News and Blog

News and Blog

Auction by Phone

Apr 10th, 2018 • Industry NewsHome Loans

Why bid at an auction by telephone?

There are many reasons why you may prefer to bid at an auction by phone, rather than attending in person. These may include:

Geography: You may want to bid on a property that is rural or located interstate. Or you may want to bid at several auctions being held on the same day and can’t attend them all in person. If that’s the case, you may be better off organising someone to be there for you and work with them over the phone.

Nerves or inexperience with bidding: A lot of people feel nervous about bidding for themselves – it’s a normal reaction. It’s also normal to feel intimidated by other bidders, particularly if you’ve come face-to-face with some competitive types! Bidding over the phone can help you remain objective by keeping the excitement of the situation at arm’s length.

Avoid overspending: It’s easy to get carried away by the excitement at an auction and bid above your budget. If it’s a property you really want, it’s hard to stop adding another thousand when the object of your desires is only a few meters away – that’s why they often hold auctions at the property’s front door! It’s easier to stay in control if you place your bids remotely, because you can give your bidder an absolute spending limit.

What are the pros and cons?

Auctions can be loud and stressful, and bidding by phone can take a lot of the anxiety out of the experience. When the auctioneer starts spruiking and the crowd gathers, you won’t be distracted as you try to sort the sticky-beaks from the serious bidders. You’re more likely to remain calm on the other end of the phone, and go about things in a business-like fashion.

By the same token, not being able to see the other bidders can be a disadvantage, as you won’t be able to read their body language and gauge the competition. That’s where communication with your stand-in is essential! You may even like to use Skype, FaceTime or a similar app, so that you can “see” the competition during the auction.

How do you go about organising it?

The first step is to check that phone bids are accepted by the auctioneer, agent and vendor. If they are, you’ll most likely have to register and fill out a form beforehand nominating a stand-in to bid on your behalf. Then it’s simply a matter of nominating someone to bid for you. You may also like to organise your solicitor to be available in the event that yours is the winning bid.

What happens if the property is passed in and you want to negotiate?

If the bids do not meet the seller’s reserve, the property may be passed in or withdrawn from auction. If you are the highest bidder, you’ll have first dibs on negotiating with the seller. Your agent or contact on the other end can do this for you whilst you’re still on the phone, or can pass over the phone to the auctioneer or seller so you can speak with them directly.

How do you pay the deposit and sign on the dotted line if you succeed? When you fill out the paperwork to nominate your stand-in, you can specify how you’ll pay the deposit on the day if successful (usually 10 per cent of the purchase price). You can authorise the agent or auctioneer to complete a signed blank check, provide a signed bank cheque for 10 per cent of your maximum bid, authorise the stand-in to pay the deposit on your behalf, or transfer the money into the agent’s trust account.

In terms of the sale contract, you can nominate the authorised bidder or auctioneer to sign on your behalf. Alternatively, you may like to be present and go along to sign once the phone bidding is over, or tee up your solicitor to represent you beforehand.

Bidding at auction by phone could be a less stressful way of securing your dream home or investment property. It can also be more convenient if you’re not close by. Remember, organising pre-approval on a loan before the auction is vital, so please get in touch. With any luck, you’ll hear those magical words on the big day – “sold to the bidder on the phone!”
 

ThisThis article provides general information and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or loan product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loan applications are subject to lenders’ terms and conditions, and eligibility criteria. Lender fees and charges will apply.


6 Ways to Increase your Home’s Selling Price

Apr 9th, 2018 • Industry NewsHome Loans

Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything. When it comes to renovating with resale in mind, you want your home to have that ‘wow’ factor as soon as buyers see it. Consider the view from the street – the front façade, fence, garden, windows, roof and driveway. Spruce them up and make them work together to add charm.

Kitchen

Renovating the kitchen is one of the most effective ways to add value to a property. Many buyers like the idea of having the kitchen done for them, so that they can just move in and enjoy it. If you have a larger budget, you might like to opt for a custom-made kitchen that’s made-to-order to suit the home. Alternatively, there are some great modular kitchens available at reasonable prices. New cabinetry, appliances, benchtops, and a striking splashback will do wonders for your home’s sale price.

Bathroom

Renovating bathrooms with modern fixtures and fittings can also drive up the value of a property. If your bathroom is passable but just needs some love, you could simply respray the tiles, fixtures and fittings, rather than redoing the whole lot. Another idea is to redo the tiling yourself, and update only the fixtures that need replacing, whether it’s the bathtub and vanity, or basins and shower screen. If you only have one bathroom, consider adding extra bathrooms to your property, as this can boost a property’s value.

