How to Spot a Good Fixer-Upper
Buying to renovate and sell can be a lucrative investment strategy, allowing investors to potentially make a fast profit with minimal effort and expense. However, the key is to find the right fixer-upper – one that gives you a maximum increase in value for minimal expenditure. Cha-ching!

As your mortgage and finance broker, we love to pass on juicy tips that ultimately help you to use your property investment dollars wisely. So, how do you spot that diamond in the rough that will become your renovation goldmine? Well, it takes a good deal of detective work, a resourceful imagination and some logical reasoning when it comes to renovation spending. Right, time to channel Sherlock, folks!

Step 1: Narrow down your leads

Finding the right location is paramount for any property purchase. The aim is to target run-down properties in suburbs with solid growth potential. Ultimately, the property should be close to amenities such as schools, shops and public transport, but not so close to the train line that the front door rattles all night long!

If you’re buying for investment purposes, always remember your end-goal, which is to sell post-renovation. Research what’s in high demand in areas you’re interested in, as well as the value of renovated properties in the suburb. Searching for phrases like “renovator’s dream” and “deceased estates” in real estate advertisements will narrow down your options.

Step 2: Follow the clues and do your detective work

When you find a potential fixer-upper, you need to quickly develop a keen eye for detail. Research the neighbourhood thoroughly and investigate any external issues that could affect your investment. Is the area flood-prone? Is there a high crime rate that could impact upon liveability? Is there noise pollution? Lastly, consider any legal or heritage restrictions that could put a dampener on your renovation goals.

Once you have ruled out potential external glitches, it’s time to concentrate on the finer details and test out your powers of observation. Is the structure sound and are the roof, walls, doors and windows in good condition? Are the foundations strong? Are there any issues with the electrics and plumbing of the property? The last thing you want is to be paying through the roof for non-cosmetic upgrades. It’s a good idea to invest in a pre-purchase building inspection and study it with your trusty magnifying glass.

Step 3: Consider different scenarios and mastermind your makeover

Warning: this may require a good deal of imagination! Being able to overlook retro linoleum floors and garish wallpaper can be tricky, but keep in mind the golden rule of renovation: minimal effort, maximum returns. Cosmetic enhancements that will drive up the value of the property are what you want. Flaky paint, scruffy carpets, old cupboards and dated bathroom fixtures can all be upgraded with minimal effort and cost. Many experts recommend seeking out properties with older bathrooms and kitchens that can easily be renovated.

Also, it’s a good idea to consider the layout and convertibility of the property. Can you add value by playing with the dimensions? Can you knock down walls to create a more open-plan living space, or add walls to create new rooms? Can a puny window be transformed into a spectacular natural light portal? How could you revamp the garden?

A good sleuth knows when to trust their instincts, and if your gut is telling you you’ve found your fixer-upper, it’s time to speak to a reputable mortgage and finance broker like us about how to finance your property purchase and renovations.

Step 3: Close the case

Our final tip is to make sure you stay within budget once you’ve found your renovator’s dream. Don’t overspend on improvements, but don’t skimp on quality either. Spend time and money on renovations that will give you the best return on investment and make the property stand out to prospective buyers.

We hope you’ve found these tips for spotting a good fixer-upper handy. We can provide expert advice about obtaining finance for your property investments and renovations. We’ll analyse the thousands of home loan products out there and test them under our microscope to ensure they measure up. Please get in touch with our team today.

 

 

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the break and Santa was kind to you and your family this Christmas. Are you ready for another fantastic year in our property markets?

As the Reserve Bank of Australia will not meet until the first Tuesday in February for its initial rate meeting for 2017, there is no change to the official cash rate to report this month. However, whilst some analysts are speculating there may be another cash rate cut as early as next month, they are also suggesting there is little reason to expect the cut will be passed on to consumers by many lenders.

This is because lender’s rates are also linked to their actual costs, rather than RBA movements alone. In November and December of 2016, many lenders adjusted rates upwards slightly, particularly on fixed interest rate loans, with several more following in January. We can expect lenders to continue with this approach to rates in 2017 as they respond to global financial market movements and trends, as well as local conditions.

As expected for this time of year, activity in our property markets has slowed to a near standstill as people take time out to enjoy the holidays and fantastic summer weather with family and friends. For the week ending December 25, there were just 97 auctions in Victoria with a clearance rate of 74%, 89 in NSW with a clearance rate of 80%, 37 in SA with a clearance rate of 78% and in QLD 36 auctions with a clearance rate of 47%. Our smaller markets showed even less activity, with just 13 auctions in WA showing a clearance rate of about 80%, 14 auctions in ACT with a clearance rate of 90%, and just 1 auction in NT and 3 in Tasmania with no sales.

