C&G: Making the leap from Tenant to Home Owner

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While January is almost at an end, there is no need to abandon those New Year resolutions early! If transferring from tenant to home owner was on your list of life changes for 2013, we’re here to keep you heading in the right direction! Today’s Chisholm and Gamon blog is a preparation guide for achieving home ownership. With our tips up your sleeve, you’re sure to be toasting your entry into the property market very soon!

SHORT-TERM SACRIFICE & BUDGETING

Making short term sacrifice to achieve a long term goal is an approach worth applying to any life objective. Reining in the budget is not viewed as something enjoyable, particularly if one is used to spending without caution. The harsh truth is that the odds of winning the lottery are not in your favour, and when it comes to saving for a deposit some old fashion belt-tightening is more likely to help you achieve your dream of home ownership. If you are saving with a partner, ensure you commit to the challenge together and write down your budgets carefully – be accountable to one another. Don’t forget – there is also the option of moving in with your (agreeable) parents for a limited time to cut back on rent and bump-up your deposit. If that sounds like a remedy for mental breakdown, try other ways to cut back on expenditure – replace your weekly personal training session and Sunday catch-up drinks with a social game of soccer at the local park. You’ll have more money in your pocket, yet remain healthy (yes!) and connected to your friends whilst saving. The most important part of short-term sacrifice to achieve home ownership is that you set your budget and apply self-discipline.

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VISIT A MORTGAGE BROKER

A financial planner or mortgage broker are both equipped with the expertise to advise you how much you require for a deposit and how much you will be able to loan. They can provide you with realistic pathways to help you achieve your goal. Once you’re sure of the amount you’ll need to save (also known as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel), it will be easier to work towards saving. A financial planner may also suggest new investment ideas. For example, you might consider purchasing in a more affordable area, while continuing to rent in an area you like. This option allows you to break into the property market sooner – a benefit worth real money in the long-run. Contact Chisholm and Gamon for further information on brokers we recommend.

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TALK TO AN ESTATE AGENT

It is a good idea to build relationships with reputable estate agents based in the area you are seeking to purchase in. Let them know about the type of property you are looking for and your budget. They will be pleased to keep you on their database and call you when suitable properties become available. Real estate agents are also great advisors on market trends, allowing you to make the right choice for your budget and needs. They may also occasionally invite you to view properties before they ‘hit the market’ – offering you an exclusive opportunity to purchase prior to advertising to the wider buyer community.

SEEK OPPORTUNITIES

There are a number of great opportunities to take advantage of when you’re a first home buyer. The government-sponsored first home owner grant is an obvious choice for those who qualify. A good financial advisor is sure to inform you of the best available incentives to match your situation. Good luck – we look forward to handing you the keys to your first home!

Timber flooring – the options

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When it comes to selecting the right type of timber flooring for your home, there are plenty of choices. Climate, architecture and budget can all influence your decision. Whatever you decide, timber offers a cost-effective, durable and appealing finish, especially in main living areas.

Here is a rundown on each of the most popular options:

HARDWOOD – SOLID TONGUE & GROOVE

· Traditional flooring system that cannot be matched for its lasting beauty and durability.

· Solid hardwood tongue and groove strip flooring is designed to be laid directly onto joists, battens, over concrete or can be nailed to old timber flooring. 

· The boards are designed for a tight plank to plank fit to ensure a continuous and stable surface.

Hardwood floors come in Select, Natural and Standard grades.

Species – Australian Beech, Blackbutt, Sydney Blue Gum, Brushbox, Rose Gum, Forest Reds, Ironbark, Jarrah, Karri, Red Mahogany, Spotted Gum and many more species are available.

PRE-FINISHED ENGINEERED FLOORING

A very popular flooring giving all the benefits of tongue and groove flooring, but without the need for sanding and polishing.  The boards are all pre-finished with coating already applied, so it can be installed in half the time of traditional flooring.

· Pre-finished engineered flooring also comes in Raw, so you can choose the level of gloss as required.

· Pre-finished engineered flooring is comprised of 4 or 5 layers of timbers fused together into long planks then pre-finished ready to lay.

· Even though pre-finished, the boards can be sanded many times giving them the same lifespan as traditional timber flooring.

Species – Pre-finished Engineered flooring is available in an extensive range of hues and colours to match and enhance any home, office or commercial premises.

PARQUETRY

Parquetry floors add a unique and stunning feature to any premises.  Parquetry is hardwearing and is available in two styles, mosaic and block.

· Mosaic parquetry is made up of small fingers of timber in tile form and block parquetry comes in single blocks which can be arranged in any pattern or feature you desire.

