If you’re buying a property or considering refinancing your home loan in 2018, you may be asking yourself whether to fix your interest rate or not. Many people think about switching to a fixed interest rate mortgage when interest rates are low, in the belief that it will insulate them from future interest rate rises. In some instances, this approach could prove worthwhile, but not always and perhaps not for your situation. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of fixed, variable and split rate home loans to help you make an informed decision in 2018. If you’d like to explore your home loan options, please get in touch.

Are interest rates at their lowest and will they go up?

The official cash rate, as set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), is what traditionally determines the base rate lenders use to set their home or investment loan interest rates. It has been at an historic low of 1.5 per cent since August 2016 and many experts are predicting it to remain steady throughout 2018. Tim Lawless, the head of research at property data analytics group CoreLogic, said the RBA would likely keep interest rates on hold during 2018, with an interest rate drop unlikely.

At this point, it would seem interest rates are indeed at their lowest. So, does this mean a fixed rate product would be a better option than a variable home loan? It could be, but not necessarily!

Pros and cons of fixed interest rates

With a fixed rate home loan, you can lock your interest rate in for a set period (usually 1 to 5 years). The advantages are that you can anticipate exactly what your repayments will be, and budget accordingly. Refinancing to a fixed rate mortgage may also be worthwhile if you are on a tight budget and need certainty about the cost of your repayments. You may pay a bit more in interest in the long run, but it could be worth it for the peace of mind.

The disadvantages of fixing your home loan? Fixed rate loans usually, but not always, have a higher interest rate and cost more than variable rate home loans. So, unless interest rates go up beyond what you’re paying at your fixed rate during your fixed period, you won’t make any savings compared to a variable rate loan. If there are interest rate drops, you won’t get the additional savings as you would if you had a variable rate loan.

There may also be limitations on making extra repayments on a fixed rate loan. In some instances, you may still be able to make extra repayments to pay the loan down quicker, but they may be capped at a low amount or there could be fees involved. Sometimes, redraw facilities may not be permitted on fixed rate loans, and there could be break fees if you refinance or pay off the loan within the fixed rate period.

Pros and cons of variable interest rates

Variable rate home loans usually have slightly lower interest rates than fixed rate home loans (but again, not always – it pays to ask us to shop around). If interest rates fall, your rate will usually fall too, as they tend to move with changes to market interest rates. Often, you can make extra repayments with variable rate home loans, allowing you to pay down your mortgage faster and potentially save money on interest. You can also access a range of handy features with variable loans, such as offset accounts or redraw facilities.

The disadvantage of variable rate home loans is that if interest rates rise, yours will too – but as Tim Lawless from CoreLogic says, that’s unlikely to happen in 2018. Budgeting can also be trickier, as your repayments will fluctuate if interest rates do change.

Another option – split your home loan

If you want to hedge your bets, you could consider a split rate mortgage. This is where you fix part of the home loan, while the rest is variable. In this way, you can mitigate some of the risks of interest rate rises while benefiting from useful features and extra repayment options. If you’d like to know more, talk to us and we’ll explain whether a split mortgage could be beneficial to you.

Call us before you decide

“Should I switch to a fixed rate home loan?” is one of the most common questions we receive from customers. It all comes down to your personal financial circumstances and what works for you – it’s not just about beating interest rate rises. If you’ve had the same home loan for a while or your fixed term is coming to an end, refinancing to a different loan product or lender may be worthwhile in any case. Speak to us and we’ll explain your options. We may be able to find you a better interest rate, or different loan features that could help you save money. Talk to us at Element Finance Joondalup and Fremantle about your financial situation and we’ll help you decide what move is right for you!

If you’ve been dreaming about purchasing your own place, but a niggling voice in the back of your mind has been offering up objections, we’re here to tell that voice to pump the breaks, champ! In this article, we tackle some of the common objections first-home buyers may have to buying right now, and explain why you should talk with us today.

Objection 1: “I don’t have a big enough deposit”

If you’ve been working hard to save a deposit and feel like it’s never going to be big enough, we have some exciting news for you! Size doesn’t always matter, especially not in this scenario. Being approved for a home loan is not necessarily dependant on how much of a deposit you have, but rather your capacity to repay the mortgage. There are all sorts of options available to aspiring homeowners who don’t have a 20% deposit.

Some lenders still offer home loans for up to 95% of the purchase price. The borrowing criteria can be more stringent than other types of loans, but if you have a clear credit history, stable employment, a solid income, minimal debt and are in a good asset position, you may qualify. Most home loan providers will want to see evidence you’ve saved at least 5% of the purchase price, and you may have to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance with this type of loan – but you’ll have your foot on the property ladder! Speak to us to find out whether this kind of loan could work for you.