In contrast to this huge reduction in property market activity, home values continued to rise in many markets during December. In Sydney, home values increased by .91%, Melbourne 3.14%, Brisbane/Gold Coast .60%, Perth 1.39%, and Hobart 3.31%. Adelaide showed a decline in home values of 2.00% for the month, Canberra .26% and Darwin .10%.

Generally speaking, 2016 was a great year for home owners and property investors in terms of home value increases, with only Perth showing a small decline for the year. All other markets performed well, with Sydney showing the most substantial home value increase for the year at 15.46%, closely followed by Melbourne at 13.86% and Hobart at 11.24%. Home values in Canberra increased by 9.29%, Brisbane/Gold Coast 4.40%, Adelaide 4.23% and Darwin .93%.

With interest rates still very low and looking to remain that way for some time, conditions continue to look good for property buyers in 2017. We’re anticipating a very busy year, with plenty of housing stock available for buyers and good scope for further home value growth for home owners. Now is a great time to see us to talk about your plans and get ready for the year if you may be in the market to make a property purchase, or to get your annual home-loan-health check if you are a home owner, so please give us a call soon.

Enjoy the rest of the summer holidays!

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It’s nearly clearance sale time at car yards across Australia, as car dealerships try to clear last year’s stock. A vehicle may have only been built a few months ago, but as far as the dealer is concerned it’s now a year old.

The good news is you can capitalise on their eagerness to sell, and that makes the start of the 2017 a great time to find a genuinely sharp price for your new car!

But, to snap up a great car deal in the New Year, you need to be prepared. Here are our steps to help you get ready for the New Year car sales and ensure a smooth ride towards owning your new car.

Research

As with all big investments, you need to do your research before you even consider getting behind the wheel for a test drive.

Start by thinking about the make and model you would like. Consider what your plans might be for the next year or so. Will you have another child? Do you need a certain car for your line of work? It’s also worthwhile considering how you will use the car. Do you need good fuel consumption? Will you take it off road?

There are many factors that can influence you towards a certain make or model – car insurance costs, resale value, warranty and more. Being informed can make the process of test drives and getting your finances in place a lot easier and quicker, as you don’t waste time of cars you know don’t suit your needs.

There are loads of resources out there that can tell you about your ideal car. Why don’t you check out the manufacturers’ website, online reviews, or reliability surveys?

Make plans for your old wheels

What you decide to do with your old car is important when we consider how you are going to finance your new car. If you are relying on the funds from the sale or trade-in of your old car, you need to decide on this before we can help you arrange the finance of your new purchase.

Whilst trade-ins are convenient and generally very straight forward, you don’t always get as good a rate as you might should you go down the private sale path. Either way, knowing how much you have to play with from your old car will help get your new car finance in place.

Get your finance sorted

In most instances, you are better off arranging your own finance through a broker, rather than going through the car dealer. Often car dealers will offer you “amazing deals” on the day that may end up costing you more in the long run, so it pays to have your buying power sorted before you head to the car yard. Plus, having your finance pre-approved also gives you a solid bargaining position, should you need it!

There are loads of different ways you can finance a new car. You can:

  • Get a car loan: This is a common, straight forward option that’s great for most people.
  • Take out a lease: A lease differs to a car loan in that the lender retains actual ownership of the car.
  • Use the equity in your home: If you own your home, you could consider refinancing your home loan to use some of your equity to pay cash for a car. Or you could use your redraw facility if you have been overpaying.
  • Get a chattel mortgage: If you have a company, business partnership or are a sole trader, you can use a chattel mortgage to buy a vehicle provided it is primarily used for business purposes.

We can work with you to determine the option that is most suitable for you, then we’ll do all the legwork to get your finances sorted – so you are ready for the test drive!

Test drive before you buy

Once you have your preferred make and model in mind, and you know how much you can afford to spend on the car, you can go ahead and start testing them out.

It’s always a good idea to take someone with you for a second opinion, and if possible, for you choose the test route (rather than the usual one the car salesperson uses). Take your time, test out the various features of the car, and use the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Check the price and inclusions

Whilst it may sound great, look great and drive well – it always pays to shop around. Why not take a look at the same car at a few different dealerships?

It is hard, but try not to get sucked into those ‘one day only specials’ at the car yard, as usually you can get a similar special on another day once you are more informed.

Car dealerships are required to quote in full. Make sure you are being quoted for everything – registration, fees, stamp duty, etc. It’s also worth being aware of any ‘extras’. This can include leather seats, tinted windows, extended warranties, etc. If these are not part of the standard model – they will cost you more!

And then you are done, nearly!

