Settlement & beyond

Settlement & beyond

First time investors often sign on to a loan to purchase a property, without realising they are hampering their future investment opportunities. Later on, they realise they have made fast equity and want to withdraw some for their next investment, but find they can’t because their mortgage broker has signed them onto a deal which doesn’t allow them to refinance for two years. This can be because some lenders don’t pay broker commission unless there is a guaranteed period in which the borrower can’t jump ship for a better deal. It’s understandable as mortgage brokers work hard for their commission and they need to earn a living. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have better options as a borrower.

Not your average broker

Zinger Finance does things differently. The company was set up by top property investor Nathan Birch, with the purpose of looking at finance from an investor’s side. Zinger is all about helping clients get the best finance available to them, which will also be agile enough to allow them to withdraw equity quickly and keep building their portfolios. One of the main ways Zinger does this is by viewing finance settlement as an early part of a borrower’s journey, rather than the end point. Once settlement has occurred, Zinger keeps checking in on their client, making sure everything is going well, plus keeping them informed of what is happening in the market and what opportunities are available to them.

One week in

Zinger makes a courtesy call to the client to make sure they have all their basic requirements ticked off. They’re ready to settle, but have they sorted out their electricity, water and other things? Have they got the right date for their repayments to start and enough money in the right account to cover it? At this point, Zinger reminds the customer that help and support is there if they need it. The client will have been given a discharge authority form so that they can choose whether or not to give Zinger permission to monitor their property’s value.

After three months

Provided they have the client’s permission, Zinger will keep them in the know on what the local property market is doing and whether they may have already accrued equity they could use by refinancing. At this stage Zinger asks how the client is finding everything, how their loan arrangement is working for them, whether they are happy with their lender and the interest rate they are paying and whether they were already considering their next investment. If Zinger’s market research shows potential capital growth, they will offer the client a new valuation and then help them get started with the next investment.

Accessing fast equity

Most major banks will only value a property at its purchase price and some will not be willing to re-value within three months because that time period is still regarded as current. This can cause a problem for serious investors because if they can’t access their equity as soon as an opportunity arises, they can miss out on a deal and lose thousands of dollars in immediate further growth, plus valuable time in the market. Zinger knows how to structure finance to avoid scenarios like that. One example would be to organise the first loan through a second tier lender and then refinance to a major lender three months later. That major lender then performs a fresh valuation.

Knowing the banks

Zinger has relationships with many lenders and knows which ones will be most beneficial for the holistic goals of their investor client. They know which ones accept JobKeeper payments as revenue and which ones don’t. They know which banks face such long delays due to backlogs on loan applications that there’s no point applying with them because the deal can’t be done on time. They know business development managers at various lenders, who regard them as a good company to deal with. If you need help structuring your finance or need more information on how it all works and what might be the best options for you, reach out to Zinger Finance and speak to one of their strategists.  

 
The lending year that was in 2021

The Lending Year That Was In 2021

The lending year that was in 2021

2021 was another crazy year in every sense of the word. Of course there was the pandemic, which put a stamp on us all for the second year running, with the Delta variant first becoming the dominant strain of Covid, followed by Omicron at the end of the year.

But economically speaking, it has been a year of trade sanctions and stand-offs, political uncertainty, continuing rock bottom interest rates and, importantly, the first shoots of inflation beginning to be apparent.

The lending space was especially marked by uncertainty. Here are some key moments in lending that marked 2021.

Fixed rate rises

Early in the year, it seemed as if the banks were racing towards negative interest rates in their bid to attract customers. Variable loan percentages beginning with a ‘1’ were beginning to seem common, while attractive fixed rates tempted borrowers into locking in loans for three to five years.

On top of this, a number of lenders were offering cashback deals for customers to switch from another bank via a refinance.

Then, around the end of the March quarter, talk began to emerge about future rate rises. The RBA had committed to keeping rates on hold until 2024, but economists and the media began to apply pressure, suggesting the central bank must move earlier than that.

Around this time, lenders began to increase the interest rates on their long term fixed rate loan products, mostly for four and five-year terms. Throughout the year, the trend gathered pace and by the end of 2021, lenders were hiking fixed rates repeatedly, even on one, two and three-year products. Some big four banks were increasing rates more than once a month.

