Interest Only or Principal and Interest when buying your first home?



What I am referring to here is the repayment option you have on your home loan.  I am a huge advocate for choosing interest only loans for both the loan on the home you live in as well as any investment loans you might have.  The main reason for this is choice.  I want to be able to make the decision on whether I am going to make the minimum repayment, being the interest component to manage my cash flow, or, when appropriate, make principle reductions by making payments into the loan, but more wisely, into an offset account  if I have surplus funds available.

Selecting an interest only loan on your own home can be a very smart choice when planning for the future.  Let’s take the scenario of someone purchasing their first home to live in.  Now we grow up believing the right thing to do is pay off the loan as quickly as we can.  I’m certainly not against the idea of reducing debt, but let’s explore if we can be a bit smarter in the way we approach managing our debt on an owner occupied home.

Being the first purchase it is likely not to be the home you live in forever, and many of us would look at changing homes in the short to medium term.  When the time comes to move on it would be great to have the option of keeping this first home as an investment if it suited your circumstances.  If you had set up an interest only loan when you first purchased the property, it would be a benefit to you as you wouldn’t have eroded your tax deductable debt.

Let’s say when you purchased this home you took a loan for $300,000, and you decided to move out and convert the property to an investment in 3 years’ time.  If the loan was interest only then after 3 years you would still owe $300,000.  If the loan was principal and interest you may have reduced the debt down to $280,000, depending on the interest rate you had and your repayment cycle.  So you can see that the principal and interest loan has eroded $20,000 worth of tax deductable debt.

If you took an interest only loan on this property, there is nothing stopping you building up money in an offset account while you are living there, which saves you interest on your loan, but doesn’t actually reduce your debt.  By choosing this option you are able to save a deposit for the next purchase, get the benefit of the interest savings while living in the home and keep your tax deductable debt as high as possible for when the conversion to an investment property takes place.

Understanding this strategy and planning ahead will see you positioning yourself the best way you can for a great start into the property investing world.

Happy Investing

Garry Harvey – The Property Guy

With interest rates at their lowest for more than 50 years, there are some great rates available. The best thing to do is to compare rates from all the lenders. Let us help take the leg work out of doing this - Compare Home Loans now

Back in 2000, Garry Harvey was a 26-year-old Victorian looking to buy his first home. Now, still shy of his 40th birthday, YIP’s runner-up for Investor of the Year 2012 has amassed a diverse portfolio of 39 properties that return more than $500,000 a year in rental income and have given him $2.75million in equity to work with. Garry is a fan of buying in bulk, and he has made the most of a strategy centred on subdividing blocks of units.

Top Suburbs : dulwich hill , coorparoo , ropes crossing , windale , darlington

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  • Ricky says on 22/07/2013 10:36:05 PM

    A really great idea, my question would be if i have a interest only loan and my after expenses left a positive $X pw on a investment property what obstacles would one possible deal with from the likes of Centrelink or the ATO - would they see this as a profit of $X and if this X would be the normal principle repayment on a interest+principle based loan would this be then seen as a break even normally. Looking for a point of comparison


  • Lesley says on 03/09/2014 05:48:43 PM

    My bank just told me I can't have interest only on my home. Can only do on investment property. ???

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