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

It’s hard to believe we’re already into November and Christmas is only weeks away! The spring property market is really heating up, with the number of auctions in our capital cities reaching a record high at the end of October. At the same time, rises in home values seem to have stalled and clearance rates are lower, so if you’re in the market to buy a property you may be able to score one that’s right on budget at auction. Interest rates are still very competitive, so why not call us now to talk about your plans?

Interest Rate News

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the cash rate on hold at 1.5% again this month. It’s the 15th consecutive month with no rate change – the RBA last moved rates in August 2016, cutting the cash rate by 0.25 basis points. According to market analysts, it’s unlikely the RBA will make any move to adjust the cash rate at its final meeting for 2017 next month.

Property Market News

Home value increases slowed across the combined capital cities in October. Melbourne proved to be more resilient than Sydney, with dwelling values up 0.5% over the month, compared to Sydney, where they dropped -0.5%. Melbourne also saw stronger growth over the quarter, up 1.9% while Sydney’s prices fell -0.6%.

Dwelling values grew by 0.9% in Hobart in the month of October, and the city also saw the highest change in dwelling value growth over the quarter (up 3.3%). In Brisbane, values increased by 0.2% during the month of October, and 0.6% during the quarter. In Adelaide and Perth, there was no monthly change in dwelling values. Adelaide saw prices rise 0.1% over the quarter, while Perth’s prices fell -0.7% in the three months prior to October 31. Canberra saw prices fall -0.1% last month, but overall they increased 1.1 percent during the quarter.

Record auction numbers in October

Auction volumes across the combined capital cities reached record highs at the end of last month, according to CoreLogic. In the last week of October, the combined capital cities held 3,690 auctions, returning a preliminary auction clearance rate of 67.8%. Melbourne saw volumes reach their highest level on record, with 1,983 properties going under the hammer and 71.7% being snapped up!

The ACT also had a high clearance rate of 77% for 128 scheduled auctions. In South Australia, there were 163 scheduled auctions and 68% sold. New South Wales held 1,395 scheduled auctions, and achieved a clearance rate of 64%. In Tasmania, there were only six auctions, but 60% of properties sold. Half of the 60 properties that went to auction in Western Australia sold, while in the Northern Territory there were 10 scheduled auctions (44% clearance rate). Queensland had the lowest clearance rate for the week ending October 29 (43% for 361 scheduled auctions).

Now the Christmas shopping season has arrived, we know you’ll be busy buying gifts for your loved ones – so it might help to read our article this month about resisting the urge to splurge! Now is also a fantastic time to talk with us about your property purchasing plans, or to see us about a home loan health check, so please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.Welcome to our November Newsletter

If you’re looking to buy your next home, downsizing might be the way to go. After all, sometimes less is more and it could work wonders for your finances!

In this article, we explore some of the benefits of downsizing – from cutting back on maintenance and energy costs, to having more money in your pocket to invest. And remember, when you are ready to purchase your next home, we’d love to help you find a loan that meets your financial needs and future aspirations. Here are some of the key reasons to consider downsizing.

More funds to invest

Downsizing allows you to unlock the equity in your current home to use for investment purposes. If you are lucky, you may be at a point where you’ll be able to pay off your new home with cash, then use any leftover funds to expand your property portfolio and start generating income from an investment property. You could also use the money on a new car or other lifestyle pursuits. If you’re interested in investing in property, just give us a call, we can help you in many different ways.

Fewer expenses

Downsizing can drastically reduce your expenses, from cutting your mortgage repayments, to slashing your living costs. Energy is one area you are likely to notice real savings when you move to a smaller property. What’s more, downsizing may encourage you to stop blowing money on furniture, appliances, electronics and “stuff” you don’t actually need. It will also encourage you to get rid of unnecessary clutter – there’s only so much you can squeeze into a smaller home, after all.

Lifestyle benefits

Looking for a sea change or a tree change? Downsizing could provide a great opportunity for you to live in a more desirable location, in housing that is more suitable for your needs. There are many great locations to consider – from the coast to the hills, you can find great value properties in communities where you can indulge your personal interests. Sailing, hiking, exciting adventures in your caravan – you name it! If you’re ready to retire, an empty-nester, or are recently single, downsizing could be the fantastic new chapter you’ve been looking for!

Let’s face it – bigger properties can be hard work. Not everyone wants to spend their life maintaining a larger property or garden. Just think of what you could do with the time it takes to clean and maintain that great big house. Golf-course here you come!

New tax breaks

In the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Government announced plans to encourage older property owners to downsize. This is intended to help free up larger homes for younger, growing families. From July 2018, retirees may be able to inject up to $300,000 into superannuation if they sell their home after they reach the age of 65. The existing voluntary contribution rules for people aged 65 and older (work test for 65-74 year olds, no contributions for those aged 75 and over) and restrictions on non-concessional contributions for people with balances above $1.6 million do not apply to contributions made under the new downsizing cap.

To qualify, you must have owned your property for 10 years. What’s great about this new initiative is that both members of a couple can take advantage of the measure for the same home – that means as much as $600,000 per couple can be put into super! However, keep in mind that the proceeds contributed to superannuation will be included in the assets test for the age pension. For more details ask your tax accountant – if you don’t have one, ask us for a referral, we’ll be happy to help.

While it’s tempting to hold onto the family home because of the sentimental value, the reality is that it may be holding you back from a better lifestyle and a more comfortable financial situation. Downsizing could allow you to find a home that’s more appropriate to your lifestyle, while also freeing up time and money to use elsewhere. If you’re looking to purchase your next home and would like to explore your home loan options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We would love to find you a competitive home loan that works to your advantage.4 benefits of downsizing

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


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