You’ve budgeted hard, given up loads of smashed avocado brekkies, saved your deposit and are ready to buy your first home. High five!

There’s nothing quite like finally getting a foothold on the property ladder and moving into your very own pad, but it does require planning and research. With our help, you’ll soon be doing a victory dance and posting that exciting Facebook post of you in front of a shiny ‘SOLD’ sign. Here are our quick tips for buying your first home.

1) Talk to us about how much you can borrow

Your home ownership journey begins with a chat with your mortgage broker! There’s no point wasting your life inspecting properties that are outside your price range. We’ll help you determine your borrowing capacity, set your buying budget and explain about applying for the First Home Owner Grant and making the most of any other exemptions and savings you may be able to obtain to help you get started.

The amount you can borrow will depend on the size of your deposit, your savings history, income, expenses and credit history. It’s a good idea to save 20 per cent of the purchase price, plus the other costs associated with buying property like stamp duty, legal fees and building and pest inspections.

You may still be able to buy now even if you don’t have a 20% deposit, so talk to us about your plans. If you don’t have a 20% deposit, you may still be able to get a home loan, but you will have to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) which protects the lender against any shortfall if you default on your loan and it has to be sold to repay your debt. Sometimes it’s worth paying LMI if it means you can get on the property ladder sooner, so talk to us and we’ll help you decide if its best to buy now or wait until you’ve saved more.

2) Get on the property ladder sooner rather than later

In most cases, it’s a good thing is to jump aboard the real estate train pronto! The sooner you stop wasting money on rent and start making capital gains on your property, the better. But getting into the market sooner rather than later might mean compromising. You might not be able to afford your dream home immediately, but the property you buy may be a stepping stone to greater things. If your desired location is too costly, you may have to consider buying in another suburb, purchasing an apartment or a more modest home, or finding a “renovator’s dream”. Remember, from little things big things grow and you can always trade up in future.

3) Learn how to research the right property to buy

Once you know your price range, you can use it to find prospective properties to inspect and identify areas that you can afford. Location is key, but you also have to factor in affordability. Research the areas and properties you are interested in very thoroughly. Consider the capital growth potential, rental yields and proximity to schools, transport and other amenities – this can be confusing, so if you need help just ask us.

When you find a home you like, research it by arranging building and pest inspections to ensure the property is structurally sound and free of unwanted guests. If the property is going to auction, you will need to do this beforehand.

Buying your first home is exciting, but it’s important to seek professional advice. As your mortgage and finance specialist, our services are free and we’re happy to help you in any way we can, even if you’re not quite ready to buy right now. We’ll help you with your budget and deposit saving plan, guide you through the buying process, ensure your financial goals are taken into consideration, and provide ongoing support in the future. Save yourself time, money and stress by getting in touch with us today!3 Top Tips for Buying Your First Home

Have you been driving the same old bomb for donkey’s years? Then perhaps it’s time to improve your image with a new set of wheels!

If you’re worried about the cost of a new car, fear not! With the right kind of finance through mortgage brokers like us, and the right kind of knowledge about how to negotiate a great deal at the end of financial year car sales, you’ll be cruising in style in no time! Here are our 6 steps and tips for making the most of the End of Financial Year (EOFY) car sales.

6 Steps to buying a new car

Pre-arrange your finance

Before you begin shopping for a new car, it’s a good idea to talk to us about how you’ll pay for it. We can provide plenty of finance options besides standard car loans that could help you save money on interest and make your car more affordable. These may include a lease, a personal loan, or accessing the equity in your home. If you’re self-employed, we may be able to work with you and your accountant to find a way to save at tax time on your car purchase. And if the car is for commercial purposes, you may be able to claim a deduction up to the full price of the vehicle (up to $20,000, including GST) before June 30. So please talk to us about your options!

Pre-arranging finance will also help protect you from the hard-sell of dealership salespeople and to give you more negotiating power. Be wary of 0% finance deals, as the repayment terms are often too short for people to afford, and you may end up being shuffled into alternative finance with higher interest rates. Don’t be taken for a ride!

Do your research

Knowing the recommended retail price before you enter the car yard puts you in a better position to negotiate. Price the car online and be sure to approach at least three different dealerships to get a quote. It may work to your advantage to use the best quote to see if you can negotiate a better price from the next dealer you speak with. Researching the car you’re buying thoroughly will also allow you to negotiate with knowledge of the product and perhaps get some additional extras.

Test-drive prospective new cars

Now comes the fun part – test driving your potential new baby. Like speed-dating, you only have a limited amount of time to get to know one another, so make it count. Take the cars out for a spin in a variety of different traffic conditions, and preferably on different terrains.