Another way to get a foot on the property ladder could be to ask your parents or a family member to be your guarantor. This is when they use the equity in their property as security for your loan. The right time to buy your first home is as soon as you can afford to do so!

Objection 2: “I think the market will downturn”

Whilst the property market does go up and down in cycles, “timing the market” is not as important as “time IN the market”. The sooner you buy a property, the sooner it will be possible for it to start to experience capital growth (which is the term we use to describe how much your property goes up in value whilst you own it).

There is always a possibility that your property will go down in value after you purchase it. However, you need to remember it has only gone down in value ‘on paper’ – you won’t actually lose any money unless you sell it. Market fluctuations are common and it is likely it will have recovered in value by the time you want to sell.

Choosing the right home in the right location can help protect against property market fluctuations and improve your chances of long-term capital growth. When you locate a property you’re interested in buying, we can help you check its capital growth potential with a free property market report – so please ask us.

Objection 3: “I can’t afford a home where I would want to live”

Most people don’t get to buy their dream home the first time around – it’s a goal you can work towards once you get on the property ladder. If you can’t afford to buy your dream home in your preferred location, you could look for something in another location, consider a smaller property that’s more affordable, or opt for a fixer-upper that has potential but just needs a little love. Another option that’s becoming increasingly popular is to rent-vest – rent where you want to live and buy an investment property somewhere else. That way, you can grow your nest egg to enable you to eventually buy the home you want.

There’s no time like the present to chat with us about your plans and finance options. Please get in touch and we’ll explain your borrowing capacity, home loan options and help you get pre-approval on your loan so you can start looking for a property to buy sooner. Is now the right time to buy your first home?

With a home loan it’s easy to just ‘set and forget’. But it’s sensible to review your home loan every three years or so.

We’re living in a world of rapid change, where interest rates go up and down fast, new lenders emerge and more competitive lending products become available on a regular basis. Under these circumstances, keeping the same home loan for 30 years could cost you more money than you need to spend!

In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to refinancing your home, breaking it down into simple layman’s terms. But before we get into that, let us clear up a few common questions about refinancing.

WHY should you consider refinancing?

Generally speaking, there are four main reasons to consider refinancing.

  1. Your loan may be outdated and you could potentially get a lower interest rate.
  2. Different home loan features could work better for you.
  3. Your financial situation may have changed.
  4. You want to access some of the equity you’ve built up in your home.

WHEN should you consider refinancing?

There’s no time like the present! We’re currently experiencing a low interest rate period, so there are many competitive home loan products available. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to review your home loan every two to four years.

WHO should you use to refinance?

You should always talk to a mortgage broker because our opinion is not biased towards any particular lender or product. And we won’t suggest that you refinance if it isn’t the right move for you.

HOW do you refinance?

We’ve explained the when, who and what of refinancing, but what’s the actual process involved? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Speak to us

Before we begin exploring your loan options, it’s important for us to have a sound understanding of where you’re at financially and what you’d like to achieve. Whatever your goals, we’re here to assist!

Step 2: Choose your mortgage and apply

We’ll help you find the right mortgage to fit your personal financial circumstances and goals. Then we’ll help you submit your application.

Step 3: Your new lender will perform a valuation

Your new home loan provider will require a valuation on your property as part of the application process. Keep in mind that their valuation might be more conservative than the market value you estimate.

Step 4: Get approved

Within a few days of submitting your application, it’s likely our inbox will light up with that delightful email confirming you’ve been approved for your new home loan. Yay!

Step 5: Your old mortgage will be closed

Your new lender will contact your previous provider to co-ordinate your refinancing arrangement. The lender will submit a ‘discharge of mortgage’ form to the Land Titles Office in your state or territory to close your old mortgage account. Upon settlement, your new lender will pay out your existing lender with funds from your new home loan and take ownership of your property title. If you’re refinancing to consolidate other debts, they will be closed too.

Step 6: You start afresh!

Once you have your new home loan in place, you can begin making repayments, satisfied that you have the most suitable mortgage for your needs. If you need any help managing your new home loan, we are always here to lend a hand.

We hope you’ll find this guide to refinancing handy, and we would love to help you decide whether refinancing is the right step for you financially. Whether you are looking to refinance for a better interest rate, to access equity, consolidate debt or for a property investment to build wealth for your future, we can help you to achieve your goals. Please get in touch today!A step-by-step guide to refinancing your home

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.

 

 

Out with the old and in with the new! What better way to start 2017 than with a make-over for your most valuable asset?

Whether you’re ready for a complete home renovation or simply want to bring your house up-to-date with a few cosmetic changes, you’ll want to get on top of the latest trends so you can make some wise choices on where to invest your budget. Here are 7 top renovation and décor ideas that could help you make sure your money is well spent.

