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 it comes to smart money management, the key to success is to regularly assess your financial position – and that includes taking a good hard look at your mortgage. Here’s why refinancing every three years may help you save, and why you should check in with us today to ensure your home loan is still the right choice for you.
Refinancing every 3 years may help you to:

Secure a more competitive interest rate

Checking your home loan regularly gives you peace of mind that you’re getting the most competitive interest rate and that your financial needs are being met. With RBA rate movements, lender rate changes and new loan products coming onto the market all the time, it’s quite likely there’s a better option available if you’ve had your home loan for a while.

Access better features and save

A home loan health check is about reviewing your loan against your current financial situation and goals to ensure it still meets your needs and suits your objectives. As your circumstances change – perhaps you have a better job or have started a family since you took out your home loan – the loan features you need may change too. A different type of loan could potentially help you to save money and manage your finances better.

Access equity to build wealth

Accessing your equity could be a fantastic opportunity to build wealth for your future and refinancing to a new loan could allow you to do just that. If you’ve had your mortgage for a while, you’ve probably paid it down somewhat and your property could also have increased in value, so you may have some equity you could use to buy an investment property, or use to purchase shares or other investments.

You could also use the equity for other things you want. Perhaps you need a new car, a holiday, or would like to use the money to pay for your children’s education? Maybe you’d like to put the money towards some home renovations that could ultimately drive up the value of your property. Whatever your goals, we can explain whether refinancing and accessing your equity will help you to achieve them.

Consolidate debt

If you have several debts with high-interest credit facilities like credit cards or personal loans, you could potentially make things more manageable by refinancing and rolling your debts into your home loan. In this scenario, you’d access some of your equity and use it to pay off your other debts. The benefit is you only pay the home loan interest rate, rather than the higher credit card or personal loan rates – although your home loan repayments will likely rise somewhat, you could possibly make some savings if you make an effort to make extra repayments to pay back the amount you withdraw quickly. Talk to us and we’ll help you determine if refinancing to consolidate debt makes financial sense for you.

As your mortgage broker, we are experts at finding the right home loan to help you achieve your financial goals. We’ll check out your current home loan and if it no longer has that youthful vigor you need, see if we can find a better alternative! But first, we’ll nut out the figures and make sure refinancing is the right move forward for you financially. So if you’ve had your current home loan for three years or more, give us a call today for a home loan health check. We’d love to hear from you.How refinancing every three years could help you save

In Australia, the national past-time seems to be to save, save, save for a house deposit! People are making all sorts of sacrifices to get that all-important deposit together – from living with mum and dad into their thirties, to sacrificing life’s little luxuries. But why are so many Australians so very focused on owning their own property?

Besides providing a cosy nest of your very own, buying a property can potentially open up a world of wealth building opportunities – for your long term benefit! Whether you’re buying your own home or an investment property, home ownership could be a good move to help you get ahead financially. So get ready to start feathering your nest! Here’s a few reasons why real estate can be used as a powerful wealth generator.

Capital growth potential

Real estate has real potential to increase in value over time – this is called capital growth. That’s because the supply of housing is often insufficient to meet demand, supporting growth in values.

Whether you’re buying your home to live in yourself, or you’re buying a property as an investment to rent out to tenants, capital growth is going to be very beneficial to your financial situation. If the value of your property increases, you could potentially make a nice profit when you sell, particularly if it’s your own home. Alternatively, you could access the capital gains (known as equity) as you go along by refinancing your loan – effectively using the property as a money tree.

Make more investments

Money tree you say! We all know that money doesn’t grow on trees, so how does that work?

If you refinance your home loan you can access your equity, which gives you funds that you can spend how you like. If you’re focused on building wealth, you may wish to use it as a deposit for an investment property. Once some time passes and your equity builds in that property too, you could refinance your loan again and use those funds as a deposit for your next investment, and so on. In this way, your nest egg could potentially keep growing and growing.

This is just a broad outline of how property investment works. We recommend that you talk to a professional financial planner to help you formulate an investment strategy that’s right for you. Just ask us if you’d like a recommendation.

Tax perks

As mortgage brokers, we’re not tax advisors or financial planners. But generally speaking, property investment is a very popular form of investment, mainly because the Australian Taxation Office supports it with tax benefits.

One popular strategy is to ‘negatively gear’ your investment property to reduce your taxable income. Negative gearing is when the expenses associated with owning the property (including interest on the loan borrowed to finance the property) are greater than the income it generates. You can claim any net losses against your taxable income and in this way, reduce the tax you’ll have to pay on the money you earn in your job or by other means – all whilst your property investment makes capital gains. Once again, talk to your accountant and financial planner to be sure that a negative gearing strategy is right for you.

Speak with us about your property plans!

Buying real estate could be a smart move for you financially, whether you’re buying a home to live in or are investing in property to rent out to tenants. We’re here to help you maximise your financial position and obtain a loan that’s suitable for your purposes and goals. Talk to us about how buying a property could benefit you – we’ll help you to determine your borrowing capacity, get pre-approval on your loan and can even help you with insightful property data to assist you with locating and purchasing the right place. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat with you about your plans.3 ways to start growing your nest-egg using real estate.

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

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.

 

 


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