Buying your first investment property is exciting, but it also comes with new responsibilities. When you’re on your L-plates as a new landlord, it’s important to be aware of your rights and obligations and those of your tenants. Here are some of the essential things that you should know.

1) Go it alone, or use a property manager?

When you’re a new landlord, managing your own property could have a steep learning curve. Working with a good property manager will not only teach you the ropes, but they’ll do all the hard work for you – like finding tenants, lodging bond forms, collecting rent, doing inspections and making sure things run smoothly. If there are any issues, the tenant will contact them directly, which could save you a lot of hassle. They’ll also keep you informed of your rights and responsibilities, giving you peace of mind that you’re doing things right.

Before choosing a property manager, be sure to check their online reviews or ask them if you can reference check their other clients. Otherwise, ask us! We are well connected and are more than happy to provide a referral to any reputable local suppliers that we may know. Property management costs are usually tax deductible for property investors, so also check it out with your accountant.

2) Familiarise yourself with the legislation

As a new landlord, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities and adhere to the relevant legislation in your state or territory, even if you use a property manager. For example, in some states, you must provide tenants with a new tenant checklist before they sign the tenancy agreement, and you can be fined for not complying. You can find helpful information about each state and territory’s specific requirements on the TenancyCheck.com.au website, available here. Be sure to also check with your state or territory’s relevant government department.

If you have a Property Manager, it’s their job to help you understand the legalities, so if you’re not sure, ask them to fill you in!

3) Understand the importance of the bond

The bond is a security deposit that protects you if the tenant damages the property, leaves it unclean, or fails to pay rent or bills that fall under their obligation. In these instances, you or your agent may be able to claim the bond money to cover your expenses at the end of their tenancy. The bond is usually about four weeks’ rent, but in some instances, it may be more.

Once the bond is collected, you must provide the tenant with a receipt and lodge the money with your state or territory’s residential tenancies authority (known by different names in each state/ territory). Be sure to check with your local authority about how soon the money must be lodged. This authority will hold on to the bond until the tenancy is up and pay it back to the tenant when the property is vacated, provided there’s no money owing for damages, unpaid rent or other costs. If there is a dispute about the bond or you want to claim compensation for damage that exceeds the bond, you can apply to the relevant tribunal within your state or territory.

Buying an investment property is exciting and rewarding. If you’re not confident about going it alone, you can rest assured that there are professionals out there to help make sure things run smoothly. In terms of finance, we’re here to help you find a loan that meets your current financial needs and ties in with your future investment goals. We’ll compare the market and set you up with a loan that ticks all of your boxes, so please get in touch today! 3 things every new landlord needs to know

Christmas is just over the horizon and decorations are already starting to appear at the local shops. It’s a time of year where it’s almost common practice to splurge! Marketers are all working hard to encourage you to buy, buy, buy and you may have already picked up a few things for yourself and to put under the tree for family and friends.

It’s easy to resort to “retail therapy” when you need a bit of a pick-me-up, and it’s also easy to overspend on gifts amidst all the excitement of Christmas. But what will really give you a thrill and a sense of satisfaction is reaching your savings goals and using the money to buy an asset that will help you grow your nest egg even further (like a house). Here are our tips for beating the urge to splurge this Christmas.

Establish a budget

The most valuable thing you can do for your bank balance this silly season is to create a budget and stick to it. This is especially important if you are buying Christmas gifts.

Write down all of your income and expenses and set an amount for regular savings. Once you have a budget in place, you’ll know your spending limits, and how much you can afford to spend on things like Christmas presents or summer holidays. You’ll also be able to establish good savings habits – something that’s vitally important when the time comes to apply for a home loan. When creating your budget, set yourself short-term savings goals to stay motivated, plus long-term goals to set your sights on where you want to be financially.

