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Considering transforming your home from ‘banal’ to ‘brilliant’, but lack the funds to support your makeover? Never fear, we’ve rounded up five home renovation finance options that could help turn your dream into reality.

1 Equity Release / Top Up Home Loan

This is probably the most common way people borrow money when they want to renovate. It involves borrowing against the current value of your home, before any value-adding renovations and in most cases allows you to obtain the funds upfront. You won’t be able to borrow the full value of your home but, without mortgage insurance, you can usually borrow up to 80 per cent of its value if you own it outright. One potential problem is that the cost of your renovations may actually be higher than the equity you have available. If you run out of funds mid-construction, and if the property is then not in sound, lock up condition, you may have an issue obtaining extra funds down the track.

2 Construction loan

If you’re planning to completely transform your home and undergo a major makeover, this may be a good option as you can spread the cost over a long period of time. You could even possibly borrow up to 90 per cent of the end value of your home and take advantage of mortgage rates which tend to be lower than credit card and personal loan rates. With a construction loan, the lender will assess the value of your home after the renovation based on the building plans and you can typically borrow against that value.  You won’t be given the full loan amount upfront, but usually in staggered amounts over a period of time – this is called ‘progress payments’ and is linked to a fixed price building contract which will be from your builder.

3 Line of credit

When you apply, you can establish a revolving credit line that you can access whenever you want to up to your approved limit. You only pay interest on the funds you use and, as you pay off your balance, you can re-borrow the unused funds without reapplying if that becomes necessary.  However, care must be taken not to get in over your head in terms of serviceability. Make sure you can make repayments on the line of credit that will reduce the principle because your minimum repayment only pays the interest, it will not reduce the loan. Rates on this product are typically much higher than a construction loan or top up loan. This product feature is great if managed well, but can also be a trap if not seriously considered as your limit will never change.

4 Personal loan

If you’re only making minor renovations – personal loans are usually capped at around $30,000 – this might be suitable, but interest rates on personal loans are higher than on home equity loans and payments need to be made usually over a maximum of seven years.

5 Credit cards

This option should only be considered if you want to undertake really small renovation projects. The interest rates are usually much higher than on mortgages, but for a very small project, that extra interest might actually total less than loan establishment fees.

*HomeBuilder

If you’re looking for further assistance to be able to afford your property renovation project, the Federal Government recently announced $25,000 grants for eligible Australian owner-occupiers to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. The Government’s HomeBuilder package is designed to assist the residential construction market by encouraging the commencement of new home builds and renovations. Income and other conditions apply and this grants program is active until 31 December 2020. For more information visit the Treasury website.

One thing you must do

There are very few exceptions to the rule that your renovations should add more value to your home than they will cost to carry out. Think about how the money you spend on a renovation will increase the value of your property. For example, consider making changes that would appeal to the majority of potential buyers to help you sell your house faster and at a higher price.

Contact us at Glenavon Finance to help choose the best way to fund your renovation project. 

Published by Glenavon Finance

With interest rates at an all-time low, and many lender’s fixed rates lower than their variable options, locking in an interest rate on your home loan to guard against possible future fluctuation may be attractive. However, it pays to know the ins and outs of fixed-rate loans before committing to one.

When purchasing a property, refinancing or just renegotiating with your current lender, borrowers can generally decide between fixed-interest loans that maintain the same interest rate over a specific period of time, or variable-rate loans that charge interest according to market rate fluctuations.

Fixed-rate loans usually come with a few provisos: borrowers may be restricted to maximum payments during the fixed term and can face hefty break fees for paying off the loan early, selling the property or switching to variable interest during the fixed rate period.

However, locking in the interest rate on your home loan can offer stability.

For those conscious of a budget and who want to take a medium-to-long term position on a fixed rate, they can protect themselves from the volatility of potential rate movement.

Fixed rates are locked in for an amount of time that is prearranged between you and your lender.

There are some lenders that offer seven-year or 10-year fixed terms, but generally one to five years are the most popular. The three and five-year terms are generally the most popular for customers because a lot can change in that time.

