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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.

Did your Christmas spending get out of hand this year? You are not alone! According to a recent news report, our 2018 Christmas spending binge is expected to leave us with a $29.7 billion credit card debt – that’s equivalent to $1,863 per credit card!

The good news is that mortgage and finance brokers don’t just organise home loans – we’re also fully qualified credit advisors. If you need help to get your debts under control, here’s some info that may help.

What is debt consolidation?

Pay day loans, credit cards, store cards and credit facilities like after-pay accounts often carry high interest rates that can eat up your income and make it difficult to pay off the debt.

Debt consolidation is a way of potentially reducing the amount of interest you pay, making your debts more manageable. Put very simply, the idea is that you take out a low-interest loan and use it to pay off all your high-interest debts, rolling everything into one loan.

What are the options?

There are a couple of ways to consolidate debt. You can:

Refinance your home loan

Refinancing your home loan could help you to access the equity in your home to pay off your debts. Basically, you take out a new home loan that is larger and you keep some of the money to pay off your debts.

Take out a personal loan

This involves using the funds from the personal loan to pay off all your other debts. This is a good option if you want to pay off your debts in a shorter time frame (which could potentially save you much more interest than refinancing your home loan).

What are the benefits of debt consolidation?

It makes debts easier to manage

Instead of having to get keep on track with multiple repayments to multiple parties, debt consolidation means you’ll only have to make one convenient repayment.

Potentially save money on interest

Different types of debt come with different interest rates. For example, credit cards usually have sky-high interest rates, as they are a form of unsecured debt. Home loans and personal loans, on the other hand, usually come with lower interest rates. That potentially means less of your money will be gobbled up by interest payments.

Repayment flexibility

Debt consolidation gives you the option to spread your loan repayments out over time, which could make personal budgeting and repaying your debt easier. You may even be able to get a loan that allows you to make extra repayments and pay off your debt sooner.

To consolidate or not to consolidate?

Using your home loan for debt consolidation purposes is not necessarily right for everyone – it all comes down to your financial situation and goals. Some people, for example, may end up paying more interest on their debt over the life of the loan (25 to 30 years), even though the home loan interest rate is lower than a credit card.

What’s more, by turning your unsecured debt into secured debt (i.e. your home loan), you could lose your home if you default on the repayments. For these reasons, it’s important to speak to a professional credit advisor before proceeding.

Are there other options?

Absolutely! If debt consolidation isn’t right for you, we may be able to suggest other ways to manage your debt – like creating a budget and repayment plan, for example.

If you’ve blown the budget this Christmas, it’s important not to panic. There are many ways to regain control of your finances, so get in touch. If you think your debt levels may affect your capacity to make your home loan repayments – don’t wait! It’s important to get things under control before you miss any repayments. Please call us at Element Finance today.

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


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