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Oct 26, 2023

Interest Only Home Loans: pros and cons

Interest-only (IO) home loans are a popular alternative to traditional mortgages as they allow borrowers to pay only the interest on their borrowed amount for a period of three to five years, resulting in lower monthly repayments during this time. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and risks of these loans before deciding whether they are the right option for you. Pros of Interest Only Loans Advantages of IO loans include lower repayments during the interest-only period, which can help borrowers to free up cash for unexpected expenses or to invest in renovations or other projects. This type of loan can also be useful for borrowers who expect their income to increase in the future, as they can afford to make higher repayments later. Cons of IO Loans While IO loans may seem like a good deal initially, they also have some risks that borrowers need to consider. One of the biggest risks is that when the interest-only period ends, the borrower will have to start repaying the principal and the repayments can increase significantly. This can be particularly difficult for borrowers who have not planned for the increased repayments. IO loans can also extend the overall mortgage term, as borrowers will have to pay off the principal over a longer period of time. Furthermore, some lenders may charge higher interest rates for IO loans compared to principal and interest (PI) loans. IO Loan Expiration: How to prepare for it Before taking out an IO loan, borrowers should carefully consider what their full repayment amount will be once the loan expires. This will allow them to adequately prepare for the higher repayments that will be required. It is also important to note that interest rates may rise over time, resulting in higher repayments than anticipated. To prepare for this, borrowers may want to consider making higher repayments ahead of time or refinancing their loan altogether. Interest Only? IO loans can be a good option for certain buyers, particularly investors. However, borrowers should be cautious not to purchase a property that is beyond their means, as IO loans will eventually become PI loans. To avoid any surprises, it is important to carefully read and understand all loan documents before signing. This information is not intended to replace legal and financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor and legal team for information relating to your individual circumstances.

Oct 18, 2023

Strata Title: An overview of the basics

If you’re considering purchasing a strata apartment for the first time, it’s important to understand what strata title means and how it affects your ownership and living experience. In simple terms, strata title is a legal framework used for multi-unit buildings, such as apartments or condominiums. When you buy a strata apartment, you become a part-owner of the building and receive a “title” that represents your ownership share. Along with it comes certain rights, responsibilities, and obligations as a member of the strata community. As an owner, you have the exclusive right to use and enjoy your individual apartment. You also have access to the common areas and facilities shared by all residents, such as parking lots, elevators, swimming pools, and gardens. These amenities are collectively maintained and managed by the strata corporation, which is made up of all the individual owners. Being part of a strata community means you have a say in the decisions that affect the building. This includes participating in general meetings, voting on matters like bylaws, approving the budget, and electing the strata council members who oversee the building’s management. However, it’s important to be aware that living in a strata apartment also comes with financial responsibilities. You’ll be required to pay regular fees known as “strata levies” or “maintenance fees.” These fees contribute to the shared costs of maintaining the building, including repairs, insurance, cleaning, and the overall upkeep of common areas. Additionally, strata living involves following certain rules and bylaws that are designed to ensure a harmonious and well-maintained environment for all residents. These rules might cover issues such as noise restrictions, pet policies, renovations, and other matters that impact the community as a whole. Before purchasing a strata apartment, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the strata records and financial statements. This will give you insights into the building’s financial health, any ongoing maintenance or repair issues, and the overall management of the strata corporation. By considering a strata apartment, you’re gaining the benefits of homeownership while sharing the responsibilities with fellow owners. It offers a sense of community, shared amenities, and the opportunity to have a say in the decision-making processes that impact your living environment. Before making a decision, it’s recommended to seek professional advice, such as engaging a strata inspector or speaking with a real estate agent who specializes in strata properties. They can guide you through the intricacies of strata living, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals. Further reading: "Why you should arrange a strata inspection report"