Further to this, fixed-rate loans can also be pre-approved. This means that you can apply for the fixed-rate loan before you find the property you want to buy.

When you apply for a fixed rate, you can pay a fixed rate lock-in fee also known as a ‘rate lock’, which will, depending on the lender, give you between 60 and 90 days from the time of application to settle the loan at that fixed rate.

It will also depend on the lender as to whether the rate lock will be applied on application or approval. It is important to be clear on this issue as it has been known to be a common point of error.

Pre-approval helps you to discern how much money you are likely to have approved on official application. Knowing that your potential lender will offer a fixed-term fixed interest loan gives further peace of mind for those borrowers looking to budget precisely rather than be susceptible to rate fluctuations.

In addition, borrowers should consider the possibility of arranging a ‘split’ loan. This option allows you to split your loan between fixed and variable rates – either 50/50 or at some other ratio. This can allow you to ‘lock in’ a fixed interest rate for up to 5 years on a portion of your loan, while the remainder is on a variable rate which may give you more flexibility when interest rates change and potentially minimise the risks associated with interest rate movements. Also, be aware that at the end of the fixed-rate term, your loan agreement will include information about how the loan will then be managed by the lender, usually to a ‘revert’ variable rate – which may not be the lowest the lender offers.

Speak to us about how to finance your property purchase and whether you are eligible for pre-approval.

Published by MFAA

If you are finding it tough to meet your current financial obligations or you are just interested in reviewing your current home loan, then you are not alone. Mortgage brokers stand ready and able to assist with your options during this difficult time.

Turbulent does not even begin to describe 2020 so far. As a result of COVID-19 and not forgetting the bushfires, thousands of Australians are out of work, with Treasury predicting that the jobless rate will double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent. Many others have had their hours reduced or have been temporarily stood down.

In this period of uncertainty, at the very least many will be taking a closer look at their finances to make sure their current loan arrangements are right for them. Mortgage and finance brokers have the experience and knowledge to assist in a variety of situations and are simply an internet search or phone call away. Mortgage brokers are in regular contact with their lender panel and make it their business to understand the different options lenders currently offer.

And while the options can seem straight forward, it is easy to miss the details and differences that can add up, particularly over a 30-year term. For example, a number of banks are offering to temporarily freeze mortgage repayments for three or six months. While this may seem like a good option, it is important to fully understand the implications. This could mean that the total debt will increase. Of course, depending on an individual’s circumstances, there may be a number of available alternatives that may reduce repayments while not increasing your interest bill as much in the long term.

Refinancing too may be on the minds of many as a result of the Reserve Bank cutting rates and banks passing them on, to varying degrees, as well as access to a range of competitive fixed interest rate options on the market. A discussion with your local mortgage broker may be just the ticket.

While a simplistic view of what constitutes a great mortgage is the one with the lowest interest rate, mortgage brokers know that what suits one person might not necessarily suit another. For instance, fixed interest rates can offer piece of mind as interest rates increase, but they can be the cause of anxiety if rates fall or if unforeseen circumstances require a change.

No matter what your circumstances are, mortgage brokers can actively assist you in navigating your current situation. So, if you’ve been thinking about reassessing your finances and are not in contact with your broker, do yourself (and your cashflow) a favour and call them now!

Click here to contact us now.

There is more to selling your home than putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign on your front lawn. Here are the first things you should check off your list to help you get a favourable result from your investment and to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Choose a quality agent

Asking family and friends who have purchased or sold a property about their experience is a great way to ensure the agent you’ve enlisted will provide quality service, explains an MFAA accredited finance broker. “A website and promotional material will always highlight the agent in the best possible way, but word of mouth and past client reviews will show their true colours,” she says.

Make sure the agent specialises in your area and is someone you feel comfortable around as they don’t just negotiate prices on your behalf, they also act as a mediator and represent you as a vendor.

Prepare the paperwork

Getting together all the documents required is a tedious yet necessary part of the process. Before a property can be marketed for sale, your agent requires a copy of the Contract from your legal representative, explains the broker. From a disclosure document to a home loan pre-approval, ensure all the paperwork is prepared in time to ensure it all runs smoothly.

