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We hope you picked a winner on Melbourne Cup Day last week! We’ve now moved into the busiest time of year in our property markets, so we hope you’re ready to handle the pace this spring.

At its 2016 Melbourne Cup Day meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent for November. The decision was widely expected by analysts and forward predictions are for no further RBA cash rate cuts in 2016.

The RBA may not have cut rates this month, but you can. Many lenders have indicated that interest rate changes do not only depend on RBA changes to the cash rate, but also on other market factors and their actual costs. So if you’re a home owner and looking to refinance to save interest, call us regularly to check the latest home loan interest rate that is available for you.

The RBA last cut rates in August and May this year, which brought the official cash rate to its lowest level in history. As a result, home loan interest rates are very competitive and the good news for home buyers and property investors is that it looks as though they will remain low for quite a while.

That means buying conditions are great this spring. Property market activity is heating up, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, with plenty of housing stock for buyers and investors to choose from. For the week ending October 30, Victoria held 727 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 76%, whilst Sydney held a whopping 1309 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 77%.

Activity in other markets indicated that buyers are possibly being a bit more discerning about prices. Queensland held 417 auctions for the same period, which is quite high, however they only achieved a low clearance rate of 39%. South Australia held 179 auctions with a clearance rate of 69%, ACT had 93 auctions with a clearance rate of 70%, Western Australia – which is not a big auction market – held 75 auctions with a clearance rate of just 37%. Northern Territory only held 6 auctions with a clearance rate of just 17% and Tasmania 10 auctions with a clearance rate of 33%.

Rises in home values appear to have slowed across all markets during October. In Sydney, home values only rose by 0.62% and in Melbourne, they rose by just 0.78% despite strong activity from buyers in both of these markets. Brisbane/Gold Coast showed an increase of 1.10%, Perth 0.78%, Darwin 2.20%, and Canberra 0.40%. Adelaide showed a decrease of 2.39% as did Hobart, which showed a decrease in home values of 2.05% for the month.

Opportunities are plentiful for first home buyers, next home buyers, refinancers and property investors right now. We’re here to help you make the most of low interest rates and the excellent spring property buying conditions, so please give us a call to chat about your plans. We’ll help you get the right home loan for your needs, with the most competitive interest rate available for you from Australia’s leading lenders. Christmas is also approaching fast and if you’re looking to buy a big ticket item for yourself or your family, we’ll be happy to help you with your finance needs for that too, so please give us a call today.

We recommend that you seek independent financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this newsletter. It contains 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. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. Interest rates are subject to change without notice. Lenders terms, conditions, fees & charges apply. Information sources: Auction results: www.realestate.com.au. Home values: www.corelogic.com.au

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Buying a property can be a very detailed and complicated process that takes a great deal of effort to complete successfully.

If you have no experience with buying a property, you may find it difficult to know if you have done everything right. The good news is there’s no need to do it on your own. With the right team of business professionals on your side you can make the whole process go a lot more quickly and smoothly, prevent expensive mistakes and maximise the full financial benefits of making your property purchase.

So what kind of professional support might you need? Here are five business professionals that can be worth their weight in gold to every property buyer, whether you’re buying your first home, your next home or a property investment.

Building & Pest Inspector

When you’ve chosen the area that’s right for your property purchase, you should take the time to find a Building & Pest Inspector who knows the area well before you even start your property selection process. When you find a property that you’re interested in buying, having your experienced Building & Pest Inspector lined up will help you to move on it quickly and with the appropriate caution.

The word ‘caution’ is an important word to use here because not every property is as good as it looks to the untrained eye. The rule of thumb when purchasing a property is always to take a good look before you leap. Many unwary home buyers have fallen in love with what they think is the perfect home, only to find out later that it has expensive maintenance issues.

Solicitor / Conveyancer

A solicitor or conveyancer is required to attend to the legal formalities and prepare all of the documents you need to transfer a property into your name and ensure your settlement day goes smoothly. Their role is to be the champion of your legal interests during the purchase process and that’s why choosing a good one is important to your success.

First of all, your solicitor will be invaluable in helping you to understand the terms, conditions and contents of any contract that you will be required to sign. If you are intending to purchase at auction, they can explain the auction rules and conditions. If you are building a new home, or if you are purchasing off the plan from a developer, an experienced solicitor will know what you need to be careful about, what to include in the contract of sale to protect your interests and help to ensure that you end up getting exactly what you are paying for.

