17 Sep 2015
Spring is finally here. But if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait for summer to arrive so that you can hit the beaches with family and friends for some swimming, surfing, boating and even sailing! To give you a taste of what’s in store, we’ll refresh your memory about some of Australia’s favourite beaches so you can start planning your escape!
Byron Bay, NSW
One of the most truly amazing beach destinations in NSW would have to be Byron Bay. It was once an undiscovered hippy community but these days, has blossomed into a hot tourist destination. Byron sports a series of beautiful, long stretches of typically uncrowded beach where you can surf, lie in the sand, snorkel or swim in absolute peace. There’s the nearby picturesque Byron Bay lighthouse to enjoy, plus some great eateries and cafés in the town itself. It makes a great get-away year round.
There are literally so many gorgeous beaches in Queensland that it’s hard to choose just one or two. Noosa is the obvious choice, giving us a showcase of everything the spectacular Sunshine Coast has to offer. Nestled in a fantastic beachside resort, Noosa Main Beach is a patrolled beach that makes it perfect for families, swimming, sailing, and more. Right off the beach you can often see pods of dolphins and whales migrating up and down the coast. And on the shores, you can see Koalas and other wildlife easily accessible to passers by. Just a short walk away, Noosa Park headland is home to the Noosa Festival of Surfing every March.
Cottesloe Beach, WA
Located between the Perth central business district and the port of Fremantle in Perth’s western suburbs, this fantastic city beach is only 15 minutes from the city center and has to rival Bondi as one of our most popular city beaches. Offering clear sparkling waters and amazingly bright white sands, Cottesloe is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. It also has a reputation for some of the best seafood in the country… yum!
Wineglass Bay, TAS
One of Australia’s most beautiful beaches is the spectacular Wineglass Bay, which is located in Tassie’s amazing Freycinet National Park about three hour’s drive from Hobart. Considered one of the top ten beaches in the world, Wineglass Bay is a simply gorgeous curving stretch of sand that is contrasted against pink granite cliffs and sparkling turquoise waters. Fishing, sailing, sea kayaking and rock-climbing are all popular past times in Wineglass Bay, but we want to go there to just soak up the sun and spectacular scenery.
Casuarina Beach, NT
Darwin offers a host of lovely beachside destinations to choose from – which is a good thing in place with such hot and humid weather. Casuarina Beach is a popular choice, located on the doorstep of the northern suburbs, it’s just a short stroll to your choice of nature reserve and mangroves, or the City Mall where you can find ice cream, coffee shops and the wave pool. Another popular beachside destination is the Mindil Beach Market which kicks into life every year between May and October.
Apollo Bay, VIC
Surprisingly enough, Victoria has quite a few gorgeous beaches to choose from, but we’re picking Apollo Bay because it’s at located along the Great Ocean Road, a truly spectacular 90 minute drive from Melbourne. Apollo Bay beach itself is a lovely stretch of sand, but other attractions in the area will have you up and about, rather than lazing in the sun. Just up the road is the Twelve Apostles, a set of spectacular limestone pillars that rise up out of the Southern Ocean against the backdrop of the Port Campbell National Park – a sight not to be missed!
Glenelg Beach, SA
Glenelg is not just one of Australia’s best city beaches, it’s also a spectacular tourist destination offering fantastic shops, restaurants and bars at its gorgeous marina and jetty precinct. In fact, there’s an amazing choice of beaches just minutes from Adelaide’s city centre including Brighton Beach, West Beach, Henley Beach and more. Walk just 20 minutes north from Henley jetty and you’ll discover the Grange, complete with romantic coastal dunes and an historic jetty.
Getting ready to enjoy the spring and summer months may include an investment in a sailboat, speed boat or even a caravan to get you and the family out and about enjoying the spectacular lifestyle our fantastic country has to offer. Don’t forget that we’re here to help if you require financing for any personal assets – we do more than just home loans. It you want to make a purchase to help you make the most of our upcoming summer months, just give us a call!
27 Aug 2015
Buying a home is a very exciting time – particularly if you’re climbing on to the property ladder for the first time! When you finally get your deposit together, it’s really easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to budget for the other costs associated with buying your home, so here’s a quick checklist of things to include when planning your finances for your big move.
The cost of taking out your home loan
When you take out a home loan, you’ll need to budget for the extra costs involved with getting it set up with the lender. These costs will vary from loan to loan and lender to lender, depending on your personal financial situation and the type of loan you take out. As your mortgage experts, we will advise you on these costs and help you to plan your budget. Generally speaking, these extra costs may include:
Home loan application fees: most lenders charge a home loan application fee to cover the costs of legal contracts, property title checks and credit checks.