Variable rates, however, continued to come down as the fight for customers continued. It will be interesting to see what transpires in this space in 2022, though you can only assume lenders will increase rates wherever they are able.

Family home guarantee

The Federal government introduced 2% deposit home loans for single parents in a bid to help them provide a home for their dependants.

With saving for a deposit a major hurdle, the family home guarantee saw 10,000 spaces made available over the next four financial years, beginning on July 1. Those eligible could obtain a home loan from one of 27 participating lenders, with a deposit of just 2% of the property’s value. The government would then guarantee the other 18% of the deposit so that the borrower would not be subject to lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

APRA intervenes

The RBA has repeatedly stated that it would not seek to control the nation’s housing markets through decisions made at its monthly meetings. However, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has been known to step in when it deems values to be headed towards bubble territory.

And in October, APRA did just that, instructing banks to now assess a borrower’s serviceability, using a mortgage repayment buffer of 3% rather than 2.5%. Basically, this means that formerly, when you applied for a loan, a lender would need to assess that you could handle a 2.5% increase to the interest on your repayments, in order to mitigate risk. From October onwards however, it would be assessed at 3%. And something that people on fixed rates might need to consider: the 3% is added to the rate that their loan reverts to at the end of the fixed rate period, which is generally higher in this kind of environment.

The move was designed to stop people from overstretching themselves and also take a bit of competition out of the market. By year’s end, there were more listings and property prices had settled somewhat, but it’s not certain how much APRA had to do with this.

Technology rethink

A huge couple of years of borrower demand have exposed some shortcomings in the turnaround times for loan applications through some of the major lenders.

A number of loans with attractive interest rates and great features actually missed out on business because the lenders were unable to process loan applications in time. Approval time is something that mortgage brokers monitor. They can then let their customers know which banks are actually likely to settle their finance in time.

And the stakes are high for borrowers, because there’s nothing worse than getting a deposit, getting finance approved, house hunting for months, finally winning a bid on a property and then the bank’s slow administration process means you miss settlement, can’t buy your property and in some cases, lose your deposit.

As a result, a lot of smaller lenders with better technology for loan processing won a lot of business. Already, some of the biggest banks have recognised their shortcomings here and begun to unveil new tech to fix the glitches.

This coming year will be an interesting one to watch.

To find out more on how you can take advantage of what’s been mentioned, book an appointment with our Zinger Finance Mortgage Strategists to see how we can help you.

 

 

Buying in 2022 - get organised

Buying Properties In 2022 – Get Organised

Here we are at the pointy end of the year already. And 2021 was a crazy one. Just as people spent the year going in and out of lockdowns, worrying about vaccines and facing financial uncertainty, property markets boomed all around the country.

If you were looking to buy, the year may have gotten away from you, and it’s too late to buy now if you want to settle before Christmas.

But don’t treat the end of year holiday period as the off season. Think about what you can do for the rest of this year, to make sure you’re ready to come out firing in 2022.

Your own personal stocktake

Take some time to look back at your year. Have you lived your best financial life? Giving yourself a financial health check can be a great way to prepare to start the new year on the front foot.

Start by auditing your bank accounts, loans, insurance cover, superannuation, credit cards, energy deals and anything else that may be affecting your borrowing power.

Within each of these products and services, ask yourself if you are paying unnecessary fees, or interest rates that are too high.

Chances are that if you have been with the same bank, energy company, or insurer for more than a year, you are not on their best deal. These guys are notorious for giving the best prices to new customers to win them over and leaving loyal customers to pay a “lazy tax” by just continually renewing without doing any due diligence.

Once you’ve identified wastage, you need to take action to fix the leaks. Demand better deals from your providers or threaten to leave them for a competitor. It’s amazing how many lenders and energy companies are able to magically come up with a better deal for you once they believe you will walk. Customer retention is as important to them as recruitment of new customers.

Credit where it’s due

Credit scores are all the rage nowadays for lenders looking to spot a bad borrower from a safe bet.
Is it possible you’ve defaulted on a payment in the past? Even just been late on a phone bill? Or someone else could have screwed you over…maybe a flatmate didn’t pay their rent on time. If you were both on the lease, this may have affected your credit rating too.

