General News

Most property developers would say risk is an unavoidable part of their trade and being prepared for what lies ahead can mean the difference between success and failure. The most effective way to minimise the chance of things going wrong is to do your homework. Be ready for the following common scenarios to occur and have a plan for how to reduce your risk and work towards returning a profit. Interest rate rises It might seem obvious to factor in the possibility of rate rises over the life of your development, but you'd be surprised how many developers have been caught out when they have borrowed too much money on lower interest rates and then could no longer meet their loan commitments as rates started to spiral upward. Talk to us about a loan that can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Rising...

Hotspotting has been credited with providing property investors with the inside edge on where to buy. Here we look at what it means and whether it can work for you. What is hotspotting? It's the process of identifying the locations that will show superior capital growth in the future. These are often suburbs that are currently underperforming but are within close proximity to more popular suburbs. When these popular areas become too expensive, buyers often look to the neighbouring suburbs, causing an outward ripple effect. How do I find a hotspot? Investors trying to buy into the next hotspot will often get their advice from online reports, magazine articles and wealth creation seminars. It's important to look carefully at who is providing the 'expert advice' that an area is a hotspot, as it may well be the PR agent of a developer or someone...

'Pool' is the number one most searched for feature by browsers of Australian property website realestate.com.au. It also appears twice in the top ten ('pool', 'swimming pool') along with 'waterfront', 'living + areas', 'granny flat', 'bedrooms', 'views', 'investment', 'duplex' and 'shed'. While some say that owning a swimming pool may affect a property's sales potential by ruling out some groups of buyers, it seems Australians are still attracted to the delights of a backyard pool. In deciding if a pool really does add value; experts advise it's important to consider design features and quality of construction. Many pools are now almost an extension of the house, making them part of the entertainment area and visible from living rooms for easier supervision of kids.  A well-designed pool should not overwhelm the garden, but instead fit with the landscape and still allow room for...

We all set goals, either consciously or unconsciously, but most of us are content with vague targets that are just as easily forgotten the next day. We sort of know where we're going and we count upon fate, luck and quick-thinking to get us there. This might work sometimes, but it also makes it easy for us to find excuses, get side-tracked or give up. Goal setting is one of the simplest and most powerful tools you have to bring about positive changes in your life. Like driving in a big city, it's harder to find your way if you don't know exactly where you're going. Setting goals is like stopping to look at a map - it takes a few minutes to do it, but it makes sure you're headed in the right direction. Put pen to paper Make your goals real by...

Save money on your energy bills and add value to your property by going green. Improvements that reduce your home's energy and water use will significantly increase its resale value. A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that increasing a home's energy efficiency rating by half a star adds 1.91 per cent to its sales price - which equates to $7,000 for a property worth $365,000. The study was conducted in the Australian Capital Territory using 2006 sales price data and since then the demand for eco-friendly houses has increased to the point where it is now well-accepted that buyers are prepared to pay more for a property that ticks all the green boxes. Conduct a search of properties for sale and there's a good chance you'll find that solar hot water, photovoltaic roof panels and water tanks are common...

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent. Recent information is consistent with global growth running a bit below average this year, with reasonable prospects of a pick-up next year. Commodity prices have declined from their peaks, but generally remain at high levels by historical standards. Inflation in most countries remains well contained. Overall, global financial conditions remain very accommodative, though the recent reassessment by markets of the outlook for US monetary policy has seen a noticeable rise in sovereign bond yields, from exceptionally low levels. Volatility in financial markets has increased and has affected a number of emerging market economies in particular. Notwithstanding the higher volatility, Australian institutions have ample access to funding markets. In Australia, the economy has been growing a bit below trend over the past year. This is expected to...

TECHNOLOGY has made us more interconnected and reduced the importance of geographic distance. It's made gadgets smaller and our handbags and pockets less heavy. But it has also sent some things packing that we will never see again. Our children will never learn the significance a pencil plays to a cassette tape, or sticky tape plays to a VHS. News.com.au has taken a trip down memory lane with the 14 things the web has replaced. Can you feel the nostalgia? 1. The VHS player If your favourite show was on TV but you weren't allowed to stay up past your bed time, you could record it onto a tape. And no one would be able to watch TV that night anyway because you were scared that if you changed the channel it would screw everything up. Although they were bulky and took up...

The Reserve Bank of Australia has slashed interest rates to a record low of  2.5 percent at its August board meeting today. The cut is the first since the RBA announced a 25-basis-point cut in May when the Australian dollar was above parity with the greenback. It is also only the second time the rate has been cut during an election campaign. RBA governor Glenn Stevens announced the cut, explaining: "In Australia, the economy has been growing a bit below trend over the past year. This is expected to continue in the near term as the economy adjusts to lower levels of mining investment. "The unemployment rate has edged higher. Recent data confirm that inflation has been consistent with the medium-term target. With growth in labour costs moderating, this is expected to remain the case over the next one to two years, even with...

If there's one topic that's bound to cause debate, it's whether you are better off buying or renting a home. Although the debate has been around for decades, the climate of low interest rates and rising rents has once again stirred discussion. Numerous studies have attempted to compare the finances of each option but with so many variables to take into account, few studies have been able to reach a substantive conclusion. Comparing like with like is a difficult task when factors such as interest rate charges, rent increases, maintenance costs and appreciation are hard to predict. Assumptions have to be made about how often rents increase, and likewise, any calculations of property purchase has to take into account costs like the deposit, loan establishment fees, property maintenance and strata/council costs. Reasons for Buying Thankfully money is not the only contributing factor in the...

The property you want is up for auction and you are determined to buy it. What can you do to ensure yours is the winning bid? 1. Attend at least 12 other auctions It will take at least this many auctions to familiarise yourself with the process, the emotions and atmosphere. It can also help with understanding terminology like 'reserve' and 'vendor' bid, 'on the market' and 'passed in'. 2. Have your finances pre-approved If you win you will need to have the deposit ready to pay straight away. Financial pre-approval is also a good idea because it gives you a clear idea of your borrowing power and helps you set your bidding limit. As your mortgage adviser, we can step you through this process. 3. Make a limit that reflects the property's market value Pre-determine the maximum 'walk away' price you are willing...