Your guide to a home loan top up (increase)

Getting ready to renovate, buy a car or consolidate debt? If you’ve had your home loan for a while, it’s worth checking to see if there’s equity available in your property – that's the difference between your property’s market value and what you owe on your home loan. Instead of taking out a personal loan or credit card, you could apply to top up your home loan so you don't have extra loans and repayments to manage, and keep it all under the one rate.

3.5 minute read

What’s a home loan top up?

Topping up or increasing your home loan is a way to unlock more funds by borrowing against the equity you've built up on your current property. The amount you can increase your loan by will depend on how much equity you have.

Rather than getting a personal loan or credit card, you could apply to increase your home loan if you have usable equity. This could save you interest in the short term, because the interest rate will almost always be lower for a home loan.

However, you also need to consider the life of the loan, because the longer the loan term, the more interest you’ll pay. Remember that any top up will be subject to our existing lending criteria, and fees and charges.

How top ups work

With a home loan increase, you could either combine your new loan with your existing home loan repayments or keep it separate.

Bundle it with your existing repayments

If you’re renovating, upgrading, or purchasing an investment property, it might be better to combine it with your existing loan. Keep in mind that your repayments will increase, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the new repayments (just so it doesn’t take you by surprise).

Split repayments and keep it separate

If you’re getting the home loan to purchase a vehicle or consolidate debt, you might want to keep the loans separate and split your repayments. It means you can track repayments and set a shorter loan term – allowing you to pay it off sooner.

Get a sense for which option might work better for you and calculate your repayments.

Avoid annual and monthly fees

By increasing your home loan, you can avoid the fees that usually come with a personal loan or credit card. As it’s attached to your existing home loan, there aren’t any additional ongoing fees. However, keep in mind that traditional lending criteria will still apply for a home loan top up.

Is there an application fee?

A one-off application fee may apply, but this depends on your current home loan product and how you would like to set up your repayments.

Will I have to pay for someone to value my property?

Typically, one standard property valuation is provided for free. It’s rare, but if your property is a bit more complex, there may be a fee to cover the excess valuation costs.

Will I have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)?

If you’re borrowing more than 80% of your home loan, then LMI will apply – even if you’ve paid LMI in the past. It might seem like an extra cost, but it may be more cost effective than taking out a personal loan or credit card and you might be able to add it to the loan.

Review your loan at the same time

While you’re increasing your home loan, it’s also a good time to check you’re getting the most out of your product, interest rate, repayments and account features. You might want to refinance your home loan and switch to another product, add an offset account or even change your repayment frequency.

Frequently asked questions

Increasing your home loan is simply increasing the limit on your existing home loan. This means your current product, loan features and conditions won’t change. Refinancing involves switching your loan to another product, which could include different features and conditions.

This depends on how much equity you have, plus your personal situation. Our Home Lending Specialists will be able to chat through your options.

This depends on the new loan terms you've discussed with us and agreed to during the application process for your increase.

Depending on needs and objectives, you might want the current length of your loan to stay the same – meaning your minimum monthly repayment would be higher.

Otherwise, you could apply to extend the life of your loan – meaning your repayments would reduce, but you'd pay more interest over time.

About this article

We take care of all the BS (bank stuff) so you can access the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. When we write a guide or article, we take steps to make sure the information is relevant, accurate and most of all, helpful.

Keep reading

Let us guide you through the steps towards your next property venture.

Wondering about the best way to fund your reno? From redraw to using equity – it depends on the project and your budget.

We're ready to help

Get in touch with a Home Lending Specialist, and they’ll respond within one business day. You can talk on the phone, meet at a branch, or have a Mobile Lending Manager come to you.

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.