Avoid These First Home Buyer Pitfalls

Purchasing your first home is an exciting and daunting experience – from house hunting, to financial arrangements. Each step when purchasing property should be carefully thought out, as many first time buyers fall into the same traps. Here are some of the pitfalls you can avoid as a first home buyer.

Do not go beyond your budget. Once you’ve come up with figures on how much you can afford, stick to it. Do not purchase with the idea that you will just figure out the excess afterwards. This will only give you financial stress.

Do not rush. Purchasing property takes time, and you might settle for properties with small problems. Beware of these decisions that you might regret later. Review the features that suit you, and do not settle for anything less.

Do not be too picky. On the other hand, you might want to make sacrifices for features that are not that important, for as long as these can be added later. Purchase property not only for its current value but also do your research and figure out its potential.

Inspection reports. This gives you a birds-eye view on the property and surrounding developments, giving you an idea as to how valuable your property will be in the future. Check for nearby infrastructure, road and land rezoning that is planned in the area.

Financial arrangements. So you have the perfect property, are you able to secure the appropriate financial arrangements to afford it? You might also want to factor in additional costs when purchasing property. Seek pre-approval so that you have an idea as to how much you can afford before you go ahead with house hunting.

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Renovations that add value to your home

Renovating your home can attract buyers at a higher price, without you having to shell out that much. Oftentimes, buyers want to purchase homes that are attractive and livable. To get the most out of your property, it is best to look at the details and figure out which renovations can present your home as desirable as possible. As a rule of thumb, it is essential to get a $2 return for every $1 invested in improvements. Here are certain areas in your house that you can renovate to add value to your property.

Garden. Cleaning up the garden and adding plants of different varieties can increase the value of your home. Keeping the exterior clean and repairing outdated bricks and fences will ensure that your property is giving out a good first impression to buyers.

Paint. Probably the cheapest and easiest way to increase the value of your property, painting walls and trimmings can provide your home added value. Seek expert advise on finding the best colour scheme. DIY painting is a popular way to attract home buyers nowadays.

Floor. Being the largest visual area of your property, floors should be presented to attract home buyers by keeping it clean and inviting. You might want to consider removing old carpets and polishing flooring, or install new carpets to add value to your home. Linoleum can also be used as it can be cheaper than carpets, but provide you a wide range of options – such as timber finishes and tiles.

Lighting. Take advantage of natural light. Properties that let light in are often preferred, as it is not only cost effective in electricity savings, but it provides a natural ambiance. Make sure that all lights in the house […]

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5 tips to balance work and life

Nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. This quote by Benjamin Franklin still rings true to this day and age, where people are racing towards fulfilling their worldly duties. Finding a purpose for working and enjoying life is key, after all, what are you working hard for? Live your life happily, while staying in touch with the realities. Here are 5 tips to balance your work and life.

Be optimistic. Always believe that no matter how hard the situation, tomorrow will be much better. If you are toiling through the day now, be thankful for the little things – having a job, being able to pay for rent, put food on the table and send the kids to school. Be optimistic as this will drive you to think and do better things tomorrow.

Live in the present, but dream about the future. Live this day as if it were your last. Cherish the small blessings that you receive, such as coming home to your family after a hard day’s work. Dream of things that you want to accomplish in the future – stay in touch with the realities, but dream big.

Identify your life goals. What do you want to do with your life? Discover your life goals by identifying what you do best. Give yourself time to enjoy, and do not deprive yourself of your much needed rest.

Discover yourself. Can you look yourself in the mirror and say that you really know yourself? Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? Identifying these things will allow you to harness your good qualities and improve on your less strong points, making you a better person.

Act more, think less. How many times did we think of […]

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Get on the path towards financial wellness

Having a financial plan can help you on your journey towards financial wellness. People want to free themselves of having to manage their finances, yet they don’t have a plan and goal in place. Here are several things you can do to attain that much needed peace of mind.

Commit to change. If you spend so much time thinking about the numerous aspects of your finance without getting anywhere, chances are – your finances are in disarray. The success of your financial plan starts with a commitment to change.  It can be as simple as coming up with a budget plan, or cutting down debt.

Assess your finances. You have to be honest with yourself. If you are having doubts about your financial health, or if you are having trouble catching up with expenses and debt, it is not too late.  Sit down and write down how much cash is coming in, and how much is going out.  Lis t down those expenses that are important, and those that you can live without.

Tackle your finances head – on. The reason why most financial plans fail, is because people have a hard time accepting the problem. Having a “can fix” attitude is good, but in this situation, financial honesty can go a long way. Set realistic and concrete goals. If you plan to save a certain amount every paycheck, make sure to do so. Most people also have a hard time admitting that they need help. If you cannot keep your finances in order, there are people that can help.