Your credit score will usually range between 0 and 1200. The higher your score, the better when applying for a loan. Your credit score is calculated by matching your basic personal details with the type of credit providers you’ve used in the past, the number of credit enquiries (such as loan applications) that you’ve made, the amount of credit you’ve borrowed and any blemishes on your repayment history.

You can access your credit report for free from reporting agencies such as Experion, Equifax and illion; or from certain comparison providers such as CreditSimple, Finder and Canstar.

If your score needs improvement (you want to be above 600 to be average, 700 to be good, 800 to be very good and 850 plus to be excellent), you can improve your score over time by getting rid of credit card debt (and preferably the card too) and making all existing repayments on time.

Start the conversation early

You need to be up to date with the latest intel when it comes to borrowing for a property.

What are the rates on offer now? What are the turnaround times on loan applications? Is it worth getting conditional pre-approval now rather than waiting until it’s time to buy?

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) recently intervened in the house market to slow what it saw as a concerning level of debt exposure by Australian borrowers. APRA expressed concern that around 1/5 of recent loans had a debt to income ratio (DTI) of more than six… i.e. a household was borrowing more than six times its annual income.

As a result, a number of banks now have caps on their DTI limits of six or seven, which may mean you are no longer eligible for a loan that you thought you were.

APRA also informed lenders that they must assess loan applications with a 3% repayment buffer, increased from the previous 2.5% buffer. The buffer is in place so that lenders can see if you would still be able to service a loan if interest repayments went up. So now the required buffer is bigger, are you still eligible to borrow as much as you thought?

You can get answers to these questions by speaking to Zinger Finance Mortgage Strategists and getting your finances sorted so that when real estate agents and solicitors are back from their holidays early next year, you’ve got the jump on the competition.

Please visit the following sites for more information:

  • https://www.ratecity.com.au/bank-accounts/news/perform-financial-health-check-new-financial-year
  • https://www.loans.com.au/blog/buying-your-first-home-how-to-get-your-finances-in-order
  • https://moneysmart.gov.au/managing-debt/credit-scores-and-credit-reports
  • https://www.loans.com.au/blog/what-is-a-credit-score

 

As-A-First-Home-Buyer-Whats-Available-To-You?

First Home Buyers – What’s Available To You?

First home buyer grants, concessions and benefits chop and change, but in recent years, they have mostly been aligned to the construction of new homes. By helping first home buyers (FHB) buy new properties, governments are also stimulating the building industry and incentivizing the supply of extra homes.

FHB grants have been around since 2000, when they were introduced to ease any slowing in home ownership caused by the GST. More recent benefits to come out of Covid and in response to low interest rates and rising house prices include the New Home Guarantee and First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which allow 5% deposits instead of the usual 20%. And then there’s the Family Home Guarantee, which allows 2% deposits for single parents.

So what do they all mean and are you eligible?

New Home Guarantee

The New Home Guarantee is a federal initiative, recently extended for an additional 10,000 borrowers from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Usually, FHBs need a 20% deposit or must pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

This scheme allows a 5% deposit, while the remaining 15% (maximum) is guaranteed by the government. Note, it’s a ‘guarantee’, not a cash payment.

If you are covered by this Scheme, you can also access other government benefits for FHBs, that may be offered through states and territories.

Eligible New Home Guarantee properties include:

  • newly-constructed dwellings
  • off-the-plan dwellings
  • house and land packages
  • land and a separate contract to build a new home

For all types of eligible properties, a contract of sale and/or an eligible building contract must be entered into prior to the expiry of the 90 day pre-approval period.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

This scheme has also had 10,000 extra places added through to June 2022. The same 5% deposit is required as the New Home Guarantee, with a maximum of 15% of the property’s value guaranteed by the government. You can also still access state and territory FHB concessions.

The main difference is that existing properties are included in this scheme, not just new ones.

Eligible First Home Loan Scheme properties include:

  • an existing house, townhouse or apartment
  • a house and land package
  • land and a separate contract to build a home
  • an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse

Which scheme is for me?

To apply, you must be:

  • an individual or couple (married / de facto)
  • Australian citizen(s)
  • at least 18 years of age
  • earning up to $125,000 for individuals or $200,000 for couples
  • intending to be owner-occupiers of the purchased property
  • first home buyers who have not previously owned, or had an interest in a property in Australia

Family home guarantee (for single parents)

This scheme supports single parents with at least one child, by allowing a deposit as low as 2% to be used to buy a family home. The remaining 18% is guaranteed by the government and parents don’t have to be a first home buyer.