Oct 9, 2023

Selling your home? Some mistakes to avoid

Selling a home is a significant financial transaction that requires careful decision-making and planning. To ensure a successful and smooth selling process, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can impact your experience and outcome. In this article, we will discuss six critical mistakes to avoid when selling your home, providing insights that will help you make informed decisions and maximise your chances of a successful sale. Setting an Unrealistic Asking Price One of the most crucial mistakes sellers make is setting an unrealistic asking price for their home. Overpricing can deter potential buyers and result in a longer time on the market, ultimately leading to a lower selling price. To avoid this, conduct thorough market research, analyse recent sales data, and seek guidance from a trusted real estate agent to determine a competitive and realistic asking price. A well-priced home will attract more buyers and increase your chances of receiving offers. Neglecting Necessary Repairs and Maintenance Neglecting essential repairs and maintenance tasks can significantly impact the sale of your home. Prospective buyers are likely to be discouraged by visible issues, which can lead to lower offers or negotiations that favour the buyer. Prioritise necessary repairs before listing your home, addressing any cosmetic or structural problems. Fix leaky faucets, replace broken fixtures, and ensure the overall condition of your home is well-maintained. A properly maintained home instils confidence in buyers and justifies your asking price. Failing to Stage Your Home Home staging is a critical component of the selling process that should not be overlooked. Failing to stage your home can result in a lacklustre presentation and make it difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Take the time to declutter, depersonalise, and arrange furniture strategically to create an inviting atmosphere. Consider hiring a professional stager or researching staging techniques to highlight your home’s best features and maximise its appeal. Inadequate Marketing and Promotion To attract a wide pool of potential buyers, it’s crucial to invest in effective marketing and promotion. Relying solely on traditional methods or listing your home on a few real estate websites may limit your exposure. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that leverages online platforms, social media, and real estate networks. Utilise high-quality photographs, virtual tours, and open houses to generate interest and showcase your property’s unique qualities. Disregarding Feedback and Market Trends Ignoring feedback from potential buyers and disregarding market trends can hinder your chances of a successful sale. Pay attention to comments about pricing, home condition, or recurring concerns. Adjust your selling strategy accordingly and make necessary changes based on feedback. Additionally, stay informed about market trends, such as changes in buyer demand or local property values. Being adaptable and responsive to market signals can help you make informed decisions and increase your chances of a timely and profitable sale. Choosing the right agent Selecting the right real estate agent is crucial to the success of your home sale. However, choosing the first agent you meet without conducting thorough research can be a costly mistake. Take the time to interview multiple agents, asking about their experience, track record, marketing strategies, and knowledge of the local market. Look for an agent who understands your needs, communicates effectively, and demonstrates a strong commitment to selling your home. A skilled and reputable agent will provide valuable guidance, negotiate effectively, and ensure a smooth selling process. Selling your home involves important decisions and considerations that can significantly impact your selling experience and outcome. By avoiding these six common mistakes – setting an unrealistic asking price, neglecting necessary repairs, failing to stage your home, inadequate marketing and promotion, disregarding feedback and market trends, and choosing the first agent you meet – you can navigate the selling process with confidence. Remember to prioritise research, planning, and communication to achieve a successful and profitable home sale. Get in touch with the RealWay team to know how we can help you sell your home smartly and successfully.

Sep 19, 2023

Setting the right price when selling your home

The real estate market is highly dynamic, and the final sale price of a property is determined by several factors. While the mortgage owed and the cost of purchasing another property are important considerations, they do not solely determine the listing price or the eventual sale price. An experienced real estate agent with local knowledge can provide valuable insights into the current market and research several factors to determine the pricing strategy.  Setting the right price for your property will be one key factor to a successful sale. To establish a suitable listing price, it is advisable to consult a local agent who possesses extensive knowledge of the area and understands the current market conditions. The agent will conduct thorough research, taking into account several factors that influence the pricing of your home. Research the comparable properties in your area One crucial aspect is assessing comparable listings in your vicinity. Researching the current or recently sold properties in your area that share similarities with your own can provide valuable insights. You should consider the listed price and final sale price of these comparable properties to determine a price range for your property. When selecting comparable properties, factors such as size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, parking facilities, additions, and inclusions should be taken into consideration. Additionally, consider the age of the property, as well as any potential improvements or renovations that have been made, as they can impact the price estimate. Research about withdrawn listings Examining withdrawn listings can also offer valuable information. These withdrawn sales provide an indication of properties that did not sell and can reveal whether they were on the market for the right price or faced other challenges. By analysing such cases, you can expand the range of pricing considerations for your property. Calculate and compare Once you have gathered all the relevant data on comparable sales in your area, you can consolidate the information to calculate the average listing and final sale prices. By comparing these figures, you can approximate the value of your home. However, for a more accurate estimation, it is recommended to consult a local agent for a sales appraisal or consider investing in a professional property valuation. In summary, pricing your home requires a comprehensive understanding of the local market dynamics. While factors like your mortgage and personal needs are important, consulting a knowledgeable agent and conducting research on comparable listings and withdrawn sales will provide valuable insights for determining a suitable listing price. If you want to make sure you’re getting the best outcome for your property, get in touch with our team now and let us help you navigate the market to get the best price for you.  Undertaking these research activities yourself is useful - RealWay's team of agents are experts at this and have additional property insight based upon their cumulative experience.

