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How are your New Year Resolutions coming along? If you’re serious about achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself, creating a plan is the way to go. Of course, making a plan is easy when you’re talking about losing weight or exercising more (the world’s most popular choices for NY Resolutions every year), but achieving your property goals may take some professional support from your mortgage broker. Here’s how we can help.

NY Resolution #1: “I’m going to buy my first home in 2019!”

Buying your first home is exciting and 2019 could be the year to do it. Home values have ceased their rapid rise for the time being and home loan interest rates are still low.

Here’s how your broker can help you get on the property ladder for the first time:

Creating a budget for your purchase and a savings plan for your deposit.

Exploring alternative ideas for a deposit (like a guarantor’s home loan, for example).

Providing advice about clearing debt and/ or improving your credit report to make you a more attractive prospect for lenders.

Explaining your borrowing capacity (how much you can afford to repay and how much a lender will lend you based on your income and expenses).

Going through any grants, concessions or other initiatives like the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme to get you into your own home sooner.

Explaining the different types of home loans and how you can use them to save money.

Comparing the market to help you find the most suitable home loan for your needs.

Referring you to reputable professionals such as valuators, conveyancers and solicitors, accountants etc.

Organising pre-approval on your home loan so you know how much you can spend and save time on your property search.

Overseeing all the loan application paperwork.

Offering support throughout your entire home ownership journey and beyond. We can answer your questions at any time to ensure your home loan remains competitive.

NY Resolution #2: “I’m going to move into my next home in 2019!”

Upsizing, downsizing, sea-change, tree-change – whatever your motivation for moving into your next home in 2019, just ask us to help you make it happen! Even if you already know the drill for purchasing a home, it’s worth having a professional on your team when buying your next place. There’s a lot more to consider. Ask us about:

Using the equity in your current home as a deposit for your next home.

The costs involved.

Bridging finance.

Property and suburb reports to help guide your purchasing decision.

NY Resolution #3: “I’m going to invest in property in 2019!”

A goodie for 2019! We can help with:

Working with your accountant and/or financial planner on your investment strategy.

Structuring your loan correctly to maximise the tax effectiveness of your investment.

Comparing the loan market to find the right loan products to meet your investment strategy.

Getting loan pre-approval and ensuring your loan application goes smoothly.

Crunching the numbers (for things like your anticipated rental yield or out-of-pocket costs).

Comprehensive suburb and property reports to help you choose the right property.

Accessing equity in your home or from another investment property to use as a deposit.

Offering referrals to reputable property managers and other professionals.

If you have a 2019 property goal, give me a call!

A goal without a plan is just a wish, so let’s start planning and make your goals a reality this year. Please get in touch with us at Element Finance today!

According to a recent news report, more than 900,000 interest only (IO) home loans will come up for refinance during the first quarter of 2019. This kind of loan is very popular with property investors, however, the recent tightening of lending conditions in this area of the market may make it difficult for some people to refinance to another interest only period on their loan.

So, what are IO home loans, what are they used for and how can your broker help you if the IO period on your home loan is about to come to an end?

What is an IO home loan?

An IO mortgage is where your repayments only cover the interest on the amount you have borrowed during the interest only period. That means the principal (the amount you have borrowed) does not reduce. This IO period can be from 1 – 10 years and after it has ended, the loan reverts to a principal and interest loan unless you refinance it.

What are IO home loans used for?

IO home loans are not recommended if you plan to live in the home you purchase, as they only provide short-term benefits and could cost you more in interest over the long run. This kind of home loan offers benefits for property investors because the interest is usually tax deductible. (Always consult an accountant to be sure this applies to you.) It also helps to lower the amount of the repayments in the short-term, which may help property investors to maximise the income from the property.

It should be noted that the principal (amount borrowed) will need to be repaid at some point. There is a risk that the property’s value could fall during the IO period, which could potentially cause a you to make a loss if you were to sell it. It could also make it difficult to refinance the loan at the end of the IO period without topping up the equity in the loan.

Why could it be difficult to refinance for some?

In 2016, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) – which is the regulator for the home loan industry – imposed a cap restricting IO home loans to 30 per cent of bank’s new mortgages and at the same time, imposed a 10 per cent annual growth cap on lending to property investors. These restrictions mostly applied to the big banks, as APRA felt they were over-exposed to risk if the property market should suffer a down-turn. This has caused a general tightening of lending criteria for property investors across the board.

In December last year, APRA lifted their restrictions. However, the tighter lending criteria for property investors and IO loans are still in place with the big banks, which could make it difficult for some to refinance or extend their IO period on their loan.

What if your IO period is about to end?

As your mortgage broker, I can help you access a wider variety of lenders, which could give you more options if you are looking to refinance your IO loan this year. We have access to Australia’s leading lenders, including the usual big banks and credit unions, as well as smaller, private lenders you can only access through a broker. Not all mortgage brokers can offer you such a comprehensive variety of loan options, so you can be sure that we will be able to access loan products that suit your needs and give you value for money.

Refinancing could potentially be of benefit to you in a variety of different ways in your personal situation, so please talk with us about your needs and goals. Your consultation is complimentary, so please just give us a call at Element Finance if you’d like to talk about your options.

Christmas is just around the corner and isn’t it a wonderful time of year? It’s a time for family and friends, a little self-indulgence, of recognising how hard you’ve worked all year and rewarding yourself for your efforts. If you’ve been contemplating a property purchase, why not make that dream a reality? We can help you secure the finance you need, so please get in touch!

Interest Rate News

Thankfully, there was no pre-Christmas surprise this month from the Reserve Bank of Australia. The board decided to leave the cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent. The central bank’s board will next meet in February 2018.

Property Market News

On the whole, national dwelling values were largely steady in November. Again, Melbourne seems to be proving more resilient than Sydney, with dwelling values up 0.52%. In contrast, Sydney’s housing market saw prices fall -0.72% in November. Canberra’s dwelling values rose by 0.86%, while Hobart experienced 0.64% growth. Things are looking up for property owners in Perth, where values rose by 0.21% in November. The city recorded the first rolling quarterly capital gain since late 2014 (up 0.3% in the three months to November). In Brisbane and Adelaide, there was less fluctuation (0.07% and 0.01% growth respectively). Darwin, like Sydney, experienced a fall in property values – the month-on-month change was -0.42%.

In the week ending December 3, there were 3,276 auctions held across the combined capital cities. According to CoreLogic, the preliminary clearance rate was 63.5% – up from the previous week’s clearance rate of 61.6%. Auction volumes remain in line with last year’s figures, but this time last year the clearance rate was much higher, at 72.3%.

Melbourne and Sydney’s clearance rates picked up compared to previous weeks. In Victoria, there were 1,800 scheduled auctions and a clearance rate of 67%. New South Wales held 1344 scheduled actions and cleared 62% of the stock. Meanwhile, the ACT had the highest clearance rate – 76% on 105 scheduled auctions. Tasmania only held 11 auctions and cleared 67% of stock, while South Australia had 148 scheduled auctions and 65% of properties sold. In Western Australia, 61 properties went to auction and 46% went under the hammer. Queensland held 395 auctions and the Northern Territory had 17. Both had clearance rates of 36%.

As the sun sets on 2017, we’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy festive season. Remember, now is a great time to purchase a new property for the New Year, or to re-evaluate your mortgage. If you’d like advice about finding a mortgage that suits your financial circumstances and plans, we’d love to help! We’ll do the hard yards for you, so that you can concentrate on the fun stuff this summer, like playing beach cricket and being with the family. Here’s to an exciting 2018 – hopefully one that includes an exciting new property purchase! Welcome to our December Newsletter

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


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