There are 10,000 guarantees available until 30 June, 2025 and applicants can also access other state and territory grants they may be eligible for.

You are eligible if you:

  1. are single (no spouse or de facto partner),
  2. have at least one dependent child (as defined by the Social Security Act 1991)

You must be able to show you are legally responsible for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the dependent child and the dependent child is in your care.

Eligible Family Home Guarantee properties include:

  • an existing house, townhouse or apartment
  • a house and land package
  • land and separate contract to build a home
  • an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse

If you are purchasing an existing dwelling, the property must be purchased under a contract of sale dated on or after 1 July 2021.

Where do I apply?

All the above schemes are available through a number of participating lenders, a list of which can be found at: https://www.nhfic.gov.au/what-we-do/support-to-buy-a-home/new-home-guarantee/how-to-apply/

All applications need to be made directly with a participating lender (or an authorised representative such as a mortgage broker). Speak to the Zinger Finance Mortgage Brokers to help you through the application process.

Book An Appointment

Looking to climb up the property ladder

Looking To Climb Up The Property Ladder

So you want to make the most of low interest rates and rising property markets and build a bigger property portfolio?

Unfortunately, those same low interest rates make it much harder to save for a deposit the old fashioned way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t climb up the property ladder. That’s where equity comes into the picture.

Equity is the amount your property is worth minus what you still owe on it. Basically, it’s the portion of the property that you own outright. If you owe $200,000 on a property that’s worth $300,000, your equity is $100,000. If that property rose by another $50,000 in value the next year and you paid off another $10,000 of it, your equity would go up by $60,000.

If you already have at least one property, chances are that it’s gained in value over the past 12 months.

Revaluing it can unlock that extra equity, so that you can use a portion of it as a deposit on your next investment property.

New way of thinking

Back in the days when interest rates were high, the biggest hurdle to buying property was actually paying off the loan. Deposits were easier to save because your cash was boosted by those same high rates. So, saving a 20 per cent deposit on a $100,000 property didn’t take long, but paying it off could take 30 years!

These days, super low interest rates mean servicing a loan is the easiest part. But saving a 20% deposit, plus stamp duty costs when there are returns of less than 1% interest on the cash you have in the bank is much more difficult.

And this is basically why property investors have been dominating first home buyers at the affordable end of the market in recent years. They have equity ready to use as a deposit while the first home buyers are stuck trying to save money.

So how do I do it?

First things first, talk to the experts. Zinger Finance has a team that specialises in helping people build big property portfolios by using smart financing strategies and regularly pulling equity out of their assets.

Zinger can organise a valuation on your existing property. If, like most real estate in Australia, it has increased in value since its purchase or last valuation, you will have made some equity.

But you can’t use it all. Say for example, you have $200,000 equity on a property, the bank won’t let you use the full amount to invest because it would be exposed to too much risk if there was a dip in values for your existing property, or new property.

Instead, they will allow you to access a portion of it. Usually around 80% of your existing property’s current value minus the debt still owing.

So, in the case of that example property at the beginning of this article; if it’s now worth $350,000 and you owe $190,000, your overall equity is $160,000.

But your useable equity might be $280,000 (80% of $350,000) minus $190,000. That leaves you $90,000 to invest with.

The Zinger difference

A lot of mortgage brokers set you up with loan products where you are locked in and unable to refinance for a certain period of time (usually years). This ensures they receive their full commission from the lender.

But Zinger Finance aren’t like your typical mortgage brokerage. They’re a team of Mortgage Strategist. It was founded to cater to property investors looking to build big property portfolios and one of the ways to do so is to ensure you have the flexibility to revalue and refinance as often as you need to.

Zinger’s team of strategists can help you get your properties valued and revalued regularly to unlock all the useable equity you need, at the right time to help you reach your property investment goals.

Reach out

If you need help building a strategy to climb the property ladder by maximizing your use of equity and being educated on the best way to structure loans, get in touch to our team of Mortgage Strategists.

 

 

how-brokers-can-screw-you-over

How Mortgage Brokers Can Screw You Over

If you want to build a property portfolio to get you where you need to be, you need to make sure everyone you are relying on is on the same page as you.

