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.

Landlords, it’s time to get ready for tax time.

Tax time is imminent and the reality is that many property investors in Australia are simply not ready.

There are a number of things that a landlord must be aware of so that they don’t come under the heavy scrutiny of the ATO when lodging tax returns and making accurate claims.

You should always seek advice from a tax specialist or accountant to minimise any risk to the legitimacy of your claims and also to maximise your return.

Here are a number of things to think about before you head into tax time.

Negative Gearing
The net loss generated by negative gearing can be offset against other income to reduce the tax payable. Landlords may be unaware that interest can only be claimed when the property is available for rent. So if your investment property is only rented out for 6 months of the year, you can’t claim the full 12 months interest.

Insurance
Usually, landlords can claim their landlord insurance premium as a tax deduction. Before tax time, it is well worthwhile that you check your insurance coverage. A standard home and contents insurance policy won’t cover landlords for the specific risks associated with property investing.

Depreciation
If you have not already done so, engage a quantity surveyor to assess your property for depreciation. A thorough assessment of your property features and appliances will give you more tax benefits from your depreciation over the next 30 years.

Expenses
Apartment or unit owners may be able to claim body corporate fees on or community title properties. Landlords who let a fully-furnished property, such as a holiday home, may be eligible to claim some of their rental income as a tax deduction.

Other expenses such as council rates, land taxes, water and sewerage charges might also be legitimate and claimable expenses.

Management Expenses
If you’re a self-managed landlord, you may be able to claim some of the costs of your home office.

If you engage the services of a property manager, their costs can be a deductible expense for landlords. They can also help reduce the burden at tax time by supporting relevant paperwork relating to your property.

Seasonal Maintenance – Autumn Selling

Seasonal maintenance might not be on the top of your list most weekends but if you are considering selling in the coming months, there are a few small things you can do now to maximize on your investment and capitalize on profits.

  • Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests. If you have fireplace or wood stove, get your chimney cleaned and serviced. If you plan on selling during the cooler months, having optimal heating will increase the possibilities of a sale.
  • Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace the weather stripping as needed. Drafty houses are harder to keep warm which not only mean higher electricity prices but an undesirable environment for prospective buyers.
  • Clean leaves and debris from guttering and the roof, and test spouting to ensure proper drainage. Overflow and puddles is not a great sign for people seeking a warm, dry home. Also, spending a little time cleaning out guttering can help you avoid autumn water issues.
  • If you are on septic and not town sewerage, make sure that it is checked and if required, emptied. The smell from some septic tanks can be off-putting to those considering living in your home.
  •  Winterise your landscaping. Protect your outdoor furniture by putting it into storage, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter so that they survive the colder months. Also, the leaf litter from your gutters makes a great garden mulch.
  •  Check for cracks. Has your house shifted in the dryer summer months? Some houses in the Macedon Ranges develop plaster cracks as the house adjusts to the lower water supply. Patch, repair and paint to ensure that the house is fresh ready for you to put the house on the market.

In all cases of selling your home, it is important to plan ahead. Think ahead and imagine what the experience will be like for buyers when they come to buy in the cooler months.

 

 

 

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