Australians are a nation of investors. Over 60% of us hold additional investments outside of compulsory superannuation and increasingly, property is one of our most popular investment choices. But why? And is it the right form of investment for you?

If you’re not sure, the sooner you talk to a qualified Financial Planner the better! And if you don’t have one, ask us for a referral to a reliable professional who can help you come up with an investment plan that’s right for your personal circumstances and goals. To get you started, here are six reasons why an ever increasing number of Australians are considering a property investment.

1. Supply & demand.

The value of any given commodity is subject to the law of supply and demand. When demand is greater than supply, the value goes up. Therefore, investing in something people need or really want is generally considered a good idea. Everyone needs somewhere to live, and most of us want to own our own home, which is why many Australians consider property to be a good investment type.

It may seem a bit over-simplistic, but the statistics tend to support this popular opinion. For example, 2016 figures from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning estimated that Melbourne’s population will double by 2031 and hit 10 million people by 2050.

2. You have greater control over managing your investment.

When you invest in a property, you are in charge of that asset. You can do things to affect the property’s ongoing capital growth potential, like keeping it in good repair and up to date, and you can choose the right tenants to maximise your rental income. You may also have some potential to affect the end value of the asset – by getting it rezoned for development purposes, or performing extensions or renovations, for example. You can also take out insurance on the asset, which can help to insulate you against some of the financial risks of property ownership.

By comparison, with stocks and shares, value growth is subject to the success of the company and a variety of other external factors which are usually beyond your control. These uncertainties may influence some people to prefer a ‘solid’ asset like bricks and mortar.

3. You can easily assess capital growth potential and invest accordingly.

When investing in property, careful research will help you to choose a suburb or area that has capital growth and rental income potential. This information is relatively easy for the average person to acquire. (For example, we can provide you with a variety of reliable reports, as will most banks, and there is a variety of other property data suppliers online.) By contrast, assessing the capital growth potential of other kinds of assets is much more complex and often requires expert analysis, or access to information that isn’t as easy to obtain.

With property, some areas have more potential than others, so smart investors spend time locating and investigating opportunities that could align with their investment strategy. For example, you can research future population and employment growth in an area, transportation links and future infrastructure development, lifestyle amenities, schools and other factors that are likely to make the area popular with buyers and tenants down the track.

4. You can access the equity to continue growing your wealth.

Property investment can be like an “investment money tree” because it is possible to access the equity (or capital gains) as you go along by refinancing, without being liable to pay tax until you actually sell the property. With an investment property, equity is created as soon as it increases in value or your tenants pay down your mortgage somewhat, so you can often plan to access your equity (subject to refinance approval from a lender) for your next investment. You could use that money to buy any kind of investment, not just property, which is why property is often considered a good way to start an investment portfolio. If you’re interested in refinancing a property to access your equity, just give us a call.

5. The opportunity to diversify your portfolio.

When investing, a good Financial Planner will probably tell you that it pays not to keep all of your eggs in one basket. Including property in your investment portfolio could potentially provide an opportunity to spread your risk. And in itself, property investment provides opportunities to diversify your investments. For example, you could invest in a variety of locations and in different types of properties – vacant land, apartments, units, houses, rural or perhaps commercial properties. Talk to your Financial Planner for suggestions on how to create a diversified investment portfolio that takes your personal appetite for risk into consideration.

6. You can take advantage of tax breaks and super.

Another advantage of property investment is that it is supported by a variety of tax breaks and government incentives to help people grow wealth. There are many different ways you could potentially benefit, depending on your personal situation, tax obligations and other financial circumstances. Talking to your Mortgage Broker and Tax Accountant to find out more is a great idea, because the benefits are different for everyone and no-one wants to give their money to the tax man when they could be using it to fund a better retirement.