Congratulations, you are a happy owner of a new car. Once you have found the right car, don’t feel pressured to sign anything until you are 100% happy. Check all the paper work, and make sure all the details are correct, to your expectations, and complete. We can help you with this if needed, just give us a call. Finally, before you drive your car out of the yard make sure you have car insurance – imagine having a bingle on the way home from the lot!

If you’re planning on buying a car, talk with us about which option will be most beneficial to your financial circumstances. Just give us a call, we’ll be happy to talk you through all of the car financing options available for you.

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Christmas is just a matter of days away and for many Australians, they’re likely to be the most expensive days of the year.

According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, we’re expected to spend over $48 billion in the lead up to Christmas 2016, so the Christmas shopping frenzy is bound to put a dent in a few credit cards!

Nobody wants to be a scrooge at this time of year, but it doesn’t pay to throw all caution to the wind. Here’s five great tips that can help you apply some damage control to your Christmas spending spree without giving up the simple joy of giving.

1. Make a list and check it twice.

Impulse purchasing is one of the worst spending traps during the Christmas shopping season. And it can be a particular problem if you’re one of those shoppers who just can’t resist buying a present for yourself every time you buy one for someone else. Making a list is a great way to stay focused on buying only what you need. It can also help you avoid the temptation to shower yourself with gifts when you should be waiting to see what Santa brings you first.

Take a sensible approach by making a list of everyone you need to buy a present for and putting a budget for the gift next to each person. It may be a good idea to download a budgeting app like TrackMySpend from ASIC’s MoneySmart website or Christmas Gift List from Google Play. These apps will help you keep track of the gifts you’ve bought, how much you’ve spent and how much you have left in your budget for further purchases.

2. Online shopping is not naughty, but nice.

With your carefully prepared list in hand, it’s time to hit the shops, right? Not necessarily. Visiting the stores makes it much more difficult to resist the temptation of buying things you don’t really need. And a trip to the shops can often be an expensive exercise in itself – you’ll probably need to pay for car parking, festive season snacks, not to mention plenty of energy drinks to keep you going. Shopping online can be an excellent way to save!

In order to maximise your savings, try doing a web search for discounts or coupons that you can use for the specific gifts you want to purchase. If you Google the item itself, you can often find several vendors and choose the least expensive – but make sure you include shipping costs when you are comparing prices and check the delivery period.

Social media is also a good way to grab a bargain, as retailers will often offer exclusive discounts to loyal followers. Simply look up the social media sites for your favourite brands and see what they have on offer.

3. Collaborate with family and friends.

If you ask most people, they’ll tell you they prefer quality over quantity when it comes to receiving gifts. If you can’t afford to buy an expensive item, then why not consider pooling your resources with some other family members? This could potentially save you a lot of money and at the same time, ensure you give great gifts that are genuinely appreciated.

Many larger families choose to take the Secret Santa option to reduce costs at Christmas. Rather than spend a lot of money buying an inexpensive (and probably useless) gift for each and every family member, consider putting everyone’s name in a hat and drawing one each. This will allow you to spend your budget on one decent gift, rather than risk overspending by trying to get a little something for everyone.

4. Buy your gifts wholesale or in bulk.

Everyone wine connoisseur knows that buying one excellent bottle of wine from the local bottle shop can be a bit expensive, but a whole case of the same wine can bring the price down considerably, particularly if you go direct to the supplier. Great wine can make the perfect gift for some people, but of course if you have many people to buy for and would rather not give alcohol, there are many kinds of gifts you can buy wholesale direct from the supplier or discounted in bulk.

Some ideas could include scented candles, body lotions and bath oils, t-shirts and caps, diaries and stationery sets, jewellery, exotic tea or coffee beans, glasses and tableware, artwork and ornaments, chocolates and sweets, lipsticks and make-up, perfume and aftershave – the list is literally endless! Simply go online and search for bulk suppliers of the kind of items that will make great gifts for your particular friends and family members.

5. Save on interest for bigger gifts.

If you plan to use credit to purchase your Christmas gifts this year, take a close look at your credit card statement and check how much interest you’ll be paying on your purchases. If your credit card interest is high, consider looking for an alternative card that offers a lower interest rate. You may even be able to find a card that offers you an interest-free period on a balance transfer from your existing card, so you could end up saving yourself some money there too.

If your Christmas Shopping List includes some big ticket items this year – perhaps it’s a new jet ski, family boat, a new car or even an overseas holiday – then talk to us about the most cost-effective way to finance your purchases. There are many options that could end up costing you much less in interest than a credit card, with flexible repayment terms that could help to make your purchase more affordable. Our job is to help you find the most suitable option available considering your personal financial circumstances and goals, so give us a call today.

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Success in the property investment game relies on your ability to locate and purchase exactly the right property for your budget and buying strategy.