Mortgage establishment fees: in addition to the application fees, most lenders also usually charge an extra fee to cover the costs of setting up the mortgage in their banking systems.
Property valuation: before they can grant you a mortgage, your lender will need to get an independent valuation of your property – both the land and the buildings and improvements. It is important to note that the lender will not accept your valuation – even if you have paid an independent valuations expert to produce it for you.
Mortgage registration fees: all mortgages must be registered with the government and a registration fee will apply. Ask us to help you calculate how much this will cost for your particular property.
Lenders Mortgage Insurance: if your deposit amounts to less than 20% of the purchase price of your property, you will be required to take out Lenders Mortgage Insurance by law. It is important to note that this insurance is for the lender in case you default on your loan – it does not cover you in the event you cannot make your repayments.
Costs involved with purchasing a property
Purchasing a property can be quite a complicated process and it is easy to forget to budget for the costs of covering all the details involved. If you’ve located the property of your dreams, here’s what you need to cover off to make it yours:
Building inspection fees: if you decide a particular property might be the right one for you, it pays to do proper research on it by obtaining a building inspection report and a pest inspection report. These will give you an accurate picture of the condition of the property and help you assess the likely costs of maintaining it moving forward. These reports are very important to your purchasing decision, so get them organized early on in the buying process.
Government fees: before a property can become yours, you’ll have some government fees to pay like Stamp Duty and Registration of Title/Land Transfer Fee. Depending on where you live, and your personal eligibility for any concessions, the amount you may have to pay will vary. Talk to us and we will help you work out your costs in this area.
Legal fees: each property purchase requires the legal transfer of ownership of the property to you and for this you will need to employ the services of a Solicitor or Conveyancer. If you don’t have one lined up, let us know and we will give you a referral to a reputable legal adviser.
Home & Contents Insurance: your new home will be your most valuable asset and it’s very important that you organise the appropriate insurance cover to protect you against disasters like fires, floods and theft. The building insurance section of your cover needs to be taken out when you put down your deposit to make sure you are covered while the transaction is going through.
Mortgage/Income Protection Insurance: we recommend that you also budget for an insurance product that will cover your mortgage repayments in the event you are unable to work due to sickness, injury or some other unforeseeable event that causes you to lose your income. We can help you plan for your insurance needs and obtain cost-effective cover that’s right for you.
The costs of moving in
When the big day arrives and it’s time to move in and start enjoying your new home, things will run much more smoothly if you plan ahead for the associated costs. Of course, these will vary widely from person to person and home to home, so planning will very much depend on the property you buy. Here’s some things you’ll need to budget for:
Utility costs: setting up your gas, water and electricity supply may require you to pay a deposit. Plan ahead and talk to your suppliers about the costs and getting things operational on the day you move in. Remember, you can talk to several different suppliers to get a more competitive rate.
Body corporate fees: if you are buying an apartment or a strata title property, it is likely that you will have to pay monthly body corporate fees. We recommend that you check out these fees when you are planning to buy your property as they can be quite significant, particularly if the property is in need of a lot of maintenance or repair. The first month’s fees will be due as soon as you have settled on the property.
Council rates: these rates cover the costs of your garbage collection and other services provided by your local council. The cost involved will vary depending on the value of your property so you should check with the council to determine these costs and budget accordingly.
Ongoing maintenance: all homes require ongoing maintenance and you should remember to budget for any eventuality. When you rent, your landlord pays for anything that goes wrong, so if the hot water stops working they replace it. If something goes wrong in your own home, you have to fix it yourself so it’s wise to set aside a little money for emergencies.
Moving costs: depending on where you live it could be quite expensive to organise a mover to get your things to your new home. We recommend that you get quotes from three reputable carriers and be sure to ask them to include insurance costs in their quotes.
Getting your home set up: this is the fun part! Remember that when you move in, you’ll need furniture and a full pantry. Make an allowance in your budget for the things you’ll need to get set up in your new home and really enjoy the fact that it is now yours!
Remember, as your mortgage experts, we’re here to help you with organizing the finances for your new home. We’re happy to help you with every aspect of buying your new home, from confirming the costs and helping you work out your budget, to planning your insurance needs and we’ll even give you referrals to other reliable professionals you may need to consult. And of course, it is our job to shop around to find you exactly the right loan for your personal financial situation and goals, so please give us a call today.
12 Aug 2015
Winter is usually the quiet period for property market news, but with the recent tightening of controls on investment lending by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA), there has been a lot happening, particularly with interest rates.
Even though the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 2.0 per cent during its August meeting, interest rates have been on the move. Due to APRA’s increased supervision on investment lending, the big 4 banks have all raised their interest rates on investment loans. We expect that many other lenders will also be raising rates on investment lending in the coming weeks, with rises varying between 25 and 50 basis points, depending on the lender.
