It's heartening to see that despite the initial hesitation by the banks to pass on any rate cut, all have now and promised to cut their rates in line with the RBA.

With expectations of a further 0.75% in rate cuts to be made by end of the year, the question now is whether these successive reductions will be passed on to the consumer.

Many lenders have already started talking down the market saying the recent turmoil in the financial markets in the US will inevitably increase funding cost and availability of credit worldwide. The recent shock collapse of Lehman Brothers, the fire-sale of Merrill Lynch and well as the US Federal Reserve's bail out of American Insurance Group is expected to affect the cost and availability of credit worldwide. None of the big lenders are promising to pass on any further rate cuts as they assess the immediate impact of the recent financial crisis.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your mortgage.  It can't hurt to start reassessing your mortgage to see if you can do better than what you currently have. As always, it's a good idea to approach your lender first before you jump ship as refinancing can be very costly. However, if your lender is playing hardball and refuse to pass on the next batch of rate cuts, it may be time to start looking for a better deal. To help you get started on your search, we've revealed the secrets to finding the cheapest home loans on page 20.

Once you've found your ideal loan, you may want to look at ways to get rid of that debt quickly. On page 34, we show you how 'mortgage sweep' could save you around $103,000.

With rates finally coming down, it's only a matter of time before investors are back into the market. If you're thinking of dipping your toes into property investments, read our article on page 62 for a step-by-step guide to help you build a profitable and long-term portfolio.

Finally, find out how three successful first homebuyers have each taken on some of the toughest challenges a new homebuyer could face - and won.

 

It can be confusing to know whether to get a variable rate or fixed rate mortgage, and what features are important. That's why it's important to not only check the right rates, but make sure that you're getting the right features in your home loan. Get help choosing the right home loan