The many hats we wear

The many hats we wear

Actors act. Cleaners clean. Taxi drivers drive taxis. Mortgage brokers? Well, we don’t just do mortgages. Here are the other aspects of your life we can help with when it comes to your financing options.

Look, we’re not saying we’re as versatile as firefighters – fetching cats from trees, appearing in calendars, or you know, fighting fires – but we’ve got quite a few strings to our own bow.

We’re not just specialists at helping you obtain a great home loan and then refinancing it when the time comes.

Here are some other aspects of your life we can help out with when it comes to obtaining finance.

Car finance

People often make the mistake of buying a car using finance through a dealership after seeing a sign that says ‘Drive away, 0% finance to pay’.

But all too often the dealerships sell these vehicles at inflated prices.

Using a car finance broker won’t cost you a penny. And we’ll negotiate on your behalf to help you obtain both the car and finance at a great rate. It’s safe to say the dealership won’t have the same motivations.

Commercial or business loans

If you’re fed up working for the man, grinding away in a 9-to-5 job, and want to start your own business, well, chances are you’re going to need some finance to get it up and running.

We can also provide financing options for more established businesses to manage their capital and assist with improving cash flow (which is the number one business killer).

Equipment finance

Trucks, buses, forklifts and cranes. Computers and office equipment. Medical and manufacturing equipment.

If your business needs equipment, and doesn’t have the cash to pay for it upfront, then we can help line you up with appropriate financing options.

ATO tax debt

No one enjoys the ATO impatiently hovering over their shoulder waiting for them to pay off a large tax debt. But as cash flow is the number one business killer in Australia, paying it all off in one lump sum isn’t any more appealing.

While it is possible to enter into tax payment plans with the ATO, they’re not always the most ideal option and it’s definitely worth exploring other avenues with business loan lenders.

Credit card

If you’ve racked up a big debt on a credit card and are paying an interest rate of 15-20%, there’s no point just putting up with it. We can help you find a personal or debt consolidation loan solution that has a much lower interest rate than your credit card.

Debt consolidation

Having trouble juggling a number of debts? We can help you consolidate them into one tidy loan that’s simple to keep track of. Debts that can be consolidated include personal loans, car loans, small debts, credit cards or store cards.

SMSF finance

Did you know it may be possible for your SMSF to borrow to invest in real estate?

Purchasing a property via a SMSF is slightly different to purchasing a property directly, but we can help with the process as well as help you obtain appropriate finance.

Reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage allows you to borrow cash against the value of your home. It’s an option that’s often taken up by people aged 60-years or older to unlock the wealth in their homes after retirement.

It can be a tricky area to navigate, as interest rates and ongoing fees can be higher than the average home loan, and the interest compounds too – so it’s worth having someone by your side who has been through it before.

Final word

Basically it boils down to this: if you have an existing or prospective debt that you’re not happy with and think there’s room for improvement, then get in touch.

We’ll take the stress and worry off your shoulders and help line you up with a great finance solution.

7 school holiday ideas that won’t break the bank

7 school holiday ideas that won’t break the bank

We’ve made it to spring and the next lot of school holidays is fast approaching. Here are seven budget-friendly ideas that’ll help keep the kids off their screens throughout the two weeks of the school holidays.

If you’re increasingly tempted to preserve your sanity by caving in and allowing your kids more screen time, then fret not!

Here are seven outdoor and indoor activities the whole family can enjoy together – and save you a pretty penny in the process!

1. Build a herb garden

This is quicker, easier and cheaper than you’d ever think! The best bit is it can actually save you money over the long run.

You can buy dirt cheap (excuse the pun!) seeds online here, or ready-to-plant herbs down at Bunnings for a few bucks each. Or you could do both if you want to mix a little instant gratification with showing your kids how plants grow.

While you’re down at Bunnings, buy a few bags of $5 potting mix – depending on how big you want your garden.

