You get your car serviced and you probably go to the dentist regularly – but what about checking on your most significant financial commitment?

Home loans and major personal loans should never be ‘set and forget’.

By asking yourself some serious questions about your current loans, making sure that your financial commitments are in good health shouldn’t be too stressful – and the rewards can last a lifetime.

Understand the basics

Could you answer, without checking paperwork, exactly how much you owe on your home loan, what your interest is, how long you have left on your loan and how much of that is interest?

If you don’t know the basics of your home loan, it’s worth checking – or getting a professional to do it for you – to help ensure you are accessing the best possible deal for your budget.

Small changes = big savings

Refinancing a home loan can be a very simple process and with the potential to save yourself thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, it’s always worth exploring. Sometimes, getting a better deal on your interest rate is as easy as ringing your lender to tell them you are looking at moving. They will often jump through hoops to retain your business and, depending on the structure of your loan that could mean offering you a better deal over the phone.

This home loan checklist will help you find other ways to analyse your home loan to see if it’s a great time to speak to a mortgage broking specialist and get a better deal.

Whether you are about to hit the market to purchase your first home, or if you are looking to downsize or move, or even take the first steps towards an investment property portfolio to set you up for a secure retirement in style, fine-tuning your current home loan with a regular health check is critical.

A professional financial advisor is a great place to start and point you in the direction of building better wealth by giving you more opportunities to save.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

According to the Reserve Bank, rising levels of household debt are a major concern. Its latest public statement has fuelled speculation that interest rates could be on the rise soon – especially if households keep borrowing at the current, very rapid rates.

For anyone planning to buy, that means now is a great time to lock in a fixed term contract at a low interest rate, and if you’ve got a variable home loan at the moment, it means it’s a smart time to talk to your professional mortgage broker to see how they can protect your loan at a great rate that lasts.

With newspapers around the country all reporting on the release of the minutes from the Reserve Bank’s August 1 meeting, it was revealed that the “need to balance the risks associated with high household debt in a low-inflation environment” was of prime importance on the minds of the nine-member board of the Reserve Bank.

In The Australian newspaper, ANZ analyst David Plank was quoted as saying: “The changes do elevate the focus on financial stability in a way that raises the risk of policy action at some point.” – Something that suggests the central bank might lift rates sooner than expected.

Although the news of the minutes didn’t deliver the same as the minutes from last month’s meeting, when the Australian dollar went soaring after the RBA seemed to pencil in a 3.5 per cent ‘‘neutral cash rate’’, the rise of the household debt, combined with the rising jobless rate and inflation has taken the nation’s economists by surprise.

Analysis of the figures shows that household debt, as a share of disposable income, climbed above 190 % in March. This record high has been driven by consistently high annual mortgage growth above 6% – despite regulatory crackdowns on investor lending and higher borrowing rates.

“Overall housing credit growth had continued to outpace the relatively slow growth in household incomes,” the minutes said.

How the local real estate market will react to the news is yet to be determined but with interest rates looking sure to change, it does make an ideal time for a home loan health check to understand your situation – and how you can improve it for long-term financial growth.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

Type ‘self-employed home loans’ or ‘finance for self-employed business people’ into Google and you’ll probably end up thinking that your lending choices are very limited.

But before locking in your next loan, make sure you do your research thoroughly and understand all the options open to you to help find the finance that benefits you the most.

Running your own business can be challenging at times and being made to jump through hoops when you are applying for finance can add to the stress.

The positive news is that business owners can find lenders who are more open to dealing with them and, by discussing your situation with a professional finance broker who understands the unique issues that self-employed people face, you can find finance solutions to help you.

Whether it’s a home loan, car loan, or personal loan – or a business loan to help you finance new equipment for your business growth – dealing with an experienced loan broker can mean the difference between getting your loan application turned down and getting the good news that your finance application has been approved.

As someone used to making your own way in the business world, you’ll know that success in business comes from getting the little details right.

