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It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first home buyer, next home buyer or a property investor, deciding between a brand new home and an established one is an important choice that every property buyer needs to make.

Both choices give you a huge range of options, but it’s a decision that could be very important to your future prosperity. So will you choose a brand new property – perhaps buy one off the plan or build the home of your dreams? Or would you prefer an established home in a location you love? To help you decide which one is the right choice for you, in this article we’ve provided you with five good reasons to consider buying a new build and five good reasons to think about buying an established home.

Why buy a new build?

1. Lower maintenance costs.

One of the most attractive things about a newly constructed property is that they are brand new. You don’t have to worry that the hot water heater is about to wear out or you’ll have to come up with the money for a new roof next year.

Of course, a property with no maintenance issues means no maintenance costs – at least for the first few years – which will be very appealing to landlords everywhere. It’s also a big bonus for first home buyers and anyone who can expect cash-flow to be tight in the first few years of home ownership.

2. First home buyer grants and other incentives.

In most states of Australia, there are grants and other government incentives to assist first home buyers when they buy a new build home. These incentives may include the first home buyer’s grant and/or stamp duty savings. It should be noted that these benefits do vary from state to state so to find out more, please visit the government website here.

3. Tax benefits for investors.

If you’re a property investor there could be some tax benefits whether it is a new build or an established home. One of the things you may be able to claim on your tax is depreciation on certain aspects of your property and its contents. These tax benefits tend to be greater and easier to claim on a new build property where the building, fixtures and fittings are all new than with an established property where they may be a number of years old.

For more information about how to claim depreciation tax benefits on your investment property and find out exactly what you can claim, please talk to an accountant or visit the ATO website here. If you don’t have an accountant who knows about property investment, just ask us for a referral.

4. Higher rental yield potential.

People love to live in a brand new property where no one has ever lived before. New build properties make attractive homes because they usually come with all the latest mod-cons, great insulation and the latest energy efficient appliances. You may even find that tenants are willing to pay more rent for a new build property than they would for a similar established home, simply because they know the actual costs of living there will be less.

5. Build the home you really want.

Building your own home, buying off the plan or purchasing a newly completed home may allow you to obtain a home that better suits your needs and lifestyle. It’s a great way to get that dream home you’ve always wanted! Whilst it is often possible to renovate an established home to meet your family’s unique requirements, designing a new one specifically for your purposes may provide better value for money and may be a much more attractive idea to some.

Why buy an established home?

1. Renovate or extend to add value.

Unlike a new build property, an established home may give you the opportunity to renovate or extend which could help you to instantly add value and increase your equity. This can be a very effective wealth-building strategy if you do it well.

2. Be sure you’re not paying too much.

One of the problems with buying a new property off the plan or building your own home is that it is difficult to know exactly what the value of the property will be when construction is completed. This represents a risk because it is possible that you may end up paying more for the property than it is actually worth.

With an established home, it is much easier to obtain an accurate valuation at the time of purchase, so you can be more confident that you are paying the right price. You also get the peace of mind of inspecting the finished property before you buy it.

3. Location.

Building a new property depends on the availability of vacant land for the development. This is most often found on the outskirts of cities. Established homes are more likely to be easier to rent and easier to sell because they are usually located in areas where people actually want to live, which tends to make them more popular with both tenants and property buyers.

4. Historical charm and outside space.

There are people who love a character home and would quite simply prefer to purchase an older, established home rather than a new build. It can be argued that these homes could have better capital gain potential because they are each a piece of history that is unique and becoming increasingly rare. It is also true that land allotment sizes used to be much larger, providing buyers of older established homes with bigger gardens designed to accommodate families with children and pets.

5. Move in sooner.

You never know for sure how long it will take to build a new home. Unforeseeable circumstances can often cause frustrating delays and even something as simple as bad weather can add months to the project. On the other hand, you can buy an established home very quickly. The entire process of locating the right property, buying it and moving in could take as little as three months, maybe even less.