The garden bed itself doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use large rocks, old planks of wood, spare bricks or besser blocks – whatever you or your neighbours have lying around that will keep the soil in place.

2. Make a home movie

Instead of fighting over how much screen time the kids are getting, try and put their bad habits to good use.

You’ve already most likely got everything you need – a camera phone to record, and a computer to edit (some phones even have video editing software on them).

The best bit is you can stretch this activity over three days. One day to write the script, one day to act out the movie, and one day for editing!

3. Create a family book club

Before the end of the holidays pencil into the calendar an event where you all sit down as a family and hold your own book club.

You don’t all have to read the same book, or feature article, either.

The youngest can read a picture or kids book, the teenager can read a young adult novel, and you can read a full length novel or feature article.

Not only will you get everyone’s eyes away from the screen, but you’ll get to share with each other what lessons you took away from it all. If you all enjoy the concept, there’s no reason why you can’t hold one each month throughout the year.

4. Visit the beach or local swimming spot

While the weather may not be hitting the highs of mid-summer, Spring is often warm enough for you to enjoy cooling off at your local swimming. However, if you don’t show up prepared with ideas, the kids can get bored or restless quite quickly.

Tried and tested activities that will tire them out include a sand castle making competition, an old school ironman beach flag race, and learning to surf (which can give them a fun, healthy and low cost activity for life!).

While you’re down by the water, consider catching the night’s dinner by going fishing.

5. Go fish! (aka card games)

Dust off the old deck of cards for hours of entertainment.

Games that can last for over an hour include Rummy games such as Canasta, Conquian and Gin Rummy.

Once your kids are getting tired of that, have them build a card tower to see who can go the highest!

6. Camp somewhere nearby

Camping doesn’t need to be a tedious and rough affair. You can do it in a nearby designated camping area for a night or two, or even in the backyard.

Teaching your children basic camping skills means they’ll have more confidence to explore this beautiful continent on the cheap when they get a bit older themselves.

If they’re old enough, show them how to safely build a fire and then you can all toast marshmallows together!

7. Cooking or baking class

Teaching your kids to cook and/or bake is a skill that will set them up for life. Especially as these days more and more young adults are over-reliant on take-away and delivery services such as UberEats.

Here’s an additional tip – get them to cook something you can freeze and defrost so they can take it to school during their first week back and show it off to their friends (and spare you a day or two of odious lunchbox duties!)

Final word

We’ve tried to make the above tips cheap and cheerful to highlight to the younger generations that you don’t have to spend money to have a good time.

It’s also important to remember that the same applies to you – experiences and long term financial goals are what matter most, not necessarily the latest must-have new gadget.

So here’s to living in the moment and smashing your budgeting goals as we enter into the last couple of months of 2019!

Planning ahead: RBA says expect long-term low interest rates

Planning ahead: RBA says expect long-term low interest rates

Good news for mortgage holders this week, with the RBA saying “it’s reasonable to expect an extended period of low interest rates”.

Figures released on Wednesday show that core inflation, the RBA’s preferred measure, is currently at 1.4%.

However, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe says it is highly unlikely the RBA will contemplate higher interest rates until it’s confident that inflation has returned to 2-3%.

“Whether or not further monetary easing (aka further rate cuts) is needed, it is reasonable to expect an extended period of low interest rates,”

“On current projections, it will be some time before inflation is comfortably back within the target range.”

Will the RBA cut rates further this year?

The RBA meets on the first Tuesday of each month, however it’s appearing unlikely that it will cut rates further this year.

That’s because June quarter inflation figures narrowly beat out the market’s expectations (+0.5.%) with a rise to 0.6%.

As a result, most experts are predicting that will be enough to postpone another RBA rate cut for the time being. But doesn’t rule one out should the economy not respond as the RBA expects.

Get in touch

If you want an update on what the RBA’s latest comments on long-term low-interest rates mean for your current home loan situation, then get in touch.

We’re following the market closely and will be happy to run you through some mortgage and refinancing options.

