Did you know that your mortgage broker can help you with a lot more than a home loan? Mortgage brokers are qualified as ‘credit advisors’, so we can be of great benefit to you in a variety of different ways when it comes to your finances. To start you thinking about maximising your financial goals this year, here’s 6 questions you might like to ask us in 2018!
1. How can I clear my debts faster?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 29% of Australian households are classified as ‘over-indebted’. The most common form of debt is credit card debt, which is currently a real bother to about 55% of us!

If you want to clear your debts faster, particularly credit card debts, the trick is finding ways to save on interest, so your money goes towards paying down your debt rather than maintaining it. This could mean rolling all your debts into one loan with a lower interest rate. We could help you do this with a personal loan, or perhaps by refinancing your home loan to pay off your debts. Call us if you want to talk turkey on debt consolidation!

2. What’s the best way to save for my child’s education?

Dreaming of your child becoming a Nobel Prize winner one day? Then a great education is key. Paying for something like a four year university degree twenty years from now is not so much a question of saving your extra pennies, but putting your money to work for you so it generates money for the future. Ideas? Use your home as a money tree – put any extra money you’ve got into your home loan now, then access the equity to invest as soon as you can. Or if you already have plenty of equity, talk to us about refinancing now to get a deposit for an investment property or some other form of investment.

3. How can I take a year off work to travel when I’ve got a mortgage?

Ah-ha! A tricky one, but talk with us because there are a number of things we could do to help, depending on your personal financial situation and how much equity you have in your home. For example, we could crunch the numbers for you to see if renting out your property would cover your repayments while you’re away. Or to make that strategy work for you, potentially negotiate with your lender so you could switch to interest-only for a while to reduce the size of your loan repayments. We may even be able to refinance your loan to help you cover some of your travel costs, and at the same time, extend your loan period to reduce your repayments so a renter could cover them.

4. My car loan repayments are a killer! What can I do about it?

Refinancing your car loan is not out of the question. If you got your car loan from a car dealership, chances are you’re paying a whopping interest rate – we recently heard of a client who was paying as much as 14.5% pa. If this is the case for you, we could potentially find you a loan with a lower interest rate, or extend your loan terms to reduce your repayments. It may even be possible to roll your car loan into your home loan. Talk to us and we’ll see what options are available for you, or if you want to purchase a car this year – we are here to help set you up for success.

5. I’ve always wanted a jet-ski. Is it possible to get a loan for that?

Yes! Even though we usually specialise in home loans, we can also access great loan options for other large purchases. We call these ‘lifestyle assets’ – which covers everything from jet-skis and boats, to other items you may need like cars, caravans, campervans and even horse trailers! Give us a call – you’ll be surprised how quickly we can get it organised.

6. I work for myself. Would I still be able to get a loan?

If you are self-employed, there is no reason why you can’t get a home loan if you have a steady income. We can also help you with finance for commercial vehicles, equipment you may need for your business, or insurance to cover your business and personal needs. Why not talk to us now? The right way forward for you depends on your current personal financial situation and future goals.

Got a twisty one? Go ahead and ask us!

We’re always available to help you with managing your finances and credit facilities. We at Element Finance Joondalup and Fremantle are very much looking forward to helping you get ahead in 2018, so if you have a question, please give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Wish you could take longer holidays and spend more of the summer in the great outdoors? Caravanning is a great way to make the most of your holiday budget and is increasing in popularity. Last year, we Australians made more than 11 million trips and spent more than 51 million nights in our caravans and campervans! If you’ve just bought a caravan, or you’re in the market for one, here are some great tips to make the most of your trips!
1. Plan ahead.

One of the biggest mistakes first-timers make is not booking a site in advance in the camping hot spots. The most popular locations can be booked out months ahead, so secure your site in each place you want to visit before you set off. If you’re on a budget, there are a number of free camping sites around Australia – check them out at www.freecampingaustralia.com.au

2. Allow enough time to get there in daylight.

Towing a caravan takes practice. You have to reduce your speed, allow for the wind factor and avoid creating a traffic jam that goes on for miles. It pays to start early to avoid heavy traffic and so you can arrive at your destination and set up whilst it is still light.

3. Practice reversing.

Reversing the caravan is a difficult skill to master so we recommend you practice at home. It helps if you have a partner to give you directions – walkie talkies can be a big help and will save you yelling and attracting an audience.

4. Get caravan insurance.

When you’re towing your own accommodation, it pays to get an insurance policy. Check out insurance that covers you for loss or damage anywhere in Australia due to accidents, storms, impact, vandalism, fire and theft. It’s also a good idea to ensure it covers your caravan contents.

5. Don’t leave the Esky outside.

Don’t make this newbie mistake! The interior space in a caravan is limited, so when bedtime rolls around, you might be tempted to put the Esky outside the door. This attracts the local wildlife and in the morning, there is no food left or your campsite is destroyed. If there is no room for you and all of your foodstuffs inside the van, put them in the car at night.

6. Laundry facilities may be limited.

There will come a time when you have to do some washing. Most good caravan parks provide laundry facilities, but it’s Murphy’s Law that everyone will want to use them at the same time. Consider doing your laundry at night. Remember to bring your own pegs.

7. Don’t rely on the kids for company.

Caravan parks offer great amenities for the kids. You can usually let them do their own thing without worry, but you’ll probably only see them when they’re hungry. Bring a good book.

8. Plan your meals.

If you’re going somewhere off the beaten track, there may be no local shop if you run out of essentials. Always bring plenty of fresh drinking water – the local water may not be drinkable.

9. Don’t depend on a campfire.

Don’t count on using a campfire to cook with. In many locations, campfires are prohibited or there may be fire bans. If it rains, you may not be able to light a fire. If your van doesn’t have cooking facilities, bring a BBQ.