Consider trading-in your old car

If you don’t need to keep your old car, you may be able to get a further discount by trading it in on the new one. But sometimes you can get a better price for your old car if you sell it privately, so go online to do some research about what its worth before you decide to accept an offer from a dealership.

It’s ok to haggle

Car dealers expect people to drive a hard bargain, so don’t be embarrassed about a bit of negotiating. If you’re buying during the EOFY car sales, dealers often discount aggressively to clear stock and the increased competition to secure your business means you’re more likely to walk away with a better bargain if you haggle. Buying at the end of the day may also work in your favour, as dealers may be eager to lock in a final sale before home time.

Hit the road, Jack!

Once you’ve signed all the paperwork, don’t forget to make sure your insurance is in place before you drive out of the dealership. We can help with this too. We hope these tips come in handy when buying your new car. Remember, we can find you car finance with terms that suit your needs and budget. We’ll organise pre-approval, giving you leverage during the negotiation process, and explain your options. Happy car hunting!How to get a bargain when buying a new car

There’s nothing quite like the sweet satisfaction that comes from holding a shiny new set of keys to your very own home.

If you’re a self-employed borrower, you’ve no doubt worked hard to get where you are and you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Here are our best tips for buying a home when you’re self-employed – but be warned, you may feel tempted to break out a spontaneous “happy dance” when you secure your new digs. It’s that exciting!

1) Save the nest egg

If you’re considering buying property in the not-so-distant future, it’s a good idea to start saving and planning the purchase well in advance. Lenders like to see a solid savings history over several months when assessing home loan applications.

While you may be able to borrow up to 95% of the property’s value by using your personal and business tax returns from the last two years to verify your income, you will be subject to Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) if you have less than 20% for your deposit. LMI protects lenders if you default on your home loan and it can be costly, so it’s a good idea to aim to save a deposit of 20% or more.

2) Be fastidious about financials

As a self-employed borrower, one of the best ways to maximise your chances of approval is to make sure your financial records are up-to-date and accurate. Lenders are typically more careful about granting home loans to self-employed borrowers, as your income streams fluctuate more than PAYG applicants and it’s more difficult for lenders to gauge whether you can meet repayments into the future. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) also requires lenders and mortgage brokers to ensure you are able to repay your loan without suffering financial hardship.

Lenders like to see consistency of income, and if your financial record-keeping is top-notch, it will be easier to illustrate your earnings and ultimately have your loan application approved. If you’re self-employed and thinking about buying a home, it’s a good idea to have your last two years’ financial statements, income tax returns and notices of assessment ready to go.

3) Get your accountant on the job

One challenge self-employed borrowers may face is not being able to prove they can service a loan because their accountant has been clever about reducing their taxable income. While you may save money on your tax bill, reducing your taxable income can also affect your ability to apply for credit and invest in property. It’s important to talk to a qualified accountant about your home buying aspirations and the tax implications. We have some great contacts, so let us know if you need a referral.

Often there are business expenses that can be added back to your taxable income to work out your borrowing capacity. These “add-backs” include larger stand-alone costs, non-cash expenses like depreciation, additional super contributions, and interest on loans being refinanced. Talk to us about whether “add-backs” could improve your chances of being approved.

4) Provide the necessary documentation

If you’ve been self-employed for more than two years, you can verify your income by providing two years of personal tax returns and the correlating ATO notices of assessment, two years of tax returns for all entities (company, trust, Self-Managed Super Fund), and two years of profit and loss statements (if applicable).

If you’ve been self-employed for less than two years, the income requirements on Alternative Documentation loans include: six months of Business Activity Statements, six months of business account statements, six months of personal bank account statements, confirmation of ABN and confirmation of GST registration. You will also need a letter from your accountant confirming your full legal name, trading name, how long the accountant has serviced you, gross taxable income for the past three years and any relevant deductions.

5) Talk to us about pre-approval

Organising pre-approval before you begin looking for a property will make the process a whole lot easier, as it will give you a realistic idea of how much you can afford to borrow, so that you can put a budget on your search and find the home you want sooner. We can help you establish your borrowing power and determine your eligibility for finance. We’ll explain the merits of each lender and which loans could work for you.

As part of the pre-approval process, we will approach your lender of choice, who will check your credit history and verify your income. Pre-approval gives you an assurance from the lender that you can take out a loan up to a certain amount – handy ammunition when trying to convince real estate agents and vendors you’re serious about buying.

6) Find your property

Once you’ve organised pre-approval, it’s time to find the right property. Remember, this is one of the biggest decisions of your life, so it pays to do plenty of research before choosing ‘the one’. Make sure you get a building inspection done to check for issues such as structural movement or plumbing problems, as well as pest inspections for termites and other unwanted guests. A solicitor or conveyancer will be able to take care of the legalities involved in buying the property.

