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Frequently asked questions

Do you need information about the different financial terms and abbreviations or where to start your home loan journey? We’re
here to help answer your questions.

Home loans almost has a language of its own with so many financial references. If you are
confused, then we are here to help.

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What is a Loan to Value Ratio (LVR)?

The Loan to Value Ratio is a calculation that financial lending institutions use to assess the risk of approving a loan to a borrower. The Loan to Value Ratio is expressed as a percentage of the value of your house. It is calculated by dividing your loan amount/s by the value of the security property/ies. For example, a loan amount of $500,000 against a property worth $700, 000 would have an LVR of 71%.

What is Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)?

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is insurance that protects the lender in the event the borrower defaults and the security property is sold and the funds from the proceeds of the sale are not enough to discharge the loan. The LMI then pays the Lender the shortfall.  The rights to recover the shortfall from all of the parties on the loan (borrowers) are then transferred across to the LMI who will pursue the shortfall. The cost of LMI insurance is a one off payment at the start of the loan and should not be confused with Building Insurance or Income Protection Insurance. It can be added to the loan amount.

What is a Principal and Interest (P&I) loan?

Principal and Interest loan repayments are calculated so that you pay back all of the money you borrowed (principal) and all of the interest that will be charged over the term of your loan. When the term ends (usually 30 years), you will end up with a nil balance on your loan.

What is an Interest Only (IO) loan?

An Interest Only loan allows you to pay only the interest on the loan, rather than paying back both principal and interest. At the end of the interest only period (usually five years), you will still owe the full amount you originally borrowed if you haven’t made voluntary repayments. The advantage with the interest only feature is that the loan repayments are lower during this period, however unless you have made voluntary repayments of principal, you will have higher repayments for the remaining term of the loan to ensure that you will end up with a nil balance at the end of your loan.

What is a comparison rate?

A comparison rate is a calculation required by to give consumers an idea of the actual cost of the loan, as it includes the interest rate and the standard fees applicable to that loan. It aims to avoid consumers being misled by lenders advertising a lower interest rate, but charging high fees to compensate for the low rate. The comparison rate will not however take into account all fees which may be applicable to a loan but is intended to provides a basis for comparison of the overall cost of a loan and not just the interest rate.

What is a redraw facility?

A redraw facility is a facility where you can withdraw money from your loan account if you have made extra repayments to your home loan. The benefit of having a redraw facility is that the additional repayments can reduce the interest you pay, but you can withdraw them easily when you need them.

How much can I borrow?

If approved, our Homestar loans generally allow you to borrow up to 80% of the value of your property. This applies to both Owner Occupied and Investment loans but subject to other lending criteria being met by the borrower. Some products may have different LVR limits, please refer to specific product pages for more details.

How much should I save for a deposit?

You should make sure you have enough saved to cover the stamp duty, registration, insurance and legal costs that are associated with any loan that you take out, irrespective of the lender. As a guide you will generally need to have at least 10% of the value of the property available to cover these costs. If you need to borrow more than 80% of the value of your property, you may also need to save more to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

How much will my repayments be?

Your repayments take into account the annual interest rate, loan term, repayment frequency, loan amount and whether you wish to pay all of the principal back (Principal and Interest) or just the interest (Interest Only).

How is interest calculated?

Interest is calculated on the daily outstanding balance of your loan and charged to your loan account monthly. You can reduce the interest you will pay on your loan by making extra repayments or if you have an offset account, by depositing additional funds into your offset account to reduce your daily balance. You may be able to withdraw these funds when you need them depending how you have set up your Homestar home loan.

Can I make extra repayments?

Yes, you can make extra repayments either by increasing your direct debit repayment, your salary credit amount or one-off amounts, via internet. We do not charge you for making extra payments on a variable rate account. Fixed rate, however, has a maximum repayment amount of $20,000 per year and if you exceed this we may charge break fees.

What do I need to know before applying?

All you need to begin your application online are details of your income, current credit obligations (like personal loans and car loans), available credit limits (from credit cards, store cards and interest fee accounts) and the amount you are looking to borrow.

What fees and charges do I have to pay?

Our fees are specific to each product and can be found on the applicable fact sheet. There are some costs that will apply to all our products like government fees and legal disbursements.

Can I apply for a Homestar home loan face-to-face with a lending specialist?

In general, we do not offer face-to-face appointments because this would significantly add to the cost of providing you with your loan. We would need to pass this cost on to you in the form of higher interest rates or fees – which we really do not want to do! Our Lending Specialists use great loan processing technology so that we can do all the things that you would typically expect in a face-to-face loan application process by phone- and we can do it in a fraction of the time that a face-to- face meeting would take.

What is a property valuation and why does Homestar need it?

A property valuation is a professional assessment of how much a property is worth. Similar to all lenders, Homestar requires a valuation of any property that is being offered as security for a Homestar loan as part of our lending process.

How do I get conditional approval?

You should get conditional approval if all the information you have provided to us is correct and verified, and the relevant lending criteria has been met. This includes checking your credit history, financial obligations and whether your income is enough to service this loan Conditional approval does not allow you to borrow immediately so please do not rely on this to exchange contracts on the purchase of property or enter into any legal agreements.

