Christmas is just over the horizon and decorations are already starting to appear at the local shops. It’s a time of year where it’s almost common practice to splurge! Marketers are all working hard to encourage you to buy, buy, buy and you may have already picked up a few things for yourself and to put under the tree for family and friends.

It’s easy to resort to “retail therapy” when you need a bit of a pick-me-up, and it’s also easy to overspend on gifts amidst all the excitement of Christmas. But what will really give you a thrill and a sense of satisfaction is reaching your savings goals and using the money to buy an asset that will help you grow your nest egg even further (like a house). Here are our tips for beating the urge to splurge this Christmas.

Establish a budget

The most valuable thing you can do for your bank balance this silly season is to create a budget and stick to it. This is especially important if you are buying Christmas gifts.

Write down all of your income and expenses and set an amount for regular savings. Once you have a budget in place, you’ll know your spending limits, and how much you can afford to spend on things like Christmas presents or summer holidays. You’ll also be able to establish good savings habits – something that’s vitally important when the time comes to apply for a home loan. When creating your budget, set yourself short-term savings goals to stay motivated, plus long-term goals to set your sights on where you want to be financially.

There are plenty of online tools to help you create a budget. You could use a simple Excel spreadsheet or a budgeting app. Wally, for example, allows you to manually log your expenses and store pictures of receipts in a virtual budget journal. The app alerts you when you hit your savings goals or when a bill is due. TrackMyGOALSallows you to set, plan, track and manage your savings goals (we’re thinking a new home could be a goodie!).

Think outside the box

If you want to avoid splurging, you need to think outside the box and make a fun game out of finding ways to save money. The key is to challenge yourself to find ways to feel good without buying stuff you don’t really need. If you’re feeling blue and needing some “retail therapy”, do some exercise instead or head to your local park. The endorphins and fresh air will do you a world of good!

When it comes to Christmas gifts, simple home-made presents can potentially save you a load of cash. Get creative! Make some yummy treats and jazz them up with some pretty wrapping. Get a professional photo done and buy some frames in bulk at wholesale prices. Don’t be shy about ‘re-gifting’ anything you don’t need, just give it to someone else who may enjoy it. The options are endless!

Avoid temptation

It’s important to know your spending triggers and to keep them in check to avoid impulse shopping. If you’re a fan of online shopping and find yourself gravitating towards those advertisements on Facebook, perhaps take a hiatus from social media during the silly season and ‘unlike’ your favourite shopping sites.

Similarly, if you find yourself being tempted to buy things for yourself when you’re out and about buying Christmas presents for your family, it’s wise to avoid shopping centres. After all, if you don’t see those killer shoes in the shop window, you won’t know what you’re missing out on. If you have to go out to buy Christmas gifts or essentials like groceries, write yourself a shopping list and take cash with you. By keeping your credit cards safe from yourself (and locked in a drawer at home), you’ll spare yourself a spending hangover.

If you’d like to explore your home loan options, we’d love to hear from you. Even if you don’t have a huge deposit saved, we may still be able to help you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, you’ll need a good savings history if you are planning to buy a property, so resist the urge to splurge this Christmas! Make some savings goals, change your spending habits and set the wheels in motion for a splurge-free future today!How to beat the urge to splurge

It’s hard to believe we’re already into November and Christmas is only weeks away! The spring property market is really heating up, with the number of auctions in our capital cities reaching a record high at the end of October. At the same time, rises in home values seem to have stalled and clearance rates are lower, so if you’re in the market to buy a property you may be able to score one that’s right on budget at auction. Interest rates are still very competitive, so why not call us now to talk about your plans?

Interest Rate News

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the cash rate on hold at 1.5% again this month. It’s the 15th consecutive month with no rate change – the RBA last moved rates in August 2016, cutting the cash rate by 0.25 basis points. According to market analysts, it’s unlikely the RBA will make any move to adjust the cash rate at its final meeting for 2017 next month.

Property Market News

Home value increases slowed across the combined capital cities in October. Melbourne proved to be more resilient than Sydney, with dwelling values up 0.5% over the month, compared to Sydney, where they dropped -0.5%. Melbourne also saw stronger growth over the quarter, up 1.9% while Sydney’s prices fell -0.6%.

Dwelling values grew by 0.9% in Hobart in the month of October, and the city also saw the highest change in dwelling value growth over the quarter (up 3.3%). In Brisbane, values increased by 0.2% during the month of October, and 0.6% during the quarter. In Adelaide and Perth, there was no monthly change in dwelling values. Adelaide saw prices rise 0.1% over the quarter, while Perth’s prices fell -0.7% in the three months prior to October 31. Canberra saw prices fall -0.1% last month, but overall they increased 1.1 percent during the quarter.

Record auction numbers in October

Auction volumes across the combined capital cities reached record highs at the end of last month, according to CoreLogic. In the last week of October, the combined capital cities held 3,690 auctions, returning a preliminary auction clearance rate of 67.8%. Melbourne saw volumes reach their highest level on record, with 1,983 properties going under the hammer and 71.7% being snapped up!

