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Bridging loan or deposit bond?

Bridging loan or deposit bond?

When selling one property and purchasing another, the funds from the sale may not be available in time to use for the purchase deposit. There are typically two options in this scenario: a bridging loan and a deposit bond.

Bridging loan

A bridging loan is a shortterm home loan designed to allow you to initiate the purchase of a property before you have sold your previous one.

Loan terms are often between six and 12 months and bridging loans generally have a higher interest rate than traditional home loans.

This can be a great option but carries some risk. It’s important to know that you will be able to make the repayments even in a worst case scenario where your old house doesn’t sell as quickly as you’d hoped or where property values may change unexpectedly.

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Top ways to increase your savings and cut your expenses

Top ways to increase your savings and cut your expenses

Is the key to saving a home deposit as simple as giving up smashed avo toast for breakfast? Well not quite, but spending less does make a difference.

On top of a budget, a savings plan and strategies such as a high-interest savings account, an effective way to save is to reduce or eliminate expenses.

Start by understanding your spend

It can be easy to lose track of how you’re spending money, especially due to cashless payments and credit cards.

Find savings in the essentials

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How to save a deposit: house-sitting

How to save a deposit: house-sitting

One of the toughest parts of realising the dream of owning a home is saving for a deposit. The options seem pretty dismal – subsisting on a diet of beans on toast, never socialising, moving back in with the parents – and are almost enough to prompt a commitment to a life of renting. Of course, you may not have all the comforts of home, but house-sitting can even mean seeing a bit of the world while saving a deposit.

To help the savings grow without resorting to these options, many people house-sit while squirrelling away funds.

David and Ellen, a couple in their mid-20s, have saved almost $25,000 they would have used on bills and rent by house-sitting. It was an especially good financial decision when they were living on a single wage, with David working at the local bike shop as Ellen finished her final year at university.

Before they started house-sitting, David and Ellen were renting a small apartment in Mosman, NSW, and they estimate they have saved $22,000 in rent and approximately $2000 in bills by house-sitting.

Of course, it is much easier if you have flexibility in where you live and for how long, but the real key is an ambition to save.

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Do You Need a Financial Planner or a Finance Broker ?

Do You Need a Financial Planner or a Finance Broker ?

When taking the plunge into the world of home loans and property investment, the challenge often lies in knowing which expert to approach for help. Brokers and financial planners, although similar in their professional outlook, cater to different financial endeavours.

Brokers that deal in home loans must be qualified and licensed loan advisers with in-depth knowledge of home loans and options suitable for a range of different financial situations. They negotiate with lenders to arrange loans and help manage the process through to settlement.

 “When it comes to talking about a client’s debt structure or interest rates, or the best way to set up a loan, it’s really something that needs to be done by a mortgage broker who is qualified to give credit advice,” says the finance broker.

In contrast, financial planners assist with anticipating and managing longstanding financial outlook. They help sort through and select options for investment and insurance, with attention paid to retirement planning, estate planning and investment analysis.

“Financial planners take care of more of the long-term, wealth-creation strategy, as well as super and life insurance, and other sorts of wealth protection insurances,” the broker says.

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Rules of investment

Rules of investment

When you’re trying to secure finance for an investment property, it’s important to keep a few simple rules in mind to make sure you get the best deal possible and will be able to afford the repayments, come what may.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an investment property, it’s important to manage the risks adequately. For example, you shouldn’t rely on rental returns as a guaranteed income to meet loan repayments, as there are times when a property may be vacant or hard to fill immediately and some months the rental return on a property may be diminished by maintenance costs.

“A finance broker will help a borrower find the right product, so that he or she can afford the repayments,” said one helpful adviser. “The adviser will add a two per cent rate hike onto the rate the borrower will be looking to take, to make sure they can still make repayments if, or when, mortgage rates go up.”

With access to property data and trend analysis, a finance broker can pull property reports for you, detailing how the area has performed in the past as an investment, the average median house price or rate of return and how much the property values have increased over the past five or six years. These are details that investors generally can’t access.

Even better, if you meet a local finance broker in the area where you want to invest, he or she will know that particular market and be able to provide a lot of detailed information from working there every day.