Sep 8, 2023

Property types: exploring what suits you

When it comes to choosing the right property, it can be a challenging decision. Should you buy an existing home or build a new one? This is a common dilemma. Let’s look at some options to consider before you make your decision. To buy or to build; that is the question Purchasing an established home provides certainty about what you’re getting, but it may require additional expenses for renovations and repairs. On the other hand, building a new home allows for customisation and personalisation, but it can be time-consuming and challenging to visualise the final result. Building a new home may offer cost savings in terms of stamp duty. The affordability and feasibility of building a new home versus buying an existing one often depend on the desired location. Is buying “off the plan” right for you? Another option to consider is buying “off the plan.” Buying this type of property involves committing to the purchase before construction begins or when it is partially completed. The construction timeline provides an opportunity to save more money after paying the initial deposit. However, a significant risk of buying “off the plan” is that the property market may change during construction, potentially impacting the property’s value and your borrowing capacity. Do house and land packages fit your needs perfectly? House and land packages have gained popularity, particularly among first-home buyers in capital cities. These packages are often available in new suburban developments where the land tends to be more affordable. An advantage of house and land packages is that the houses are built with modern materials and energy-efficient appliances. However, it’s essential to note that some packages may not include extras like fencing or gardens, so you should consider the additional costs. Do fixer-uppers fit your budget best? For those seeking a more affordable option, fixer-uppers can be an attractive choice. Purchasing an older home that requires renovation or repair can provide a larger block of land, but the cost of renovations should be factored in. Depending on the extent of repairs needed, the expenses may surpass those of purchasing a newer property. Conducting a building inspection report can help identify any major damages that require attention. Do you prefer the strata-living lifestyle? Apartments and units are becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban areas. They often offer a more affordable alternative to houses, but additional costs such as quarterly strata levies for maintaining common areas should be considered. Newer apartments with more amenities are likely to have higher levies. However, apartments and units require less maintenance compared to houses, allowing homeowners to spend more time enjoying their living spaces. Need a bigger space for family gatherings? Consider townhouses and villas Townhouses and villas also provide a more affordable option with lower maintenance requirements. These properties are typically held through strata title, similar to apartments, which means there will be levies for building maintenance. Unlike apartments, townhouses and villas often include an outdoor terrace or courtyard, providing a private outdoor space. Need more affordable house and land options? Dual occupancies and duplexes are perfect choices Dual occupancies and duplexes involve two homes built on a single block. Each home has its own title and may offer a small garden or backyard space. Duplexes are similar but usually share a wall between the two dwellings. Noise and privacy considerations associated with townhouses also apply to duplexes. Both dual occupancies and duplexes are generally more affordable than detached houses due to their smaller land size. Do the research Before deciding on the type of property that suits your needs, it’s crucial to create a budget and a list of your necessities. Researching financial costs, locations, and the desired neighbourhood will help narrow down your options and make an informed decision. Get in touch with the RealWay team to help you find the perfect type of property.

Aug 30, 2023

Kitchen Makeover: 5 Budget-Friendly DYI Ideas

The kitchen has always been known as the heart of the home and its appearance can make an impact on people living there and potential buyers. While renovating a kitchen can be an expensive undertaking, it can also add significant value to a home. However, you don’t have to break the bank to make improvements. There are budget-friendly ways to enhance your kitchen’s aesthetic and functionality, which can make a big difference without putting a strain on your finances. Paint Your Cabinets One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to give your kitchen a new look is by painting the cabinets. You can choose a colour that complements existing decor or go for something bold and eye-catching. With a little bit of elbow grease and some paint, you can transform your kitchen in no time. Update Your Hardware Another quick and easy way to update your kitchen is by replacing your hardware such as cabinet knobs and tapware. Switching out your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your space. You can find affordable hardware options at your local home improvement store or online. Add a Backsplash A backsplash can add both style and function to your kitchen. Not only does it protect your walls from splatters and spills, but it can also add a pop of colour or texture to your space. There are plenty of affordable backsplash options available, from peel-and-stick tiles to inexpensive ceramic options all the way up to coloured glass splashback. Install Under-Cabinet Lighting Lighting can make a big impact in any room, and the kitchen is no exception. Installing under-cabinet lighting can add both ambience and functionality to your space. You can find affordable LED strip lights or puck lights that are easy to install and won’t break the bank. Create a Gallery Wall Finally, adding a gallery wall to your kitchen is a great way to showcase your personality and style. You can display artwork, family photos, or even vintage kitchen utensils. It’s an affordable way to add some personality and charm to your space. A kitchen makeover is not only an affordable way to enhance the look and feel of your kitchen, but it can also increase the value of your home. A well-designed kitchen is often a key selling point for homebuyers, and by implementing budget-friendly DIY ideas, you can create a space that will impress potential buyers and increase your home’s market value. So, invest in your kitchen, and enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and functional space that can also be a valuable asset when it comes time to sell your home. If you need help in selling your home, make sure you get in touch with our team so we can give you the best advice possible.