Don’t take things personally

Remember this is a business transaction; don’t feel insulted if you receive feedback on the property that doesn’t match how you feel about your home. To ensure you come out with the best deal, remove all emotion and think of your house as a commodity.

Your property won’t sell itself

Thinking that your home will sell itself can be a costly mistake. Despite how much you like the way you have it set up, furniture, flooring and painting changes can make a big difference to the property’s wider appeal, and marketing it widely can increase the competition and, therefore, the price.

“Engage in a thorough marketing campaign and invest in presenting your property in its best light,” advises the finance broker. “Trusting your agent’s strategy can help secure the best financial result.”

Speak to your broker

If you are making a decision to sell, speak to your finance broker to ensure that your plans after selling – whether they are buying a similar property, upgrading or building – are actually feasible.

“I always advise clients to speak to their broker first to make sure their plans for post-settlement are realistic,” says the finance broker. “There is nothing worse than selling your home and then not being able to achieve what you had set out to do.”

Surround yourself with a good team

When all of the people in your network, including your broker, conveyancer and agent, communicate effectively, you should be blissfully unaware of any minor issues that pop up during the course of the sale, explains the finance broker.

Glenavon Finance is here to help and will be able to refer you to a great agent and other professionals that will help make the home selling process flow with minimal stress. Contact Us Here

If you are concerned about servicing your loan, reach out to your local mortgage broker for help.

As Australians everywhere take a close look at their financial circumstances, mortgage brokers stand ready to lend a helping hand.

Whether experiencing financial hardship through job loss, a reduction in work hours, or business disruption, an increasing number of Australians may be struggling to balance their books as a result of the Coronavirus, and in many cases are wondering how they will continue to pay the bills.

Difficulty with repayments

According to research conducted by Finder in early 2020, about one in five mortgage borrowers, or about two million Australian households, were struggling to make repayments, despite record low interest rates.

And with the challenging circumstances that have emerged since, it is anticipated that these pressures will only increase forcing more people to require financial assistance.

Financial relief strategies

In this difficult time lenders have responded by announcing financial relief strategies. In an official Australian Banking Association (ABA) statement, CEO Anna Bligh said, “Banks stand ready to support customers and if anyone is in need of assistance, they shouldn’t wait but come forward as soon as possible”.

Different lenders have different assistance options. These may include, waiving fees on early term deposit withdrawals, interest rate freezes on loans, options to defer or restructure home loan repayments, and emergency credit card limit increases.

It is important to remember that mortgage brokers have the knowledge, experience and relationships necessary to assist people experiencing or expecting to have trouble paying their home loans as a result of changing circumstances.

In times like these, the importance of mortgage brokers in assisting customers with hardship and facilitating access to credit cannot be overstated. For many Australians – particularly those in rural or regional areas – brokers may represent the only source of assistance. 

Expertise of brokers is of critical support

Brokers’ expertise in helping customers navigate the complex home lending market – and their intimate understanding of their customers’ personal circumstances – means they are uniquely positioned to provide critical support for customers when discussing hardship and available options with lenders.

If you have any questions or concerns about your existing loans, need further guidance on hardship assistance, or have other questions about your loan arrangements, click here to Contact Us

So, you’re thinking about getting a deposit bond?

Whether you’re a first home buyer, seasoned property investor, downsizing or buying off the plan, chances are you have a few questions.

Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers you need.

Here are the 10 most common deposit bond questions answered:

#1. When do I pay back the deposit?

You actually never “pay back the deposit” unless there is a claim. The role of a deposit bond is to “guarantee” you for the deposit amount right up until you get the funds at settlement. In other words, a deposit bond tells the vendor that you’re good for the money.

Then, at settlement, you pay the full purchase price plus the deposit and any additional costs, like stamp duty. The only money that is exchanging hands is the deposit bond fee, which you pay to the provider up-front.

#2. How much does a deposit bond cost?

It depends on the deposit bond amount and the required length of time. Talk to our team for a quote.

#3. Do I pay interest?

No – you only pay the one-off fee just before your deposit bond is released. That’s the brilliant thing about a deposit bond.  To get a quote for your deposit bond please contact us.

