Want to reduce your mortgage quicker? It might not be as hard as it seems

*this article first appeared in the October 2018 Midland Express

 

The uncertainty of interest rates, as well as job instability, means that many people are wondering if they can shrink their mortgage quicker and buy themselves some financial freedom.

 

There are some really simple ways to quickly cut down on how much you owe on your mortgage beyond just making extra repayments. Many home loans already have features that can assist you but if they don’t, refinancing might be something to consider if drilling down on the debt is a goal.

 

A common approach to speeding up the decrease of a home loan is to increase payment frequency. A fortnightly or ‘bi-monthly’ payment can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges and reduce your loan term. The standard monthly repayments not only assist in the reduction of interest charges but the fortnightly payments mean you are making 26 fortnightly payments as opposed to 12 monthly payments, meaning you are sneaking in a few payments per annum. Smart!

 

Also understanding how interest works is another benefit when reducing your mortgage quicker. The interest on your mortgage is calculated on the outstanding balance every day. This means you can reduce the amount of interest you pay overall by increasing how often you make a payment on your mortgage.

 

It is important to understand the features of your mortgage as well. An offset account is an incredible way to not only save some cash for home expenses or holidays, but that savings will also be working for you. For every dollar you leave in your offset account, it actively reduces the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage is $300,000 and you have $10,000 in your offset account you’ll only pay interest on $290,000.

 

The best way to do all of this is some simple number crunching and to understand what a few extra payments can do to give you the freedom you desire.

 

For more real estate insights, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

The Kyneton property scene is just getting better

Around 10 years ago, not many people knew about Kyneton. Maybe the Kyneton sign was spotted in a driver’s periphery on a drive to Bendigo from Melbourne but other than that, Kyneton was an unknown town to most of Australia.

In 2018, things look a lot different.

With the influx of young professionals with fresh business ideas moving to town, a vibrant food and wine scene, as well as surroundings that are brimming with natural attractions, Kyneton has become quite the hot spot.

While the demographic of people moving are professionals with young families, another group finding their way to Kyneton are retirees who wanted to set up their life close to Melbourne without the trappings (and costs!) of city living.

Domain Group data shows Kyneton’s median house price rose 27 per cent over the past five years. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing, either.

The one-hour proximity to Melbourne remains a massive drawcard for people moving to Kyneton. But the five minute lifestyle where access to high quality hospitals and healthcare, education and sporting facilities, as well as easy shopping seals the deal for many people seeking the convenient and relaxed lifestyle Kyneton offers.

On weekends, the town is alive and pumping with weekenders and day-trippers helping the restaurant and retail sector thrive. Galleries, festivals and art activations are common in Kyneton, bringing crowds both local and beyond.

But locals agree the strong sense of community remains unchanged despite a wave of new people moving into the area.

Many things have changed in Kyneton while some of the most important things remain the same. Community and lifestyle remain the prime reason people choose to live in Kyneton.

 

Are you financially ready to buy a home?

*This article first appeared in the August 2018 Midland Express.

 

Are you ready to own a little piece of the Great Australian Dream without getting stuck? This handy checklist should help.

  • Contact a Broker or financial Institution.

A broker acts on your behalf to help determine how much you can borrow. A financial institution offers similar services but are unlikely to shop around for the best deal.

  • Get pre-approval first

In short, pre-approval gets your loan sorted so you know how much you can spend.

  • Savings history

‘Genuine savings’ defines the funds that a home loan applicant has saved themselves over time. Australian lenders require borrowers to save at least 5% – 20% of the purchase price in an account in their name.

  • Loan repayments

A loan repayment isn’t just the same as rent. If you don’t factor changes to interest rates and your capacity to cover them over time then you might be in trouble.

  • Mortgage Insurance

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance is a condition of home loan borrowing which you may have to pay to make to protect them (the lender) in the event where the borrower might fails to make repayments.

  • Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax charged by the government on the sale of property and is designed to cover the cost of the legal documents for the transaction. The main document is the ownership title of the property and a search to ensure you are buying the property from the right person.

  • 10% deposit on signing?

In a standard property sale, the home deposit has to be paid when you exchange the signed copies of the sale contract with the seller If you buy at auction, you will sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.

 

Planning is paramount. Try to be aware of what is ahead of you and get advice from a respected agent.

 

Styling for a sale – Small changes can make a big difference

*This article was first published in the July 2018 Midland Express.

Every vendor wants to have their home looking in its best shape possible when selling.

So when they say that style is a matter of taste, consider that your personal style might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially when putting your house on the market.