The ACT also had a high clearance rate of 77% for 128 scheduled auctions. In South Australia, there were 163 scheduled auctions and 68% sold. New South Wales held 1,395 scheduled auctions, and achieved a clearance rate of 64%. In Tasmania, there were only six auctions, but 60% of properties sold. Half of the 60 properties that went to auction in Western Australia sold, while in the Northern Territory there were 10 scheduled auctions (44% clearance rate). Queensland had the lowest clearance rate for the week ending October 29 (43% for 361 scheduled auctions).

Now the Christmas shopping season has arrived, we know you’ll be busy buying gifts for your loved ones – so it might help to read our article this month about resisting the urge to splurge! Now is also a fantastic time to talk with us about your property purchasing plans, or to see us about a home loan health check, so please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.Welcome to our November Newsletter

When selling your home, your main objective is to get the best possible price. So when should you put it on the market? Does the time of year make a difference? The answer is that it depends on the property itself. The time of year can make a difference in some cases, however the location and how the property market is performing are important considerations too. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important seasonal factors that you should consider when deciding to sell your home.
Spring

Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year to sell a property. It’s the season for new beginnings, when buyers spring into action (pardon the pun). Homes and gardens often look their best in spring too, which may drive up the sale price in some cases.

However, spring may not necessarily be the best time of year to sell for everyone, particularly if your property is an established home or located in a city or metropolitan area. Whilst spring may bring increased buyer demand, it may also mean many more property listings in the area your home is located. If there are many properties similar to yours on the market, that could mean lower prices.

Summer

If your home is located in a popular summer holiday destination, summer could be the best time of year to sell. Holiday-makers could potentially be your best market audience!

Properties that are particularly cool may also be more attractive from a selling point of view in summer. Depending on where your property is located, there may also be fewer properties on the market to compete with so it could help you to achieve your price. However, be careful about selling in December or January, when people are generally winding down and preparing to relax over the festive break and summer holidays. If your property is located in a city location, or its market audience is families with school-age children, there will be fewer buyers on the inspection circuit.

Autumn

Autumn is another popular time of year to sell, with auction activity usually red hot just before Easter. Many prospective home buyers hit the open house inspection circuit at this time of year, hoping to find a new home and get it settled before the cold weather arrives. Again, consider your location and check out what other properties are on the market to see how much competition you’re likely to encounter.

Winter

Your home’s key drawcards could influence when to sell. For example if it has an amazing fireplace or a fantastic underfloor heating system, it may be more appealing to buyers in winter. Likewise, if your property is in the snow-fields or an area that is popular for winter sports, winter could also be the best time to sell. West-facing properties tend to receive more sunlight around this time, and this could make them more appealing in winter than at other times of the year.

Another advantage of selling in winter is there may be fewer listings to compete against, which could drive up competition amongst buyers and lift prices, depending on the area where your property is located. Properties in popular locations often sell quickly all year round.

Don’t forget to consider market conditions

In addition to seasonal factors, it’s important to consider local property market dynamics, specifically supply and demand. If there is an oversupply of properties on the market, it may be best to wait it out until conditions change. The best option is to choose a time when stock levels of properties that are similar to yours are low.

If it’s a ‘buyer’s market’ as exists in Perth – a time when there are more properties available for sale than there is buyer demand – there may be no ‘best’ time of year to sell. It may even pay to rent the property out for a while until the market warms up.

Alternatively, if there’s not enough housing stock to meet demand and it’s a ‘seller’s market’ – as has been the case in Melbourne and Sydney – you’ll likely be able to negotiate harder and push up the price. Other influences such as new developments, changes to the first home buyer grant or stamp duty, and interest rate fluctuations can also affect supply and demand, so it’s worth talking to us about these factors.

Do your research and ask for advice

When it comes to selling your home, it’s best to take all of these factors into account, along with your personal circumstances. Your local real estate agent is a great source of information about when to sell, or you could ask us for a free market appraisal report. It’s always wise to do careful research when buying or selling a home, so please don’t hesitate to ask us for help. If you are looking to sell your home and purchase a new one, please speak to us about your finance options as we’re here to help you find the right loan for your financial circumstances and goals. We usually recommend that you try to sell before you buy if possible, so you know how much money you can budget for your next home purchase. However, if you do require bridging finance to tide you over, we can also help you with a competitive option. Please get in touch today – we’re always happy to help!What is the best time of the year to sell your home?

When it comes to smart money management, the key to success is to regularly assess your financial position – and that includes taking a good hard look at your mortgage. Here’s why refinancing every three years may help you save, and why you should check in with us today to ensure your home loan is still the right choice for you.
Refinancing every 3 years may help you to:

Secure a more competitive interest rate

Checking your home loan regularly gives you peace of mind that you’re getting the most competitive interest rate and that your financial needs are being met. With RBA rate movements, lender rate changes and new loan products coming onto the market all the time, it’s quite likely there’s a better option available if you’ve had your home loan for a while.