Whether you’re considering buying a new build or an established home, we’re happy to help you weigh up the merits of your choice of property. We’ve helped many first home buyers, next home buyers and property investors to make wiser property purchasing decisions and of course, choose the right home loan to help them make the most of their personal financial circumstances and achieve their goals. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you make the right choices, just give us a call today.

refinancing
Getting a mortgage locked in can be a major hurdle when buying a property, whether you’re a home buyer or an investor.

For some, it can be a very anxious time and it’s easy to understand why you might try to avoid the stress of doing it again for as long as you can. However, sticking with the same loan for too long can be a mistake. In this article we talk about some of the benefits of refinancing your mortgage and some of the strategic reasons why you should regularly consider making a switch.

#1. It pays to change with the times.

Mortgage products can become outdated very quickly and it’s important to check regularly to make sure your home loan product hasn’t become a bit of a dinosaur. It really can pay to take the time just to see what’s out there in terms of mortgage features.

Some products offer features that could save you money outside of your mortgage. For example, fee free transaction accounts or low-rate credit cards. Other mortgage products may offer rewards, incentives or even more flexibility. Or perhaps you could be benefiting from more features on your home loan like the ability to make extra repayments and redraw them if you need to, or an offset account that helps you maximise your savings and saves you money on interest.

#2. Minimise your interest bill.

Interest rates also change frequently, with lenders making adjustments in response to economic influences, RBA rate movements and policy directives from industry bodies such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). And smaller lenders and new lenders in the market place often offer lower interest rates than the big banks, just to attract new business. So it really does pay to compare your interest rate against a range of other options from time to time.

A recent study showed that borrowers who held the same home loan for more than ten years could easily have paid thousands more in interest than borrowers who monitored their interest rate and switched mortgage products every two to three years. You might wonder how that can be true but consider this, if you have a $500,000 mortgage and can manage to reduce the interest by just one percent, over 30 years you could save $100,000 in interest repayments. Switching regularly could potentially help you achieve results like these for yourself.

#3. Capitalise on rises in home values.

The interest rate you may be eligible to receive depends on a number of different criteria and these can change over time. A great example of this is your loan to value ratio (LVR). Your LVR is calculated by dividing the amount of your home loan by the current value of your property. (This is effectively a measure of how much equity you have in the property.)

Generally speaking, the higher your LVR, the greater the risk to the lender and that’s why they usually apply a higher interest rate to loans with an LVR above 80%. As you make your regular home loan repayments and the value of your property grows over time, your LVR constantly improves. If your property has risen in value or you have made significant headway on paying down your loan, you could find your LVR has improved considerably and you could now be eligible for a better interest rate.

#4. Maximise improvements to your circumstances.

An improvement in your personal circumstances could also make you eligible for a better interest rate. Perhaps your credit score has improved over time. Maybe you have had a significant salary increase since you purchased your home, or you have paid off other debts and loans and your financial commitments have been reduced.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and there are lots of ways that time can cause them to change. A consultation with your mortgage and finance broker will soon reveal how any changes to your personal circumstances may influence your interest rate on a new loan.

#5. Make your investment work harder for you.

Purchasing a home can be a very emotional experience and it’s easy to forget that your home is more than just the cosy haven where you live. It’s a valuable asset and an important investment that can help you build wealth.

When you pay down your mortgage and at the same time, the value of the property increases, you build equity in the property that you may be able to access by refinancing. You can use these funds to invest in another property, make another form of investment such as stocks and shares, or to increase the value of your home through renovation. These are just some of the popular wealth building strategies that refinancing can help you to achieve.

Another way you can use refinancing to save money on interest and improve your financial situation is by consolidating your debts. The interest rate you pay on your mortgage is the lowest interest rate available – much more attractive than the interest rate offered on credit cards, car loans, personal loans and store credit.

If you’re interested in refinancing your home loan, just give us a call. We’ll help you decide if it’s the right move for you and work out the numbers to ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits. We’ll also help you to find a new loan that has the right features for your needs and offers you the best interest rate available for you considering your current personal financial circumstances. Call us today.

secret weapon
Investing in property is a big decision that can keep even the most seasoned property investor awake at night. How do you know if you’ve got your investment strategy right? How can you make sure you’re choosing the right property? Where can you find the time to do the necessary research? What is the right price to pay?