Your accountant, legal team, buyer’s agent and, most importantly when it comes to loans, your mortgage broker.

Your average mortgage brokers out there may not be interested in your whole property journey. Often, they focus on one job only, getting a loan approved for the one property you are currently looking to purchase, and in doing so, secure their commission.

They are not thinking ahead and getting you the right loan that will allow you to purchase your next one, two or even 10 properties.

Here are a few common ways you can get screwed over by a mortgage broker who may be focusing more on their commission than your property portfolio.

Cross securitization

Cross securitization is a common one. When you are building a portfolio, you don’t want one under-performing property to drag down the rest.

Say you have three loans for three different properties. Loan 1 is worth $100,000; Loan 2 is worth $200,000 and Loan 3 is worth $300,000. You may think they are all their own entities, but let’s just say that unbeknownst to you, your mortgage broker has cross securitized them.

That means that there is a total loan of $600,000, secured against all three properties and you can’t sell or refinance one of the properties without the other two also being considered by the lender.

This situation can present a couple of nightmare scenarios.

Say you want to sell or refinance

Imagine the property attached to Loan 1 is in a property market that has seen some growth and you decide you want to sell that property and access the capital. The bank might say ‘OK, but first we need to do a valuation on the other properties because between them they need to be able to service the remaining $500,000 of that original $600,000 loan’.

If properties 2 and 3 have gone down in value, this may mean you will have to make up the difference to the bank.

Say you’ve paid down some of the loan and you only owe $400,000 but now properties 2 and 3 are only valued at $400,000, having lost $50,000 each in value of the properties. This means your loan to value ratio would now be 100% which the bank won’t allow. The bank may require you to pay $80,000 to get your loan down to $320,000 and 80% of the value of the properties. You’ve now lost any of the gain you may have realised by selling property 1.

The same applies for refinancing. Want to access some equity or get a better interest rate on one loan? Well, this won’t be easy if the two other properties and their loans must be considered, and they are holding you back.

If they weren’t cross securitized?

If the three loans were each stand alone, you could sell the top performing property, keep the money you make and continue servicing the loans of the two underperforming properties as long as you can make the repayments.

Inexperienced or unaccredited

Another trap with mortgage brokers is that you may end up with a higher interest rate than you should be paying or with a lack of flexibility in your loan product. This could be because your mortgage broker isn’t accredited to deal with the best lenders.

It’s important to realise that not all mortgage brokers have access to all the deals that are out there. They may be unqualified or inexperienced.

You need to ask a mortgage broker how many lenders are on their books and what commissions do they get from what lenders. The broker may have access to only a handful of options for you and may be steering you towards the loans that get him or her the best commissions.

Want to cut through the confusion?

The team at Zinger Finance has the best knowledge when it comes to structuring finance for maximum flexibility and growth and can make sure you are getting access to the loans most likely to help you through your whole property journey. If you need help building a finance structure strategy, reach out to us.

 

 

Eligibility-criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Thinking of applying for a home loan? Lenders have a lot of eligibility criteria that you need to meet before they will lend you money. Here’s what you need to know.

Who are you?

You will need to be:

  • An Australian citizen, or a permanent resident, or married to one or a temporary resident visa holder may qualify.
  • Aged 18 or older
  • Be financially reliable when it comes to income, spending habits and history.

Where does your money come from?

You can have a deposit ready to go and plenty of savings, but that won’t matter if your serviceability isn’t up to scratch. Serviceability looks at whether the money you are earning is enough to make your monthly loan repayments and other financial commitments without going into mortgage stress.

Here’s what to consider when you’re:

  • Employed full time: That’s good, but how long have you been in the role? If more than 12 months, great. But the bank may say no if you’re in a 3 or 6 month probation period. Some banks lend while you’re on probation but may lend less than the standard 80%.
  • Part time: You’re permanently employed, but your borrowing power will be less than if you were full time and you will require proof of your contractual hours.
  • Casual: How many hours do you work per week? Have you been getting regular hours for more than 6 months in the one job?
  • Self-employed: You will need to show consistent earnings. Lenders often require you to have been self-employed for at least 2 years, so they can compare your tax records to work out an average income.