Flooring

Installing new flooring can make a big difference to the appeal of your home, and therefore its value. There are plenty of great budget flooring options out there that look attractive. Vinyl planks and laminate flooring for example, are both popular, durable, budget-friendly products that you can install yourself. When choosing your flooring, remember your target audience. If your market is a family or property investor, wall-to-wall carpets may not be the best option. Remember the golden rule, minimal expenditure, maximum return.

Paint

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to transform a property! A 1960’s home with retro mustard wallpaper can look instantly modernised and refreshed with a new lick of paint. Best of all, a paint job can be relatively inexpensive, particularly if you do the painting yourself. If you want to give your property a lift and appeal to the majority of buyers, be sure to go for a neutral colour scheme that won’t date quickly.

Additional bedrooms

If the space allows, adding more bedrooms to your property is another way to increase its value. While you may be up for a sizeable outlay in the tens of thousands, the financial rewards come sale time can also be big (in some cases, several hundreds of thousands). Remember, properties are typically valued based on land size and the number of bedrooms – the first, you can’t change, but the second you can. If you need help with finance for major structural renovations, speak to us about your options.

If you’re looking to renovate to boost your property’s value, remember - careful budgeting and planning is key. We’re here to help with that, as well as to help you work out the right option to finance your renovations. You may be able to refinance your home loan to access equity to complete the project. Alternatively, we can walk you through the other finance options available to you, depending on your financial circumstances and goals. Please get in touch and we’ll help you get the transformation under way!

This article provides general information and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or loan product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loan applications are subject to lenders’ terms and conditions, and eligibility criteria. Lender fees and charges will apply.


Property Investment

Apr 6th, 2018 • Industry NewsInvestments

Negative gearing

Put simply, negative gearing is when the costs of owning a property - like the interest repayments, rates and maintenance costs - exceed the income you receive. Say you earn $25,000 in rental income and your expenses add up to $35,000, the property would be negatively geared to the tune of $10,000. This could potentially provide a significant tax break, which is why negative gearing is a popular strategy with property investors.

Positive gearing

As you may have guessed, positive gearing is the opposite of negative gearing. It’s when the income you make on a property is greater than the expenses. This could provide you with an income, however it should be noted that you will most likely be required to pay tax on this income. Another term for this is ‘cash-flow positive’.

Depreciation

‘Depreciation’ is a term used to describe the decrease in value of an asset over time. With a property investment, it includes items like stoves, carpets and hot water heaters. Each of these items depreciates a little bit each year according to a Depreciation Schedule you have drawn up by a Quantity Surveyor, and these amounts may potentially be claimed back as a tax deduction.

Capital gains

A capital gain is the amount by which the property increases in value, relative to what you paid for it. A capital gain is usually realised when you sell the property. However, if your property goes up in value, you can often borrow against the capital gain (also known as accessing your equity) by asking a lender to value the property and refinance your loan.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax is the tax you pay when you sell an investment property that has gone up in value since you purchased it. You need to report capital gains (and losses) in your income tax return.

Equity

Equity is the proportion of the property that you own. So, if the property’s worth $600,000 and you owe the bank $100,000, you have $500,000 in equity. Equity can be used in a variety of ways, for example you can potentially borrow against it to buy additional properties or fund renovations.

Rental yield

The rental yield refers to the money your tenants pay you. Rental yield is calculated as a percentage of the property’s value. You can calculate the gross rental yield by multiplying the weekly rent by 52 weeks, divided by the property’s value.

LVR

LVR stands for loan-to-value ratio. Essentially, it’s the percentage of money you borrow for a loan, compared to the value of the property. Lenders generally like to keep the LVR within 80% - so you would need a 20% deposit. If you don’t have a 20% deposit, you will be subject to lenders’ mortgage insurance which protects the lender if you default on the loan. This can be expensive.

We hope you’re feeling more comfortable with the lingo now! Our role as your mortgage broker is to advise you how to structure your finance according to your property investment strategy, and find you the right investment loan for your specific financial circumstances and goals. So, if you’re thinking about making a property investment, please call us today!

This article provides general information and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or loan product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loan applications are subject to lenders’ terms and conditions, and eligibility criteria. Lender fees and charges will apply.


Rates On Hold 1.5%

Apr 3rd, 2018 • Industry News

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

Cut Your Expenses and Increase Your Savings

Mar 29th, 2018 • Industry News

Top Ways to Cut your Expenses and Increase your savings

Call an Expert Broker

Mar 27th, 2018 • Industry News

When Time is of the Essence, Call an Expert

10 Great Ideas for your Easter Celebrations

Mar 14th, 2018 • Industry News

Dye your own eggs

Dyeing and decorating eggs is a great way to get into the spirit of Easter, particularly if you have children. It’s super easy and fun! Simply boil up some eggs then make the colouring. Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 20 drops of food colouring in 1 cup of hot water. For different colouring effects, leave the eggs submerged for different amounts of time. Get creative with glitter, stickers and multiple colours, and let the good times roll!

