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.

 

 

With another Christmas celebrated and already showing up on our waistlines, a common topic of conversation for many of us in January is our New Year resolutions.

Whether it’s a pledge to give up smoking, get to the gym more often, or start (yet another) healthy eating regime, New Year resolutions usually have a self-improvement or healthy living focus. But what about your finances? A healthy financial situation is just as important to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for your finances that could make a big difference to your financial health in 2017 and beyond. If one of these appeals to you, please give us a call as we’d love to help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions this year.

“I will make a proper budget and stick to it.”

Did your credit card debt go up or down in 2016? Spending more than you earn is surprisingly easy to do and having to pay exorbitant credit card interest on all of your purchases just makes matters worse. The secret to turning this situation around is to create a proper budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to include repayments on your credit card as a weekly expense in your budget outgoings, so you can work on getting your debts paid off as well.

To create a realistic budget, list all of the things you need to spend money on and how much they cost. The amount you have left over each week is the amount you can afford to spend on the things you want, put into your savings account, or use to pay off your debts sooner. It’s also important to review your budget regularly to see how you are tracking.

If you have multiple credit card debts, or a variety of debts, you may find managing your budget a challenge as a large part of your income may be lost on interest payments. This kind of situation is frequently referred to as a ‘debt trap’. Talk to us about consolidating your debts to reduce your interest payments and make your financial situation more manageable.

 “I will make an effort to achieve my saving goals.”

The ability to save money consistently is a talent that everyone should cultivate. It’s particularly important if you’re saving a deposit for your first home, as a lender will take your savings history into consideration when deciding if you are eligible for a home loan.

If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to a budget, can’t resist impulse purchases, or indulges in ‘retail therapy’, then you may like to consider installing an app on your mobile phone that supports your efforts to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a variety of excellent free apps designed to help you manage your finances:

  • TrackMyGOALS integrates techniques that are proven to work for successful savers.
  • TrackMySPEND helps you see where your money is really going so you can adjust your spending habits to save more. Even just committing to reducing the number of take away coffees you buy each week can make a big difference over a full year!

“I will stop wasting my money on rent.”

For many people, choosing to rent a property instead of buying one boils down to a lifestyle choice. It may be more affordable to rent a property in a location where you enjoy living, than it is to buy one. But the consequence of this choice is that when property prices rise, you are potentially missing out on some significant capital gains that could be important to your financial well-being later on in life.

What’s more, the money you spend on rent is wasted – you are potentially paying off someone else’s investment when you could be paying off a property of your own. So the question is: do you have enough money for a deposit?

If you have been saving regularly and have some money in the bank, now is a great time to take stock of what kind of property you may be able to afford this year. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and help you work it out!

Getting on the property ladder may mean that you have to consider a location where you can afford to buy, rather than a location where you prefer to live. It may mean giving up your short commute home from work, or easy access to your friends and family, favourite bars, shopping venues and cinemas. But with property prices rising steadily, the long-term benefits could have a significant impact on your future financial security and retirement lifestyle, so it could be worth it to act now.

“I will review all of my financial accounts, including my home loan”

When was the last time you stopped to think about how much money you are paying on fees every year for your mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards and superannuation plans? Most people would be horrified to discover exactly how much money they lose every year in fees and charges across their financial accounts – so it definitely pays to review them regularly and cancel any unnecessary accounts you hardly ever use and don’t really need.

For example, the fees and charges you pay on your superannuation accounts can be quite high and they often go unnoticed. Over the years, these fees and charges may add up to make a big difference to the balance of your super on retirement. The fact is, if you have more than one superannuation account, you are paying double the fees you need to pay! Consider consolidating all your super accounts into one as soon as you can.

The same rule applies to your credit cards. How many do you really need? What are you using them for? If you have more than one, it may be a good idea to transfer all of the balances to one card using a free balance transfer offer. This not only has the potential to save you a significant amount of money on fees, it could also save you some money on interest and perhaps, help you to pay off your credit card balances sooner. Don’t be tempted to keep all of the old cards though, remember to cancel them as soon as you make the balance transfer.

If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to look at which features and benefits it provides, and if you are using them. Do you really need them? Is your home loan the most suitable for your current financial goals? If not, talk to us so we can see if you could be saving on fees, getting a more favourable interest rate or accessing the loan features you need!

We can help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions

Our role as your mortgage broker is to help you arrange your credit and finance to maximise the money you have. We’re here to help you save on interest wherever possible. Whether it’s time for a home-loan-health check on your existing mortgage, or you would like to find out how much you can afford to spend on buying a property, you’ll find our expertise and support invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals. We are even willing to help you find better ways to manage your debt and plan to build wealth for your future.

Financial success means setting some financial goals and making a step-by-step plan to reach them. With a credit and finance professional on your team, you are much more likely to get where you want to be. If you would like to buy a property in 2017, then we can help you achieve your goal by assisting with everything from setting your purchasing budget and getting pre-approval on your home loan, to supplying you with insightful property market data so you can locate the right home to buy more quickly.

Make sure your New Year is a happy one by talking to us about getting on top of your finances. It is one New Year resolution you’ll find very easy to keep! Call us to make a time 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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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