Approaching your finance applications should be no different.

 

Proof of Income Is Important

The main issue that self-employed borrowers face is that it can be more difficult for a potential lender to work out whether you can afford to meet your repayment obligations.

In many cases, a PAYE borrower simply provides one or two pay slips to prove their income, while a self-employed person has a much more complicated financial situation. For self-employed business people, income is not consistent or guaranteed and the lender will need to examine profit and loss statements, and understand that these statements are often two years old and may not properly reflect the current success of the business – and its potential future growth.

The process can seem frustrating for small business people hungry for finance, but it is important to realise that a lender making sure a borrower can actually afford future repayment obligations is a legal responsibility that a lender must adhere to – and it is not just a case of them trying to make your life difficult.

To help you find finance that suits you, try these 7 tips for self-employed borrowers:

1. Look for the best possible offer

Before committing to any finance application, don’t simply go to the bank where you have your existing accounts.

Banks rely on the convenience they offer and they know that they don’t have to work hard – or offer great deals – to win your business. You can usually find a better deal elsewhere if you look.

 

2. Is your financial information up-to-date?

Be prepared with up-to-date and accurate financial statements, income tax returns and notice of assessments. (Banks rarely will accept financial statements that have not been lodged with the Australian Taxation Office).

And, from July 1, with debt to the ATO now listed on your credit history, lodging your taxation-related paperwork can have an impact so it’s best to be prepared and plan your finance application properly, to ensure you tick all the right boxes for financing success.

 

3. Are you self-employed?

Before applying for any finance, it’s smart to check if you really are considered to be self-employed. If the more accurate description of your role is a contractor or sub-contractor, in some cases lenders may view you as an employee.

 

4. What are your claimable business expenses?

The most expenses you can claim, the more your income increases – and this can be the difference you need to help a lender determine if you can afford a loan.

Some claimable expenses include:

 

5. Quarantine your loan structure

If you’re self-employed, you are more likely to be able to claim some of your interest as a tax deduction, so to help you maximize that opportunity, it’s important to have the correct loan structure from the start.

The best person to talk to for this type of advice is your accountant.

 

6. Make your cash flow work

Making your cash flow work can save you interest. Try setting up a high-interest yielding account where you are rewarded for deposits and no withdrawals for specific periods. Use this to park your GST, for future payments to the ATO.

 

Remember:

By thinking about your future and assessing how your financial needs are likely to change, you can save yourself the worry of having to re-structure your loan in the near future. Getting the right advice from an experienced loan broker can set you on the right path. Always do your best to protect your credit history, because if this credit history is compromised with late bill payments, you can impact your ability to access a variety of loan options and it can be limiting.

Finance can be a great thing for small business people and by choosing the finance that suits you, you can help build your business and personal assets in a way that helps set you up for a healthy financial future.

 

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to their local newspaper, residents in the relatively quiet streets of leafy Elsternwick reportedly are dealing with a few local traffic hiccups now that popular property renovation TV show, The Block, is filming its latest season in the family-friendly suburb.

Already, the word on the street is that the completed project is set to be the most expensive in the show’s history, with the educated guesses predicting that 5 period-style homes are the most likely end result for the 2989-square metre block at 46 Regent Street – one of the area’s central and sought-after locations. 

Faith in The Real Estate Market

The show’s producers put their trust in a vibrant real estate market on the line by paying around $4 million more than the previous most expensive site for the show, with land title documents revealing that $10.34 million was spent on the vacant block that settled back in January, 2017. Once the program’s production costs, and renovation costs, are met, it’s expected that the producers will be hoping for a $7million-plus profit – a figure that would match the profit The Block producers made when their purchase of an old soap factory in Port Melbourne for about $5 million saw the creation of five luxury apartments return about $12.05 million at auction.

Because Regent Street sits within Elsternwick’s Heritage overlay area, previous plans to develop the vacant land – including one plan to build a private boys’ school campus on the site – were abandoned after community complaints that the school would change the neighbourly atmosphere of the prized street. 