Accountant

A good accountant can be a huge bonus when purchasing a property, particularly if you’re a property investor but also if you’re a first home buyer or an owner occupier. That’s because understanding your own financial position is the most important part of the property purchasing process. It helps you determine your buying power, identify and plan for any potential cash-flow difficulties and ensures you understand and can cover all the expenses.

A good accountant who is experienced with property purchases will help you to maximise any tax benefits you may be entitled to receive. If you are planning to invest in property, it is a good idea to consult an accountant about what the tax benefits will be in your particular case and get advice about how to maximise them before you even begin.

Real Estate Agent/s

It’s a great idea to find out who are the best real estate agents servicing your chosen property market. Even though a real estate agent’s primary purpose is to represent a seller in a property transaction, the really good ones will also be willing to lend you their expertise in locating the right property for you – even if they don’t have it on their books right now.

As a buyer, you will not pay a real estate agent for any services they provide to you, as the seller is responsible for paying their fees. However, good real estate agents will want to meet you and keep in touch with you because you may be a prospective buyer for one of their future customer’s properties. They will take the time to discover your needs and take an interest in what kind of property you are looking for, making a note of your approximate price range and when you want to buy. When an appropriate property becomes available, they will contact you to see if you are interested. This can help you stay on top of new properties coming on to the market in the areas that are of interest you.

Mortgage & Finance Broker

There are thousands of home loan products available and finding the one that is exactly the right fit for your personal financial circumstances and goals can be a confusing process. If you approach a bank directly, they will only tell you about their own products. If you go online to do your own research on all the options, you could be there for days and still be in the dark about which finance product is the best one for you.

Some people just pick the loan with the lowest interest rate they can see and never even find out if a different type of loan product could have saved them more money in other ways.

A professional mortgage and finance broker is here to help you sort through all of these aspects of choosing a loan. Our job is to find a loan that is exactly the right fit considering your short and long-term goals, how much you can actually afford to borrow and what you need to get out of your loan in terms of features and benefits.

Consulting a mortgage and finance broker is usually free of charge. We’re even happy to have an informal chat with you if you just want to test the waters about getting a loan. Expert credit advice could make a big difference to your financial well-being both now and in the future – it’s not only about your finance needs right now.

If you need help meeting the right professionals for your property purchasing team, we’ll be happy to provide you with some referrals. As mentioned, we’re also happy to give you whatever information you may need about loan products and their uses. So please feel free to call and chat with us today.

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Conditions are great for home buyers and borrowers! Are you ready to tackle all the excitement of our very busy Spring property markets?

Last month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) appointed a new Governor, Dr Philip Lowe. After his very first meeting as the RBA Governor, Dr Lowe announced the RBA would be keeping the official cash rate on hold at 1.50 per cent during October. But everyone was well ahead of Dr Lowe’s announcement after he made comments to the press about the lack of effectiveness of further rate cuts in stimulating economic growth when he was first appointed in September.

The RBA last cut rates in August, bringing the official cash rate to all-time lows. However the cut did not have the desired effect of reducing the level of the Australian dollar against other currencies that the RBA intended. Analysts now appear to be undecided regarding the prospect of further rate cuts this year and the RBA is taking a wait and see attitude before indicating its next move.

Spring is traditionally the busiest time of the year in Australia’s property markets, however Grand Final Weekend slowed the market for the last week of September, particularly in Victoria where there were only 133 scheduled auctions for the week ending October 02. However these auctions did achieve a very high clearance rate of 92%. The NSW market was a bit more active with 628 auctions achieving a clearance rate of 80%.

Elsewhere around the country, the QLD market had a lot of activity with 253 auctions, but the clearance rate was very low at just 36%. SA scheduled 47 auctions with a clearance rate of 75%, ACT had 50 auctions with a clearance rate of 72%, WA had only 15 auctions with a clearance rate of 33%, NT held 14 auctions with a clearance rate of 23% and Tasmania had only 5 auctions with a clearance rate of 25%.

With increased activity in the Spring property market, home values are also on the rise in most markets. Sydney saw a rise in home values of 0.81% for the month of September, Melbourne saw a rise of 2.30%, Brisbane/Gold Coast rose 0.22%, Adelaide rose 2.11%, Canberra 2.38% and in Hobart home values also rose by 0.14%.

In the north and west of the country, home values have been trending downward during the first 10 months of 2016. Darwin’s home values fell by 2.21% and Perth’s by 2.37% during the month of September alone. It should also be noted that rental rates are also showing a downward trend in these markets.