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Refinancing traps you need to avoid

Refinancing traps you need to avoid

Whether you’re after lower repayments or want to tap into the equity sitting in your home, refinancing can offer a world of benefits. Here are some things to be aware of so that you don’t find yourself hooked into a bad deal.

Honeymoon rates are just thatDon’t be lured by offers with discounted introductory rates unless you’ve calculated the savings over the life of the loan. While a loan with a discounted interest rate seems a tempting offer, it’s only temporary. Once the introductory period is over, the interest will revert to a higher standard variable for the rest of the loan term. It may be more beneficial financially to negotiate a lower interest rate without an introductory discount.

Don’t be fooled by the interest rateFinding a lower interest rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve scored yourself a better deal. In fact, a product with more features may cost you a bit more in fees or interest, but could save you more in the long run. Including features such as an offset account will prove valuable as it will allow you to make larger repayments or put any extra cash against the loan. Products without this feature may charge a fee for early repayments.

Be aware of the feesOne of the main purposes of refinancing is to lighten the financial burden, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to cost you. There are many fees involved, which may include discharge and application fees, a valuation fee, land registration fee, and mortgage insurance. You may also be subject to stamp duty depending on what state your property is located in. While these cannot be avoided, you have to ensure that the costs involved are not higher than the savings, to make the process worthwhile.

While there are traps to avoid, a little expertise can take the stress out of refinancing to save you thousands, fund that renovation, or simply find a loan that suits your life a little better. Contact us!

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Exit costs when refinancing

Exit costs when refinancing

Refinancing either a home or business can be a great way to save money if you believe you are paying too much for your loan, but there is more to it than just finding a loan with a lower interest rate and making the change. Before making the switch, ensure the savings you could make outweigh the fees involved.

Here are the different exit costs to consider:

Establishment feeAlso known as ‘application’, ‘up-front’ or ‘set-up’ fees, these cover the lender’s cost of preparing the necessary documents for your new home loan. They are payable on most new loans, and the alternative to not paying this particular fee is being charged higher ongoing fees for the life of the loan.

Mortgage discharge feeCovering your early legal release from all mortgage obligations, this fee is not to be confused with an exit fee. Also known as a ‘settlement’ or ‘termination’ fee, its purpose is to compensate your lender for the revenue it may lose due to the contract break.

Exit feeAlthough loans taken out after 1 July 2011 are not subject to deferred establishment, or exit, fees, those taken out prior may still be. Also known as ‘early termination’ or ‘early discharge’ fees, they can sometimes be paid by your new lender but are normally applied to an early contract exit.

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Case study: How to avoid settlement penalties

Case study: How to avoid settlement penalties

Connie Wilson was well on her way to becoming a first-home owner when issues cropped up prior to settlement that threatened to cost him her deposit.

Having found the house she wanted to buy and exchanged contracts for sale, Connie found herself considering a costly settlement extension due to unexpected problems with her deposit.

While she had thought that having a deposit sitting on her account would make the process simple, Connie had not realised that she needed to have the funds in her account for a minimum of three months before a lender would consider them genuine savings.

Her deposit, a gift from her parents, was due to reach the three-month milestone only nine days before settlement. Certain that she would need to apply for an extension, Connie spoke to an accredited finance broker to see how she should go about it.“She had wanted to request a two-week extension on settlement, but I told him not to get the extension,” broker says, “it would have involved substantial penalty interest”.

Rather than having Connie foot a $400 per day bill for an extension, the broker jumped into organising a loan, using the strong relationships and knowledge gained over a decade in the industry to hurry the processes along.“What I did was look at the different panels and the different policies, I called the BDMs and sent detailed scenarios to three lenders so that there were a few options in case one didn’t work out,” the broker explains.

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How to negotiate with your property price

How to negotiate with your property price

Negotiating the best property price isn't a matter of swindling a seller. It’s about doing your homework, knowing what you want, knowing the market and making sensible offers.

When you are buying property, getting the best price can mean the difference between being able to afford it and having to settle for second best. And, of course, a purchaser is often negotiating with a seasoned professional, so any time spent brushing up on negotiating skills is well spent.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For a first-class property price negotiation, the homework starts well before you even let the agent know you are interested.