Access better features and save

A home loan health check is about reviewing your loan against your current financial situation and goals to ensure it still meets your needs and suits your objectives. As your circumstances change – perhaps you have a better job or have started a family since you took out your home loan – the loan features you need may change too. A different type of loan could potentially help you to save money and manage your finances better.

Access equity to build wealth

Accessing your equity could be a fantastic opportunity to build wealth for your future and refinancing to a new loan could allow you to do just that. If you’ve had your mortgage for a while, you’ve probably paid it down somewhat and your property could also have increased in value, so you may have some equity you could use to buy an investment property, or use to purchase shares or other investments.

You could also use the equity for other things you want. Perhaps you need a new car, a holiday, or would like to use the money to pay for your children’s education? Maybe you’d like to put the money towards some home renovations that could ultimately drive up the value of your property. Whatever your goals, we can explain whether refinancing and accessing your equity will help you to achieve them.

Consolidate debt

If you have several debts with high-interest credit facilities like credit cards or personal loans, you could potentially make things more manageable by refinancing and rolling your debts into your home loan. In this scenario, you’d access some of your equity and use it to pay off your other debts. The benefit is you only pay the home loan interest rate, rather than the higher credit card or personal loan rates – although your home loan repayments will likely rise somewhat, you could possibly make some savings if you make an effort to make extra repayments to pay back the amount you withdraw quickly. Talk to us and we’ll help you determine if refinancing to consolidate debt makes financial sense for you.

As your mortgage broker, we are experts at finding the right home loan to help you achieve your financial goals. We’ll check out your current home loan and if it no longer has that youthful vigor you need, see if we can find a better alternative! But first, we’ll nut out the figures and make sure refinancing is the right move forward for you financially. So if you’ve had your current home loan for three years or more, give us a call today for a home loan health check. We’d love to hear from you.How refinancing every three years could help you save

Saving a 20% deposit for your first home is no easy task – particularly if you want to buy your home in Melbourne or Sydney where home values seem to be rising faster than most people can save. But the good news is that there could be ways to get around the problem. Here’s a few little-known strategies and suggestions from your friendly mortgage broker that could potentially help you secure your first home sooner. We hope you find them handy!
Buy what you can afford right nowAs a first-time buyer, it’s important to know what you can afford to purchase right now. Why wait when you could opt for a cheaper entry point into the market and work your way up the property ladder? As your mortgage broker, we’re here to help you work out your current borrowing capacity, so it’s worth getting in touch.

Borrow up to 95% with Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance

Did you know you may not need a 20% deposit to buy a property? Under some circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a loan for 95% of the purchase price. You would have to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance and strict eligibility criteria will apply, but if it allows you to achieve the dream of homeownership sooner, it may be worth it. Talk to us – we’ll explain whether this option could work for you.

Borrow up to 100% with a Guarantor Loan

A guarantor is someone who will provide a guarantee for your home loan, usually a family member (better known as the ‘bank of mum and dad’). This guarantee is usually secured against the equity in their own property. Once you have paid off part of your home loan, or your property has increased in value, you can apply to have the guarantee removed.

Guarantor Loans are a great idea for first home buyers who do not have a full 20% deposit as they save you from having to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance. Some lenders even allow you to consolidate some of your debts – such as credit cards – when you buy your home. Talk to us if you’d like to find out more.

Delay paying your deposit 

If you can’t come up with the cash deposit for your home right now, you may be able to use a deposit guarantee. This is a type of insurance that guarantees the funds will be paid upon settlement. Your money may be tied up in a fixed-term deposit or other assets that you’re waiting to sell. Maybe you’ll be eligible to receive the First Home Owners’ Grant after settlement, but you’d like to use the money from the grant as part of your deposit? A deposit guarantee could help! Talk to us to find out if this strategy could work for you.

Use your super to save your deposit

If you’re trying to save a deposit for your first home, you may be able to use your super to help you save faster. Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to introduce a new scheme that, from July 1, 2018, will allow first home buyers to withdraw any voluntary contributions you make to your super after July 1, 2017. You can potentially withdraw up to $30,000 of voluntary contributions, plus any associated deemed earnings, and put the money towards your deposit. The amount withdrawn will be taxed at marginal rates, less a 30 per cent offset – which means the government will effectively be helping you save your deposit! If you’re a couple, you can both withdraw that $30,000 amount, so it could provide you with a significant deposit for your first home.

But before you start whacking your extra money into your super, be sure to ask your financial planner, accountant, or super provider whether or not you could benefit from this new scheme. As yet, the full terms and conditions of the scheme have not been published, but you can find out more here.

Have someone with experience on your team!

Our final suggestion is to have someone in your corner who knows the game and how to play it. As your mortgage broker, we’ll do everything we can to help you secure finance for your first home. We know all the lender requirements for every loan and can help keep the application process simple, so please get in touch and have a chat with us about your property purchasing plans and financial goals. We’ll also be here to support you after you make your first home purchase – our long term goal is to help you build wealth for your future through property – so rest assured you’ll always be in safe hands with us as your credit and finance partner!6 little-known strategies for first home buyers


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