If you live and work in one of Australia’s major capital cities, you are probably finding this task increasingly difficult in your local market as both prices and competition continue to increase.

The answer may be to look further afield. Australia is made up of many different property markets which work together to provide property investors with a full range of investment choices. And diversifying your assets across interstate markets could help you to minimise your risks and maximise your capital gain and income potential. Here are eight tips for making successful interstate property investments to help you build wealth for your future.

1. Do your research.

Whether you’re investing interstate or locally, thorough research is vitally important. You need to become fully familiar with the market you buy into to be confident about your purchasing decisions and avoid expensive mistakes. Your research should cover four basic steps:

Step 1: If you are considering investing interstate, start by researching all the markets across Australia to find which of them provide areas with properties that generally meet your budget and buying strategy, then compare these with each other until you have just a few that you find attractive.

Step 2: Once you have located an interstate market that may be suitable for your investment, research it carefully to identify a general location within that market that meets both your affordability level, rental yield and capital growth objectives.

Step 3: Research the streets and properties within the area you have identified to pinpoint an opportunity to make your property purchase. If you need help formulating a buying strategy, call us for a chat.

Step 4: Research the individual property you select very carefully before you put down a deposit or go to auction. Get building and pest inspection reports together with a comprehensive condition report so you can make an accurate projection of your costs of ownership, including maintenance planning and potential depreciation tax deductions.

2. Buy with your head and not your heart.

Don’t dismiss an interstate location simply because you wouldn’t want to live there yourself. Some investors also make the mistake of choosing a property investment location because it is their favourite holiday destination or somewhere they’d potentially like to retire one day. Always remember that choosing an investment property is a business decision and you should base your decision on potential investment returns, not on personal preferences. To choose a profitable location for your property investment, always focus on the numbers and research data.

3. Visit the location.

Travelling interstate to view investment opportunities may be inconvenient, but no matter what you may hear from other investors, buying a property sight unseen could be risky. Take the time and effort to at least visit the location. You may be able to claim the travel costs as a tax deduction (but talk to your accountant first). If you can’t stay there long enough to locate, inspect and buy a property yourself, then consider interviewing a local buyer’s agent while you are on your initial visit. This will allow you to quickly engage a trustworthy representative to help you in case you can’t get back there yourself when you find the right opportunity.

4. Partner with a good property manager.

Whilst you are visiting the interstate location, it is also a good idea to identify a good property manager in the area and engage their services as well. Managing a property from interstate is not easy and may cost more than you anticipate in travel and expenses. Property management costs are usually tax deductible for most property investors, so ask your accountant if the numbers stack up to allow for a property management company to be included in your budget for the interstate property you are interested in purchasing.

5. Line up a local conveyancer.

Whilst it is possible to use your regular conveyancer or solicitor to help you purchase a property interstate, the costs may be higher than using a conveyancer that is located near to the interstate property you wish to purchase as their expenses to complete the process may be greater. Conveyancing rules, regulations and practices also differ from state to state and your usual conveyancer may be unfamiliar with these differences. Ask us if you need assistance locating an interstate conveyancer.

6. Note the different legal requirements.

Each state has different legal requirements for the purchase and transfer of properties. If you are buying interstate you should talk with a qualified conveyancer or solicitor to make yourself aware of differences in:

  • Property titles and transfer requirements.
  • Local and national planning controls.
  • Rules regarding the purchase of property for foreign investors (if you are from overseas and not a permanent resident).
  • Terms and conditions required for sales contracts.
  • Terms and conditions imposed on auctions.
  • Cooling off periods.
  • Permitted uses, zoning certificates and heritage overlays.
  • Body corporate rules and constraints.
  • Rental and tenancy rules and agreements.
  • Rules and regulations when buying off the plan.

7. Research the costs.

Stamp duties, land taxes and other government costs like transfer fees vary from state to state. Council rates can also be widely different from one location to another and you may be surprised by how much. When purchasing interstate, it pays to research these costs well ahead of time so that you can factor them into your budget and avoid funding or cash flow difficulties.

8. Talk with your mortgage broker early.

Good credit advice when investing in property is critical to your success as an investor. Getting pre-approval on a loan for a purchase in a specific location is not only a good idea for budgeting purposes, it will make you aware of any postcode or location restrictions imposed by the lender on the area you are considering. Some lenders impose these restrictions on hundreds of locations around the country to minimise their risk of loss. Where you buy can have a significant effect on how much money a lender is prepared to let you borrow, so it pays to talk to us early about your purchasing plans.

We’re here to help you get things organised if you’re planning to invest in property interstate. Just pick up the phone and give us a call to discuss your plans, we’ll be happy to help you get the ball rolling.


Copyright 2016