The first thing to do is get a good understanding of your requirements and circumstances. Aside from the location and type of house you are looking for, this understanding involves finance, of course. 

Aside from meaning that when you do eventually make an offer it will be taken seriously by the seller or their agent, having finance sorted out means that you can be sure of what your stamp duty and associated costs are, and exactly what price range you can consider.

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Explainer: fixed-rate loans

Explainer: fixed-rate loans

When purchasing a property, borrowers can decide between fixed-interest loans that maintain the same interest rate over a specific period of time, or variable-rate loans that charge interest according to market rate fluctuations.

Fixed-rate loans usually come with a few provisos: borrowers may be restricted to maximum payments during the fixed term and can face hefty break fees for paying off the loan early.

 With interest rates at an all-time low, taking the option of locking in an interest rate on your home loan to guard against possible future fluctuation may be attractive. However, it pays to know the ins and outs of fixed-rate loans before committing to one.

However, locking in the interest rate on your home loan can offer stability.

“For those conscious of a budget and who want to take a medium-to-long term position on a fixed rate, they can protect themselves from the volatility of potential rate movement,” the finance broker says.

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Can your profession save you on your home loan?

Can your profession save you on your home loan?

When it comes to saving on your mortgage, some of you may not have to look further than your job. If yours is a profession that classifies you as a ‘low risk’ borrower in the eyes of lenders, then you may be entitled to special discounts.

Doctors take the cakeLenders have their own target lists of professions, but doctors are the big winners. “They'll get waived LMI, lower interest rates and, in many cases, banks will even go outside of their normal policy to get their loans approved,” says the finance broker. “However, not all medical professionals, such as psychiatrists, chiropractors, vets and pharmacists, are accepted by all lenders so it’s always advisable to confirm.”

The lucky onesAccountants, lawyers and teachers are commonly eligible for home loan discounts, or particular loan types without fees, based on their professions. “The benefits differ depending on specific professions,” finance broker explains. “It depends on what industry the lenders decide to target as it’s a constantly changing situation, so what’s here today may not be around tomorrow.”

How the perks work

Simply being in a certain profession won’t automatically save you on your home loan. To qualify you must apply with a lender that offers your profession a special discount and meet that lender’s criteria. You’ll often need to provide evidence of membership of a certain industry.

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Rentvesting - enter the property market without sacrificing your current lifestyle

Rentvesting - enter the property market without sacrificing your current lifestyle

Rentvesting’ is the term coined for when you purchase a property for investment purposes in an affordable location and continue to live and rent in the area of your choice. An example of how the market is evolving, it is a wealth creation strategy that is popular among the younger generation due to the flexibility it offers in comparison to being an owner-occupier.

For this strategy to work, you’ve got to be a good saver and there needs to be a focus on delayed gratification, advises the broker. “It’s all about living within your means. Don’t spend big at the start while you’re building it up. Step away from the mentality of negative gearing and tax minimisation and buy neutrally, or ideally, a positively geared property as this provides higher rental yields.”

As property prices continue to rise, purchasing in a centrally-located or sought-after area is out of reach for the average working millennial. Instead, many are opting to rent rather than buy as it means not having to compromise their inner city or beachside lifestyle. But for those who are still eager to enter the market, there is a way to get the best of both worlds.

“Millennials aren’t interested in purchasing a property in the outer suburbs and then having to commute into the CBD,” says finance broker. “Rentvesting allows your rental income to cover the mortgage expenses, so you can keep living the lifestyle you want without it costing you any money.”

A recent Mortgage Choice survey highlighted an increase in ‘rentvesting’ from 21 per cent of investors to 37 per cent over the past twelve months alone. But while this strategy may appear ideal to many, it’s not suited to everybody.

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Explainer: income protection insurance

Explainer: income protection insurance

How would you pay your mortgage if you were unable to work?

Insurance for something you can’t see or touch, such as your income, may seem strange. When considering insurance, it’s common for people to pass it off as a pesky added fee involved in owning a car, running a business or protecting a house against damage. Income insurance, on first glance, can seem like another costly precaution that’s unlikely to prove useful.