A good buyer’s agent is the property investor’s secret weapon. They provide professional guidance on every aspect of your property investment journey, with the objective of saving you time, money and many sleepless nights. A buyer’s agent can help you take a more professional, balanced approach to your property investment activities, removing the emotional aspects of the process and saving you from the natural human tendency to make unwise, impulsive decisions under pressure.

What does a buyer’s agent do?
Buyer’s agents specialise in representing a buyer’s interests during a property purchase. Whilst they are most commonly used by property investors, buyer’s agents are also frequently used by families searching for exactly the right home, and people moving interstate or overseas, making the process much easier by doing all the leg-work and narrowing down the options.

Buyer’s agents usually offer differing levels of service, depending on your requirements. The full service covers every aspect of the property investment journey including:

  • Formulating an investment strategy that maximises your funds
  • Searching for suitable properties to fit your buying strategy
  • Researching every aspect of a property to ensure profitability
  • Arranging inspections with vendors and real estate agents
  • Negotiating a price and terms of sale
  • Bidding at auctions on your behalf
  • Co-ordinating your professional team – solicitors, mortgage brokers etc.
  • Ongoing service to help you establish a complete portfolio.

Getting the property research and selection process right is arguably the most important part of your property investment journey. It certainly takes the most amount of time and getting the right information requires a certain amount of know-how too. A professional buyer’s agent knows which questions to ask and where to look for the answers. They can often access information from developers, councils and other relevant bodies that is not readily available to the ordinary consumer.

However, you don’t necessarily need to engage the full services of a buyer’s agent. You can also engage a buyer’s agent just to do research for you, to negotiate a price for you, or to bid for you at an auction if you would rather not do it yourself. This can be a good idea if you are nervous, inexperienced, you can’t attend the auction yourself, or you feel you may get carried away by the auction process and pay too much.

How much does a buyer’s agent cost?
There are many buyer’s agents and the cost will vary according to the agent you choose, your location and your requirements. Qualified, professional buyer’s agents generally charge between 1.5  – 3% + GST of the purchase price of the property for their full services, however this can often be negotiated in favour of a flat fee and savings may be obtained if you are planning on purchasing multiple properties.

When providing a research service only, a negotiating service only, or a bidding service only, your buyer’s agent will usually charge a fee for their time. Again this will vary according to the agent, the location and your requirements. You can generally expect these services to cost around $1,000 + GST depending on how much of their time you require.

If you are purchasing a property for investment purposes, the cost of a buyer’s agent is generally tax deductible as are most of the professional services you will require as part of the process.

How do you find a good buyer’s agent?
A good way to locate a great buyer’s agent is by word of mouth – there’s nothing like a recommendation from a friend, colleague or trusted business advisor (like your mortgage broker) to make you feel confident about someone’s credentials. However, you can also find some reputable buyer’s agents through the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) website.

Sometimes, outsourcing is the sensible option
Engaging a buyer’s agent can save you hours of time and loads of stress. If you’re new to property investment, then a buyer’s agent can also be invaluable in helping you to avoid costly mistakes. When you do find a property you want to buy, all the hard work in locating it can easily be lost in the final hurdle – the purchasing process. Having an expert on your side to negotiate the price you need, or to bid for you at the auction, can reduce the risks and make all the difference. Using a buyer’s agent is one case where outsourcing can take a lot of the frustration out of the process!

For more information, or to get your property investment finance in place, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

Did you know: the City of Joondalup has one of the hottest suburbs in the state right now – Heathridge.

Currently Heathridge properties are selling faster than almost all other metro suburbs, second only to Shenton Park and Leederville. Properties in the suburb are currently on the market for 40 days before selling.

If you are thinking about buying in the area, email leandro@elementfinance.com.au first for your insiders report.

This article originally published here.