  1. Get eco-friendly.
    People want more sustainable homes and as eco-friendly renovations genuinely help to make older homes more sustainable, they’re on trend in 2017. Essential considerations are sustainably produced ceiling and wall insulation, the general use of sustainable building materials, built-in waste management systems, rainwater tanks and water recycling systems, solar energy panels, green walls and leafy facades. Roof gardens and passive design elements that provide natural light and reduce heating and cooling costs are also popular. You probably won’t want to go as far as foregoing the dishwasher or air conditioner entirely, but you should invest in energy saving appliances wherever possible.
  2. Create more space and make it more interesting.
    More spacious homes (or homes that appear to be more spacious) are ever popular with home buyers today, so renovations that include extending or adding extra rooms to your home are still great ways to add value in 2017. However, rather than just focusing on knocking all the smaller rooms into one big open plan communal space, the new trend is to also provide options for privacy, with spaces that offer interesting nooks and crannies where people can escape with their personal technological devices and do their own thing.

    Roof rooms and attic renovations are going to be popular in 2017, because they provide opportunities to add a point of interest and difference. The open, spacious look is still the fashion, however finding ways to add character and uniqueness are trendy too.

  3. More efficient storage spaces.
    Investing in upgrading your laundry to create and maximise storage space was a very popular option for home renovations last year, and this is all set to continue into 2017. Maximising your storage areas means you can keep all of your untidy clutter out of sight, which will make your home appear much more spacious and help you keep the look up-to-date, with clean crisp lines. Adding clever storage that utilises any dead space in your home is an easy way to add value, particularly important if your property is a family home.
  4. Terracotta Tiles.
    If you’ve been around long enough to have survived the ‘80’s, you may be very surprised to learn that terracotta is back in fashion for home renovations in 2017. Interior trends are now moving away from the cool tones that have been popular for the last decade and designers are returning to warm colours and natural materials that add character.

    Today’s fashion in terracotta calls for a smooth matte finish with crisp edges and a more finished look. The idea is to add warmth and depth with natural colours and materials, so consider using your terracotta tiles on feature walls or for cladding fireplaces.

  5. Darker Wood Tones.
    If you are tired of the blonde wood look of the world’s recent ‘Scandi’ obsession, you’ll be happy to know that darker wood tones are finally back for homes in 2017. Remembering the current trend is for warm, natural materials that add character, you can now go ahead and use darker wood and natural timbers as feature walls and flooring. Consider adding texture by using it in herringbone tiling on floors, or by choosing interesting darker wood furniture pieces as focal items.
  6. Go natural in the bathroom.
    Updating the kitchen and bathroom in your home is one of the tried and tested ways of adding value and is one of the main motivations for choosing to renovate for many home owners. Bathroom makeovers in 2017 will also follow the new interior design trend that combines modern, clean lines with natural materials and organic warmth. Functionality is also an important consideration to home buyers today, so try and choose materials that are easy to clean and maintain to generate the most value.

    Remember that sinks and baths with classic, elegant, clean lines are always timeless favourites. Add that natural touch by using wood in warm tones for accents and furniture or accessories. Don’t forget the terracotta in the bathroom too – add some extra organic depth with a fern in a terracotta pot or consider a small terracotta sculpture.

  7. Create more curb appeal.
    A garden makeover that creates more curb appeal for your home is still one of the best investments you can make in terms of adding value this year. Garden design is now moving away from that harsh, minimalistic look that has been popular of late and following the new interior design trend of a warmer, more welcoming look that incorporates natural materials.

    Create a more natural style by staying away from geometric design layouts. You can achieve a more authentic, organic feeling in your garden by using recycled materials, free-form decks, stepping stones or meandering pebble paths. Locally sourced is the buzz word of the year, with native plants and shrubs planted in abundance adding charm.

Talk to us about renovation finance and budgeting.

Over capitalising is one of the greatest dangers when making home renovations, so be careful to set a practical budget and resist the temptation to splurge on too many designer or big brand items. They may make you feel good about what you’ve created, but they won’t add more value and you risk losing money if you decide to sell. If you need help working out how much money you can afford to invest in your renovation project, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Once you’ve set a practical budget, forward planning for how you intend to finance your renovation project is also a wise idea. Depending on how much you plan to spend, there are a variety of finance options that you can choose from, so talk to us before you start your renovation project so we can help you get it organised. Financing your renovations could mean refinancing your home loan to access some of the equity, taking out a line of credit, or perhaps a personal loan. To find out which option is the right one for you, just give us a call for a chat today.


1 2 3 4 5
Copyright 2016