Easter egg hunt

Easter egg hunts conjure up fond childhood memories for many of us, so why not celebrate this year with an egg hunt in your backyard? You could even go all out and make it a clue-based Easter egg hunt if your players are a little older. If you’re looking for an egg hunt on a bigger scale, check out your local entertainment guides or newspapers. There may be community events such as this Easter egg hunt and family picnic in Melbourne.

Easter brunch for the adults

Another idea is to host a lavish Easter brunch and invite your nearest and dearest. There are plenty of great Easter recipes online, for example, this lamb recipe with caramelised onion and carrots sounds divine. If you’re looking for a dessert to ‘wow’ your guests, try making this hot cross bun and rhubarb cheesecake. It’s positively decadent!

Volunteer

Taking part in a feel-good activity like volunteering is be a wonderful way to celebrate Easter. You could help in a soup kitchen or lend a hand at your local opportunity shop. Retirement villages often need volunteers to chat to the elderly and keep them company. For inspiration, check out the volunteer opportunities on GoVolunteer. There are heaps of options, from becoming a volunteer tutor to refugee high school students to doing some light gardening in an aged care facility. You may even be able to find a volunteer activity for the whole family!

Real story of Easter

If Easter has religious significance for you, you may like to share the story of Easter with the kids. You could curl up on the couch as a family and watch biblical moves, or check whether your local church has any special Easter services or displays.

Host an Easter hat parade

New clothes, or a new hat at Easter is an ancient tradition, but these days it’s the realm of little kids who love getting crafty and dressing up. Celebrate both tradition old and new, by hosting an Easter hat parade! Invite all your kids’ friends to put their creative thinking caps on and bring their Easter hats to the party. Prizes for originality are a must.

Bake an Easter bunny cake

If you love seeing the ubiquitous Easter bunny at this time of year, why not bring him into your home as well? You could bake an Easter bunny cake and enlist the help of your kids. If cooking isn’t your strong point, here’s a great recipe for an Easter bunny cake, complete with a how-to video.

Make Easter basket gifts

Making an Easter basket is another fun activity to do with the kids. Why not move away from traditional baskets and go for a non-conventional design? You could use a glass jar and turn it into a terrarium filled with Easter eggs and decorations. Alternatively, transform an old watering can into an eye-catching Easter “basket” by getting creative with some ribbon. Check out this slide show for inspiration.

Make Easter cards

Put the kids to work making Easter cards for family and friends. It’ll keep them busy and the recipients will love receiving a handmade gift from a child in the mail. Cut up last year’s cards or collect Easter-themed cut-outs from junk mail advertisements. Discount stores usually stock a treasure trove of creative bits and pieces for this kind of activity.

Have a toy exchange

Recycle and spoil the kids at the same time by hosting a toy exchange or swap party! Go through your little one’s belongings and purge any unwanted items (you may have to do this when they’re not around). Invite other mums to do the same. You could make it fun by giving the kids “tokens” to redeem for new toys. Anything that’s left over at the end could go to your local charity shop.

We hope you find these Easter celebration ideas handy! We’d like to wish you and your family all the best for the Easter Holidays. Remember to give us a call if you need support for your Autumn property purchasing plans, once the break is over. We’d love to hear from you.

Office Buildings – Are they a Good Investment?

Mar 13th, 2018 • Industry News

The pros of commercial property investment

Commercial property investing can offer significant cash flow benefits. Some commercial properties offer rental returns of more than 8 per cent, compared to the current median rental yield across the combined capital cities of 3.32 per cent (based on CoreLogic data). What’s more, commercial properties usually offer greater rental certainty due to the long-term nature of leases. Commercial leases often run for between three and 10 years, and agreements usually contain a term for set rental increases in line with inflation.

With commercial properties, there are also fewer ongoing expenses involved. Tenants usually cover most maintenance, rates, insurance and body corporate fees, unlike with a residential property, where the owner foots the bills. Another perk is that if the tenant puts in a new fit-out at their own expense, the improvements may increase the value of your property without it costing you a cent.

The cons of commercial property investment

It can sometimes be difficult to find new tenants for commercial properties, so as an owner, it’s important to be prepared to cover the expenses if the property is untenanted for an extended period.

Economic factors can also heavily impact on the health of a commercial property investment. For example, economic downturns, high unemployment or poor business confidence could affect demand. That being said, research and choosing the right commercial property in the right location can usually mitigate these risks, just like with residential property.

What should you research? As with any property purchase, research is key to finding the right investment opportunity. Be sure to research local prices and market conditions, any council restrictions or zoning regulations that could affect your investment, and upcoming infrastructure developments.

In terms of location, think about the property attributes your tenant might desire. Is it in close proximity to transport hubs? Car parking? Perhaps it’s close to other complimentary businesses? Always remember the rules of supply and demand – it’s best to make sure there isn’t an oversupply of similar properties in the neighbourhood.