5 ways to combat current property market conditions

5 ways to combat current property market conditions

Australia’s housing market might be on a bit of a downward trajectory, but that doesn’t mean the value of your home can’t buck the trend. Here are five ways you can increase the value of your property, without necessarily increasing your monthly mortgage repayments.

You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of doom and gloom about the property market being in a slump.

First off, rest assured that it’s not the end of the world.

In fact, national dwelling values have simply returned to September 2016 levels, according to recent CoreLogic figures.

The good news is that with a bit of elbow grease and hard yakka you may be able to make that back up.

Here are five affordable suggestions for doing so.

  1. Gardening and landscaping

It’s time to get those hands dirty.

One of the fastest ways to instantly increase the ‘wow’ factor of your property is to give it a good manicure.

Trim any overgrown bushes, mow the yard, apply grass seeds where there are bare dirt patches, plant some new flowers and plants in the garden bed, and ensure the fence is looking top notch.

If you don’t have the tools for the job, or you’re simply more of an indoors person, consider hiring a landscaper to help out.

You can opt for a well known local professional out of the Yellow Pages, or save some coin by taking a punt on a young person looking to grow their reputation through Airtasker.

  1. Indoor plants and artwork

One of the best ways to make the interior of your house feel fresher and more lively is to decorate each room with a bit of greenery.

Pot plants are fantastic because they’re low maintenance, make your place look great, and are great for your health.

Here’s the real kicker though: rather than leave them behind, like most other things on this list, you can take them with you when you sell your property.

The same goes for artwork. It too can make your place stand out by giving it a bit of character, and it’s not like you have to fork out thousands for an original Rembrandt or anything of the like.

There are thousands of talented local artists selling art at affordable prices – and remember, it’s all subjective. Back yourself to pick out a good artist who appeals to you!

  1. New carpet or floor polish

Nothing looks as dated as stained carpet, scuffed floorboards, or old and chipped tiles.

Having a fresh platform for a prospective buyer to stand upon can make a big difference when it comes to their mindset.

If the floor they’re standing on is dirty and dated, they’re very likely to wonder what’s wrong with the aspects of the house that they can’t see.

If it’s within your budget, definitely consider giving this part of your property a makeover before inviting potential buyers inside.

  1. Bathroom bonanza

The bathroom will attract about as much scrutiny from a prospective buyer as any other room in the house.

The last thing you want is for some grime, leakage or mould turning off someone who’s happy with every other aspect of your property.

If your bathrooms are moderately new and not too dated, pay some professional cleaners to come in and get the place sparkling.

You don’t need to rip the whole thing out and spend $15,000 on a complete retrofit either. A simple paint job is sometimes enough.

However if your bathroom is looking pretty dated – and your budget allows for it – consider installing just some of the essentials: perhaps install new sinks, updated countertops and cabinets.

Also, ensure the taps and shower head are shiny and not leaking, and the toilet is modern and not flushing money down the drain (indoors, the shower is typically the biggest contributer to water bills at 34%, followed by the toilet at 26%).

  1. Your Kitchen Rules

Not far behind the bathroom in terms of scrutiny is the kitchen.

Once again, there’s no need to rip out the whole kitchen and fork out an arm and a leg.

Look at ways you can revitalise it on the cheap: you could replace old cupboards and pantry doors, upgrade the bench tops, and make sure the taps and electrical fittings are in tip top shape.

And don’t forget that the kitchen appliances you have out in the open are also acting as decorations.

If they’re old and outdated, they could bring the rest of the kitchen sagging down with them. Once again, if you have to buy new appliances, at least you can take them with you!

Final word

Remember that property improvement shouldn’t cost you more than the value you’re hoping it will add.

It also helps to think of some of the above ideas as adding to your investment – not an expense.

If you’re unsure where to start, or would like some extra tips, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We understand precisely what buyers look for in a home and investment property respectively, and would be more than happy to help out.