But when you think about how your income facilitates your lifestyle, it’s often at the top of the list in regards to things that you can’t afford to lose. Cars and houses can be replaced, but losing an income, perhaps for life, could see both lost.

Income protection insurance covers salary loss due to injury or sickness. Unlike workers compensation, it applies to injury or sickness at any place or time. And, unlike government allowances, it pays in accordance to your earning capacity.

“If someone is injured under worker’s compensation, for the first few weeks they receive a higher rate, but then it drops. Therefore, people’s standard way of living is sacrificed if they depend on this form of protection,” says the finance broker.

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The perfect property at an affordable price - it’s not a myth

The perfect property at an affordable price - it’s not a myth

So you’ve found your dream home, but it’s in need of a little TLC. While others may see this as a deterrent, this is actually a great opportunity to nab the house of your dreams at a price tag that’s within your means. Here’s how to tactfully negotiate the price without ruining your chances of securing the property.

• Never enter a negotiation empty-handed Whether it’s hiring inspectors for a building and pest report, or obtaining quotes from tradespeople, obtaining facts and figures will give you ammunition when requesting a price reduction.

“Even if it costs you extra, it’s worth getting all the information before making your offer. People often underestimate how much repairs will cost,” says the real estate agent.

• Separate your emotionsThe most tactful way to negotiate is to eliminate all emotions, advises the real estate agent. “Try to separate yourself from the outcome and present your side logically. The owner is under no obligation to accept what you offer, no matter how well you present your points. So if things don’t go your way, being negative won’t do you any favours.”

• Remember this is someone else’s houseNegotiation is a two-way street, so in order to come to an agreement, concessions will have to be made on both sides. “Try to understand what is important to the owner,” advises the real estate agent. “What can you offer to counteract the price reduction you’re after? Perhaps a longer settlement period so they can find a new home? It’s little enticements like this that can often be much more valuable than a couple of extra dollars.”

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How to pay off your home loan faster and save big bucks

How to pay off your home loan faster and save big bucks

Reducing the life of your loan isn’t difficult; there are many simple things you can do to cut years off your mortgage. Here are some tips that will help you be mortgage-free sooner than planned.

Make sure you have the right type of loan

Ensuring your loan allows extra repayments without penalty will let you to make the most of bonuses or funnel small extra payments to reduce the loan principle more quickly, saving on interest immediately, while an offset account will use your savings or living expenses to reduce your principle, while still allowing you to access these funds from a transaction account.

Small extra repayments

One of the most obvious ways to pay off your home loan quicker is to make extra repayments. Depositing lump sums, such as a tax return or work bonus, will always be beneficial, however it doesn’t always take large amounts or windfalls to make a substantial difference – planning for regular, small cash injections can have a great impact over the life of a loan.

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How to pay off your mortgage faster

How to pay off your mortgage faster

When was the last time you looked closely at your loan, the progress you are making on paying it off and how it compares to others in the market? Analysing your mortgage could mean savings for you, as well as the opportunity to pay it off more quickly, invest in other assets or reach financial freedom sooner.

Make smaller payments, more oftenTo cut the size of your payments, make more of them. This could even see you pay off your loan faster, and therefore pay less interest overall. If you pay your mortgage monthly, consider changing to fortnightly repayments. For example, if your mortgage equates to $2400 a month, cut this in half and pay $1200 each fortnight. As well as having more manageable payments to make, by the end of the year you will have paid off $31,200 rather than $28,800.

Pay just a little bit extraA minimum repayment is just that – for most loans there is no reason you can’t pay more, whether here and there or regularly. By rounding up to a full number or contributing an extra $100 or even $10, you’ll significantly reduce your mortgage. It may also be worth considering putting all bonuses, tax returns and gifts into your mortgage.

Don't decrease repayments when interest rates fallEven if your repayments are lowered when fees and interest rates decrease, it doesn’t mean that’s all you have to pay and, by keeping your repayments at the same level when interest rates are lower, you will pay down more of the principle with each payment and make speedy progress on your loan.