7) Apply for your home loan

As your mortgage broker, we will find the right home loan to suit your financial situation and future objectives. As a self-employed borrower, we can help you find ways to make your cash flow work harder. If you are a contractor or sub-contractor, you may be considered ‘an employee’ rather than self-employed by some lenders, so it’s worth asking us to check.

If you’re self-employed and looking to buy a home, it’s a good idea to consult a mortgage broker like us to discuss your options. Lenders’ policies vary widely when it comes to self-employed applicants, but we know which ones will view your application most favourably. We’ll explain your buying capacity, provide advice about which application method would work best (given your income and documentation), and help maximise your chances of approval. Best of all, you’ll feel confident in the knowledge your home loan is structured correctly from day one, so that it works for you.

PS. We won’t judge you if the “happy dance” happens in our office. We may even capture it on video and post it on our Facebook page!

7 easy steps to buying a home if you’re self-employed

What is pre-approval and what is subject to finance? Many first home buyers believe you don’t need pre-approval if you intend to use a subject to finance clause in the sales contract when you find a property to buy. But that’s not the case! In this article we explain why it’s a wise move to get pre-approval on your home loan and use a subject to finance clause as well if you can.

What does ‘pre-approval’ mean?
When you’ve saved your deposit and you’re ready to purchase your home, it’s a wise move to talk to us about getting pre-approval on your home loan. Pre-approval is where a lender confirms how much money they may be prepared to lend to you to purchase a home, based on the deposit you have saved, your income, expenses and your personal financial situation.

Getting pre-approval on your home loan is intended to give you clear guidance on how much money you can spend, so that it makes it easier for you to shop for a suitable home in your price bracket. It is important to remember that the amount you are pre-approved for is the maximum amount a lender believes that you can currently afford to borrow according to your personal circumstances.

If you intend to purchase a property at auction, it is important to get pre-approval on your home loan before you attend the auction so that you can be reasonably comfortable that you can borrow the required funds. Getting pre-approval will give you a bidding limit and help you to be reasonably sure that everything will go smoothly with the transaction.

It is important to note that even with pre-approval, a lender can still decline a loan application if they do not like the property you are looking to purchase. If they feel it is over-priced or something is wrong with the property, they will not approve your final loan application. However, getting pre-approval significantly reduces the risk of this occurring.

Additionally, some real estate agents and vendors will not take you seriously if you do not get pre-approval on your home loan before you approach them, particularly when you are buying off the plan or are considering building a new home. Remember, they are frequently approached by time-wasters and ‘tire-kickers’ – getting pre-approval will help them to realize you are a serious buyer.

Benefits

  • Getting pre-approval is free and gives you considerable peace of mind, especially when bidding at an auction.
  • Your pre-approved home loan is usually valid for up to three months.
  • It helps you set your maximum spending limit – particularly important at an auction.
  • It shows real estate agents and vendors that you are serious about purchasing a home.

What does ‘subject to finance’ mean?
When purchasing a property outside of an auction, the bank will always perform an independent valuation of the property to find out its current market value before agreeing to lend you the money you need to purchase it.

When you make an offer on a home, you will be required to make the offer in writing and this is called a sales contract. In this contract, you have the option to include a clause that says your offer is ‘subject to finance’. This means that your offer is conditional upon the lender approving the amount of finance you will need to purchase that particular property. If the lender does not approve the amount of financing required, you can withdraw your offer without losing your deposit or being any worse off.

You need to remember that property sellers and real estate agents are naturally out to get the maximum amount of money for a property that they possibly can. This can often mean that the asking price of a property exceeds its market value and also the amount of money a lender will allow you to borrow for that particular property.

It is important to note that a lender will only allow you to borrow what the valuation says the property is worth – even if you have been pre-approved to borrow more. That’s why it’s important to get pre-approval and use the subject to finance clause in your sales contract as well if you can! If the lender’s valuation turns out to be less than the asking price, you can always go back to the vendor and use the valuation to get a better deal.

Benefits

  • You may think a property is a good price, but using a subject to finance clause in the sales contract gives you additional peace of mind that you’re not paying too much.
  • Using the subject to finance clause gives you room to withdraw your offer if the asking price exceeds the lender’s valuation on the property.
  • It can often help you to negotiate a better price if the lender’s valuation is lower than the asking price.

Things to consider

  • Sometimes a real estate agent will look less favourably upon your offer if you use the subject to finance clause in the sales contract. Always remember to mention that your financing is pre-approved to help mitigate any negative view. 

Remember, if you have any questions about the property purchasing process, we’re here to help. We understand that getting you pre-approval on your home loan is important as it can save you a lot of time and hassle when searching for your new home. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, then please give us a call and we’ll help you get your pre-approval organised.


Copyright 2016