There are plenty of online tools to help you create a budget. You could use a simple Excel spreadsheet or a budgeting app. Wally, for example, allows you to manually log your expenses and store pictures of receipts in a virtual budget journal. The app alerts you when you hit your savings goals or when a bill is due. TrackMyGOALSallows you to set, plan, track and manage your savings goals (we’re thinking a new home could be a goodie!).

Think outside the box

If you want to avoid splurging, you need to think outside the box and make a fun game out of finding ways to save money. The key is to challenge yourself to find ways to feel good without buying stuff you don’t really need. If you’re feeling blue and needing some “retail therapy”, do some exercise instead or head to your local park. The endorphins and fresh air will do you a world of good!

When it comes to Christmas gifts, simple home-made presents can potentially save you a load of cash. Get creative! Make some yummy treats and jazz them up with some pretty wrapping. Get a professional photo done and buy some frames in bulk at wholesale prices. Don’t be shy about ‘re-gifting’ anything you don’t need, just give it to someone else who may enjoy it. The options are endless!

Avoid temptation

It’s important to know your spending triggers and to keep them in check to avoid impulse shopping. If you’re a fan of online shopping and find yourself gravitating towards those advertisements on Facebook, perhaps take a hiatus from social media during the silly season and ‘unlike’ your favourite shopping sites.

Similarly, if you find yourself being tempted to buy things for yourself when you’re out and about buying Christmas presents for your family, it’s wise to avoid shopping centres. After all, if you don’t see those killer shoes in the shop window, you won’t know what you’re missing out on. If you have to go out to buy Christmas gifts or essentials like groceries, write yourself a shopping list and take cash with you. By keeping your credit cards safe from yourself (and locked in a drawer at home), you’ll spare yourself a spending hangover.

If you’d like to explore your home loan options, we’d love to hear from you. Even if you don’t have a huge deposit saved, we may still be able to help you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, you’ll need a good savings history if you are planning to buy a property, so resist the urge to splurge this Christmas! Make some savings goals, change your spending habits and set the wheels in motion for a splurge-free future today!How to beat the urge to splurge

When selling your home, your main objective is to get the best possible price. So when should you put it on the market? Does the time of year make a difference? The answer is that it depends on the property itself. The time of year can make a difference in some cases, however the location and how the property market is performing are important considerations too. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important seasonal factors that you should consider when deciding to sell your home.
Spring

Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year to sell a property. It’s the season for new beginnings, when buyers spring into action (pardon the pun). Homes and gardens often look their best in spring too, which may drive up the sale price in some cases.

However, spring may not necessarily be the best time of year to sell for everyone, particularly if your property is an established home or located in a city or metropolitan area. Whilst spring may bring increased buyer demand, it may also mean many more property listings in the area your home is located. If there are many properties similar to yours on the market, that could mean lower prices.

Summer

If your home is located in a popular summer holiday destination, summer could be the best time of year to sell. Holiday-makers could potentially be your best market audience!

Properties that are particularly cool may also be more attractive from a selling point of view in summer. Depending on where your property is located, there may also be fewer properties on the market to compete with so it could help you to achieve your price. However, be careful about selling in December or January, when people are generally winding down and preparing to relax over the festive break and summer holidays. If your property is located in a city location, or its market audience is families with school-age children, there will be fewer buyers on the inspection circuit.

Autumn

Autumn is another popular time of year to sell, with auction activity usually red hot just before Easter. Many prospective home buyers hit the open house inspection circuit at this time of year, hoping to find a new home and get it settled before the cold weather arrives. Again, consider your location and check out what other properties are on the market to see how much competition you’re likely to encounter.

Winter

Your home’s key drawcards could influence when to sell. For example if it has an amazing fireplace or a fantastic underfloor heating system, it may be more appealing to buyers in winter. Likewise, if your property is in the snow-fields or an area that is popular for winter sports, winter could also be the best time to sell. West-facing properties tend to receive more sunlight around this time, and this could make them more appealing in winter than at other times of the year.

Another advantage of selling in winter is there may be fewer listings to compete against, which could drive up competition amongst buyers and lift prices, depending on the area where your property is located. Properties in popular locations often sell quickly all year round.

