3 Top Tips for Buying Your First Home

3-top-tips-for-buying-your-first-home

You’ve budgeted hard, given up loads of smashed avocado brekkies, saved your deposit and are ready to buy your first home. High five!

There’s nothing quite like finally getting a foothold on the property ladder and moving into your very own pad, but it does require planning and research. With our help, you’ll soon be doing a victory dance and posting that exciting Facebook post of you in front of a shiny ‘SOLD’ sign. Here are our quick tips for buying your first home.

1) Talk to us about how much you can borrow

Your home ownership journey begins with a chat with your mortgage broker! There’s no point wasting your life inspecting properties that are outside your price range. We’ll help you determine your borrowing capacity, set your buying budget and explain about applying for the First Home Owner Grant and making the most of any other exemptions and savings you may be able to obtain to help you get started.

The amount you can borrow will depend on the size of your deposit, your savings history, income, expenses and credit history. It’s great if you can save 20 per cent of the purchase price, plus the other costs associated with buying property like stamp duty, legal fees and building and pest inspections. If you can’t save a full 20% deposit, never fear we can work with you to come up with a plan to get you in the market as soon as possible, sometimes we can do so with as little as a 5% deposit.

You may still be able to buy now even if you don’t have a 20% deposit, so talk to us about your plans. If you don’t have a 20% deposit, you may still be able to get a home loan, but you will have to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) which protects the lender against any shortfall if you default on your loan and it has to be sold to repay your debt. Sometimes it’s worth paying LMI if it means you can get on the property ladder sooner, so talk to us and we’ll help you decide if its best to buy now or wait until you’ve saved more.

2) Get on the property ladder sooner rather than later

In most cases, it’s a good thing to jump aboard the real estate train pronto! The sooner you stop wasting money on rent and start making capital gains on your property, the better. But getting into the market sooner rather than later might mean compromising. You might not be able to afford your dream home immediately, but the property you buy may be a stepping stone to greater things. If your desired location is too costly, you may have to consider buying in another suburb, purchasing an apartment or a more modest home, or finding a “renovator’s dream”. Remember, from little things big things grow and you can always trade up in future.

3) Learn how to research the right property to buy

Once you know your price range, you can use it to find prospective properties to inspect and identify areas that you can afford. Location is key, but you also have to factor in affordability. Research the areas and properties you are interested in very thoroughly. Consider the capital growth potential, rental yields and proximity to schools, transport and other amenities – this can be confusing, so if you need help just ask us.

When you find a home you like, research it by arranging building and pest inspections to ensure the property is structurally sound and free of unwanted guests. If the property is going to auction, you will need to do this beforehand.

Buying your first home is exciting, but it’s important to seek professional advice. As your mortgage and finance specialist, our services are free and we’re happy to help you in any way we can, even if you’re not quite ready to buy right now. We’ll help you with your budget and deposit saving plan, guide you through the buying process, ensure your financial goals are taken into consideration, and provide ongoing support in the future. Save yourself time, money and stress by getting in touch with us today!

How to get a bargain when buying a new car

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Have you been driving the same old bomb for donkey’s years? Then perhaps it’s time to improve your image with a new set of wheels!

If you’re worried about the cost of a new car, fear not! With the right kind of finance through mortgage brokers like us, and the right kind of knowledge about how to negotiate a great deal at the end of financial year car sales, you’ll be cruising in style in no time! Here are our 6 steps and tips for making the most of the End of Financial Year (EOFY) car sales.

6 Steps to buying a new car

Pre-arrange your finance

Before you begin shopping for a new car, it’s a good idea to talk to us about how you’ll pay for it. We can provide plenty of finance options besides standard car loans that could help you save money on interest and make your car more affordable. These may include a lease, a personal loan, or accessing the equity in your home. If you’re self-employed, we may be able to work with you and your accountant to find a way to save at tax time on your car purchase. And if the car is for commercial purposes, you may be able to claim a deduction up to the full price of the vehicle (up to $20,000, including GST) before June 30. So please talk to us about your options!

Pre-arranging finance will also help protect you from the hard-sell of dealership salespeople and to give you more negotiating power. Be wary of 0% finance deals, as the repayment terms are often too short for people to afford, and you may end up being shuffled into alternative finance with higher interest rates. Don’t be taken for a ride!

Do your research

Knowing the recommended retail price before you enter the car yard puts you in a better position to negotiate. Price the car online and be sure to approach at least three different dealerships to get a quote. It may work to your advantage to use the best quote to see if you can negotiate a better price from the next dealer you speak with. Researching the car you’re buying thoroughly will also allow you to negotiate with knowledge of the product and perhaps get some additional extras.

