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Your loan has settled and you are officially the proud owner of an investment property. Well done!

No doubt you want the rent to start flowing in so you can pay off your mortgage, and to have a smooth and stress free time as ‘landlord’. If that’s the case, it’s time to start looking for good tenants!

Did you know that better landlords attract better tenants? It’s pretty simple really. When you consider your rental property is a business, then your tenants are your customers. You’re providing a service, and they are paying for that service. Wouldn’t you want to keep your best customers for as long as possible?

The first thing you need to decide is if you want to be a “do-it-yourself” landlord, or go down the path of hiring a property management company. There are benefits to both options, but if you are a new “do-it-yourself” landlord, here are a few tips on how to be a great landlord, and in turn, keep your renters happy, for longer!

Welcome them in style

As the saying goes, first impressions last. As your new tenants move in, it’s a great idea to make the process easy and seamless for them from the start. Why not write them a welcome letter? Leaving your tenant a brief note, as well as echoing how happy you are to have them, will set the tone the relationship. Remember to include your contact details!

You could also consider stocking the bathrooms or kitchen. This could be as simple as buying some soap or tooth paste for the bathroom, or some dish washing detergent for the kitchen. Such a small investment can really make a difference to those first few days in a new place.

Ensure both parties understand the lease

To build a harmonious lease/lessor relationship, it’s important that you are both on the same page from day one. To ensure this is the case, it’s always a good idea to walk your renters through the lease. By walking your tenant through the lease it provides the opportunity to answer any questions they may have about any of the clauses in it. This helps to build trust, and importantly, makes it easy for both parties to follow the lease guidelines.

Whilst it is important to have a collaborative relationship with your tenant, at the end of the day, it is a business relationship. If a problem is to arise, it’s vital to follow the guidelines outlined in your lease – as that’s what everyone signed! This way, should they have any objections, you can make it clear that you are within your rights, or vise verser.

It’s also advisable to keep electronic copies of everything – receipts, invoices, bills. You never know when you may need to refer to them down the track.

Be professional and available

It might sound like common sense, but dressing neatly, presenting yourself well and responding promptly can go a long way to keeping your tenants happy!

Ultimately, if your tenants need to talk to you, then you need to be reachable. Tenants should always be provided with multiple means to contact you. Plus, if there was a leaky pipe, you would want to know about it before real damage was done.

Whenever a tenant calls or emails you, be sure to respond as soon as possible. Remember any interaction with your tenant is like a business interaction, so it’s important to think of what you would expect from a business – efficiency, accessibility, approachability. If you know you are going to be away, tell the tenant that you may not be able to respond as quickly.

Be a human

We need to remember that tenants are people too. Good landlords exhibit all the traits that form a good working relationship – open and honest, transparent, good communication. Showing empathy, exercising compassion and making sure you listen to your tenant’s concerns can really go a long way.

If you want to be a good landlord that attracts tenants who stick around, it’s also vital that you are respectful of their privacy.

A good landlord is consistent. A lot of frustration and miscommunication can occur when rules and decisions are changed on a whim, or without reasoning. It pays to be reliable, helping to build trust and understanding.

By following these easy tips, you are on your way to being the best landlord your tenants have ever had! If this all sounds like too much hard work, get in touch with us and we can refer you to a property management company.

With interest rates so low, if you are thinking about purchasing an investment property now is a good time to talk to us about it. It’s also a great time to look at any existing investment loans you have, to determine whether they are still the most suitable for your investment needs. Why not give us a call?

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

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

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

1. Make a list and check it twice.

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

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

2. Online shopping is not naughty, but nice.

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

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

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

3. Collaborate with family and friends.

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

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

4. Buy your gifts wholesale or in bulk.

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

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

5. Save on interest for bigger gifts.

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

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

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Summer is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Our last newsletter for 2016 focuses on maximising those New Year car sales, investment loans and becoming a good landlord, and how you can apply some damage control to your Christmas spending.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has met for their final meeting for 2016, and announced the official cash rate will remain unchanged at 1.5 per cent. We last saw rates fall in May and August this year, which brought the official cash rate to its lowest level in Australian history. The RBA will not meet again until February 2017, so the cash rate will stay at this record breaking low level at least until then.

There is a great deal of speculation about what the RBA’s next move will be. Some forecasters anticipate that rates will now stay on hold until later in 2017 and then start to rise as inflation improves. Others are predicting continuing low inflation and soft wages growth may influence another RBA cash rate cut to as low as 1.0 per cent next year, with the first cut coming as early as February next year. Either way, we can expect to see these very competitive home loan rates in the market for some time.

Regardless of what the RBA decide to do, lenders have been varying their rates outside of the RBA’s rate movements. Over recent weeks we have seen quite a few lenders increase their fixed rates, so if you are considering fixing some or all of your loan, now might be a good time to talk to us.

We are also seeing a more noticeable variance in the rates that are being offered by different lenders in the market. So if you have a current home loan, it’s worthwhile getting in touch to determine if your loan product is still right for your needs.

2016 has been a fascinating year. Global economic influences and developments in the US, such as the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, have caused a bit of uncertainty in the market. But overall it has been a strong year for home values here in Australia. From January to October this year, capital city home values grew by 9.1 per cent. Perth and Darwin are the only cities where values have fallen slightly for the first 10 months of the year.

