The good news for Kyneton with the falling property prices

*this article first appeared in the Midland Express in February 2019

If you have been anywhere near print news or digital media lately, you are sure to have been exposed to stories about the falling house prices in Australia, with Victoria forecast to be the hardest hit.

We are told that house prices are falling, and mortgage interest rates are rising, so anyone doing anything with property are likely scratching their heads and wondering what it means for them.

The good news is that it seems that Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges are one of the few regions in Victoria that is and will continue to experience buoyancy and growth.

Property data firm CoreLogic’s latest Pain & Gain report showed that every house or unit sold in the September quarter of 2018 within the Macedon Ranges made a profit, bucking a state-wide trend of tumbling prices.

So what makes Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges in particular seemingly bulletproof from a nationwide plummet in house prices?

Regional country areas like Kyneton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong are still experiencing considerable growth, in part to still affordable stock and access to metropolitan areas. The outperforming of the Melbourne market is also due to the value for money buyers get in regional areas – larger homes, larger plots of land and more cost-effective living.

As a regional town, Kyneton offers a sophisticated culture unlike any other. Events like the Lost Trades Fair and The Kyneton Music Festival not only attract tourists and day-trippers but appeal to individuals buying in the area who seek out a like-minded community of creatives and culture makers.

Growing communities also mean a fresh opportunity. With the relative affordability of housing compared to metro areas, low crime and access to infrastructure means the demand for stock will increase. The potential in this region is continuing to reveal itself, particularly for those in the market to buy or sell.

In short, don’t worry about the market downturn if you are thinking of selling in Kyneton

 

 

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

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.