With a home loan it’s easy to just ‘set and forget’. But it’s sensible to review your home loan every three years or so.

We’re living in a world of rapid change, where interest rates go up and down fast, new lenders emerge and more competitive lending products become available on a regular basis. Under these circumstances, keeping the same home loan for 30 years could cost you more money than you need to spend!

In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to refinancing your home, breaking it down into simple layman’s terms. But before we get into that, let us clear up a few common questions about refinancing.

WHY should you consider refinancing?

Generally speaking, there are four main reasons to consider refinancing.

  1. Your loan may be outdated and you could potentially get a lower interest rate.
  2. Different home loan features could work better for you.
  3. Your financial situation may have changed.
  4. You want to access some of the equity you’ve built up in your home.

WHEN should you consider refinancing?

There’s no time like the present! We’re currently experiencing a low interest rate period, so there are many competitive home loan products available. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to review your home loan every two to four years.

WHO should you use to refinance?

You should always talk to a mortgage broker because our opinion is not biased towards any particular lender or product. And we won’t suggest that you refinance if it isn’t the right move for you.

HOW do you refinance?

We’ve explained the when, who and what of refinancing, but what’s the actual process involved? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Speak to us

Before we begin exploring your loan options, it’s important for us to have a sound understanding of where you’re at financially and what you’d like to achieve. Whatever your goals, we’re here to assist!

Step 2: Choose your mortgage and apply

We’ll help you find the right mortgage to fit your personal financial circumstances and goals. Then we’ll help you submit your application.

Step 3: Your new lender will perform a valuation

Your new home loan provider will require a valuation on your property as part of the application process. Keep in mind that their valuation might be more conservative than the market value you estimate.

Step 4: Get approved

Within a few days of submitting your application, it’s likely our inbox will light up with that delightful email confirming you’ve been approved for your new home loan. Yay!

Step 5: Your old mortgage will be closed

Your new lender will contact your previous provider to co-ordinate your refinancing arrangement. The lender will submit a ‘discharge of mortgage’ form to the Land Titles Office in your state or territory to close your old mortgage account. Upon settlement, your new lender will pay out your existing lender with funds from your new home loan and take ownership of your property title. If you’re refinancing to consolidate other debts, they will be closed too.

Step 6: You start afresh!

Once you have your new home loan in place, you can begin making repayments, satisfied that you have the most suitable mortgage for your needs. If you need any help managing your new home loan, we are always here to lend a hand.

We hope you’ll find this guide to refinancing handy, and we would love to help you decide whether refinancing is the right step for you financially. Whether you are looking to refinance for a better interest rate, to access equity, consolidate debt or for a property investment to build wealth for your future, we can help you to achieve your goals. Please get in touch today!A step-by-step guide to refinancing your 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 joondalup

As Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw could tell you, there are many perks to apartment living, which makes them a fantastic investment option.

They offer people the ability to live close to work and exciting entertainment hubs, where many a social drink can be had within walking distance of home. After all, who wants to live out in the burbs when you can be in the heart of the action? Sure, you might not have your own patch of dirt to toil over, but unless you’re over the age of 60, gardening is overrated.

Indeed, apartments offer attractive rental yields and an entry point into the market in locations that might otherwise be unaffordable for investors. Last May, CoreLogic anticipated there would be 231,129 new units set for completion across the combined capital cities by April 2018. And with such a large supply of apartments, price drops seem likely, so you may very well be able afford your own version of Carrie and Big’s “heaven on 5th”. Here are some tips for choosing the right investment apartment, and when you do, we would love to help you find the right loan!

Location, location, location!

Location is king when choosing an investment apartment – nobody wants to live in a box in the boonies! Proximity to amenities such as public transport, healthcare, recreational facilities, childcare and schools will impact on the rental appeal of your investment and the rent you can get away with charging tenants. Apartments and units with great tenant appeal also tend to experience more reliable capital growth, so choosing the right apartment can help you profit both ways.

Do your homework

Knowledge is power! We recommend you thoroughly research an area before buying. Consider supply and demand for apartment living in the area and find out what are other apartments are renting and selling for. That way, you’ll have a sound understanding of what a given property is worth and the potential rental yield.