Understand your credit report. A credit report can help you determine your financial wellness, as you can see the numbers. Understand everything on your credit report, and if you […]

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Budgeting: How to create and stick to it

Budgeting is more than just setting aside money when the need arises. Most people have a common misconception that once you have extra cash to spare, you’re set for life. The key to budgeting is to understand where you stand financially today, and when you can start putting money for your life goals.
Why budget?
Budgeting presents several advantages, one of the most obvious is that it alleviates financial stress. When you spend more time thinking about what to do with the money you saved, rather than where to get the money – it moves you to the right direction.
Prepare a budget plan
It is best practice to look at all the money going in and out your household to have a birds – eye view of your financial health. Do you allocate a certain amount for expenses, and still save up a portion of what you earn? Is there anything you can do to increase your savings? Think about your priorities, and the things you can live without. For example, if you’re used to eating out twice a month, try to cut it down to once a month. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save in a year for expenses you don’t really need.
The discipline of budgeting
Almost anything you do on a daily basis will go through some form of budgeting. When buying at the grocery, take time to put up a list and only buy what’s on the list. If you can bring only the money that you need, do so. This will save you a lot in unnecessary purchases. Saving on utilities will also require you to “budget” how you use lights, heater and air-conditioning at home. A carefully laid out plan will […]

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What to do when you can’t keep up

The situation: You were not able to keep up with your mortgage, debt has piled up and your account is in arrears. What do you do?

If you are having trouble keeping up with your mortgage, refinancing your loan may be the solution for you. Refinancing gives you the ability to either extend the home loan term, or get the best interest rates, whichever is right for you.

If your mortgage is caught up in arrears, it is not the end of the road. Although refinancing may be difficult, there are several things you can do to resolve this issue. You can contact your existing lender to restructure your loan. Most of the time, this will extend the loan term with interest.

You may also want to seek assistance from a certified financial planner. These people are well equipped and knowledgeable in assisting people with mortgage issues, and they might be able to hook you up with a specialist lender to help you pay off the loan. They will look into your credit file and see which one meets your current financial standing.

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5 Ways to Fix Bad Credit

When securing a loan, the last thing anyone would want is to have a default listed on their credit file. Debt or worse – bankruptcy can hinder you from securing a loan or line of credit. Mainstream lenders rely heavily on your credit file and if you have any of these listed against you, it can be an absolute nightmare. In such cases, is a credit repair even possible?

There are several things you can do to manage your default, improve your credit file or even repair it.
Check for discrepancies
Make sure you understand what is on your credit file. Understand what your current financial standing by dissecting your credit report. It is not uncommon for credit files to contain mistakes, and these can seriously affect your ability to secure a loan. Should you find any mistakes, do not hesitate to contact your credit reporting agency.
Contact your credit provider
Get in touch with your credit provider not only to clear mistakes on your report, but to negotiate paying off your debt so that it does not appear on your credit file.
Consolidate debt
You may have numerous debts with varying interest that are almost impossible to manage. The last thing you want to happen is to get defaulting payments for debts you can pay but cannot keep track of. Consider consolidating your debt into a single loan, making it a single payment for a low interest rate.  Now, you only have 1 debt obligation, avoiding defaults and making debt management much easier.
Credit repair
In rare cases where a default is listed because of identity – theft scams, you can help protect your identity and resolve these issues by getting in touch with your credit provider. Some credit reporting agency have package […]

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Increase your borrowing power

Bank lending criterias have tightened since the Global Financial Crisis, but there are several tweaks you can work on to increase your borrowing capacity. Getting the right loan product is key for you to make investing in property a breeze. Here are some of the things you can do to boost your loan and break through the credit ceiling:
Debt Consolidation
Consolidating debt allows you to manage personal loans with short repayment terms so that you don’t get burdened with expensive monthly repayments. One option is to consolidate your personal loans into your mortgage to stretch the loan term. However, this strategy can attract more interest in the long run. Another option is to create an offset account which allows you to have personal loans deducted to the account. Debt consolidation should be done to make your loans manageable.
Reduce Credit Card debt
Most lenders look into credit card debt to determine the financial health of the borrower. Check for unused cards, or tho se that have limits beyond your credit needs. Decreasing credit card limits can also have a significant impact – for instance, reducing a $12,000 debt to $10,000 can increase your net pay by as much as $3,600 per annum.
Keep financial records
One of the reasons people have a hard time securing the right loan is because they don’t have up to date information about their finances. Keeping and submitting your financial documents on time will allow you to have up to date information, giving lenders a clear picture of what your true income is.
Interest Rates
Take advantage of low interest rates. An interest rate drop of 1% on your current home loan can free up as much as $260 a month. It is favourable to invest with […]

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Queensland remains most conducive for First Home Buyers

First Home Owners nationally will need 4.1 years to save for a home deposit, according to the annual Bankwest First Time Buyer Deposit Report.

Among all capital cities, Queensland has been the most conducive for First Home Owners, where saving for a home deposit only takes 3.8 years, despite an increase in median house values in the past year by 5.8%. This was offset by an increase in wages by 19.1%, compared to house growth at 1.9%.

Read more about this on the Courier Mail website.


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Building approvals hit all time high

Building approvals have risen by 7.5% in November with 18, 245 granted approvals, making it the highest result for a month since the 1980’s.

Apartment and Townhouse approvals jumped by 16.7% for November. In contrast, private sector housing posted a 0.3% drop. With the market slowly shifting their sights on the RBA as pressures of interest rate cuts for this year are expected, the supply in housing can cover up for demand in the next 12 to 18 months.

Read more about this on the Australian website.


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