Interest rates are currently at all-time lows and following the RBA rate cut in August, lenders are offering some great deals for all kinds of property buyers. If you’re considering purchasing a property or refinancing an existing home loan, it is a great time to see us to discuss your plans or get loan pre-approval. If also a good time to talk to us if you’ve been considering a switch to a fixed rate product to lock in a low rate for a fixed term. Whatever your financing needs we’d love to help, so please get in touch today.

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Should you switch to a fixed interest rate product?

With the official cash rate at an historical low and the possibility of more RBA rate cuts on the horizon, this is possibly the most frequently asked question of professional mortgage brokers today. Often the question is focused on the timing, with consumers asking if now is a good time to fix their interest rate, or if they should wait to see if interest rates fall even lower.

However, saving money on interest is not necessarily the most important thing to consider if you’re thinking about making the switch to a fixed rate loan. In this article, we talk about the pros and cons of fixed interest rate loans and the real reasons you should consider using one.

What is a fixed rate home loan?

A fixed rate home loan allows you to lock in an interest rate for a fixed term, which means your loan repayments stay the same during the fixed term even if variable interest rates should rise. It allows you to plan exactly how much your repayments will be for the life of the term, making budgeting easier and this is the major benefit of a fixed rate home loan.

Usually you can choose to fix the interest rate on your home loan for a term between 1 to 5 years. After the fixed period ends, the loan usually reverts automatically to the standard variable rate unless you refinance your loan to another product or negotiate another fixed term.

Is switching to a fixed rate product a good interest saving strategy?

For some people, the motivation for switching to a fixed interest rate product is primarily to save money in the event of an interest rate rise. These home owners are looking for ways to save money on interest any way they can over the life of their loan. Their strategy is to go with a variable rate product for now so they can pay the lowest interest possible in the short-term, then switch to a fixed interest rate product to keep their interest rate low when interest rates look as though they are going to rise.

Basically, they are interested in locking their interest at the lowest rate possible when it is most prudent to do so. That’s why we are always being asked if ‘now’ is a good time to fix.

The problem with this interest savings strategy is that no one can accurately predict interest rate movements. That makes it very difficult to know when it might be advantageous to switch, or even if switching will have the desired effect of saving on interest. How do we know when we will save more by using a variable rate product and when we will save more by switching to a fixed interest rate product?

There is really no way to tell. In order to save money on interest by switching to a fixed rate product, variable interest rates would need to rise well above the interest rate you are paying on your fixed rate loan (and fixed rate loans usually carry a higher interest rate than variable rate loans). You also need to consider that if interest rates should fall during the fixed interest term of your loan, you will be missing out on any interest savings you would have received if you had a variable rate loan.

Consider your financial circumstances before making the switch

The decision to switch to a fixed interest rate loan should be influenced by other factors besides the possibility of any substantial saving on interest. The point of a fixed interest rate loan is to help you budget your household expenses more effectively, particularly for the first few years you own a property when your finances may be tight and budgeting may be difficult. As an added bonus, you are temporarily protected from interest rate rises. If interest rates do increase during the fixed interest term of your loan, you will have until the end of the fixed interest term to plan how you will manage to cover the increased payments on your loan when the fixed term ends.

Switching to a fixed interest rate loan may not be a good idea if you need flexibility. If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, increase your loan or redraw from it, make extra repayments or refinance to access equity, staying with a variable rate home loan could actually save you money. Fixed rate home loans usually have sizeable penalties if you need to make changes or pay off the loan during the fixed term of the loan, which could cost you many thousands of dollars.

The split option is designed to help you hedge your bets

Many lenders offer a home loan product that gives you the capacity to split your loan between both the variable and fixed interest rate options. This could give you the advantage of partial protection in the event of interest rate rises, but could also offer you facilities like an offset account which could be very beneficial if you are a good saver, plus the ability to make extra repayments and redraw them if you need to.

It is important to remember that with a split loan, you are still locked into the product for the length of the fixed rate term. If you needed to sell your home or repay the fixed portion of the loan early for any reason, you would still be required to pay a stiff penalty.

To find out if switching to a fixed interest rate loan is the right move for you, it is a good idea to talk to a professional mortgage broker about your personal financial situation and goals. We’re here to help you understand which products are right for your needs and help you to choose an option that saves you the most amount of money possible. Call us today.

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Hard selling tactics are used by salespeople in a wide variety of industries, including property and real estate.

They’re designed to get you to make a purchase quickly and deny you the opportunity to evaluate the purchase properly and compare other options.