What are the benefits of choosing an office for first-time commercial property investors?

Office buildings may offer a less daunting entry point into commercial property investing for first-timers because of the strong demand at present. According to the Colliers International Office Demand Index (Quarter Four, 2017), Australia’s major office markets are set for a strong start to 2018, on the back of increased demand and activity in 2017.

Colliers measures demand in terms of demand and supply per square meter. In the final quarter of last year, office property markets nationally recorded a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in enquiries (demand), from 415,737sqm in the last quarter of 2016, to 492,947sqm in the final quarter of 2017. Increases were seen across all segments of the market and overall, there were 942 deals for 785,252sqm of office space in 2017. Ask us for a copy of the report if you are interested!

For some investors, buying commercial property such as an office can be a sound investment strategy. If you already own residential investments, expanding into commercial property investment may allow you to diversify your portfolio and generate an attractive income. If you’d like to find out more about your finance options, please speak to us. Commercial property finance can be more complex than residential finance, but we can walk you through the process and find a commercial property loan that ties in with your unique financial circumstances and goals. Please talk to us today.

Source: Colliers International Office Demand Index (Quarter Four, 2017)
www.corelogic.com.au

This article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loans are subject to lenders terms and conditions – fees, charges and eligibility criteria apply.


Fixed Interest vs Variable Home Loans in 2018

Mar 9th, 2018 • Industry News

Are interest rates at their lowest and will they go up?

The official cash rate, as set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), is what traditionally determines the base rate lenders use to set their home or investment loan interest rates. It has been at an historic low of 1.5 per cent since August 2016 and many experts are predicting it to remain steady throughout 2018. Tim Lawless, the head of research at property data analytics group CoreLogic, said the RBA would likely keep interest rates on hold during 2018, with an interest rate drop unlikely.

At this point, it would seem interest rates are indeed at their lowest. So, does this mean a fixed rate product would be a better option than a variable home loan? It could be, but not necessarily!

Pros and cons of fixed interest rates

With a fixed rate home loan, you can lock your interest rate in for a set period (usually 1 to 5 years). The advantages are that you can anticipate exactly what your repayments will be, and budget accordingly. Refinancing to a fixed rate mortgage may also be worthwhile if you are on a tight budget and need certainty about the cost of your repayments. You may pay a bit more in interest in the long run, but it could be worth it for the peace of mind.

The disadvantages of fixing your home loan? Fixed rate loans usually, but not always, have a higher interest rate and cost more than variable rate home loans. So, unless interest rates go up beyond what you’re paying at your fixed rate during your fixed period, you won’t make any savings compared to a variable rate loan. If there are interest rate drops, you won’t get the additional savings as you would if you had a variable rate loan.

There may also be limitations on making extra repayments on a fixed rate loan. In some instances, you may still be able to make extra repayments to pay the loan down quicker, but they may be capped at a low amount or there could be fees involved. Sometimes, redraw facilities may not be permitted on fixed rate loans, and there could be break fees if you refinance or pay off the loan within the fixed rate period.

Pros and cons of variable interest rates

Variable rate home loans usually have slightly lower interest rates than fixed rate home loans (but again, not always – it pays to ask us to shop around). If interest rates fall, your rate will usually fall too, as they tend to move with changes to market interest rates. Often, you can make extra repayments with variable rate home loans, allowing you to pay down your mortgage faster and potentially save money on interest. You can also access a range of handy features with variable loans, such as offset accounts or redraw facilities.

The disadvantage of variable rate home loans is that if interest rates rise, yours will too – but as Tim Lawless from CoreLogic says, that’s unlikely to happen in 2018. Budgeting can also be trickier, as your repayments will fluctuate if interest rates do change.

Another option – split your home loan

If you want to hedge your bets, you could consider a split rate mortgage. This is where you fix part of the home loan, while the rest is variable. In this way, you can mitigate some of the risks of interest rate rises while benefiting from useful features and extra repayment options. If you’d like to know more, talk to us and we’ll explain whether a split mortgage could be beneficial to you.

Call us before you decide

“Should I switch to a fixed rate home loan?” is one of the most common questions we receive from customers. It all comes down to your personal financial circumstances and what works for you – it’s not just about beating interest rate rises. If you’ve had the same home loan for a while or your fixed term is coming to an end, refinancing to a different loan product or lender may be worthwhile in any case. Speak to us and we’ll explain your options. We may be able to find you a better interest rate, or different loan features that could help you save money. Talk to us about your financial situation and we’ll help you decide what move is right for you!

Source: www.corelogic.com.au

This article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loans are subject to lenders terms and conditions – fees, charges and eligibility criteria apply.


Rates On Hold

Mar 6th, 2018 • Industry News