It can often be tricky knowing how to stage your furniture, style living rooms, bedrooms and wet spaces to maximise on buyer interest and meet your sale potential. Is your personal style something that your potential buyers baulk at?

It is important to remember that styling your home for sale isn’t necessarily styling for living.

Selling your home isn’t about creating a space that’s cosy–it is about decluttering, brightening and making rooms look larger. It is about depersonalisation and letting a prospective buyer envisage themselves living and loving the space.

In urban areas, many vendors invest in professional stylists to support their sale. Vendors and agents that spend money on styling are known to get back five times the return of the styling investment in the sale price. It is 100 per cent worth doing.

Home stagers can improve the selling chances of any home – from luxury to budget. Staging is no longer reserved for the high-end market either. Any real estate agent worth their mustard should have a pro stylist details in their phone and willing to give it to you to help achieve a higher sales price.

The art of property styling lies in showing potential buyers how they can live comfortably in any particular home. The difficulty lies in whether you can detach your own views on good and bad taste and transform it into someone else’s dream.

Putting The Squeeze on Agents could leave your short in the end

*This article first appeared in the June Midland Express

We often hear about buyer beware but when did you last get warnings for the seller to beware?

Choosing between real estate agents can be a complex task. In any given area, there could be dozens of agents from a broad standard of real estate agencies. It is important to identify that not all agents are the same.

With that type of competition amongst real estate agents, prospective sellers have the clear advantage to sift through and find the right agent for their sale. Agents are put under increasing pressure (and rightly so!) to ensure that the vendor gets the absolute best deal possible.

With margins being pushed across the board, some agents will reduce their fees drastically to secure the sale. The allure of more money in the vendors pocket appears from the surface to be one to be enthusiastic about. However, like everything in life, when you cut one expense to save yourself a few dollars, something else will be in deficit along the way.

So how do people manage the sale of their homes with the best possible sale price and lowest commission, and ensure that their marriage or sanity are still intact at the end?

When deciding on a commission, it is important to weigh up what is a fair fee for the agent while garnering the best outcome at sale. It is also important to recognise the value in paying a fair percentage for the agent because you want the agent to work for you.

A responsive agent who picks up the phone after hours, manages offers in a professional way, one who is thorough, kind to your children and pets and manages every single stressful aspect of the sale on your behalf is worth the extra small margin you feel you might gain.

Crunching an agent too much might cost you so much more in the end.

Are you financially ready to buy a home?

We see it a lot. Enthusiastic families and individuals coming to open for inspections, sussing out the market and daydreaming about having their own little piece of the Great Australian Dream.

There’s just one thing: They aren’t quite sure if they can afford it.

So how do you know if you are ready to take the leap or not? This handy checklist is a great place to start.

  • Contact a Broker or financial Institution.

A good broker is a ‘go-between’ for you and the lenders (banks). A broker can act on your behalf to help determine how much you borrow. A financial institution can offer a similar type of service however they are unlikely to shop around for the best deal for you.

  • Get pre-approval first

A good thing to do before you start shopping for your dream home. In short, pre-approval gets your loan sorted so you know how much you can spend.

  • Savings history

‘Genuine savings’ is a term used by lenders to define funds that a home loan applicant has saved themselves over time. Australian lenders have required borrowers to save at least 5% of the purchase price of a property in a bank account in their name.

  • Loan repayments

Many people will tell you that covering your loan repayments is just the same as rent. But If you don’t factor changes to interest rates as well as your capacity to cover these expenses over time then you might be in trouble over time.

  • Mortgage Insurance

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance is a condition of home loan borrowing where your mortgage lender may require you to make a one-off payment to protect them (the lender) against the event where you (the borrower) might fail to make your home loan repayments. This insurance protects the lender and in many cases where the deposit is less than 20%, the borrower will need to pay it.

  • Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax charged by the government on the sale of property. It is designed to cover the cost of the legal documents for the transaction. The main document is the ownership title of the property and a search to ensure you are buying the property from the right person. The percentage rates on stamp duty in Victoria vary based on dutiable value of the property.

  • 10% deposit on signing?

In a standard property sale, the home deposit has to be paid when you exchange the signed copies of the sale contract with the seller (“vendor”), after your offer has been accepted. If you buy at auction, you will sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.

  • Other costs to be considered

It is important to factor in the following variable costs when you buy a home as often people come undone when they need to find another $1000 here or there.