Whilst property investment interest rates have been going up, many lenders have also moved to shave a few basis points from interest rates on owner-occupier loans, so interest rates on many of these loan products are coming down! And that means we’re still looking at some of the lowest interest rates in history overall.
This news does not seem to have had much effect on our property markets. Activity is still quite high for this time of year. For the week ending August 2, there were 787 auctions recorded in Victoria with a clearance rate of 78%. In NSW there were 825 auctions with a clearance rate of 76%. Queensland held 144 auctions with a clearance rate of 58%, and South Australia 75 auctions with a clearance rate of 68%.
Other states showed less activity, with Western Australia holding 23 auctions with a clearance rate of 40%, Northern Territory 13 auctions with a clearance rate of just 17%, Canberra 41 auctions with a clearance rate of 72% and Tasmania only 8 auctions with a 43% clearance rate.
Home values showed increases for most of our capital cities. Sydney home values were up by 3.30 % over last month and up by 18.35 % over this time last year. Melbourne is also doing very well, with home values rising by 4.91 % over the last month and 11.48 % over this time last year. Brisbane/Gold Coast also showed increases, with home values rising by 0.43% over last month and 4.36% over this time last year. Canberra showed an increase of 0.29 % month on month and 1.21% over this time last year and Hobart was also up by 1.06% this month and 2.51% over this time last year.
In other states home value movement was not as strong. Adelaide’s home values decreased by 1.13% this month, but they are still up by 3.40% over this time last year. Perth’s home values didn’t show much movement – they rose by 0.09% this month but are down by 0.27% over this time last year. Darwin showed an increase of 0.39% this month but are down by 5.25% over this time last year.
With lenders moving to adjust interest rates on both investment and owner-occupier loans, you may want to talk to us to find out how these changes may affect you. If you already have a home loan or property investment portfolio, we can work together to give your loans a health-check to see if they are still the best financial products available for you. We’re here to help you organise the most beneficial financing arrangements for your property purchasing needs according to your personal financial situation and goals. So please don’t hesitate to give us a call – we’re always happy to help.
The information provided in this newsletter is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Information sources: Auction results: www.realestate.com.au. Home values:www.corelogic.com.au
06 Aug 2015
With interest rates at all-time record lows, property has recently become very attractive to a wider range of investors. The media is full of articles and commentaries talking about using property to help fund retirement, with many even talking about it as a means to completely replace an employment income so they can quit work early.
Whilst property investment has a proven track record as being a comparatively safe way to build wealth for the future, is it really possible to use property as a means of finding financial freedom and funding your retirement? And if so, how do you go about it?
Here’s an outline of two commonly used property investment plans:
Plan A – Living off the rental income
Many people create an investment property portfolio with the notion that one day, the properties will be all paid off and they will be able to live on the rental income. But if you are planning to fund your retirement this way, you’ll need to take into consideration that this rental income will be subject to income tax and some of it will also be required for property management, maintenance, insurance and rates. In other words, a sizeable chunk of the income your properties produce – around 50 – 60% – will be used up before you can allow for your living expenses.
In theory, it ought to be possible to create a property investment portfolio large enough to cover all these expenses if you start soon enough and plan carefully from the outset. How much income you will need is up to you. Considering you will lose at least 50% of the income to tax and expenses, then if you want an after tax income of $100,000 you will need to plan to have a portfolio of properties that is generating at least $200,000 a year.
Plan B – Living off the equity
Many property investors take the approach that paying off the loan completely is not ideal. Instead, they simply reduce the loan to value ratio as far as they can and then fund their retirement living expenses by borrowing against the equity if and when they need it.
Acquiring funds this way does not attract income tax*, which is one of the main benefits of this plan. However it should be noted that every time you withdraw some of your equity, the repayment amount and interest due on your loans will rise.
As long as your properties continue to experience capital growth and the rental income keeps pace with the rises in your repayments, this plan may seem like an endless cash machine. But if market conditions create a situation where both rents and property values fall dramatically, you may find yourself in a position where your equity declines so much that you can’t borrow any more money, or you may need to start selling off your properties in order to meet your repayment commitments – which may not be ideal.
Of course, selling off your properties to fund your retirement is also a possibility. However, you will need to take into consideration capital gains tax and carefully plan ahead to ensure you have generated sufficient potential funds to meet your needs.
Get professional advice before you start
The truth is that using property to fund your retirement is not as simple as it sounds – there are many variables involved. But one thing is for sure, if you want to use property to gain financial freedom in the future, then you need to have a plan. And the sooner you start to implement your plan, the more likely it is that you will achieve your goal of funding your retirement with property.