Hard sell sales tactics often include aggressive or forceful language and usually use strong psychological pressure to convince you to buy. Sometimes it is not immediately obvious that you are being given the hard sell – the salesman will pretend to be your friend and behave as if they are helping you out!

So how do you avoid being pushed into a purchase by a hard selling salesperson? Here are five tips to help you come out on top.

1. Learn to say no.

Saying no is surprisingly difficult for some people. We’re all brought up to be polite and delivering a flat no can seem rude. The hard sell practitioner is fully aware of this and uses your good manners to their advantage to create an opportunity to make their sales pitch. Always be polite, but be firm when saying no or they will continue to pester you until you buy something.

Learning to say no to such people is vitally important. Make the word ‘no’ your default response until you are sure you have all the facts and are in a position to make an informed and considered decision.

2. Beware of people bearing gifts.

Another common tactic, and one that is frequently used by property sellers and developers, is to reinforce your natural tendency to avoid saying no by giving you a ‘free’ gift. They know a gift will make you feel more obligated to say yes because we are all conditioned to reciprocate when given a gift.

For example, time share companies will often offer you a ‘free’ weekend away in return for attending their seminar, then try and pressure you into buying while you’re there. Or a property developer may offer you a ‘free’ furniture voucher to get you to attend an open house, then pressure you into signing a contract on the spot.

Always remember that when you accept a gift that is described as ‘free’, you are placed under absolutely no obligation to make a purchase or return the favour. Say no firmly and take your ‘free’ gift home without feeling guilty about it.

3. Keep your emotions in check.

High pressure sales tactics also take advantage of your negative emotions. They play on feelings such as fear, greed, vanity, guilt, ambition, frustration, anxiety and even loneliness. Gratification of any of these emotions is a strong motivator and makes us very susceptible to impulsive purchasing decisions that we may regret later.

When making any large purchase, it is important to be able to put your emotions aside and think logically and practically. Before you even consider looking at a home or car to purchase, protect the integrity of your decision making process by working out a budget and a buying strategy. Avoid impulse purchases by giving yourself a cooling off period when you can take the time to sit down and calmly consider the pros and cons.

4. See the bigger picture.

When emotions are running high and you’re under pressure to make a decision, it is a good idea to step back and take a wider view of the situation. Resist your impulse to purchase by taking a few deep breaths and asking yourself “What will happen if I don’t make the decision to purchase right now?”

After a few minutes have passed, more sensible considerations will come to the fore. Such as can you afford it? Does it meet your needs? Will it give you the return on your investment that the salesman has promised? Are you paying the right price? Could you get a better price by waiting and negotiating a bit more? These are the bigger picture questions that need to be answered before you make your decision to buy.

5. Do your own research.

Every property developer, real estate agent and car salesman will tell you their deal is fantastic, that buying their product is a ‘no-brainer’. They may even show you data or statistics to back up what they say. Never trust the word of a hard sell salesperson, always verify the facts for yourself. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When making any large purchase, particularly a property, the importance of conducting your own thorough research cannot be overstated. It may be time-consuming, but it is not difficult to go online and check you’re paying the right price, how likely it is that the investment will appreciate in value and what are the likely rental yields. If you are buying off the plan, or from a developer, always take the time to verify the value of the property on completion and hire an expert to help you if necessary. Do not take the developer’s word for it.

Remember, the objective of the hard sell salesperson is to make you buy now in order to take away your opportunity to consider things properly and perhaps decide not to make the purchase. The harder the sell, the more reason you have to go away and carefully research their offer.

Talk to a professional finance broker today.

One of the ways unscrupulous salespeople make their money is by selling you expensive finance. No matter how attractive the offer or how insistent the salesperson, you should never sign up for finance on the spot. It is very easy to be distracted by the price of that great car or perfect house and forget to be diligent about your financing deal – this is a major mistake that could end up costing you a lot more than you think.

Finance contracts can often have restrictive terms, unfavourable interest rates and hefty exit fees. Car dealership finance for example, is notorious for failing to take into consideration your complete financial circumstances, so you could end up with financial hardship or may actually find yourself unable to make your car repayments. This could be disastrous for your credit rating and leave you struggling to get any kind of finance in the future.

No matter the urgency, always take the time to talk with a mortgage or finance broker about your finance needs. We will help you to determine exactly how much you can afford to borrow and make sure you obtain the most favourable interest rate and finance product available for you and your needs, taking into consideration your personal financial circumstances and goals. Call us today.


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