  • Conveyancer/Solicitor fees.
  • Building and pest inspection
  • Disbursements at settlement
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Removalist costs
  • Waste disposal costs
  • Cross-over payments from last place of residence to new

The best way to keep costs in check is to plan in advance, be aware of what is ahead of you and get advice from a respected agent.

When was the last time your property was valued?

*This article first appeared in the May 2018 Midland Express

 

Things have changed in the Kyneton real estate market. A lot, actually.

 

You may have bought your home 30 years ago or even 18 months ago, and the chances are that the valuation on your home is quite different to what you paid for it.

 

So what exactly is an valuation? A valuation is a calculated figure that includes an assessment of the land value and the improvements, taking into account the depreciation of the property since construction. It also includes sales comparison, and a breakdown of living areas, outdoor areas and car areas.

 

In short, it a valuation can also impact on important decisions such as refinancing, future borrowing and your current insurance position.

 

Let’s look at insurance for a moment. If you have a valuation of your property that is relevant to the time that you purchased the property, it is unlikely that your insurance covers that estimated actual cost to rebuild the building.

 

If you are an owner of a residential property including strata developments, or an owner or landlord, it is important that you obtain a valuation of your property to ensure at that you are covered for its actual cost to replace. Many people also forget that the cost of demolition needs to be factored into this.

 

If you are looking at re-financing your home mortgage to borrow for renovations of consolidation of other expenses or debts, it is equally as important that you get an accurate and current evaluation of your home in the current market place. If the value of your property has increased, the chances are the bank (particularly in this current climate of financial scrutiny) will finance you where you need to be.

 

If you’d like your property valued so you can ensure your insurance and borrowing capacity is relevant, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

Kyneton: It’s a sellers market

*this article was previously published in the March 2018 Midland Express Newspaper

Continued growth in Melbourne has added to the attraction for home buyers to seek out more affordable accommodation in regional locations.

The allure of Kyneton as a viable destination for property investors is evident, not just due to the incredible array of resources and services on offer, but by the limited supply of properties currently available on market.

Ask any agent in the area and they will all tell you the same thing: the demand is high and the stock levels are low.

The latest CoreLogic Property Data price data, as of 19 February 2018, shows that the median house price in Kyneton has increased to $507,000, a more than solid home price growth for the region.

Data from realestate.com.au shows that Kyneton is a high demand market with around 686 unique visits per property listing per month on their website, compared to the Victorian average of 894 per property listing.

This interest in Kyneton has supported the increase in property prices and it doesn’t look to be cooling. Melbournians chasing value for money are driving property price growth in the state’s commuter towns, with the Macedon Ranges seeing an increase in growth of around 20% in the last decade.

Greater infrastructure and investment commitments for regional Victoria have enhanced the desirability of these areas for buyers, particularly the improved road and rail services.

Homeowners are thriving in this seller’s market. Properties are selling quickly and at record prices. Competition to buy in Kyneton means that listings are moving at record rates.

For sellers wanting to downsize, they are in a great position to sell their homes at a profit and free up funds for their retirement or boost their cash reserves.

Predictions for the property market are that it might cool in 2018 so it’s a great idea to take advantage of pent-up demand while you can.

For more property insights, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

 

So what exactly IS the Kyneton style?

When you think about Kyneton, what images spring to mind?

Is it the bluestone architecture or the home overlooking the rambling Campaspe River? Or perhaps it is the rich agricultural pastures or the cosy village vibe?

Whatever image you conjure, it is true that Kyneton has its own distinctive style.

Here is a little of what you might find in and around Kyneton.

The Definitive Weatherboard

      

A mainstay of classic Australian architecture, the weatherboard is particularly prominent within the Kyneton township. And grey is the colour of the moment. Exterior palates in grey tones across Kyneton bring forth an understated elegance.

1960-80s Brick Veneer

This era of homes is dotted throughout town with delightful gardens populating the brick veneer surrounds. Introduced shering in a conservative and plain brick veneer style suited to the working class roots of Kyneton and surrounds.

The Classic Victorian Style

Dotted throughout the region are classic Victorian homes that are still as stylish as ever. Once owned by prominent commercial and community leaders, a classic Victorian residence is possibly attainable if they appear on the market.

 

Architectural Designs

From the unique to the fabulous pre-fab, Kyneton is dotted with some award-winning and highly desired architectural designed residence. Contemporary meets country is a perfect abode for this thriving community.

Modern Australian Family Home      

Modern Australian families find themselves in modern Australian homes that are affordable and exemplify good design. Kyneton is a growing community so it is not uncommon to find pockets of houses ready for the modern Aussie family.