· Parquetry comes in Select Grade and Standard Grade

Some Species – Alpine Ash, Tasmanian Oak, Blackbutt, Sydney Blue Gum, Brush Box, Ironbark, Jarrah and many more.

BAMBOO FLOORING

Bamboo flooring is extremely hard wearing, lightweight and stable in all weather conditions, as it has an innate moisture resistance.

· An environmentally friendly flooring resource adding quality and warmth to any home.

Species – Bamboo flooring comes in many textures and is available in colours of natural or coffee.

Invest with the best!

PPG_Blog_July_IMage 6July can be a busy time for property investors as they sort through end-of-financial-year deductions and paperwork. Around this time many investors are looking for opportunities and talking with their real estate agents about prospects in the market.

Quality advice starts with encouraging investors to do their research. This gives them the confidence to make an educated purchase.
When researching the market, investors should be mindful of the key characteristics of successful residential property investment.

The better investments are generally in places where there is consistent population growth – which, at the moment, is a Melbourne-wide phenomenon. Currently, vacancy rates are at an all time low, and have been for more than three years.

Tenants like convenience. The better investment properties tend to be those which are easy to maintain, have space for cars, access to main roads and public transport and are located close to shops, schools, tertiary institutions and other community infrastructure.

The ideal investment location is where demand for rental properties exceeds supply. In the current tight market this is almost everywhere, but it won’t always be the case. Do your homework to gain a long term view of local conditions. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has census results illustrating areas of high tenancy rates.

Ordinarily, a good measure of the supply of rental properties is the proportion that is vacant. Suburban or town vacancy rates are not always readily available, but there is no question that metropolitan vacancy rates are currently low at around 1.5 – 2.5 per cent. Another measure is the number of new housing developments and this information is available from the local council.

Look for properties that are affordable, generally at or around the median price, and which have reasonable prospects of good growth in values.

Historical median house price information for suburbs and major regional areas is available from Real Estate Institute of Victoria. This information is useful to discover patterns in values.

Choosing a property with redevelopment potential can also be worthwhile. An investment property that can be subdivided into smaller lots for home units will be popular with some developers and can bring long-term rewards.

Apps for Real Estate?

PPG_June _IMage 7_appsSearching for what’s on at your local cinema? Want to check your heart rate or learn how to speak Spanish? These days you need look no further than your smartphone and the 1000s of apps available for instant download. So what about real estate apps? Well, there’s no shortage or them either – the good, the bad, and the ridiculous! Here’s a handful of the more useful real estate related apps on offer:

  • Dictionary of Real Estate Terms – new to real estate and not sure what the technical terms mean? This app has got you covered.
  • Home Tracker – Looking for a new home? Home Tracker allows you to document each property in detail as you visit it.
  • LoanCalc Free – a simple loan/financial calculator that can calculate any component of a loan. Included is a handy graphical comparison view.
  • Mortgage Calculator – a mortgage calculator that lets you work out a range of different costs associated with home finance. Calculate your monthly rate, price per square metre, and even your amortisation schedule easily with this app.
  • Stamp Duty Australia – this app instantly calculates the stamp duty payable on residential or investment properties across all states and territories in Australia.

Smartphone user beware, there’s no app that can replace professional advice from an experienced real estate agent!

How do we house our growing population?

PPG_image5_JUne 2011Accommodating our growing population is one of our community’s most pressing concerns.

This was highlighted in a recent report by the Productivity Commission, in which Australians were surveyed about attitudes to population growth and the increased density required to house it.

The report found that the majority of Australians indicated that they would not like increased population. In Melbourne, 52 per cent said they would not like it, while a mere 11 per cent said they would.

The reasons behind the resistance to higher population were not surprising: 86 per cent said increased traffic congestion was the main reason, followed by increased noise and loss of street appeal. Shadows from higher buildings and decreased property values were also cited as a problem.

Conversely, those who were in favour of increased population cited increased property values, improved services and more vibrant suburbs as positive factors.

It’s fascinating that on both sides of the debate, property values are an issue.

While not included in the survey, the message is clear that most people do not want to see housing affordability further reduced.

Those surveyed were also asked to rate different types of development, indicating which of five different variants they most favoured. The least popular form was ‘multiple dwellings replacing single dwellings’ (basically infill development), which 53 per cent of those surveyed opposed; compare this to the much more favourable rating given to ‘residential development in a new area’, which was only opposed by 29 per cent.

Opposition to infill development is in part why the cost of infill development is higher and the preference given to ‘greenfields’ development results in higher costs for government in the form of more roads and public transport.

Given that the inability to provide enough homes is the main cause of reduced affordability, solving this issue will also provide the keys to improved housing affordability.

Information courtesy of the REIV

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