How does Homestar determine the value of my property?

We hire an external valuer who will inspect the property. They will consider all the factors that affect the value to produce a professional property report and valuation for Homestar.

How much stamp duty will I need to pay?

Depending on your circumstances and where your property is located, you may have to pay stamp duty on your property purchase. Stamp duty payments are based on the value of the property you purchase. Check your state government’s revenue office website to work out how much you may have to pay in stamp duty.

Do I need a lawyer?

If you have found a property, it is a good idea to ask a lawyer or conveyancer to look over the proposed ‘Contract of Sale’ before you sign it. You will also need a lawyer or conveyancer to assist you with the settlement process and the exchange of title documents if you are purchasing a property.

What Is a Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet is the ability to add our New Homestar Visa Debit product onto your device allowing you to use your phone, tablet, or smart watch to make purchases.

When is it available?

The HomeStar digital wallet for Apple was implemented on 15th of February 2022. Due to industry regulations the launch off our Homestar Card in the Samsung, Google, Fitbit and Garmin wallets happened on 15th of March 2022.

How do I add my card to my wallet?

Opening your smart device wallet app, simply select the Add new card function. Take a photo of your Homestar Visa Debit card and confirm your private details.

How do I know my visa card is safe in the digital form?

Adding your Homestar Visa Debit card onto your digital wallet app is protected with the same technology and safeguards that purchases you make using your hard plastic. The card limits for Tap and Pay are the same on both versions of your card. Your digital wallet is protected by the passcode requirements you have set on your device.

What functionality is available on the digital wallet?

You can use your Homestar Visa Debit card in the same way you use your Physical visa debit card. With the exception of cash withdrawal at an ATM. Both versions of your card use the same PIN which can be set and updated through your Mobile Banking application.

I have an old Homestar Visa Debit card – why can’t I add this to my wallet?

Unfortunately, our legacy product is not eligible for digital wallets. We are always working to make our products better. If you have our original Homestar Visa Debit product we will be in contact with you in April/May 2022 to provide you with your new card. You may have already received the communication from us about this. You can find it in your email, and on your account online portal. If you have not received this communication. Please provide me with your email address so that I can update our records and keep you across all of the exciting things going on at HomeStar.

What if I don’t want to add my card to the digital wallet?

That is absolutely fine! Your physical Homestar Visa Debit card will not be impacted by your decision not to add it into your digital wallet.

What do I do if I lose my device – how do I cancel my digital card?

If you are unable to locate your device, you can call us on 1300 462 209 and request we remove your digital wallet token. This phone call will cancel the ability to use your digital wallet card – but will not impact your physical visa card.

I’ve lost my physical card – can I still use my digital wallet?

For your security if you are unable to locate your physical Homestar Visa Debit card, when you call us to request a new card, your digital wallet visa card will also be terminated. This is to ensure that your visa card cannot be used if it is in the hands of someone else.

I’ve damaged my physical card – can I still use my digital wallet?

Yes you can! If your physical card is damaged and needs to be replaced, when you call us to order a replacement card. Simply tell us your card is damaged. This will ensure that your existing digital wallet visa will remain active and you will still have access to your funds as you need them.

How does an offset account work?

The offset account is linked to your home loan and any funds you hold in your offset account will be offset against the daily interest rate calculation. It is an effective way of lowering the balance of your mortgage while having access to those funds when and as required. Your Visa Debit card can be used to access these funds.

Where can I use my Visa Debit Card?

The Homestar Finance VISA debit card is a convenient way to access your offset account linked to your Homestar home loan. The VISA debit card allows you instant access to funds in your linked account and can be used anywhere VISA is accepted.

What does SMSF stand for?

Self Managed Super Fund

What is a SMSF?

As the name suggests, it is a super fund, but unlike your traditional super fund, this one puts you in the driver’s seat. It will allow you to have up to 6 members, and all 6 members have control over how the funds are invested.

What type of property investments can my SMSF apply for?

You can invest in new or established residential real estate. The property must be completed, no construction is available under this product.

How do I go about applying for a SMSF Loan?

Once you have your SMSF set up the home loan is easy, the process does not differ greatly from a standard home loan. Once approved and settled you will have easy to use online access to check balances, transfer extra funds into and out of your offset account etc. We also have a dedicated customer service team to also help you out. (and they answer the phone quickly)

How much can I borrow?

Everyone’s circumstances are different so it is best to consult with a home loan specialist to answer this question, but we do offer loans up to a maximum of $2,500,000 and a 80% LVR, but your loan specialist will guide you on interest rates and LVR’s.

Can I build my dream home or can I live in the home I purchase?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer construction loans under the Star Blue SMSF loan, nor can you invest in vacant land. The loan must be on an established dwelling that is producing income so you also can not live in the property.

My SMSF has only just been set up, is that ok?

Yes that’s fine, we will just need a letter from your accountant advising what the ongoing costs of the SMSF will be.

If I am making a purchase is the contract of sale ok to be in my personal name?

If you are making a purchase using your SMSF fund then the you need to ensure that the Bare Trust is noted as the purchaser.

Can I purchase a NDIS property?

Yes this is an option, when speaking with your loan specialist they will be able to guide you on this.

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