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

Saving a 20% deposit for your first home is no easy task – particularly if you want to buy your home in Melbourne or Sydney where home values seem to be rising faster than most people can save. But the good news is that there could be ways to get around the problem. Here’s a few little-known strategies and suggestions from your friendly mortgage broker that could potentially help you secure your first home sooner. We hope you find them handy!
Buy what you can afford right nowAs a first-time buyer, it’s important to know what you can afford to purchase right now. Why wait when you could opt for a cheaper entry point into the market and work your way up the property ladder? As your mortgage broker, we’re here to help you work out your current borrowing capacity, so it’s worth getting in touch.

Borrow up to 95% with Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance

Did you know you may not need a 20% deposit to buy a property? Under some circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a loan for 95% of the purchase price. You would have to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance and strict eligibility criteria will apply, but if it allows you to achieve the dream of homeownership sooner, it may be worth it. Talk to us – we’ll explain whether this option could work for you.

Borrow up to 100% with a Guarantor Loan

A guarantor is someone who will provide a guarantee for your home loan, usually a family member (better known as the ‘bank of mum and dad’). This guarantee is usually secured against the equity in their own property. Once you have paid off part of your home loan, or your property has increased in value, you can apply to have the guarantee removed.

Guarantor Loans are a great idea for first home buyers who do not have a full 20% deposit as they save you from having to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance. Some lenders even allow you to consolidate some of your debts – such as credit cards – when you buy your home. Talk to us if you’d like to find out more.

Delay paying your deposit 

If you can’t come up with the cash deposit for your home right now, you may be able to use a deposit guarantee. This is a type of insurance that guarantees the funds will be paid upon settlement. Your money may be tied up in a fixed-term deposit or other assets that you’re waiting to sell. Maybe you’ll be eligible to receive the First Home Owners’ Grant after settlement, but you’d like to use the money from the grant as part of your deposit? A deposit guarantee could help! Talk to us to find out if this strategy could work for you.

Use your super to save your deposit

If you’re trying to save a deposit for your first home, you may be able to use your super to help you save faster. Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to introduce a new scheme that, from July 1, 2018, will allow first home buyers to withdraw any voluntary contributions you make to your super after July 1, 2017. You can potentially withdraw up to $30,000 of voluntary contributions, plus any associated deemed earnings, and put the money towards your deposit. The amount withdrawn will be taxed at marginal rates, less a 30 per cent offset – which means the government will effectively be helping you save your deposit! If you’re a couple, you can both withdraw that $30,000 amount, so it could provide you with a significant deposit for your first home.

But before you start whacking your extra money into your super, be sure to ask your financial planner, accountant, or super provider whether or not you could benefit from this new scheme. As yet, the full terms and conditions of the scheme have not been published, but you can find out more here.

Have someone with experience on your team!

Our final suggestion is to have someone in your corner who knows the game and how to play it. As your mortgage broker, we’ll do everything we can to help you secure finance for your first home. We know all the lender requirements for every loan and can help keep the application process simple, so please get in touch and have a chat with us about your property purchasing plans and financial goals. We’ll also be here to support you after you make your first home purchase – our long term goal is to help you build wealth for your future through property – so rest assured you’ll always be in safe hands with us as your credit and finance partner!6 little-known strategies for first home buyers

There’s a certain buzz in the air at this time of year, as the weather warms up and the property market gets into full swing. Buyers continue to come out of hibernation and snap up properties during the spring selling season. If you’re one of the lucky ones about to make an exciting property purchase, we’d love to help you find a home or investment loan that suits your financial circumstances and goals. Please get in touch!
Interest Rate News

This month, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5%. The RBA’s decision to hold the cash rate was widely anticipated by economists. In September, some of the major banks lowered interest rates on fixed rate loans, so it could be a good time to speak to us to see if this option works for you. Overall, interest rates remain low and there are some very competitive products out there, so call us if you’d like us to check your home loan features and rate!

Property Market News

Dwelling values increased in all capital cities except Sydney and Darwin last month. Hobart led the way, with a month-on-month change in dwelling values of 1.71%. In Melbourne, values rose 0.86%, while in Canberra they were up 0.56%. Brisbane saw increases of 0.28%, and Perth experienced 0.08% growth. Adelaide was slower, with an increase of 0.03%. In Sydney, home values decreased by 0.13% and in Darwin they fell 0.68%.

While auction activity was strong earlier in September, it dropped off during the final week of September (week ending October 1). In Victoria, there were only 137 scheduled auctions, with 89% of properties selling, while in New South Wales, 690 auctions were held and only 67% of properties sold. That’s a big drop in volume compared to the previous week (ending September 24), when both states had a combined 2,672 properties go to auction and clearance rates of 74% for Victoria and 70% for New South Wales. Perhaps everyone was just too busy watching the footy Grand Finals!

In South Australia, 78% of the 45 properties scheduled for auction went under the hammer in the week ending October 1. The ACT held 45 scheduled auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 76%. Western Australia had 17 scheduled auctions (67% clearance rate) and Queensland had 306 scheduled auctions, with a 39% clearance rate. The Northern Territory had 6 scheduled auctions (25% clearance rate), while Tasmania only had one property go to auction, and it sold!

Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year for vendors to sell, and with more competition out there, you may score an attractive deal on the property of your dreams! So please give us a call to talk about your spring property plans, we’re here to help you find you a mortgage that is tailored to suit your financial circumstances and goals, and we’d love to help!Welcome to our October Newsletter

If you’ve been putting all your extra cash into your home loan, well done. Paying your loan off sooner could potentially save you a lot of money on interest. However, owning a safe and reliable car is just as important, particularly if you have a family or need to travel a distance to work. So if you need a new car, how can you afford it if your home loan has been your priority? Is there a way to get the best of both worlds? The answer is yes!

How does it work?

If the equity in your home has grown significantly because you have been paying off your loan for a while, have made extra repayments, or the value of your home has increased, then you may be in a position to refinance your home loan to access your equity. This could give you enough cash to go down to a dealership and buy that new car. Having cash-in-hand may even give you a little extra bargaining power!

Whilst refinancing may mean that your home loan repayments increase somewhat, the increase could potentially be less than the cost of a car loan repayment and your mortgage repayment combined. Car loans and personal loans tend to carry a much higher interest rate than your mortgage. Depending on where you get your car or personal loan, you could pay anything from 6.5% p.a. up to 14.5% p.a. in interest. (Always talk to us before taking out any kind of loan to be sure you’re getting a suitable loan for your needs at a competitive rate.)

Talk to us and we’ll help you to assess your financial position on your loan to see if it is the right move for you.

What are the drawbacks?

It’s important to be aware that if you take some equity out of your home loan, your home loan repayments are likely to increase. You probably won’t be paying as much as you would if you had a separate car loan and a home loan as well, but if you take the full 30-year term to pay it off, it may cost you more in interest over the life of the loan. So if you decide to access your equity to buy a car, we recommend that you make additional repayments and pay it back as quickly as you can. This will help you to maximize the benefit of the lower interest rate you get by using your mortgage rather than a car or personal loan.

Talk to us first

Before you make any large purchase that may require a loan, it’s important to talk to us about your finance options so we can help you find a solution that’s right for you. We’ll help you decide whether refinancing and using your equity to buy what you need is a viable option, or if another type of finance could be more suitable. And above all, remember that car dealerships only offer one type of finance, whereas we offer a variety of finance options that can be tailored to suit your personal financial circumstances and goals – so always talk to us first. We’re here to help you achieve your financial goals, so call us today.Could the equity in your house buy you a new car?

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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