What to invest in is an age-old debate and property investment may not be the right choice for everyone. But if you’re keen to join around 1.7 million Australians who choose to invest in property, we’re here to help! We’re happy to work with you, your Financial Planner and your Accountant, and then arrange the appropriate financing to meet your financial circumstances, needs and investment goals. Please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

This article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances. All loans are subject to lenders terms and conditions – fees, charges and eligibility criteria apply.6 Reasons why property investment is more popular than ever

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

After weeks of media speculation, on Tuesday, May 9 the Federal Budget was released. To help you navigate the changes, we have pulled together key insights. To review the full budget release visit: 2017 Federal Budget

Childcare & Education

  • A $37.3 billion increase in spending for childcare over four years, has been outlaid in this years budget. This will provide more affordable childcare, including after school care, for around one million families.
  • Working parents earning $185, 710 or less will not face an annual cap under the Child Care Subsidy. A $10,000 cap will apply for families earning more than this.
  • Education: University fees will rise by 1.8 per cent next year, and 7.5 per cent by 2022, increasing the share of fees paid by students from the current level of 40 percent to 41.8% – which could be up to $3,600 for a four-year university degree. HELP: The income threshold for repayments to higher education loans (HELP) has been lowered to $42,000, meaning students will have to start repaying loans sooner.
  • $428 million in funding has been announced for ‘Universal Access’ to support all Australian children to gain access to 15 hours per week of preschool programs, regardless of the setting (this may include day-care facilities) under the National Partnership Agreement.
  • An additional $18.6 billion has been allocated to schools over the next ten years under a new needs-based model. 20% of government schools, and 80% of non-government schools will share an increase in funding. On average per-student funding will be increased by 4.1%.

Housing affordability

  • A proposed $375.3 million in funding for the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) will help to provide more affordable housing for the most vulnerable. This funding, which will be matched by State and Territory Governments, will support homelessness support services.
  • First time buyers will be able to make voluntary contributions to their superannuation up to $30, 000 to pay for a deposit on a first house or apartment. Similar to a salary-sacrificing program, this will assist with First home owners gaining access to the housing market faster.
  • A tax benefit for retirees who are downsizing their homes will allow them to transfer up to $300,000 (per person) into a superannuation fund. This is aimed to encourage retirees who are currently living in larger homes to free up housing stock for young families who are entering the property market.
  • SUPPLY: Aimed to address the low housing supply in Australia, the government will divest 127 hectares of surplus Defence land less than 10 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD. This land is large enough to develop up to 6,000 new homes.

Job seekers

  • The new Skilling Australians Fund will support up to 300,000 apprenticeships, traineeships and higher level skilled Australians.

Healthcare

  • The Budget is investing $2.8 billion for public hospitals.
  • An increase in the Medicare Levy to 2.5% (up from 2%) in 2019 will guarantee the funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • The budget has funded $65.9 million for the Medical Research Future Fund to support health research. In addition, $5.8 million will support childhood cancer research.
  • $115 million has been directed to mental health, including research, rural support, psychological services and suicide prevention.
  • Freeze on Medicare rebates for bulk-billed consultations has been removed. $1.2 billion will go to funding new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making them more affordable for consumers.

Transport & infrastructure

  • $1.6 billion of Federal funds towards a $2.3 billion infrastructure package for WA including the top three by proposed dollar investment;
  1. Kwinana Freeway – Armadale & North Lake Roads
  2. Leach Highway – upgrade to High Street
  3. Access to Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • $8.4 billion funding has been announced for an inland rail freight project linking Melbourne and Brisbane offering transit time of less than 24 hours, which will save an estimated 10 hours on the existing route.
  • The Budget includes funding for a second airport in Sydney at Badgerys Creek, which will cost approx $5.3 billion and will likely open in 2026. Further investment of $3.6 billion for infrastructure in Western Sydney to support population growth in the region by a further $1 million by 2030.

mortgage broker fremantle

You’re almost there! You’ve spent years budgeting to buy your own home and now you just need that final cash injection to break into the property market.

Pop quiz time, hands on your buzzers, first-timers. Do you: 1) Continue living off two-minute noodles for another five years and hoard your pennies? 2) Cash-in your grandpa’s beloved stamp collection? Or 3) Ask your mortgage and finance broker about this mystery thing they call the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)? That’s right, Option 3 is the winning answer and the good news we have for you is that the First Home Owner Grant has recently increased in many states of Australia!