Offset itIf you can, use an offset account. A mortgage offset account is linked to your loan and the interest payable on the loan from month to month is calculated by deducting what is in your offset account from your current loan. For example, if your mortgage is $500,000 and your offset account has $10,000 in it, you will only pay interest on the remaining $490,000. An offset account will save interest while still giving you access to your savings. It also means investors can preserve the tax deductibility of the mortgage.

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How to choose the right business loan

How to choose the right business loan

From time to time, a business needs a cash injection. With so many lenders offering a dizzying array of products, it can be difficult to know what to choose.

There are plenty of different types of business finance, but before diving in and applying, it’s important to understand your requirements first, so that a loan can be matched to your needs, and so that you can potentially avoid the problem in the future.

“Do your homework first, because if you don’t, you’re going to buy the wrong product,” says the finance broker. “There are hundreds of ways of getting the money, but you’ve got to match those with the purpose.”

The consequences of choosing the wrong finance product include paying too much for finance, or ending up with a loan that simply isn’t fit for the purpose – in this case it may make a problem worse, rather than solving it.

“It comes down to finding out what your real issue is,” says the finance broker. Work out how long it will take to repay the amount you need to borrow, whether the repayments will impact the business, what has caused the shortfall and whether you need to take any other action.

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How to speed up your home loan approval

How to speed up your home loan approval

Asking how long it takes to get a loan approved is like asking how long a piece of string is. Every application is unique, so the time between your first contact with your bank or broker and approval can never be predetermined. There are, however, some things you can do to help hurry your application along.

Although very rare, same-day loan approvals are possible depending on the lender’s criteria, the complexity of the deal and turnaround time. “In my experience, this has been possible when the client’s lending position is fairly straightforward in terms of employment, asset and liability position,” says finance broker. “Also, if a valuation wasn’t required due to a low LVR and both parties were happy with the contract price.”

If you’re not prepared, it could take up to a month. The most common reason for a delay is a lender’s turnaround time to assessment, especially when some lenders have competitive offerings and experience larger application volumes, but a lack of preparation can cause this delay to snowball. “When there are such delays and then a lender must organise a valuation or request further information, this can lead to a lengthy process time,” the broker says.

A good finance broker will help you take all the necessary steps to ensure fast home loan approval, but there are simple ways you can help hurry the process along before your first meeting with your broker.

Disclose all informationTo avoid back and forth requests, which can delay your application, ensure your lender has a thorough understanding of you as an applicant including appropriate identification of all borrowers. Provide all the supporting and necessary documents upfront to your broker, and convey as much detail as possible in relation to your requirements and objectives and have good, current information on your financial position. The broker will need to not only have your full financial details but will also need to take reasonable steps to verify it.Skip the valuation queue

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When Would I Refinance My Mortgage?

When Would I Refinance My Mortgage?

Whenever it makes financial sense to do so.

Heard about mortgage refinancing? In the past, most people who took out a mortgage doggedly continued with it until they had paid it off. These days, people refinance their mortgage much more frequently. The average duration of a home loan in Australia now is just 4-5 years. Here we look at some of the reasons people in Australia refinance their home loan.

Mortgage refinancing reasons: lower rate

The most common reason for people to refinance their mortgage is to get a better deal. But be careful you don’t become interest rate-fixated. When you refinance your home loan, you need to consider fees and charges as well as the interest rate. You often have to pay charges for exiting your current home loan, plus charges for taking out the new mortgage. You need to be sure that in refinancing your home loan that you’ll be better off in the long run after taking into account all costs.

Mortgage refinancing reasons: more flexibility

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Why your business loan was rejected

Why your business loan was rejected

Due to the risks involved, strict guidelines are imposed on business finance, so securing approval can be difficult. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to increase your chances of approval.

Not knowing your credit score

Many consumers may not realise the importance of a credit score. Not only is it taken as a reflection of your ability to make repayments, it also highlights your financial history which is why understanding what it is and how it can be improved can be vital.

“I have seen cases where businesses were oblivious that they had a credit default until it was time to submit an application,” says finance broker.

Lack of planning

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