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

The comments in the news are enough to make you think saving a deposit for your first home is mission impossible. Not true!

So, rather than just encouraging you to stop buying #SmashedAvo breakfasts to save your deposit, we’ve put together some practical tips to get your savings account over the finish line. We may even be able to tell you about some recent changes to the first home owner grant and stamp duty that could help, depending on where you are looking to buy. With a solid budget, a few lifestyle tweaks and some help from us to determine how much of a deposit you’ll actually need, you could soon be attending open home inspections looking for a fantastic new pad!

Tip #1: Create a budget

Our first tip is to have a savings plan and stick to it. Create a budget, separating your ‘needs’ from your ‘wants’, and work out how much you can put aside every week to reach your goal. Remember, lenders will want to see a solid savings history, and depending on the type of property you intend to buy, this could be just as important as the size of your deposit.

It’s important to include ‘fun’ money in your budget, but if you’re serious about saving up a deposit you may have to consider cutting back on extras. There are plenty of great tools to help you get started, such as the TrackMySPEND app, whereby you can nominate a spending limit and track your progress, or the Pocketbook app, which connects to your bank and automatically tracks your income and expenses. Once you get going, you’ll find it very satisfying to watch your nest-egg grow. Chat to us and we’ll help you set up an effective budget.

Tip #2: Change your spending habits

Try to be proactive about saving. For example, take lunch to work rather than eating out, or challenge yourself to stay fit by running or exercising at home rather than spending money on a gym membership. Need entertainment? Borrow books or DVDs from your local library or have friends over for a pot luck dinner. Need clothes? Organise a clothes swap party or find a bargain at the nearest op shop. Need tools? Ask your parents if you can borrow theirs. Shopping around can also help you save, so whether you’re buying groceries or electricity, compare prices and make a point of finding the cheapest option – it can be fun!

Tip #3: Become a “super” saver

As of July 1, aspiring first-home buyers will be able to make up to $15,000 of voluntary contributions into super each year, or $30,000 in total, to put towards a deposit and benefit from the tax breaks. Talk to us and we’ll explain the changes.

If this is not the option for you, there are other ways to maximise your savings. You could open a term deposit or a high-interest savings account that rewards you for depositing money and not taking it out. You may even consider investing in shares to grow your savings. It’s a good idea to talk to a financial planner about how you can make your money work harder for you. Chat to us and we can refer you to a reliable professional.

Tip #4: Speak to us now, even if you don’t think you’re ready to buy

We can help you to create a budget and explain any financial assistance that’s available. Recently, there have been changes to stamp duty concessions and exemptions for first-home owners in some states, as well as to the First Home Owner Grant, so check in with us to see what you’re entitled to. Maybe you won’t need the 20% deposit – ask us about other options like paying Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance to secure a home loan with a smaller deposit, or asking a family member to use their equity as security for your loan and go guarantor. We can also explain how to check and tidy up your credit report, which lenders will want to see when assessing your home loan application.

Tip #5: Consider property options that may require a smaller deposit

Your first home may not necessarily be like your mum and dad’s place – most people have to start small and work their way up the property ladder and that’s OK. To break into the market, you may have to consider less expensive properties such as apartments or renovators’ dreams. How much deposit you’ll need will depend on what you want to buy and your financial circumstances, so talk to us and we’ll help you review all of your options.

As your mortgage broker, we can help you with everything from saving the deposit, to finding a suitable loan, given your personal financial circumstances and goals. We may even be able to help you find the right area and property. Please give us a call today – we’d love to hear from you. And if you do find yourself feeling disheartened, remember the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”5 Tips for saving a deposit for your first home

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

With another Christmas celebrated and already showing up on our waistlines, a common topic of conversation for many of us in January is our New Year resolutions.

Whether it’s a pledge to give up smoking, get to the gym more often, or start (yet another) healthy eating regime, New Year resolutions usually have a self-improvement or healthy living focus. But what about your finances? A healthy financial situation is just as important to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for your finances that could make a big difference to your financial health in 2017 and beyond. If one of these appeals to you, please give us a call as we’d love to help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions this year.

“I will make a proper budget and stick to it.”

Did your credit card debt go up or down in 2016? Spending more than you earn is surprisingly easy to do and having to pay exorbitant credit card interest on all of your purchases just makes matters worse. The secret to turning this situation around is to create a proper budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to include repayments on your credit card as a weekly expense in your budget outgoings, so you can work on getting your debts paid off as well.