Property Investment is Serious Business

For keen property investors who love the idea of owning a part of television history, the sensible advice is to tuck your emotion out of your buying decision and do your proper research – just as you should with any major property purchase.

Before you decide if a property is worthy of your commitment to a mortgage – even when you can access a great interest rate – it’s important to research recent sales and the changing demographic of the suburb to ensure you make the right decision that suits your budget and your lifestyle.

Becoming the owner of a property fresh from a TV show renovation might seem like a lot of fun but if the media frenzy means you’ve paid more than it was really worth, it might be a property decision you’ll regret – long after the TV ratings wins have been forgotten.

Choosing the Property That’s Right For You

To select the best property to suit your needs, you first need to be realistic about what those needs actually are. If you’re a family person with children who need to access quality schools, you need to see what’s around the area you have your eye on, what zoning restrictions might be in place and what parks and recreational sporting places are handy for weekend and after-school fun.

Local shopping – preferably within walking distance – might also be important.

If that property you love ticks all the boxes that matter to you, your next step should be talking to a mortgage broker to secure the finance you need – and whether it’s been shown on television or not, remember that your best possible property will be the one that feels like home.

 

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

 

If you’re like a huge percentage of Australians who ignore their superannuation until it’s too late, it’s time to take control.

For a lot of Australians, superannuation needs to form a significant part of their retirement plans and if you fit into that category too, the good news is that there are some steps you can take to help make the most from your super for a more secure financial future.

 

1. Take more risks

Everybody’s threshold for risk is personal but unless you know what yours is by talking to your accountant and financial planner, how do you know what risks you might be able to take?

By choosing investment strategies that are a bit riskier, you can increase your savings dramatically – but make sure it is money you can afford to play with – and not your entire super fund!

Your age is a critical part of managing a sensible investment strategy that combines risk with security – the further away you are from retiring, the more time you have to recoup any losses that might be made in a risky investment.

And, the more risk you take, the higher the odds are of creating a higher return. But proceed with well-researched caution and talk to your financial planner to work out a strategy that works for you.

Playing it safe can be great for some but it will more likely lead to lower returns.

 

2. Don’t be loyal for life

Just because you’ve always been with a particular superannuation fund isn’t enough of a reason to keep sticking with them.

If the investment options you’ve chosen don’t deliver what you need them to, it’s time to change to something that serves you better.

Talk to your financial advisor before you decide – sometimes there are insurance benefits to superannuation loyalty that may be lost if you switch funds so it’s about weighing up all the pros and cons and balancing the best option for you and your situation.

 

3. Set up an SMSF

There is a cost involved in setting up an SMSF – but it can pay off brilliantly. Professional advice is recommended as it is a confusing area and fund trustees have many legal responsibilities. Your own personal circumstances might be ideal – but be sure to talk to your accountant before deciding.

 

4. Start young and save as much as possible

If you’re nearing that golden retirement stage of life, topping up your super in a major flurry probably won’t make much difference at this point but if you’re at the younger end of the age spectrum, it’s the best possible time to plan your future financial security.

The fact is that compounding interest really can be a golden goose and the earlier you start saving consistently, the more you will benefit in years to come. Consistency is key – even if the amount is relatively small.

 

The important lesson here?

By taking control of your superannuation, you are helping yourself create the best possible chance at a positive financially secure future. To help you increase your savings potential, look at your budget and find ways to save – anything from shopping for a better interest rate on your mortgage, to finding a better deal on your car insurance or personal loan. When it comes to saving, every little bit helps.

 

So, what are you waiting for?

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

 

 

Money saved on a property purchase might mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars on your next home loan – and that means more money to spend on other things you love. If you’ve ever worried that housing affordability in the big city feels too far out of reach, you may have considered relocating to a regional centre.