#4. I am buying off the plan – how long does the deposit bond need to be made out for?

In most cases, buying off the plan means the deposit bond needs to be issued up to the “sunset clause” date. The sunset clause date is a provision in off-the-plan contracts that allows either the vendor or the purchaser to rescind the contract if the title to the property has not been created by a specific date.

Find the sunset clause date in your contract of sale or ask our team to help. While you’re there, look out for a separate clause in your contract relating to deposit bonds – some vendors may request to add additional time on a deposit bond.

If you can prove that settlement occurred earlier than 6 months from the expiry date of the deposit bond, a pro rata refund can be obtained. The maximum refund applicable is 18 months. Terms and Conditions do apply – refer to your deposit bond application or bond provider’s website, or ask our team for help.

#5. Do I need to seek approval from the vendor to use a deposit bond to secure my purchase?

Definitely. Always check with the real estate agent or directly with the vendor to make sure they will accept a deposit bond instead of a cash deposit.

#6. What are the differences between a deposit bond and a bank guarantee?

The idea is basically the same: a bank guarantee is a guarantee from a lending institution ensuring the liabilities of a debtor will be met. So, if the debtor fails to settle a debt, the bank covers it.

But there are some important differences that might impact which you choose for your situation:

  • Bank guarantees are secured – they require real estate or cash security to release.
  • Deposit bonds are unsecured – the eligibility assessment is just to ensure you have the financial capacity to settle on your purchase, and the Underwriter provides the security and assurance that the deposit will be honoured in the event of a claim.
  • Bank guarantees usually have higher set-up and ongoing costs compared to the one-off deposit bond fee.
  • Bank guarantees require more paperwork for set-up compared to the deposit bond application.
  • Deposit bonds are usually faster to obtain than a bank guarantee.

#7. How quickly can a deposit bond be issued?

Much faster than you think. Within 15 minutes, we can help you get preapproval. Within one business hour, we can have your application form ready for e-signing. And, once you return your signed application with the bond fee payment, your deposit bond can be ready in less than one business hour!

#8. Am I eligible for a deposit bond?

Each scenario is different, but you are typically eligible if:

  • You hold formal finance approval, OR
  • You have at least got conditional finance approval that is subject to valuation only, OR
  • You are selling a property and funds from the sale are enough to purchase your new property outright.

If none of these apply, or when a property settles over six months, your deposit bond provider will need to conduct an asset, income and liability assessment. To be eligible, you or your guarantor will need to own a property with some equity. 

The best way to check if you are eligible is to talk to our team.

#9. I am a first home buyer; can I get a deposit bond?

If you already have formal approval for your finance through a family guarantor loan, and your property settles within six months, you can typically obtain a deposit bond. The good news is there’s no need for your guarantor to also sign your deposit bond.

If settlement is more than six months or you don’t have finance approval, your guarantor will need to apply with you for your deposit bond. Your or your guarantor will need to have a property with the equity to release a deposit bond. This is to ensure the guarantor can pay back the deposit bond amount in the unlikely event of a claim on your bond.

#10. How do I obtain a deposit bond?

Obtaining a deposit bond is easy. Simply talk to our team. We will work with the deposit bond provider on your behalf, so you don’t need to add another thing to your list.

The supporting documents you need will depend on your application type, so we’ll tell you exactly what you need to provide. Then, when the application is ready, we’ll send it to you for electronic signing. It’s as easy as that!

Have you got some questions we haven’t answered here? Talk to our team.

With official interest rates trending downward, shrewd mortgage holders may take the opportunity to call their lender to ask for a better deal.

But when even a small interest rate reduction means potential savings of thousands of dollars, is a simple phone call really enough to get you there?

In 2019, ‘your interest rate should have a three in front of it’, is common advice for home owners considering the competitiveness of their loan settings.

But while a number of lenders offer lower rates to new customers, it’s not always so simple for existing customers to secure the same outcome.

A leading mortgage and finance broker says that if people want a better deal on their mortgage, there are basically two options:

  1. Call your bank and ask them to match the new rate, or
  2. Contact your broker and vote with your feet.

And although the first option is commonly recommended, lenders aren’t always so obliging when it comes to rate-matching to get you a more affordable mortgage.

