What matters when buying your first home 

What matters when buying your first home 

First home buyers have significantly reprioritised what matters most when searching for their ideal home, according to the Westpac’s Home Ownership Report.  The research, commissioned by Westpac surveyed over 1,000 Australian home owners and first home buyers, and features trend data from the past two years.  The latest report demonstrates that first home buyers are less focused on buying a home in an area that is trendy or close to work, with both significantly decreasing in the ranking of “essential features” by 83 percent and 48 percent respectively.  A quiet neighbourhood, access to public transport, and safety are features that have also become less important during the decision-making process, with each decreasing by 37 percent, 21 percent and 9 percent respectively.  Andy Wright, Head of Home Ownership for Westpac Group, said in the face of housing affordability challenges and rising household costs, the research suggests first home buyers are becoming increasingly flexible and willing to shift their priorities in order to achieve their ultimate goal.  “These attitudinal shifts among first-home buyers towards home ownership suggest we may see more looking to buy in areas that they hadn’t considered, with many previously thought ‘essential’ features now just ‘nice-to-have’,” Wright said.  “In fact, the market saw home loans to first home buyers recently rise to a four year high, which suggests we may be already seeing the positive results of these shifts, combined with government incentives in New South Wales and Victoria.”  First home buyers are turning their attention to the inside of a home instead, as modern bathrooms and kitchens become more essential, increasing in priority by 25% and 10% respectively.  Nearly...
How to pay your mortgage off sooner 

How to pay your mortgage off sooner 

Paying off a mortgage as quickly as possible reaps many benefits. By leveraging some simple savings strategies you can reduce the term of the loan and the interest you’ll pay. Reduce overspending We all do it. Unplanned purchases and impulse buying can seriously affect your financial health. Just by simply preparing a budget shows how much can be saved with a little planning. Pay lump sums off your mortgage Instead of pocketing your tax return or work bonus, consider putting it directly against your mortgage. Every dollar over the repayment amount bites into your principal, which reduces the interest payable. Don’t be complacent about direct debits and insurances Every year, do a health check of your insurances, including car, home and health, and promptly cancel subscriptions, like a long forgotten gym membership. Don’t forget to check your current loan/mortgage rate. Banks are very competitive these days. Sell it rather than dump it With online selling now the norm, there’s no excuse for throwing out an old couch or TV. Take some photos, put it up for sale on online garage sale sites like Gumtree or eBay, and make a little bit of extra cash to throw onto your loan. Stamp out your debt Debt kills your financial momentum. While you may be paying 5 per cent interest on your home loan, you could be forking out up to 20 per cent on your credit card or car loan. Forget extra repayments on your low-interest mortgage until you’ve stamped out your high-interest...
What to plan to achieve your financial goals 

What to plan to achieve your financial goals 

One in four Australians have not made a financial plan and two in five have only made vague plans.  According to the Financial Planning Association of Australia survey, the top three dreams for Australians are to have full financial independence, have the lifestyle we dream about and pursue our own hobbies and interests.  Despite this, we also have financial regrets — namely that we have not saved (47 per cent) and invested (27 per cent) as much as we thought we should have. Interestingly, 63 per cent of us have not mapped out our financial future at all or have loose plans. A quarter of us never seek advice from others when making financial decisions.  So, what can you do to make sure you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals? Here are five tips to get you off to a good start:  Write down your list of achievements for the past 12 months.  Many people find goal setting daunting. I suggest you write down all of your achievements for the previous 12 months. For example, receiving a pay rise, laying down new carpet in the bedrooms, going on a long-awaited holiday, teaching your child to play tennis, spending more time with your spouse over coffee/tea with no TV and so on.  Write down every goal whether it be financial, lifestyle and relational because it puts into perspective that you have achieved more than you may initially recall. The positive mindset this creates can then help with setting new goals or tweaking old ones.  Set some financial goals and seek professional advice. Approximately 20 per cent of Australians seek financial...
Are high-end properties the key to real estate wealth? 

Are high-end properties the key to real estate wealth? 

It may surprise many first time investors that purchasing well-located lower-priced properties can deliver higher rates of capital growth than properties located in much more expensive suburbs.  In areas such as Perth and Brisbane, for example, you can still purchase well located properties in suburbs with a median house price of less than $500,000 that can achieve greater annual capital growth rates than properties in suburbs with a median house price of above $1 million.  First time investors should take the lead from the large number of people whose wealth has been based on buying affordable properties in well located areas.  There are literally thousands of wealthy people throughout Australia who at one stage in life bought a very affordable home as their first home and then used this as a stepping stone to create personal wealth over the long term. So how do you buy an affordable property?  Check if there are any upgrades in your affordable areas to local infrastructure such as new schools, shopping centres or transport. New infrastructure can increase the value of properties by making homes in these areas more appealing to buyers. The best areas to buy affordable properties are locations with high population growth rates. You should target affordable properties in these locations with as much land content as possible. Make contact with a number of agents to check what type of properties are most in demand in the local area. This will give you an indication of what type of property will appeal to future buyers if you decide to sell. Check with the local council to find out which suburbs have any...
5 ways to achieve your financial goals

5 ways to achieve your financial goals

One in four Australians have not made a financial plan, and two in five have only made vague plans.  According to the Financial Planning Association of Australia survey, the top three dreams for Australians are to have full financial independence, have the lifestyle we dream about and pursue our own hobbies and interests.  Despite this, we also have financial regrets — namely that we have not saved (47 per cent) and invested (27 per cent) as much as we thought we should have. Interestingly, 63 per cent of us have not mapped out our financial future at all or have loose plans. A quarter of us never seek advice from others when making financial decisions.  So, what can you do to make sure you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals? Here are five tips to get you off to a good start:  1. Write down your list of achievements for the past 12 months.  Many people find goal setting daunting. I suggest you write down all of your achievements for the previous 12 months. For example, receiving a pay rise, laying down new carpet in the bedrooms, going on a long-awaited holiday, teaching your child to play tennis, spending more time with your spouse over coffee/tea with no TV and so on.  Write down every goal whether it be financial, lifestyle and relational because it puts into perspective that you have achieved more than you may initially recall. The positive mindset this creates can then help with setting new goals or tweaking old ones.  2.  Set some financial goals and seek professional advice. Approximately 20 per cent of Australians...
Borrow less and LIVE more!

Borrow less and LIVE more!

It sounds like a noble sentiment – but would borrowing less really solve the financial issues of the average Australian family? Would it allow them to live life on their terms and achieve an early retirement, or choose their work/life balance based on what they want? In order to achieve financial independence, it is necessary to look beyond the amount of debt we take on. Having a strategy that will allow us to exit the rat race sooner will enable us to focus on what is really important in life — without needing to worry about work. More than half of home owners choose work before family Research reveals 56 per cent of mortgage holders miss out on spending time with family because they choose to work more in order to pay off their mortgage. Other key findings include: 54 per cent of mortgage holders have gone without taking a family holiday due to financial pressures; 59 per cent of mortgage holders have cut a family holiday short because of repayment considerations; and 50 per cent of mortgage holders turn down at least two social outings a month because of mortgage pressure. What choice do Australians have in an expensive property market? For Australians living in the nation’s capitals, borrowing less hardly seems like an option. For average income earners, buying a house in Sydney means saving more than one year’s income just for a deposit. It does seem crazy to take on more than a million dollars’ debt just to buy the family home, but this doesn’t mean we should give up on home ownership altogether. Despite what most...