What is the first home owner grant (FHOG)?

The FHOG is a national initiative designed to help young go-getters like yourself to swing a leg onto the property ladder. You can use the one-off grant as part of your deposit, or put it towards other purchasing costs. There are some major provisos: it must be used to buy or construct a brand new home that has not been previously occupied or sold, and it must be used as your place of residence. In some instances, substantially renovated properties that have undergone major structural changes may qualify.

Who is eligible?

Naturally, the Australian Government isn’t going to give away money to everyone who asks for it. The eligibility conditions for the FHOG are quite strict.

To be eligible for the FHOG, you or your spouse must:

  • Intend to live in the home as your principal place of residence (PPR) for six to 12 continuous months, depending on the state or territory, within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction.
  • Be aged 18 or over.
  • Be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident.

You don’t qualify if you or your spouse have previously:

  • Received a FHOG in Australia already.
  • Owned a home in Australia, either jointly or separately, prior to July 1, 2000.
  • Occupied, for a continuous period of at least six months, a home in which either of you acquired a relevant interest on or after July 1, 2000, in Australia.
  • Depending on the state or territory in which you purchase your home, other conditions may apply. So please talk to us if you’re unsure if you’re eligible for the FHOG.

Could there be more good news?

Yes! The FHOG is currently under review, so it’s worth visiting your state’s office of revenue website from time to time to see what’s on offer. You may even want to consider moving interstate. How much you can get or save as a first home buyer, often depends on where you want to live.

It’s definitely worth checking out, because you may find you’re eligible for other big savings, like on stamp duty fees in some states. For example, from July 1, the Victorian Government is going to be scrapping stamp duty for first homebuyers for properties up to $600,000, with further discounts for new or existing homes between $600,000 and $750,000. Stamp duty is usually one of the biggest expenses if you’re buying a home, so this may make all the difference to your ability to climb onto the property ladder sooner rather than later.

What’s available around the nation?

The winner of the “most generous” award goes to the Northern Territory. Those wonderful peeps who call the Red Centre home are offering $26,000 to eligible first-home buyers, regardless of the value of the property. In Queensland, first home buyers can receive $20,000 until June 30 (then its $15,000) for properties valued up to $750,000. If you can live with the weather, Tasmania may be the place to buy, with no value cap and a $20,000 FHOG until June 30, when it reverts to $10,000.

In South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA), the FHOG is $15,000. In SA, the value cap is $575,000, while in WA, it depends on geographic location (for Perth, its $750,000). Victoria and NSW offer a $10,000 FHOG for new homes valued up to $750,000, but from July 1 the FHOG will double to $20,000 for new homes built in regional Victoria. Lastly, the ACT offer $7,000 for properties up to $750,000. (Data current March 2017).

We’re here for you.

Talking to a mortgage broker about purchasing your first home is always a great idea. We’re happy to give you the benefit of our knowledge, even if you’re not quite ready to buy. You can ask us to help you create a budget, establish a plan to clear off your credit card and other debts, and save a deposit. When you’re ready, we are here to help you secure a loan and choose a home that you can realistically afford, given your income and personal financial circumstances. Get an expert on your team by calling us today!

Out with the old and in with the new! What better way to start 2017 than with a make-over for your most valuable asset?

Whether you’re ready for a complete home renovation or simply want to bring your house up-to-date with a few cosmetic changes, you’ll want to get on top of the latest trends so you can make some wise choices on where to invest your budget. Here are 7 top renovation and décor ideas that could help you make sure your money is well spent.