Test-drive prospective new cars

Now comes the fun part – test driving your potential new baby. Like speed-dating, you only have a limited amount of time to get to know one another, so make it count. Take the cars out for a spin in a variety of different traffic conditions, and preferably on different terrains.

Consider trading-in your old car

If you don’t need to keep your old car, you may be able to get a further discount by trading it in for the new one. Often however, you can get a better price for your old car if you sell it privately, so go online to do some research about what its worth before you decide to accept an offer from a dealership.

It’s ok to haggle

Car dealers expect people to drive a hard bargain, so don’t be embarrassed about a bit of negotiating. If you’re buying during the EOFY car sales, dealers often discount aggressively to clear stock and the increased competition to secure your business means you’re more likely to walk away with a better bargain if you haggle. Buying at the end of the day may also work in your favour, as dealers may be eager to lock in a final sale before home time.

Hit the road, Jack!

Once you’ve signed all the paperwork, don’t forget to make sure your insurance is in place before you drive out of the dealership. We can help with this too. We hope these tips come in handy when buying your new car. Remember, we can find you car finance with terms that suit your needs and budget. We’ll organise pre-approval, giving you leverage during the negotiation process, and explain your options. Happy car hunting!

Why invest in commercial property?

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Whether you’re a seasoned investor looking for a new opportunity, or you’re after other ways to get your foot on the property ladder, a commercial property investment may be worth considering.

In this article, we explore the reasons why people venture into commercial property investing, and some of the areas to be aware of. And if you do decide to go down the commercial route, we can hook you up with an investment loan that suits your situation and objectives!

What is commercial property?

“Commercial property” tends to conjure up images of dusty industrial warehouses, but it’s a general term that covers all kinds of property that isn’t residential, or is used for some kind of business purpose. That includes everything from offices and retail outlets, to industrial sites and doctor’s surgeries. It can even include car parks!

The benefits of investing in commercial property

Attractive yields

If your focus is on generating income from rents, investing in commercial property may be the way to go. Commercial properties typically return a much higher rental yield than residential properties – usually upwards of 7% return. In comparison, the average residential rental yield across Australia’s capital cities fell to 3.2% in February 2017. (Rental yield percentages are calculated on the amount of rent compared to the cost of the property).

In addition, the costs of owning and managing a commercial property are usually lower, because most of these costs are covered by the tenant.

Potential for targeting growth areas

Commercial property investment often provides the opportunity to capitalise on growth areas, both in terms of location and the business economy. For example, a recent report by Deloitte identified that our future business economy is likely to expand rapidly in the areas of communications technology, hospitals and a wide variety of other health industries, food processing, private schooling and education. Hospitality and tourism are other areas that traditionally enjoy steady growth.

What to watch when investing in commercial property

Potentially lower rates of capital growth

While commercial property often provides more attractive rental yields than residential property, the capital growth potential is often not as strong because the land value of commercial premises is usually not as high. This is not always the case, so if you do your research carefully, you may be able to locate a commercial property investment in a growth location. Often it’s the popular shopping and holiday destinations that provide good capital growth potential for commercial property purchases, but these locations can be expensive and difficult to secure, so do your homework.

Associated costs

Goods and services tax (GST) may apply when you buy a commercial property, so you need to factor in an extra 10% of the purchase price when you buy. Properties used in the running of a business are also subject to capital gains tax when you sell.

Additionally, some lenders require a higher deposit for a commercial property investment – 30% instead of the usual 20% recommended for a residential property purchase. But this requirement differs from lender to lender and often depends on the value of the property you want to purchase. To find out more about how much deposit you may require, call us for a chat and we’ll be happy to help you crunch the numbers.

How we can help

If you decide to invest in commercial property, it’s important to have professional advice from your mortgage and finance broker and check with your accountant about the tax implications before you begin. We’re here to help you structure your loan the right way and do all the legwork to help you obtain finance to suit your current financial circumstances and future goals. There’s so much more to know and understand if you’re interested in buying a commercial property, so please get in touch today!

Sources: www.corelogic.com.au/resources, www2.deloitte.com/content/, www.ato.gov.au/Business/GST/

Why it pays to refinance an unhealthy home loan

Today’s mortgage market is extremely competitive. With so many new deals and loan features constantly becoming available, it makes sense financially to regularly give your home loan a health check. That way, you’ll be confident your mortgage is satisfying your needs and living up to expectations.

If you do suspect your home loan is in bad shape, don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ll perform a home loan check-up for you and find you a healthy alternative if necessary. Here’s why refinancing every 2 to 4 years may be just what the doctor ordered.

