When you sign up for home finance – beware of hidden fees. A bank that offers a good interest or profit rate may lock you into a deal by imposing transfer penalties. That means if you choose to switch to a different provider at a later date you would have to pay a fee – sometimes as high as 5% – to leave your existing home loan. It effectively makes it too expensive to switch mortgages.
However, this may change. The Central Bank is looking into the regulation of mortgages and exempting property investors from penalties on transfers and early repayment. It hasn’t happened yet, so in the meantime, if you want flexibility to move between lenders, read the small print and make sure you search for the best mortgage deal first.