“As an existing client, it can be disheartening to see your bank offer new customers a lower rate to the one you currently have.

“Lenders regularly try to ‘win’ new customers by offering low rates. It is a great acquisition strategy.

“But if they refuse to match your current rate to this new offer, you can always contact a broker and refinance with a lender who is hungry to win your business.”

Mortgage brokers, on average, have access to a panel of 34 lenders and this creates competition amongst lenders. Mortgage brokers are also in a position to offer you a more in-depth and customised level of service. This can allow them to find their customers a mortgage product that may suit their current needs, wants and circumstances.

Contact Us here to find a broker that can help.

Before you decide to purchase your first property there are a number of things to consider, including your current personal circumstances and financial status.

1. Think about why you want to buy a home

Do you want to live in it or will it be an investment property? This can help determine the kind of loan you apply for and home you buy, depending on your short and long-term plans.

2. Research potential properties and loans

Knowing the market is crucial, so do some research on the areas you are targeting, check out auction clearance rates and recent sales, as well as price trends in the area. Once you are aware of what you are looking for and the approximate price, the next step is saving a deposit.

While some lenders will offer loans if you have saved less than the usual 20 per cent deposit, being able to show a record of good saving habits will aid in getting your loan approved.

Then, when you talk to your local Licensed & MFAA Approved Finance Broker about applying for pre-approval on the right type of loan, ask for their help to work out what you can afford in terms of repayments.

 3. Factor in other costs involved

Depending on the property, there can be a number of additional costs, so ask your finance broker what other payments you will face. This can include, but isn’t limited to, stamp duty, loan establishment fees, legal and conveyance services, utilities, property insurance, maintenance and lenders mortgage insurance .

 4. Think about your future

Just because your current situation allows you to get a home loan, that doesn’t automatically guarantee that you will still be able to service it in five years’ time. Is there a possibility your role at work will change? Are you considering going back to study and reducing your working hours?

 5. Get professional help

With so many things to consider, getting professional help is highly recommended. There are many experts in the industry and it is in your interest to use them for tasks such as property checks, pest checks and any other legal queries. Going it alone can prove costly. Avoid nasty surprises down the track by getting the right people to do the appropriate checks for you from the beginning.

02 May 2018

Q&A: pest inspections

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Pest inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process. Mortgage and Finance Help spoke to Justin Hammerschmidt, an Inspector at Sydney PrePurchase, about what pest inspectors are looking for and how to interpret their reports.

Q What pest inspections need to be carried out prior to purchase?

A pest inspection, officially known as a ‘Timber Pest Inspection’ should be carried out prior to purchase. It will detail any timber pest activity such as termites, timber borers and wood decay.

These pests can cause significant structural damage to the timber elements in buildings such as wall, floor and roof framing. They can also cause serious safety hazards such as collapsing balconies and unsafe decks.

This type of damage is often difficult to locate, requiring the skill of a trained timber pest inspector. It is important to understand that other pests such as cockroaches, rodents and spiders are not covered by this inspection, as they are not capable of causing structural damage to buildings.

Q When should pest inspections be done?

A pre-purchase inspection should be carried out as soon as possible in the buying process. This will give the buyer time to consider the findings of the report and make a decision about whether to proceed with buying the property, renegotiate or adjust an offer based on the findings, or walk away from the sale.

Due to the competitive nature of the property market, a common practice is to exchange contracts and have the inspection carried out during the cooling-off period. The problem with this practice is that the buyer has no leverage to renegotiate if something significant is found during the inspection and, if they pull out of the sale, could forfeit their deposit.

Q What should consumers be looking for when they choose a pest inspector?

Pest inspectors should be licensed pest controllers and/or building consultants with the appropriate industry training and accreditation.

The inspector should also be covered by professional indemnity insurance to cover the consumer against professional negligence, and public liability insurance in case of damage or injury.

It is important to understand that the inspector’s insurance is not a ‘blanket cover’ for the house, so separate building and contents insurance is essential.