For many Australians, the move away from the metropolitan mayhem can be purely positive – but it’s important to do your research to make sure it’s a move you’ll love.

Before you trade your urban life for lifestyle in the regional fringe, ask yourself some important questions:

 

What are some good reasons to move to regional Australia?

The idea of more affordable real estate is definitely attractive. And getting away from the big city pollution and traffic snarls can also be another bonus.

If you grew up in the country, then moved to the city for education or work opportunities, the years when you are approaching life with your own young family might seem like the ideal motivation to make the shift back to give your own children a taste of your relaxed childhood freedoms in the fresher air. Or, if you have adult kids who have moved out to start their own lives you might want to retire back to your hometown, to be close to your own elderly parents. There are lots of very personal reasons behind people considering a move to a smaller regional centre and what’s right for you will depend on your own personal circumstances.

If the reason behind your long-term move is the search for a more low-key lifestyle, make sure you spend some time in that town of your dreams to ensure it is everything you hoped for. And if real estate reasons are your driving force, be sure to understand that what is affordable going in will also be someone else’s version of affordable when you try to sell. The reality of real estate in rural and regional regions is that it does take longer to sell – sometimes years if the property is unique. Be sure you have a clear exit strategy that works for you.

 

Employment Opportunities in Regional Australia

Although the broader perception is that there are less job opportunities in regional locations, the truth is that a growing number of large companies are relocating, or setting up regional divisions – and that the transition up the career ladder in many of these companies requires executive level employees to do a regional stint.

If that’s you, just be sure to think about what your options are if you pack up your entire life, then realise you do not enjoy the workplace culture – or the company makes you redundant. By the time your children are settled in and everyone in your family wants to stay there forever, finding another job at the same level as your previous role will be difficult – and could be impossible.

 

Consider The Other People In Your Life

Even if you don’t have children yet, making a big move – especially one that includes a new mortgage or car loan or other financially-related commitments – may not just be about you. You might have a partner to consider too. If your move is for work purposes, you’ll need to look at what opportunities there are for your partner to work in a fulfilling role too. Because even if they say yes in the interests of supporting your career right now, the reality is that life for them may become boring fast if they cannot find something they love doing in your new regional home.

 

Research Matters

Moving anywhere is a costly exercise – but doing it for the right reasons could end up being the best move of your life. Knowing your financial position is always a great foundation for any decision-making so surround yourself with a team of expert professionals and find the answer to suit your situation.

 

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

 

 

If you haven’t caught up with the latest news from the world of credit reporting, it’s important to note that, from July 1, 2017, the

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will inform credit rating agencies of any businesses that have outstanding tax debts.

Given the reality that 65.2% (worth around $12.5 billion) of these late payers are local small businesses, it’s a move that will put some serious pressure on business owners to place a priority on tax debt – ahead of other debts.

The move was announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and the plan means that the ATO will soon disclose the tax debt information of businesses that are not actively engaged in debt management solutions with the ATO.

If you are in the market for a loan or mortgage and you run a business that has tax debt more than $10,000, the ruling will have a direct impact on your ability to obtain credit. 

Repairing Bad Credit

Any bad report on your credit rating is a serous business that is difficult – and time-consuming – to repair.

The first potential issue that this new ruling raises is that, once something like this has been listed on your credit rating, it is a difficult thing to remove.

The second potential problem is the accuracy of the ATO’s tax debt claim – and if they do make a mistake, how will this impact on the repair of your credit file?

It’s important to realise that the initiative will, initially, only apply to businesses with Australian Business Numbers and tax debt of more than $10,000 that is at least 90 days overdue.

As time goes on, though, the ATO may extend the ruling to include other tax debts.

Don’t Limit Your Lending Options

If you have an outstanding tax debt, taking positive action to contact the ATO – or get your accountant to do it on your behalf – is critical. With only a few weeks up your sleeve before the ATO has the powers to list any business debt, working out a repayment arrangement now could be the difference between securing a mortgage or finance application with a good deal, or being penalised by having limited access to a full range of lenders. 