Before you take the plunge and start buying up investment properties, it is very important that you get some expert advice to help you formulate an investment plan that is right for you. If you want to be a successful property investor, then it pays to have a team of professionals who can advise you along the way and help you to avoid making costly errors. This team might include a financial planner, tax specialist, property manager and certainly us – a reliable team of mortgage experts.
If you’re thinking of using investment properties to build wealth and perhaps, fund an early retirement, then give us a call now. We can not only help you with the right financing, we can also refer you to some of the experts you will need to create your team of professionals and formulate a firm plan for success. So please give us a call today!
*This article does not constitute tax advice. The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Tax issues relating to property investment can be complicated and you should always consult an accountant or qualified tax adviser. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.
19 Jul 2015
Property investment has always been popular in Australia. However, like all forms of investment, there are loads of variables involved and it’s easy to make expensive mistakes. Building wealth through property investment can be a lot of work – particularly if you’re new to property investment and are not aware of exactly what’s required. In this article, we outline some of the common mistakes made by first time property investors so you can plan ahead to avoid them.
Not doing your homework
Many people make the mistake of buying a property simply because they like it, or think it is a bargain. But not every property makes a good investment. When you find a property that you might like to purchase, it is very important that you do your research to ensure it will give you the return on your investment that you will need. Ask yourself these questions, and importantly, take the time to research the answers carefully:
• Will it be easy to find tenants/will the property be in high demand?
• What rental income can I expect?
• Does the property have strong capital growth potential? Is it in a growth suburb?
• Am I paying the right price? How long will I have to hold the property before I can make a profit by selling it?
Not factoring in all of the costs
Cash-flow is a very important factor when you plan to invest in property – and it’s the area where many first-time investors come undone. It’s not only important to factor in all the costs of buying the property, you must also factor in all the costs of running the investment and maintaining it from the outset.
When you research the rental income you can expect from a property, you will first need to know exactly how much rental income you will need to cover the costs of holding it. The actual costs will vary from property to property – if you purchase a new home, for example, you will not need to factor in much by way of maintenance costs at first. But if you purchase an older property, you will need to make an estimate of what work is going to be needed and when, and how much this will cost and factor that into the budget.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Will the rental income be enough to cover the costs of a property manager, advertising for tenants, regular general maintenance, council rates, building insurance and landlord’s insurance?
• How will I cover the costs of large repairs – say if the hot water system needs replacing quickly?
• How will I cover the costs when the property is untenanted and there is no rental income? How long is the average vacancy time in this area? How long will I have to budget for?
Not getting the property management right
A property manager is the liaison between you as the landlord, and your tenant. First time investors often believe that managing their own property will save them money. However, it should be remembered that your property management costs are usually tax deductible and few people have the skills to not only find tenants quickly, but choose the right ones.
Property managers find your tenants, vet them by performing credit checks and then collect the rent every month. They deal with tenant requests, organise regular maintenance and pursue action when disputes arise. They keep track of rents in your area and make sure your rent keeps pace with the market.
In short, a good property manager will help you maximise the return on your investment and save you from many sleepless nights. However, some property managers are better than others, and fees vary. You should carefully research your property manager before engaging them – ask around, check references and make sure they have the resources to do a good job. If you need help with this, ask us for a referral.
Not talking to a tax professional
Did you know that you should obtain a depreciation schedule as soon as you purchase the investment property, preferably at settlement? Not many people do. It’s a document that helps your accountant determine how much you can claim back on tax each year.
One of the major mistakes people make with investment property is not planning ahead to make the most of their tax deductions. In order to ensure you understand what you can and cannot claim, you need to talk to a tax professional and/or accountant early on in the process. Getting it right will help to ensure you come out ahead and enjoy substantial savings. Getting it wrong will cost you money you may never get back. We have many expert contacts in this area so if you need a quality referral to an accountant, please get in touch.
Getting the finance wrong
Before you commence your property investment journey, it is wise to make a plan about what you want to achieve – your financial goals for the future. We recommend you sit down and talk to us about getting the right financing to achieve these goals. Taking a haphazard approach to financing your first, and then subsequent investments, could cost you more money, limit the amount of investment properties you can acquire and even be a recipe for disaster if something goes wrong.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to formulate a plan before you begin, and talk to us about your financing before you even consider making a property purchase. We will help you set up the financing arrangement that is most advantageous to you – considering your goals and your personal financial circumstances.
If you’re thinking about making a property investment, why not talk to us? We are happy to take the time to discuss your plans, get you pre-approval for your financing and introduce you to a team of other professionals who can help you to avoid these expensive mistakes above! Give us a call – we’re here to help.