The State Government has again pledged its commitment to the exciting and visionary Ocean Reef Marina project, agreeing to sign a new joint Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Joondalup.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard was told of the news on Friday (20 May) during a visit to the marina site with local members Ocean Reef MLA Albert Jacob and Joondalup MLA Jan Norberger.

The MOU announcement coincided with news that the State Government has also allocated $500,000 to the project as part of its 2016-17 Budget.

The MOU is a formal agreement that acknowledges a strategic alliance and the shared commitment of the City and the State Government as joint landowners of the site in bringing the Ocean Reef Marina project to fruition.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the MOU was a vital step in a long process as the City could not deliver a project of this size and complexity on its own.

“This document will set out the roles of the City and the State Government and how we will work together to resolve ongoing issues, recognising that a collaborative approach is needed to develop the marina,” he said.

The Mayor said the extra funding would enable the City to continue the planning phase of this complex and multi-faceted project.

The City is currently progressing the environmental and planning approvals for the Ocean Reef Marina via an amendment to the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) boundary and a Public Environmental Review of the marine based components.

Mayor Pickard said the State Government’s financial contribution would enable the City to complete the outstanding tasks required for these processes, as well as finalise the Ocean Reef Marina Structure Plan.

“It will also allow the City to undertake any additional environmental work as required by the relevant agencies, respond to submissions arising from the public advertising of the PER, MRS Amendment and Structure Plan, and continue our extensive liaison with key stakeholders,” he said.

“The City has been custodian of the Ocean Reef Marina and championed this project for a considerable amount of time and committed significant resources.

“The environmental and planning approvals process currently underway is complex and challenging, with some 35 different environmental and planning studies or investigations being undertaken in recent times.

“This considerable body of work represents a financial investment of approximately $2.6 million, and whilst there is still some way to go, the funding from the State Government is timely.

“It is anticipated that the MRS Amendment, the PER and the Structure Plan will be advertised for public comment in the latter half of 2016, subject to agreement by the relevant State Government approval agencies.”

In October 2015 the City requested the State Government to take over as proponent of the project, mindful that it does not have the capacity and resources to build the Ocean Reef Marina on its own and would need the State Government or a public/private partnership to develop the facility.

“The City is preparing a structure plan in collaboration with the Department of Planning in its pursuit to obtain the necessary planning approvals that would ensure the desired urban outcomes of the Ocean Reef Marina concept plan,” Mayor Pickard said.

“Moving forward the City aims to work with the State Government to determine how the project is best progressed to construction stage.

“As land owners, the City would still like to be actively involved in the decision making process and work collaboratively with all stakeholders to produce an approved, financially viable, and publicly supported project that is delivered in accordance with community expectations.

“I can assure all of our residents and ratepayers that the City remains extremely determined to see the Ocean Reef Marina come to fruition.”

The Ocean Reef Marina project includes approximately 750 boat pens/stackers, boat ramps and boat trailer parking, hotel/short stay accommodation, residential apartments and single lots, food and beverage outlets, retail and service commercial, public open space and community amenities, an Internal beach, sea sports club and sea rescue facilities.

FAST FACTS

2016 – City receives funding from State Government in 2016-17 Budget to continue approval processes. State Government agrees to sign another Memorandum of Understanding with the City.

2015 – City calls on State Government to become the proponent of Ocean Reef Marina project.

2014 – Initiation of the Metropolitan Region Scheme boundary amendment by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Environmental Protection Authority determined to assess the marine based components (under section 38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986) via a Public Environmental Review.

2013 – Submission to the Western Australian Planning Commission of a request to amend the Metropolitan Region Scheme boundary.

2012- Signing of the Ocean Reef Marina Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government.

2011 – An amended concept plan was endorsed by Council as the basis for the preparation of the Local Structure Plan for the development.

2009 – Concept plan seven endorsed by Council for community consultation. Received 95.6% support from the almost 12,000 respondents who made submissions.

2007- Ocean Reef Marina Committee, Government Steering Committee and Community Reference Group established.


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