Don’t forget to consider market conditions

In addition to seasonal factors, it’s important to consider local property market dynamics, specifically supply and demand. If there is an oversupply of properties on the market, it may be best to wait it out until conditions change. The best option is to choose a time when stock levels of properties that are similar to yours are low.

If it’s a ‘buyer’s market’ as exists in Perth – a time when there are more properties available for sale than there is buyer demand – there may be no ‘best’ time of year to sell. It may even pay to rent the property out for a while until the market warms up.

Alternatively, if there’s not enough housing stock to meet demand and it’s a ‘seller’s market’ – as has been the case in Melbourne and Sydney – you’ll likely be able to negotiate harder and push up the price. Other influences such as new developments, changes to the first home buyer grant or stamp duty, and interest rate fluctuations can also affect supply and demand, so it’s worth talking to us about these factors.

Do your research and ask for advice

When it comes to selling your home, it’s best to take all of these factors into account, along with your personal circumstances. Your local real estate agent is a great source of information about when to sell, or you could ask us for a free market appraisal report. It’s always wise to do careful research when buying or selling a home, so please don’t hesitate to ask us for help. If you are looking to sell your home and purchase a new one, please speak to us about your finance options as we’re here to help you find the right loan for your financial circumstances and goals. We usually recommend that you try to sell before you buy if possible, so you know how much money you can budget for your next home purchase. However, if you do require bridging finance to tide you over, we can also help you with a competitive option. Please get in touch today – we’re always happy to help!What is the best time of the year to sell your home?

The clever investor knows that assessing your investments regularly is key to identifying opportunities to build wealth. Knowing when to refinance an investment property could be vital to a successful strategy. So is now the time for you to refinance?

Talk to us and we’ll help you to decide! Despite recent tightening around investor lending, there are still some very competitive interest rates available from a variety of lenders. In this article, we cover some of the common questions we get from our property investor customers – and if you do decide you’re ready to refinance, you can rely on us to make it easy!

Why should I refinance my investment property?

There are generally two main reasons why you may want to refinance your investment property. These are to access your equity, or to change to a different loan.

If you’d like to expand your investment portfolio, refinancing to access your equity could be a good move. You could potentially use your equity as a deposit to buy another property, or to take advantage of some other kind of investment opportunity – talk to your financial planner to see what strategy is right for you.

Accessing your equity to renovate could also be a good move. It could help you add value to your investment property, fast-track its capital growth and perhaps improve the rental value to increase cash-flow.

What kinds of fees are involved?

The good news is that when you refinance an investment property, the costs involved in exiting your existing loan and setting up another are usually tax-deductable. That includes the borrowing expenses and any exit fees or penalties. In the first five years of owning your investment property, you can usually claim borrowing expenses back incrementally, and if you refinance within that timeframe, you can claim the remaining tax deductions immediately. Talk to your tax accountant about the benefits appropriate to your situation. If you don’t have one, we’ll be happy to help you with a referral.

Should I use one lender or multiple lenders?

Professional investors often prefer to use multiple lenders to avoid cross-collateralisation. Cross-collateralisation is where you secure a loan against two or more properties instead of one – which can be inconvenient when the time comes to sell, and risky if property prices should fall. If you use one lender, your properties may be cross-collateralised by default. Having said that, some investors may prefer to use one lender. Overall, it depends on your individual financial situation, goals and the size of your investment portfolio, whether you may choose to go with one lender or several. Talk to us and we’ll help you decide which loan structure is right for you.

Should I refinance all my investments at the same time?

If you’re reviewing one mortgage, you might as well ask us to assess all of your investment loans to make sure they are up to scratch. You may decide you are happy with the deal you are receiving for some of the loans, and only proceed with refinancing others. Or you may decide it’s time to change the way all your loans are structured and if so, we’re here to help.