  1. Get eco-friendly.
    People want more sustainable homes and as eco-friendly renovations genuinely help to make older homes more sustainable, they’re on trend in 2017. Essential considerations are sustainably produced ceiling and wall insulation, the general use of sustainable building materials, built-in waste management systems, rainwater tanks and water recycling systems, solar energy panels, green walls and leafy facades. Roof gardens and passive design elements that provide natural light and reduce heating and cooling costs are also popular. You probably won’t want to go as far as foregoing the dishwasher or air conditioner entirely, but you should invest in energy saving appliances wherever possible.
  2. Create more space and make it more interesting.
    More spacious homes (or homes that appear to be more spacious) are ever popular with home buyers today, so renovations that include extending or adding extra rooms to your home are still great ways to add value in 2017. However, rather than just focusing on knocking all the smaller rooms into one big open plan communal space, the new trend is to also provide options for privacy, with spaces that offer interesting nooks and crannies where people can escape with their personal technological devices and do their own thing.

    Roof rooms and attic renovations are going to be popular in 2017, because they provide opportunities to add a point of interest and difference. The open, spacious look is still the fashion, however finding ways to add character and uniqueness are trendy too.

  3. More efficient storage spaces.
    Investing in upgrading your laundry to create and maximise storage space was a very popular option for home renovations last year, and this is all set to continue into 2017. Maximising your storage areas means you can keep all of your untidy clutter out of sight, which will make your home appear much more spacious and help you keep the look up-to-date, with clean crisp lines. Adding clever storage that utilises any dead space in your home is an easy way to add value, particularly important if your property is a family home.
  4. Terracotta Tiles.
    If you’ve been around long enough to have survived the ‘80’s, you may be very surprised to learn that terracotta is back in fashion for home renovations in 2017. Interior trends are now moving away from the cool tones that have been popular for the last decade and designers are returning to warm colours and natural materials that add character.

    Today’s fashion in terracotta calls for a smooth matte finish with crisp edges and a more finished look. The idea is to add warmth and depth with natural colours and materials, so consider using your terracotta tiles on feature walls or for cladding fireplaces.

  5. Darker Wood Tones.
    If you are tired of the blonde wood look of the world’s recent ‘Scandi’ obsession, you’ll be happy to know that darker wood tones are finally back for homes in 2017. Remembering the current trend is for warm, natural materials that add character, you can now go ahead and use darker wood and natural timbers as feature walls and flooring. Consider adding texture by using it in herringbone tiling on floors, or by choosing interesting darker wood furniture pieces as focal items.
  6. Go natural in the bathroom.
    Updating the kitchen and bathroom in your home is one of the tried and tested ways of adding value and is one of the main motivations for choosing to renovate for many home owners. Bathroom makeovers in 2017 will also follow the new interior design trend that combines modern, clean lines with natural materials and organic warmth. Functionality is also an important consideration to home buyers today, so try and choose materials that are easy to clean and maintain to generate the most value.

    Remember that sinks and baths with classic, elegant, clean lines are always timeless favourites. Add that natural touch by using wood in warm tones for accents and furniture or accessories. Don’t forget the terracotta in the bathroom too – add some extra organic depth with a fern in a terracotta pot or consider a small terracotta sculpture.

  7. Create more curb appeal.
    A garden makeover that creates more curb appeal for your home is still one of the best investments you can make in terms of adding value this year. Garden design is now moving away from that harsh, minimalistic look that has been popular of late and following the new interior design trend of a warmer, more welcoming look that incorporates natural materials.

    Create a more natural style by staying away from geometric design layouts. You can achieve a more authentic, organic feeling in your garden by using recycled materials, free-form decks, stepping stones or meandering pebble paths. Locally sourced is the buzz word of the year, with native plants and shrubs planted in abundance adding charm.

Talk to us about renovation finance and budgeting.

Over capitalising is one of the greatest dangers when making home renovations, so be careful to set a practical budget and resist the temptation to splurge on too many designer or big brand items. They may make you feel good about what you’ve created, but they won’t add more value and you risk losing money if you decide to sell. If you need help working out how much money you can afford to invest in your renovation project, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Once you’ve set a practical budget, forward planning for how you intend to finance your renovation project is also a wise idea. Depending on how much you plan to spend, there are a variety of finance options that you can choose from, so talk to us before you start your renovation project so we can help you get it organised. Financing your renovations could mean refinancing your home loan to access some of the equity, taking out a line of credit, or perhaps a personal loan. To find out which option is the right one for you, just give us a call for a chat today.


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