Q When the reports come back, what should prospective purchasers consider?

The report should have a summary section at the front, which will itemise any potential problems. This should be read in conjunction with a building report for the property. To save time and money, a combined building and pest inspection is strongly recommended.

The most important considerations are structural termite damage and safety hazards. Does the report refer to termite activity in the grounds only or does it refer to structural damage in the building? If the damage is in the building, where is it and what is the extent of the damage? Is the damage only on the floor frames, which can be easily repaired? Or is it likely that the damage continues up into the walls and into the roof?

It is important to understand that termite damage is often concealed inside walls or where access is not possible. The inspector should be able to articulate to the buyer the extent of possible damage without overly exaggerating the risk or being deliberately vague.

The biggest red flag for a property buyer is the likelihood of extensive concealed structural termite damage. This damage is impossible to quantify without dismantling the building.

Q Can termite activity be remedied down the track fairly simply, or are properties with pest problems best avoided?

The mention of termite activity in a pest report is not necessarily a reason to panic and pull out of the sale. Termites can be treated. If a property has a history of termite activity, a treatment may already be in place. The report will detail past treatments and make recommendations for the future.

If damage is located in the building it is often localised activity that has not caused significant structural damage. Even where structural damage exists, repairs can be carried out. Typical structural repairs for moderate damage may only cost $5000 to $10,000. This is less than the cost of re-furbishing a leaking bathroom, a problem that is far more common in old and new properties alike.

If in doubt, a short telephone conversation with the inspector can help to explain the situation and put things into context.

A property is likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to get the best advice on every aspect of it. MFAA Approved Finance Brokers are industry experts who can help you get the best value over the life of your home loan. Contact Us here for more information.

01 May 2018

First meeting with a broker

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If you’re looking for a home loan but are inexperienced with finance brokers, attending your first appointment with a broker can be a nervous experience. Getting a home loan, after all, can be quite complex for a first-timer. There are lots of brokers around and there is a lot to learn. But there are many steps you can take to be confident that your appointment will be a success.

A good starting point is to familiarise yourself with the expectations of the first appointment between brokers and yourself. Your broker is very likely to ask you about your medium and long-term financial goals, the amount you want to borrow, comparisons of your home loan options and your understanding of the fees, costs and conditions attached to home loans. Knowing the direction the appointment will likely take lets you participate more actively in the conversation. This means you can better articulate your needs to your broker.

It’s also recommended that you give some consideration before the meeting to the types of questions you wish to ask your broker. Questions that can be of use include such things as loan types (such as term, repayment options and interest rate types), the types of ongoing fees attached to various loans (such as early exit, late payment, break and redraw fees) and the typical timeframe for a loan settlement.

These questions might pop into your head spontaneously during the meeting but preparing them in advance is a good way to refine them. By doing so, you are in a position to get more specific information from your broker.

It is common practice, too, for your broker to conduct a needs assessment prior to your face-to-face appointment – so you may be asked some pre-appointment questions.  To assist in answering these, you’ll need to supply information about your employment history, assets and expenses.

At the appointment it will save you time and effort to prepare and then bring the required documentation with you. This can include ID, transaction histories, tax returns, rental income statements and borrowing documents such as “contract of sale” and proof that you have the deposit for a property. It’s mandatory for brokers to maintain the confidentiality of information that you provide to them and only pass on information necessary to enable them to lodge your loan application or where required by law.

The other preparation you can make to maximise the success of your appointment is to research your broker. Many brokers provide content on their web pages and social media. This can give you a good indication of their knowledge and expertise and highlight topics to discuss with them. You can also determine if they specialise in any types of loans that match your needs, where they are located and their panel of lenders. Finally, you should investigate their qualifications. Although brokers are only required to obtain Certificate 4 qualifications, it could be argued that the better brokers hold Diploma qualifications. Finding a diploma-qualified broker will help ensure you receive the best credit advice.

Brokers can also be accredited, with accredited brokers held to higher standards. By verifying they are accredited with the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) you can approach the meeting knowing your broker is appropriately educated, adheres to a strict and professional code of practice and is authorised to access a large range of products offered by a variety of lenders.


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