Other income streams

Lenders may also consider:

  • Rental income from investment properties (usually up to 80%)
  • Share dividends (a portion)
  • Fringe benefits such as living or car allowance
  • Regular overtime pay (evidence required over 2 years)

Assets and liabilities

Lenders will consider your assets, such as other investment properties, shares, superannuation, your car or other items worth significant amounts

They then look at your liabilities. Do you owe money on a car, personal or student loan? These will affect your borrowing power. The biggest one is credit cards. Lenders look at the credit limits on your credit card rather than what you actually owe on them. So, you might owe $200 on a credit card with a $10,000 credit card… that’s $10,000 as a liability then they look at the monthly commitment at an average 3% of your credit limit.

Where does your money go?

Now, let’s look at your saving and spending habits.

Saving:

You’re going to need genuine savings in the bank, not just for your deposit but also to show you’re capable of setting money aside. Genuine savings is money that has been in your account for at least three months. Gifts and guarantees can be considered part of your deposit, but lenders want genuine savings of at least 5% of the value of the loan. Especially if your mortgage is going to require Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

If you are renting a property, some banks may look at your rental ledger and consider your payments as an alternative to genuine savings.

Spending:

Lenders often use the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) when calculating your monthly expenses. Lender’s HEM is used for loan serviceability if it’s higher than your declared expenses vice versa if your expenses are higher than the lender’s HEM.

People have been shocked in recent times to be asked by lenders about individual expenses, such as shopping trips or holidays that have shown up in their transaction details.

Lenders are getting very forensic in the name of responsible lending and if they consider your application, they want to ensure that your declared expenses are sustainable.

Credit score

It’s important to be aware of your credit score or rating before applying for a loan. You can access your credit score for a fee from providers such as Equifax and Experian.

If you have payment defaults or black spots in your history, it’s best to know about these and see what action you can take to improve your credit score before attempting to borrow.

How the property you’re borrowing against might affect you

Once your personal finances are in order, consider the property you want to purchase which will be the security for your loan.

One part of a bank’s due diligence is assessing the risk the property presents to their loan. You might find the lender has a postcode restriction, which may mean special rules for the suburb your new property is in.

That bank may have a lot of properties already in that area which have LMI attached. This heightens their exposure, and they may need you to stump up a higher deposit, say 30% or more, to protect their money.

Then there’s the type of property. The bank might have more restrictions around buying a unit than a house, especially if it’s a smaller than average unit.

Also, the property should be on freehold or strata title without encumbrances. Finally, if you are buying the property as an investment property, you will face higher interest rates and lower LVR than an owner occupier.

 

 

Signing contract. Confident young man signing some document while sitting together with his wife and man in shirt and tie

Different Types Of Home Loans Explained

Before you get into individual loan types and their features, you first need to look at what type of overarching loan it is. For example, is it a residential home loan, or is it for a commercial property?

Is it for an individual borrower, or for a business?

There are so many different loan categories and types out there, but for the purpose of this article, let’s look at the most common, the residential loan.

When borrowing for residential property

There are two main types of residential loan; a home loan (as in, an owner-occupier loan for the home you live in), or an investment loan (when you borrow money to buy an investment property).

In both cases, you need to look at what features you require for the loan.

First, consider the type of repayments you will be making. They can be either principal and interest (P&I), where you’re paying down the principal value of the home and also paying interest on top; or interest only (IO), where you pay the interest on the loan only. You access equity when the property grows in value and get the rental income, but the principal amount that you owe the bank for the home stays the same.

In the majority of cases, a home loan for an owner-occupier property would require P&I. If you tried to borrow for an owner-occupier on an IO deal, the bank would require an explanation. But loans for investment properties are usually IO. This allows the investor to maximise cash flow, tax benefits and freedom to move money around.

Variable or fixed interest

 Now the type of interest, is it variable? Or fixed?

On a variable rate, the interest you pay will change when the bank decides to change its interest rate.

If it’s fixed, you can lock in the interest you pay at a certain rate for a particular term…usually 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 years.

Variable rates are good when interest rates are low and potentially still on the way down. Fixed rates are good for people who want to lock in a rate that they are happy with and have certainty over their repayments for a certain time.

The loan features you need

There are various features available with variable loans. You might get 100% offset, where the savings you have offset the interest you pay on your loan. Other features are redraw facilities and the ability to make lump sum repayments. Some loans have a switch feature, where you can switch from variable to fixed.