10. Bring a first-aid kit.

It should include band-aids, bandages, antiseptic, sterile wipes, sunburn ointment, insect repellent, insect sting lotion, and burn cream. You should also include tweezers, scissors, safety pins and a knife.

In the market for a new caravan?

This is a great time of year to buy a new caravan. And if you need finance, talk to us! We can help you with a suitable loan for all kinds of large purchases – not just home loans. There’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the great summer weather and you’ll be surprised how quickly we can get a loan organised for you. Give us a call at Element Finance Joondalup and Fremantle!

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!

Residential property investment has long been popular among Australians, but far fewer venture into commercial property – like office buildings. While residential real estate may be more familiar, there are many benefits of commercial property investment, which is why it’s worth considering as a viable investment option. In recent times, we’ve seen strong demand for offices, coupled with short supply in some areas, which may help to make it a profitable investment. In this article, we explain why it may be worth considering commercial property investment as part of your property investment strategy.

The pros of commercial property investment

Commercial property investing can offer significant cash flow benefits. Some commercial properties offer rental returns of more than 8 per cent, compared to the current median rental yield across the combined capital cities of 3.32 per cent (based on CoreLogic data). What’s more, commercial properties usually offer greater rental certainty due to the long-term nature of leases. Commercial leases often run for between three and 10 years, and agreements usually contain a term for set rental increases in line with inflation.

With commercial properties, there are also fewer ongoing expenses involved. Tenants usually cover most maintenance, rates, insurance and body corporate fees, unlike with a residential property, where the owner foots the bills. Another perk is that if the tenant puts in a new fit-out at their own expense, the improvements may increase the value of your property without it costing you a cent.

The cons of commercial property investment

It can sometimes be difficult to find new tenants for commercial properties, so as an owner, it’s important to be prepared to cover the expenses if the property is untenanted for an extended period.

Economic factors can also heavily impact on the health of a commercial property investment. For example, economic downturns, high unemployment or poor business confidence could affect demand. That being said, research and choosing the right commercial property in the right location can usually mitigate these risks, just like with residential property.

What should you research? As with any property purchase, research is key to finding the right investment opportunity. Be sure to research local prices and market conditions, any council restrictions or zoning regulations that could affect your investment, and upcoming infrastructure developments.

In terms of location, think about the property attributes your tenant might desire. Is it in close proximity to transport hubs? Car parking? Perhaps it’s close to other complimentary businesses? Always remember the rules of supply and demand – it’s best to make sure there isn’t an oversupply of similar properties in the neighbourhood.

What are the benefits of choosing an office for first-time commercial property investors?

Office buildings may offer a less daunting entry point into commercial property investing for first-timers because of the strong demand at present. According to the Colliers International Office Demand Index (Quarter Four, 2017), Australia’s major office markets are set for a strong start to 2018, on the back of increased demand and activity in 2017.

Colliers measures demand in terms of demand and supply per square meter. In the final quarter of last year, office property markets nationally recorded a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in enquiries (demand), from 415,737sqm in the last quarter of 2016, to 492,947sqm in the final quarter of 2017. Increases were seen across all segments of the market and overall, there were 942 deals for 785,252sqm of office space in 2017. Ask us for a copy of the report if you are interested!

For some investors, buying commercial property such as an office can be a sound investment strategy. If you already own residential investments, expanding into commercial property investment may allow you to diversify your portfolio and generate an attractive income. If you’d like to find out more about your finance options, please speak to us. Commercial property finance can be more complex than residential finance, but we can walk you through the process and find a commercial property loan that ties in with your unique financial circumstances and goals. Contact your Element Finance mortgage broker in Joondalup and Fremantle if you need support. We’d love to hear from you.

Many people begrudge paying for insurance, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing you, your family and your home are protected against unforeseen events is priceless! Insurance provides protection against short term financial hardship and set-backs that could have a serious long term effect on your future financial security.

In this article, we explain the types of insurance you should think about when buying a home. If you’d like to know more, simply talk to us about your requirements, we’re here to help.

Income Protection

This type of insurance provides an income safety net should you become sick or injured and are unable to work and make your home loan repayments. You may also like to consider trauma/critical illness cover, total and permanent disability insurance and life insurance – that way if you are unable to go back to work, you won’t lose your home.

Mortgage Protection 

Mortgage Protection insurance covers the cost of your mortgage repayments if you die, or become seriously ill. It should be noted that it is only meant to cover your mortgage repayments and not any other expenses for you or your family. It may be a wise choice if you already have some other kind of life insurance – say with your super plan.

Building & Contents

Building or home insurance protects against the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home from things that are outside your control, like fire or natural disasters. You can opt for total replacement cover (to rebuild your home as it was prior to the event), or sum-insured cover (coverage up to a certain amount). When you buy a home, your mortgage broker will most likely recommend that you insure the property before settlement day.

When choosing your policy, make sure you have the right amount of coverage, as well as the right type of insurance for your actual needs. Talk to us, as we are an invaluable source of information to help you determine this.

Contents insurance protects your belongings, including carpets, rugs and curtains, in events such as fires, storms or theft. Often it will be bundled together with home insurance. Many people consider it a must-have to protect from those smaller disasters – even a contained kitchen fire could render your home unliveable until you can repair the damage!

How can your mortgage broker help?

We can access some of Australia’s most respected insurance providers, and offer you a competitive price on your insurance needs. What’s great is that we can do it all – from setting you up with a home loan that meets your financial circumstances, and also help you to arrange the right insurance to protect you and your family. You’ll find we can offer a range of options and make it easy. You may also be able to save by bundling insurances together, so please get in touch today! What insurance do you need to know about when buying a property?


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