Aug 21, 2023

Solar Power Lifestyle: From Sunlight to Savings

Solar power is becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in Australia and New Zealand. According to the Clean Energy Regulator, Australia has the highest uptake of solar globally, with more than 2.68 million rooftop solar power systems installed as of December 31, 2020. This means that one in four homes in Australia has solar panels on their roof, and this number is growing rapidly. How much can it save? The benefits of adopting solar power are significant, including potential savings of up to $2,500 per year on energy bills. Additionally, solar power offers environmental benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and conservation of natural resources. Homeowners should consider factors such as location and shading when deciding whether solar power is suitable for their household. With the increasing market size of the solar panel installation industry in Australia and the growing solar energy market in New Zealand, solar power presents an attractive option for those looking to contribute to a sustainable future. The cost of installing solar panels is negligible when considering the long-term savings and environmental benefits. On average, solar panel installation can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. However, households can save up to $4,000 off the average solar system with the Government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which allows users to get paid for the electricity they produce. This scheme also helps households recover their system cost in around three years, add value to their home or investment property, and insulate themselves from rising energy costs. How does it work? A residential solar system works by directly converting sunlight into electricity, providing a cost-effective, low-maintenance, long-lasting and compact option for homeowners. Australia and New Zealand are leading the way in adopting solar power, with Australia having the highest adoption rate globally. According to the latest data from the Clean Energy Regulator, as of December 2021, over 3.5 million rooftop solar power systems have been installed in Australia, which equates to one in every three homes having solar panels on their roof. New Zealand is also seeing significant growth in solar power, with a 78% increase in installed solar capacity in 2020. The Clean Energy Regulator notes that Australia and New Zealand have some of the sunniest locations globally, making it an ideal location for solar power. Australia also leads the world in per capita photovoltaic capacity, with 591 watts per person, which is almost eight times the worldwide average. Advancements in science have made renewable energy cost-competitive with traditional power, allowing for a global transition to lower emissions and a cleaner future. Many Australian households are already achieving net-zero emissions, meaning they generate more energy than they consume annually. With the numerous benefits of solar power, it presents an excellent opportunity for homeowners in Australia and New Zealand to contribute to a sustainable future while also saving money on energy bills.

Jul 28, 2023

Leasing your investment property

If you have purchased or are looking to purchase an investment property for rental income, there are important steps and considerations to keep in mind. In this article, we will outline some key questions to ask yourself before renting out your property.  Considering the factors and making sure you are fully informed when leasing your investment property will help you feel at ease with the process. 1. Are there any issues that need fixing or updating? Before renting your property to someone new, it is important to address any issues with the dwelling. What you’re willing to live with might become dealbreakers for new renters. Common problem areas in established properties include fixtures, fittings, and appliances that may not be durable or of good quality. Investing in new or reconditioned appliances could save you money in the long run. Additionally, cleanliness is important, especially in high-use areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Mouldy grout, broken tiles, leaking taps, chipped paint, and outdated fittings should all be addressed before renting out your property. It may also be necessary to replace or clean carpets, repair wall damage, and amend or replace floors, curtains, and blinds. 2. How do I get started? When it comes to leasing your investment property, it is strongly recommended that you enlist the services of an experienced and qualified property manager. Property managers have the experience in tenancy laws in your state and will know how to get the best possible outcome for your investment property. A trusted property manager is worth their commission so it’s important you do your research and work with the one you feel will work to have your best interest at heart. 3. What are the fees that I need to consider? There are several management fees to consider when renting out your property, including the cost of enlisting a property manager, letting or leasing fees, management fees, marketing fees, and other administrative costs. You and your property manager will need to sign an exclusive leasing and management authority, which gives the agent exclusive rights to find a renter and manage your property. 4. Have I discussed the timeline for the rent payments with my agent? Once a new renter has been found, your property manager will forward rent payments to you within a reasonable timeframe. This timeline may depend on whether the renter pays on time and how often payments are distributed from their trust account. It is important for your property manager to explain their accounting timelines in writing as part of their service to you. 5. What are the repairs needed after a renter has moved out? In the event that repairs are needed after a tenant has moved out, you can authorise your property manager to arrange for urgent repairs up to a specified amount. This authority should be included in your contract. If repairs are authorised, the statement should include the maximum amount that the property manager is allowed to spend on repairs. By keeping these considerations in mind, you can ensure a successful and profitable rental property investment. Let’s explore how we can assist you with managing your rental property and get in touch with our team today.