Consider your future tenants

Think about who your future tenants might be and what they are looking for in a home. Will they be like Carrie, and require a massive built-in wardrobe to house their Imelda Marcos-style shoe collection? Perhaps features like a parking spot in the CBD may be in particularly high demand. If you can anticipate your tenants’ needs, your apartment is more likely to be highly sought after.

Consider the ongoing fees

As Samantha would say, sky-high strata fees are “painful and unnecessary”. Before buying, calculate your net rental yield to estimate your likely return, factoring in the strata fees, interest repayments, insurance, taxes, rates and water charges. Lastly, before you sign on the dotted line, don’t forget to organise a strata inspection report, which will raise any red flags about the accounts and records of the property.

When you do find an investment apartment that ticks all your boxes, we can help you find you a home loan that fits like a glove. As your mortgage broker, we’ll help you get a competitive rate from one of Australia’s leading lenders and structure your investment property loan so that you get the most out of it – now and in the future. Happy apartment hunting!

How to Spot a Good Fixer-Upper
Buying to renovate and sell can be a lucrative investment strategy, allowing investors to potentially make a fast profit with minimal effort and expense. However, the key is to find the right fixer-upper – one that gives you a maximum increase in value for minimal expenditure. Cha-ching!

As your mortgage and finance broker, we love to pass on juicy tips that ultimately help you to use your property investment dollars wisely. So, how do you spot that diamond in the rough that will become your renovation goldmine? Well, it takes a good deal of detective work, a resourceful imagination and some logical reasoning when it comes to renovation spending. Right, time to channel Sherlock, folks!

Step 1: Narrow down your leads

Finding the right location is paramount for any property purchase. The aim is to target run-down properties in suburbs with solid growth potential. Ultimately, the property should be close to amenities such as schools, shops and public transport, but not so close to the train line that the front door rattles all night long!

If you’re buying for investment purposes, always remember your end-goal, which is to sell post-renovation. Research what’s in high demand in areas you’re interested in, as well as the value of renovated properties in the suburb. Searching for phrases like “renovator’s dream” and “deceased estates” in real estate advertisements will narrow down your options.

Step 2: Follow the clues and do your detective work

When you find a potential fixer-upper, you need to quickly develop a keen eye for detail. Research the neighbourhood thoroughly and investigate any external issues that could affect your investment. Is the area flood-prone? Is there a high crime rate that could impact upon liveability? Is there noise pollution? Lastly, consider any legal or heritage restrictions that could put a dampener on your renovation goals.

Once you have ruled out potential external glitches, it’s time to concentrate on the finer details and test out your powers of observation. Is the structure sound and are the roof, walls, doors and windows in good condition? Are the foundations strong? Are there any issues with the electrics and plumbing of the property? The last thing you want is to be paying through the roof for non-cosmetic upgrades. It’s a good idea to invest in a pre-purchase building inspection and study it with your trusty magnifying glass.

Step 3: Consider different scenarios and mastermind your makeover

Warning: this may require a good deal of imagination! Being able to overlook retro linoleum floors and garish wallpaper can be tricky, but keep in mind the golden rule of renovation: minimal effort, maximum returns. Cosmetic enhancements that will drive up the value of the property are what you want. Flaky paint, scruffy carpets, old cupboards and dated bathroom fixtures can all be upgraded with minimal effort and cost. Many experts recommend seeking out properties with older bathrooms and kitchens that can easily be renovated.

Also, it’s a good idea to consider the layout and convertibility of the property. Can you add value by playing with the dimensions? Can you knock down walls to create a more open-plan living space, or add walls to create new rooms? Can a puny window be transformed into a spectacular natural light portal? How could you revamp the garden?

A good sleuth knows when to trust their instincts, and if your gut is telling you you’ve found your fixer-upper, it’s time to speak to a reputable mortgage and finance broker like us about how to finance your property purchase and renovations.

Step 3: Close the case

Our final tip is to make sure you stay within budget once you’ve found your renovator’s dream. Don’t overspend on improvements, but don’t skimp on quality either. Spend time and money on renovations that will give you the best return on investment and make the property stand out to prospective buyers.

We hope you’ve found these tips for spotting a good fixer-upper handy. We can provide expert advice about obtaining finance for your property investments and renovations. We’ll analyse the thousands of home loan products out there and test them under our microscope to ensure they measure up. Please get in touch with our team 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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