Competitive Rates Can Save You Thousands

If you have any concerns, acting sooner, rather than later is recommended. While an experienced mortgage broker can often still help people with shaky credit ratings find finance they need, the more options you have available to you means more opportunities to find a competitive interest rate that could save you thousands of dollars from your home loan over the life of your mortgage – a reality that is worth making an effort to manage a positive credit rating for your future financial wellbeing. 

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need

So, you’ve secured your loan for your fantastic new home or property investment and now settlement date is getting closer. To ensure your big day goes off without a hitch, try these practical tips for property settlement success.

Tips for a successful property settlement

1. Understand your settlement

Property settlement is the name given to the process of property ownership business that is conducted between your legal representative (your lawyer or conveyancer), your financial representatives (your lender or mortgage broker) and the representatives of the vendor.

It’s the all-important moment when the ownership of the property officially transfers from the seller to you – and you must pay the balance of the agreed price.

At the time the contract of the sale is drawn up, the property settlement period is determined – a time-frame that generally sits between 30-90 days. When you arrange your finance through an individual lender or mortgage broker, they ensure that the balance of the payment is available to be processed and transferred on this agreed settlement day – making you the legal owner of the property.

2. Undertake a final inspection

In the week leading up to your settlement date, you have the right to arrange a final inspection. Contact the agent who sold you the property to arrange it. Sometimes, your conveyancer will do this for you.

The purpose of this final inspection is to make sure that the vendor hands the property over to you in the same condition it was when you bought it.

A good conveyancer will check that all items listed in the contract as part of the house sale are there and in the appropriate condition.

3. Arrange insurance

Taking out building and contents insurance is usually recommended by your lender (and is smart to do). This insurance protects the lender’s interest in the property but it also protects your own interest. Make sure the policy is effective from the settlement date, to ensure that insurance cover is in place at all times.

A professional insurance broker can help you find the best possible deal and will help you insure the property for the right amount.

4. Check the boundaries

Got a good conveyancer? They will double-check that the boundaries of your property match the boundaries listed on the Certificate of Title. You can do it yourself if you know what you’re doing but make sure you don’t make a mistake – this is one of the biggest purchases of your life.

5. Be clear about your costs

From stamp duty to other outgoings – the cost of buying a property is more than just the agreed price you bid at auction. Make sure you’ve understood every cent of associated costs before settlement day. If you fall short and can’t find the missing funds you need urgently, you could find yourself in a lot of financial difficulty.

6. Collect the keys to your new property

Settlement all taken care of? Collecting the keys from your real estate agent is the final step towards enjoying the benefits of your new property. That could mean moving in and putting your personal touches on your new home, or taking it to the rental market for your new life as a landlord. Good luck. Owning a property is a positive way to build wealth for your secure financial future. To find out how you can do it all again, schedule a future appointment to talk to your mortgage broker about equity – and how you can use it to get your foot even further in the property ownership door.

Settlement day should be one of the proudest and happiest of your life. By following the basic steps to settlement success, you will be on your way to creating a property investment portfolio to last a lifetime.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

Now that the dust has settled on the Federal Government’s latest national Budget, it’s important to understand what it means to you and your mortgage.

 

There is some good news – and if you’re preparing to purchase your first home, you might just be winning. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison called the 2017-2018 Federal Budget honest” and one that – “does not pretend to do things with money we do not have”.

Whatever side of the political fence you sit on, though, cutting through the confusion to figure out what some of the basics are – and how they will impact you – is important.

 

Changes for First Home-Buyers

From July 1, 2017, all first home-buyers will have the ability to salary sacrifice a percentage of their wage into their chosen superannuation fund – and use it to help them save for a home deposit. By salary-sacrificing extra amounts of pre-tax income – up to $15,000 per year above the compulsory superannuation contribution (capped at a maximum of $30,000) – the initiative is designed to help pay towards their purchase of their new home.