Circumstances change

Over time, your financial situation may change and a mortgage that was a healthy choice several years ago, may be ailing today. It might lack the features and flexibility you need, or you may be paying for features you’re not using. Perhaps you’d like to access the equity in your property to renovate or invest, or could benefit from refinancing to consolidate multiple debts into your home loan to save on interest. You may have changed jobs and have more or less disposable income. Refinancing at least every 2 to 4 years gives you the peace of mind of knowing your finances are on track and your home loan marries with your current financial circumstances and goals. Allow us to remedy this situation by prescribing a tailored home loan that works for you in the long-run!

New opportunities

The finance and mortgage industry is constantly evolving, with new deals, packages and home loan features continually becoming available. By shopping around every 2 to 4 years, you may find a more competitive interest rate that cuts your repayments and potentially saves you thousands – money that would otherwise have been lost in an inefficient loan. As your mortgage and finance broker, we’ll take a holistic approach to your home loan needs, and advise you about features such as offset accounts or redraw facilities that could help keep your finances in tip-top shape.

To grow your wealth

It pays to keep a healthy attitude toward your finances. Reviewing your mortgage regularly keeps you focused about where you’re at financially and where you’d like to be. It may open your eyes to new strategies to proactively build your wealth and expand your investment portfolio. Refinancing can also allow you to access the equity in your home to invest, renovate, go on holiday or use as you see fit.

If you suspect it might be time for your current home loan to meet its maker, please get in touch! We’ll give your home loan a thorough check-up – minus the stethoscope – and find you a healthier alternative if necessary. While we are specialists at what we do, there are no hefty consultation fees involved – your home loan health check is a free service. Call us, your helpful “mortgage medics”!

auctions

3 Auction Strategies That Really Work

There’s nothing quite like attending your first auction and seeing the characters at play – the charismatic auctioneer with the overpriced suit and the Hollywood smile, the throng of sticky-palmed bidders and nosy neighbours waiting in anticipation, the stressed-out vendors hiding in the shadows.

The experience can be exhilarating and exciting, but it can also be frustrating and disappointing if you miss out on your dream property after months of looking for the right one. That’s why it’s a great idea to organise your finance through trusted mortgage and finance brokers like us, prior to the auction. And if you’re still on your auction L-Plates, fret not. Here are 3 tried-and-true auction strategies that really work.

1) Adhere to the Scout Motto: Be Prepared!
Before you begin bidding, it’s important that you do your homework. If you’re a first home buyer or new to the auction scene, visit plenty of auctions and familiarise yourself with the process. That way, when you go to bid on your dream home, you’ll feel confident and ready. Above all, research your market and the property you wish to purchase thoroughly.

It’s crucial to have a solid understanding of your financial position and budget before the auction. Talk to us and we’ll help you work out your maximum borrowing capacity, help ensure your deposit is ready and arrange pre-approval through your lender of choice. Having this document on hand, which verifies how much a lender is willing to lend you, will give real estate agents and vendors confidence that you’re a serious buyer.

Lastly, when you decide the property you’ve chosen is the right one for you, it’s important to perform your due diligence. Undertake all building and pest inspections before the auction. Have your solicitor review the contract and make amendments, such as a longer settlement period, if needed.

2) Ooze confidence
An auction is like a game of poker – each player has different cards to play, but they’re all in it to win. In order to be successful, you need a strategy and you need to act it out with conviction. Devise a plan beforehand and stick to it.

When you begin bidding at the auction, you must radiate confidence so you don’t get elbowed aside by the other bidders. The competition will be looking for any sign of weakness, and you must not show your nerves. Even if you’re trembling like a jellyfish inside, it’s all about smoke and mirrors. Be aware of your body language. Position yourself at the centre of the bidders, stand tall, and make decisive movements.

3) Be brave, be bold
When the bidding begins, your best bet at scaring off the competition is to hit back with assertive bids. Come in with a solid early bid if possible. Your competition may be taken by surprise and lose their nerve.

You need to give the impression that your wallet is bottomless, while still making bids within the scope of your buying capacity. After every bid, come back immediately with your counter-bid. Do not hesitate. Remain in control, even if your heart is in your mouth, and with a bit of luck you will blow the competition out of the water.

Mistakes to avoid
Experts recommend against waiting until the very end of the auction to bid. Go in strong from the beginning instead, even if that means making the first bid. Don’t rely on your own instincts throughout the auction process, but rather, carefully consider any advice the agent has provided, particularly relating to the reserve price. Avoid asking whether the property is “on the market yet” in the middle of an auction, as this may irritate the vendor and discourage them from negotiating with you if the property is passed in at auction. And remember, if it all seems too daunting, you can nominate a phone bidder to bid on your behalf.

