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For two months you have worked hard at paying off your debt. You stuck with your budget – each week putting the extra savings onto your debt repayment. Then one day you are at the shops and see something you really want – new shoes, the latest iPhone, a dress for your daughter – and your determination to pay off your debt goes out the window. You decide to splurge just this once but over the coming months you find there are too many other things you can’t resist spending money on. It’s not long before you are even deeper in debt and once again looking for a way out. After much soul-searching you realise that unless you change the way you think about money you will never get ahead of the debt cycle let alone start building your wealth. Becoming wealthy is...

When it comes to making money from renovation, any old house won’t do. The key to a successful renovation is to choose the right suburb, the right street and then the right property. It can be difficult to make a decent profit if the property is located in an area that doesn’t attract significantly higher prices for renovated homes or if the property ends up costing you more than the likely sale price. Long before you roll up your sleeves and start on the hands-on-job of renovating, here’s what you need to do to spot the true potential of a property. Research comparable sales Make sure the street and suburb where you purchase the property can absorb the price increase you would expect on the sale. Some areas have very little difference in value between an un-renovated and renovated property, which leaves little room...

The first property you buy doesn’t have to be the one you live in. Starting out with an investment property is one way to get a foothold in the property market and would especially suit the following scenarios. You can’t afford to buy in your favourite suburb You might want to live near beaches or cafes or close to work so you don’t have to waste time commuting. In which case it may be more cost-effective to rent where you want to live and buy an investment property in a more affordable area. There are some investors who have never lived in a property they own, choosing instead to rent in desirable locations they would never be in a position to buy. You haven’t decided what kind of home you’d like to buy You may not yet have a family or you might be...

Did you know? Damage caused by insects like termites is usually not covered. Any damages to your home office probably won’t be covered without a separate business insurance policy. Leaving your property unoccupied for an extended period of time may void the policy. Many policies don’t cover damage done by pets. Even if your policy protects against ‘fire’, this may not include damage by burning or scorching where there have been no flames. You are not covered for any part of a building that can’t be locked. You may have to pay more to protect fridges, washing machines, pool pumps etc. against motor burn outs. ...

Investment loans dominate the market and the majority of investors use a mortgage broker, according to new research. Investment property loans have grown by 37 per cent in the last four years, while owner occupied loans grew by 4 per cent in the same period, according to the Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source Survey. In another survey, conducted by Property Investment Professionals of Australia, almost 70 per cent of 800 property investors say they have sought services from a mortgage broker. So what is it that draws property investors to mortgage brokers? Undoubtedly one of the biggest selling points is that brokers can shop around to secure the best product and lender to suit the client. As a mortgage broker we invest our time in staying up to date with the latest products and we have a large panel of lenders from...

Web sites and apps give us a great shortcut to buying, selling and investing in property. Check out some of these online ideas; combine them with advice from your mortgage broker and you’ll save yourself time and money. Search alerts Set up a daily or weekly alert with real estate agency websites to let you know when a property is listed that meets your criteria. Choose from options like air-conditioning, built-in wardrobes, number of bedrooms and proximity to public transport. Cost estimates There’s no end of property costs to calculate, such as stamp duty, amortization and investment returns, but thankfully there are a number of mortgage and investment property calculators that will sort out these complicated math sums for you. Make sure the calculator you choose takes into account all the necessary information and includes fees and costs you are likely to need to...

Paying your loans and bills on time has taken on a new level of importance thanks to reforms to Australia’s credit reporting system. On 12 March 2014 a ‘positive’ system was introduced to give lenders more detailed information about a customer’s credit risk and ability to repay debt. Previously, only negative information such as defaults and bankruptcies was permitted to be held, whereas the new system rewards good repayment behaviour, giving consumers the chance to improve their credit score and borrowing prospects. Lenders are now able to see the full picture, including how many other accounts their customers have and what credit limits are attached to them. This more detailed information gives lenders a better understanding of whether a further loan would make the borrower even more overcommitted. It also means they can distinguish between high and low risk borrowers and potentially...

I recently received an email from a former colleague who had changed jobs.  “I haven’t worked this hard in years and have never felt so valued,” she wrote.  “What a strange combination.  I learn something new every day and am only worried my brain won’t hold any more information.  I’m exhausted by Friday and it’s just great.  Who knew?” To me, by far the most important phrase in this uplifting note was “and have never felt so valued.”   I guarantee that if this individual had just changed jobs, were working harder than ever and felt totally unappreciated, her experience of this new position and the tone of her comments would have been entirely different. “I haven’t worked this hard in years and have never felt so unappreciated,” might have been the content of an alternate (fictional) communique.  “What a combination!  I have...

Did you know that you can claim tax deductions for the wear and tear to the fixtures, fittings and appliances in your rental property? Depreciation is one of the many great tax breaks that make property investing affordable for the average person. It refers to the decrease in value of a property or asset – such as the carpet wearing and furniture becoming dated – that occurs over the time you own it. Depreciation rates vary according to the age of the property, with new properties collecting the greatest benefits. As an investor, you can write depreciation off as a tax-deductible expense and in doing so make valuable savings and increase your cash flow. Here’s how: Building Allowance Also known as capital works deductions, these include construction costs, the cost of altering a building and the cost of capital improvements to the surrounding property. As...

Feeling useful and having a sense of purpose in life are clearly beneficial psychologically, but now research is revealing that there also physical benefits. No matter what your age, new research finds, having a sense of purpose helps you live longer. However, the earlier you find a sense of direction and purpose, the better. The findings come from a study of more than 6,000 people who were followed over 14 years (Hill & Turiano, 2014). The results showed that people who strongly agreed with statements like the following were less likely to die over the course of the study: [blue]“Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.”[/blue] The researchers were surprised that these findings held, even for younger people. Lead researcher, Patrick Hill, said: [blue]“There are a lot of reasons to believe that being purposeful might help protect older adults more so than...