On top of this change, additional contributions will be taxed at 15% and subject to the $25,000 combined annual limit for both pre-tax and employer contributions.

The flow-on of that news is that, from July 1, 2018, first home-buyers can then withdraw cash they have saved – as well as any earnings on that money. The tax rate for those withdrawals will be taxed at marginal tax rates less a 30% offset.

It’s a move that is designed to fast-track savings for first home-buyers and offer more effective savings strategies than the average bank account option.

 

How the 2017-2018 Budget Impacts On Property Investors

Despite all the talk about negative gearing in the past year, the topic was largely left off the Budget agenda, with no obvious changes to the investment policy. It was made clear, though, that some tax advantages previously given to property investors would have restrictions imposed.

Effective immediately was the news that all negatively-geared landlords would no longer be eligible for any tax deductions related to travel expenses associated with owning and renting out an investment property.

The rules around depreciation deductions for any plant and equipment items were also affected. Changes in the Budget mean that, from now on, property investors are only eligible to claim any deductions on plant and equipment items (including things such as ceiling fans and washing machines) that they actually bought.

For investors keen to explore the affordable housing market, a variety of tax incentives aim to reward them with various tax incentives and encourage more buyers into this lower-end of the real estate market. ‘Qualified affordable housing’ investors will benefit from a discount of 60% in Capital Gains Tax – something that could make a pleasing difference to that next investment decision.

To truly understand how the Federal Budget for 2017-2018 impacts you and your property investment decision, talking to a trusted accountant is always a great start. With the right information up your sleeve, it might be an ideal time to find the right loan to suit you and work out the best way to take advantage of tax savings, while they are on offer.

I hope you found the article interesting. Let me know your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me on 03 8805 1800 or email at barry@lendingspecialists.com.au

 

 

 

If you care about sustainability and environmental-awareness, you’ll appreciate that going solar is about more than just saving you some costs on your utility bills.

The truth is, though, making the decision to switch to solar power is an initial investment. But, the good news is that it can reward you with long-term savings.

To decide whether solar power is right for your property ask yourself these important questions:

Is solar power supported by your State/Federal Government?

Knowing whether solar power is your smart choice needs more than just a great climate to keep it viable. Solar panels make sense if they enable you to produce electricity for a lower price than what your utility provider charges you.

Is your roof solar-ready?

For a sufficient amount of solar panels to produce the electricity your home requires, your roof needs to have the space available.

And if your roof is shaded by large trees that border your property, there could be a problem. Roofs that have the wrong orientation can also reduce your ability to make the most from solar panels. It’s important to understand that it’s not a deal-breaker – today’s smart solar panels can absorb the sun’s energy any way they face, but it does mean a reduction in performance.

Financing your switch to solar energy

Yes, you have the potential to save money on future electricity bills – and even earn money by selling power back to the grid – but the immediate reality is that installing solar panels on your roof requires money.

For many home-owners, refinancing an existing mortgage to access the funds needed to install solar roofing panels makes sense – and by talking to an experienced mortgage broker, you’ll understand the finance options on offer to you, to suit your own individual circumstances.

Small-scale technology certificates (STCs)

The federal government’s Solar Credits Scheme enables eligible households to receive payment for STCs that are created by their solar energy systems.

If you sell the STCs yourself, the paperwork is onerous – and there are applications and associated fees, plus a protracted sales process that can see you waiting several months, post-installation, to be recompensed.

According to Choice magazine, a typical 2.0kW system installed in Sydney in 2015 will generate 41 STCs over a 15-year period. If the sale price of each STC was $30, that adds up to a $1230 saving off the cost of your initial installation. Use the official Australian Government’s (Clean Energy Regulator) calculator, to help you work out how many STCs you system may generate. It can be found here: https://www.rec-registry.gov.au/rec-registry/app/calculators/sgu-stc-calculator.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.