Being confident and relaxed is an important part of being successful at an auction. It really helps to be sure of your financial position and your budget before you raise your hand for your first auction bid, and that’s where we can help. As your trusted mortgage and finance broker, we can help you determine your buying capacity and the kind of home loan products that may be right for you, make sure your deposit is ready to go and arrange pre-approval with your lender of choice. Please get in touch today.

Common mistakes that property investors make

Common mistakes that property investors make

Property investment has always been popular in Australia. However, like all forms of investment, there are loads of variables involved and it’s easy to make expensive mistakes. Building wealth through property investment can be a lot of work – particularly if you’re new to property investment and are not aware of exactly what’s required. In this article, we outline some of the common mistakes made by first time property investors so you can plan ahead to avoid them.

Not doing your homework
Many people make the mistake of buying a property simply because they like it, or think it is a bargain. But not every property makes a good investment. When you find a property that you might like to purchase, it is very important that you do your research to ensure it will give you the return on your investment that you will need. Ask yourself these questions, and importantly, take the time to research the answers carefully:

• Will it be easy to find tenants/will the property be in high demand?
• What rental income can I expect?
• Does the property have strong capital growth potential? Is it in a growth suburb?
• Am I paying the right price? How long will I have to hold the property before I can make a profit by selling it?

Not factoring in all of the costs
Cash-flow is a very important factor when you plan to invest in property – and it’s the area where many first-time investors come undone. It’s not only important to factor in all the costs of buying the property, you must also factor in all the costs of running the investment and maintaining it from the outset.

When you research the rental income you can expect from a property, you will first need to know exactly how much rental income you will need to cover the costs of holding it. The actual costs will vary from property to property – if you purchase a new home, for example, you will not need to factor in much by way of maintenance costs at first. But if you purchase an older property, you will need to make an estimate of what work is going to be needed and when, and how much this will cost and factor that into the budget.

Ask yourself these questions:
• Will the rental income be enough to cover the costs of a property manager, advertising for tenants, regular general maintenance, council rates, building insurance and landlord’s insurance?
• How will I cover the costs of large repairs – say if the hot water system needs replacing quickly?
• How will I cover the costs when the property is untenanted and there is no rental income? How long is the average vacancy time in this area? How long will I have to budget for?

Not getting the property management right
A property manager is the liaison between you as the landlord, and your tenant. First time investors often believe that managing their own property will save them money. However, it should be remembered that your property management costs are usually tax deductible and few people have the skills to not only find tenants quickly, but choose the right ones.

Property managers find your tenants, vet them by performing credit checks and then collect the rent every month. They deal with tenant requests, organise regular maintenance and pursue action when disputes arise. They keep track of rents in your area and make sure your rent keeps pace with the market.

In short, a good property manager will help you maximise the return on your investment and save you from many sleepless nights. However, some property managers are better than others, and fees vary. You should carefully research your property manager before engaging them – ask around, check references and make sure they have the resources to do a good job. If you need help with this, ask us for a referral.

Not talking to a tax professional
Did you know that you should obtain a depreciation schedule as soon as you purchase the investment property, preferably at settlement? Not many people do. It’s a document that helps your accountant determine how much you can claim back on tax each year.

One of the major mistakes people make with investment property is not planning ahead to make the most of their tax deductions. In order to ensure you understand what you can and cannot claim, you need to talk to a tax professional and/or accountant early on in the process. Getting it right will help to ensure you come out ahead and enjoy substantial savings. Getting it wrong will cost you money you may never get back. We have many expert contacts in this area so if you need a quality referral to an accountant, please get in touch.

Getting the finance wrong
Before you commence your property investment journey, it is wise to make a plan about what you want to achieve – your financial goals for the future. We recommend you sit down and talk to us about getting the right financing to achieve these goals. Taking a haphazard approach to financing your first, and then subsequent investments, could cost you more money, limit the amount of investment properties you can acquire and even be a recipe for disaster if something goes wrong.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to formulate a plan before you begin, and talk to us about your financing before you even consider making a property purchase. We will help you set up the financing arrangement that is most advantageous to you – considering your goals and your personal financial circumstances.

If you’re thinking about making a property investment, why not talk to us? We are happy to take the time to discuss your plans, get you pre-approval for your financing and introduce you to a team of other professionals who can help you to avoid these expensive mistakes above! Give us a call – we’re here to help.