Compared to the same time last year, combined capital city home values have increased by 7.5 per cent. This is trending up from 6.1 per cent at the end of July this year, with house values growing slightly higher than unit values across the country.

Summer is usually a slower time for Australian property markets, with much activity coming to a standstill over the Christmas period. However, the market activity in most of our capital cities is still quite strong.

According to Australian Property Monitors (APM), Melbourne listed 1173 auctions on Saturday 3 December alone, with a clearance rate of 80 per cent. Sydney also had a strong clearance rate of 76 per cent from 874 auctions on the same day. Other cities with strong auction numbers included Adelaide (160 auctions), and Brisbane (148 auctions), and even Canberra (with 81 auctions).

2016 has been a positive year in our property markets, and this looks set to continue into 2017! With the low interest rates we are seeing at the moment, it’s a great time for those in the market to purchase property, whether you’re a first home buyer, investor or refinancing an existing loan.

As this is our last newsletter for 2016, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a safe and happy festive season. Thank you for your support throughout 2016, it’s been a big year for everyone, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to the break as much as we are! Thank you once again for your ongoing support, and we look forward to connecting in the New Year.

Information sources:
Home values: www.corelogic.com.au
RBA: www.rba.gov.au

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Next to your wedding day perhaps, settlement day on your first home is likely to be the most exciting and stressful day of your life.

It not only brings an end to the hard work and perseverance it takes to save your deposit and find the home of your dreams, it marks the beginning of your new life and your very own happily ever after. But how can you stop yourself from biting your nails to the quick on the day the vendor hands over the keys? Here are 5 tips to make your settlement day go smoothly.

Tip #1. Get a good conveyancing solicitor.

Property settlement is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property. In order to make it go as sweetly as possible, you should engage the services of a reputable conveyancing solicitor well ahead of time and ask them to explain the regulations and procedures required by the government in your state.

During the settlement process, your conveyancing solicitor will complete the following tasks:

  • Inspect the sales contract and ensure enough time has been allowed between the finance approval date and settlement date to complete the paperwork.
  • Prepare the documentation you need to sign – transfer of ownership, transfer of land, stamp duty application, authority to proceed, etc.
  • Ensure that all the paperwork is correctly completed, verified and filed by both parties.
  • Check that any existing debts or mortgages against the property are paid off.
  • Perform a title search and check everything is correct with the certificate of title for the property.
  • Register the transaction with all of the appropriate authorities.
  • Help us to co-ordinate the necessary lender property valuation required before we can get your final finance approval.
  • Work with us to ensure the cheques are ready on the day and the lender and other interested parties are present at the exchange.

Tip #2. Check the details in your sales contract carefully.

The sales contract you sign when you agree to purchase the property is a wealth of information and very important to settlement day. It’s a good idea to get your conveyancing solicitor to check it before you sign or put down your deposit so that you are sure it provides all of the required information.

Your sales contract should outline all of the conditions of the sale, what is included in the sale, what actions are required to complete the sale, the schedule for completing these actions and who is responsible for completing them. If you show your sales contract to your conveyancing solicitor before you sign it, you can ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Tip #3. Get your finance in place before you sign the sales contract.

Settlement day is the big day when your mortgage comes into effect and your chosen lender pays the money to the vendor. To ensure your settlement day goes according to plan, it’s vitally important to get the timing right on this transfer of funds.

During busy periods, it can take several weeks for a home loan to be approved by some lenders. If you don’t want to limit your choices to the few lenders who are able get your loan through according to the timing on your sales contract, then it’s a good idea to talk with us and check the turn-around time a lender will need to process your loan before you sign the sales contract, so you can make sure it allows enough time.

You should also bear in mind that any other government fees, charges and duties must also be paid on settlement day. Just ask us and we’ll help you calculate these costs.

Tip #4. Get insurance and do a property inspection.

A lot can happen to a property in the time between signing the sales contract and collecting the keys. It is likely the property will be vacant during this time and to ensure there are no break-ins, thefts, storm damage or worse, you should include a clause in the sales contract allowing you to inspect the property just prior to settlement day to see for yourself that everything is still in good order.

To make sure you’re fully covered for any insurable event, it is also a good idea to take out insurance on the property when you sign the sales contract. It is not a good idea to trust the vendor to keep the property fully insured until settlement day. Insuring it yourself could save you money and trouble if something should go wrong, so don’t forget to ask us if you need help organising some cover.

Tip #5. Set your moving in date a few days after settlement day.

Delays can happen on settlement day, no matter how carefully you plan. People can miss meetings or take the day off sick, cheques can be held up, even the weather has been known to throw up unexpected obstacles to make completion impossible on the set date.

We recommend that on settlement day, you find a relaxing place to wait for the news that settlement has been successfully completed and to receive the keys. If you plan to move into your dream home a day or two later, you’ll have the time to sit back and enjoy the experience of becoming a new home owner before you need to do the heavy lifting required to actually get your stuff in there and start living happily ever after.

As your mortgage and finance broker, we’re here to help you make sure that you can complete the purchase of your new home with as little hassle and stress as possible. Ask us to help you get pre-approval on your home loan, and if you need a referral to a good conveyancer, we’ll be happy to help with that too.

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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.


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Copyright 2016