Talking to your financial planner or tax accountant is also a good idea, to make sure refinancing is the right strategy for you financially. If you’d like to chat or explore the kinds of investment loan options out there, please get in touch today. We’d love to help you find the right finance to fulfill your needs!Investment property refinance made easy!

If you’re a first-time buyer and new to inspecting properties, it can be difficult to know what to look out for, especially when you’re excited about your first home purchase!

Well, first-timers, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve put together a 101 guide of things to be mindful of during your home inspections – all the big issues which may be costly to fix down the track. When you do find a property that ticks your boxes, you’ll want to be ready to move fast, so remember to talk to us about getting pre-approval on your home loan before you start inspecting. But first, here’s our checklist to help you avoid buying a lemon!

It’s all about your budget

If you’re a first time buyer and looking for a home, you’ll probably be inspecting properties that need money spent on them for a variety of different reasons. This checklist is designed to help you inspect properties effectively so you can rule out the lemons and save money on multiple building and pest inspections. But remember, it won’t rule out the need for a professional inspection on the place you decide to buy!

Structural issues: These are generally the most expensive and difficult problems to repair. During the inspection, keep your eyes peeled for signs of subsidence, uneven floors, cracks in the walls or brickwork, or doors that don’t close properly.

Plumbing issues: You don’t want to be knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door when you take a shower, so don’t be shy about turning on the taps to check for hammer issues. Make sure the water pressure is good and the drains are operating well.

Dampness: Stains, water marks and damaged or peeling paint may indicate the property has issues with dampness. Sometimes, vendors try to paint over problems, so channel your inner canine and use your sense of smell during the inspection.

Mould: This may be an indication of a bigger, more expensive problem, such as a leaky roof, plumbing issues, inadequate ventilation, or rising damp. All of these can be expensive to fix, so check bathrooms, ceilings, window frames and walls meticulously.

Termites: When you’re inspecting properties, look for the tell-tale signs – sagging or buckling floors, hollow-sounding beams and “mud leads”. A bad termite problem may produce a sweet, sugary smell. No matter where you live in Australia, always get a pest inspection, because termites are everywhere and they can be costly to evict!

Wiring: If the property is sporting a 1970s chandelier, or antiquated switches and sockets, the electrical wiring may be outdated and it could end up costing you to rewire. Check the electrical box as this will tell you when the system was last updated. If it does not have a residual current circuit breaker, then it has probably not been brought up to modern standards.

Appliances: It’s always a good idea to take a good look at the fixed appliances such as the oven, stove, air-conditioner, dishwasher and heating system. If they look like they are on their last legs, you’ll need to factor in the cost of getting them replaced.

Renovations: Homes at the less pricey end of the market often have outdated kitchens and bathrooms. Many first home buyers think they can live with the situation until they save up to do a renovation, however you need to be realistic – these can be expensive to replace so get a quote so you can factor it into your budget! If renovations have already been done, check the quality.

Asbestos: Properties built before 1990 may contain asbestos. During the inspection, find out when the property was built and ask about the construction materials. If the property is of ‘fibro construction’ it probably has asbestos – which is not dangerous if it is in good condition, but get your building inspector to check carefully before you move ahead with a purchase.

Roof: Stand back in the street and cast your eye over the roof. What is it made of – tin or tiles? Is it rusty? Are there any missing or damaged tiles? Does the pointing between the tiles look crumbly? These can all indicate the roof needs work, so if it looks at all suspicious, be sure to get it checked out properly as a new roof can be costly.

We hope you’ll find our inspection guide handy! But remember, even if you’ve developed an eagle eye and a nose for trouble, protect yourself by getting professional building and pest inspections before you buy anything! If you need a referral to a reliable inspector, just let us know. Before you set out on your buying journey, it’s a good idea to talk to us so you can determine your budget and get pre-approval on your home loan. Then once you find the right place and it’s been given the all-clear, we can help you move quickly. We’d love to help with your first home buying journey, so please get in touch!First home buyers, what to look out for when inspecting properties


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