To create a realistic budget, list all of the things you need to spend money on and how much they cost. The amount you have left over each week is the amount you can afford to spend on the things you want, put into your savings account, or use to pay off your debts sooner. It’s also important to review your budget regularly to see how you are tracking.

If you have multiple credit card debts, or a variety of debts, you may find managing your budget a challenge as a large part of your income may be lost on interest payments. This kind of situation is frequently referred to as a ‘debt trap’. Talk to us about consolidating your debts to reduce your interest payments and make your financial situation more manageable.

 “I will make an effort to achieve my saving goals.”

The ability to save money consistently is a talent that everyone should cultivate. It’s particularly important if you’re saving a deposit for your first home, as a lender will take your savings history into consideration when deciding if you are eligible for a home loan.

If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to a budget, can’t resist impulse purchases, or indulges in ‘retail therapy’, then you may like to consider installing an app on your mobile phone that supports your efforts to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a variety of excellent free apps designed to help you manage your finances:

  • TrackMyGOALS integrates techniques that are proven to work for successful savers.
  • TrackMySPEND helps you see where your money is really going so you can adjust your spending habits to save more. Even just committing to reducing the number of take away coffees you buy each week can make a big difference over a full year!

“I will stop wasting my money on rent.”

For many people, choosing to rent a property instead of buying one boils down to a lifestyle choice. It may be more affordable to rent a property in a location where you enjoy living, than it is to buy one. But the consequence of this choice is that when property prices rise, you are potentially missing out on some significant capital gains that could be important to your financial well-being later on in life.

What’s more, the money you spend on rent is wasted – you are potentially paying off someone else’s investment when you could be paying off a property of your own. So the question is: do you have enough money for a deposit?

If you have been saving regularly and have some money in the bank, now is a great time to take stock of what kind of property you may be able to afford this year. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and help you work it out!

Getting on the property ladder may mean that you have to consider a location where you can afford to buy, rather than a location where you prefer to live. It may mean giving up your short commute home from work, or easy access to your friends and family, favourite bars, shopping venues and cinemas. But with property prices rising steadily, the long-term benefits could have a significant impact on your future financial security and retirement lifestyle, so it could be worth it to act now.

“I will review all of my financial accounts, including my home loan”

When was the last time you stopped to think about how much money you are paying on fees every year for your mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards and superannuation plans? Most people would be horrified to discover exactly how much money they lose every year in fees and charges across their financial accounts – so it definitely pays to review them regularly and cancel any unnecessary accounts you hardly ever use and don’t really need.

For example, the fees and charges you pay on your superannuation accounts can be quite high and they often go unnoticed. Over the years, these fees and charges may add up to make a big difference to the balance of your super on retirement. The fact is, if you have more than one superannuation account, you are paying double the fees you need to pay! Consider consolidating all your super accounts into one as soon as you can.

The same rule applies to your credit cards. How many do you really need? What are you using them for? If you have more than one, it may be a good idea to transfer all of the balances to one card using a free balance transfer offer. This not only has the potential to save you a significant amount of money on fees, it could also save you some money on interest and perhaps, help you to pay off your credit card balances sooner. Don’t be tempted to keep all of the old cards though, remember to cancel them as soon as you make the balance transfer.

If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to look at which features and benefits it provides, and if you are using them. Do you really need them? Is your home loan the most suitable for your current financial goals? If not, talk to us so we can see if you could be saving on fees, getting a more favourable interest rate or accessing the loan features you need!

We can help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions

Our role as your mortgage broker is to help you arrange your credit and finance to maximise the money you have. We’re here to help you save on interest wherever possible. Whether it’s time for a home-loan-health check on your existing mortgage, or you would like to find out how much you can afford to spend on buying a property, you’ll find our expertise and support invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals. We are even willing to help you find better ways to manage your debt and plan to build wealth for your future.

Financial success means setting some financial goals and making a step-by-step plan to reach them. With a credit and finance professional on your team, you are much more likely to get where you want to be. If you would like to buy a property in 2017, then we can help you achieve your goal by assisting with everything from setting your purchasing budget and getting pre-approval on your home loan, to supplying you with insightful property market data so you can locate the right home to buy more quickly.

Make sure your New Year is a happy one by talking to us about getting on top of your finances. It is one New Year resolution you’ll find very easy to keep! Call us to make a time today.

 


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