast

Tanya has skilfully and successfully managed the complexities of refinancing our business and property affairs. This crucial and timely financial manoeuvre has involved a detailed assessment and understanding our current business operation and financial needs. In addition, Tanya has worked with us in planning our financial strategies.

Tanya has provided us with a high standard of service and advice that has saved our companies significant amounts of money and continues to expand our knowledge on how to operate in the new and ever changing banking environment so that it best suit our business and property portfolio's needs.

Brian, Sunshine Coast