A lot of banks offer package loans, where you pay an annual fee and that may cover the bank’s valuation fee, the application fee and the monthly fee. Some banks allow you to pay the one annual fee that then covers a number of different loans. Some have an unlimited number, while others cap the number of loans covered by the annual fee.

Basic versus standard variable

When you are looking at variable loans, there is also a difference between a basic variable and a standard variable product.

Say your variable loan option is a package, you might be able to negotiate discounts off the interest rate you pay. Or you may be a great saver and you have $200,000 in savings. You want the offset feature because you want to keep your savings but also be able to use it to offset the amount you owe and reduce the principal amount that you are paying interest on. You can negotiate these things in package loans.

Basic loans on the other hand are different. They are no frills types of loans. They are cheap because they don’t have many features apart from a redraw facility. The bonus is that they often don’t have application fees, or monthly fees. They don’t have an offset, but if your loan is less than $250,000, a basic loan will still be cheaper than a package loan.

 

 

Low-rates-what-does-this-mean-for-you?

Low rates – what does this mean for you?

The RBA decided to once again leave interest rates on hold at 0.1% at its recent March meeting, which means yet another month at the lowest interest rates ever.

In fact, if you have been paying off a mortgage at any stage over the past few years, you have been doing so in a historically low interest rate environment.

The RBA does this to stimulate the economy. The lower the interest rates are, the less money you spend on your debt, which means you have more to spend elsewhere. This extra spending helps prop up the economy.

But how you put that money to use is up to you. Recent research has shown the pandemic changed many of our spending habits, with Australian households saving an estimated extra $120 billion between April and December last year, due to restrictions on travel, hospitality and more. We seem to be more cautious about spending on material goods and luxuries and now choose to funnel extra cashflow back into our homes.

First things first

In order to take advantage of low interest rates, you need to make sure you’re paying the lowest that you can be.

Get online and check out loan comparison websites to see what else is out there. If there are better deals, you can consider refinancing with another lender; or, if you don’t want to leave your current bank, give them a call and ask them to match the better rate.

It’s a competitive market for lenders and they are keen to retain customers, so banks will often grant you a better deal if you pick up the phone and make them think you are ready to take your debt elsewhere.

Pay your own mortgage off sooner?

Now that you’re happy with your interest rate, where to next? One option is to keep making the same mortgage repayments, or even increase them and pay down your mortgage as soon as you can. Traditionally, people would want to pay their house off ASAP. Paying a bit extra when you can manage can shave years off your repayment term and save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. You own your own house and any money that comes in. But is that still the best option?

Conditions have changed

Paying off your house early used to be beneficial when interest rates were much higher. For example, when banks were offering an average of around 7% on standard variable products, the accumulative effect of compound interest meant you would end up paying more than the purchase price of the property in interest alone over a 30-year loan term.

Now though, it’s a different story. You can get much better returns by focusing on acquiring new, quality debt rather than paying off existing debt which is attracting very small interest. Investing in property with plenty of upside for growth and good rental return can be a great way to take advantage of low interest rates.

Make lower repayments?

An option is to make lower repayments on your mortgage and free up more cash for your day to day life. That extra cash could be used to pay for something you need, or again, to invest in shares or property.

Making minimum repayments on your owner-occupier mortgage will free up even more cash to leverage into as much quality debt as you can manage.

You might use that cashflow to acquire multiple investment properties, which pay a rental income and appreciate in value throughout the rest of your own mortgage term.

Then, later down the track, you have the option to sell off some of your assets and use the capital gains to pay off your remaining debt, while keeping remaining properties for further income and equity. Or, simply keep holding the assets and benefiting from their growth and returns for as long as possible.

 

 

ZIN-Last-Call-For-2020

Last Call For Property Finance In 2020

If you can remember back to when we were able to go to the pub, ‘last call’ always signified that the bar was about to close for the night and this was your last chance to get a beverage.

‘What? Already?’

The end of the night can creep up on you, because time flies when you’re having fun.

However, you don’t have to be having fun. Time can also speed by when there’s a lot happening…like the year 2020 for example.

We’d barely begun picking up the pieces from the deadly bushfire season, when we were thrown into pandemic panic… if you can believe it, that first lockdown was now more than seven months ago.

While it’s felt like a long year for many (shout out to our poor friends in Victoria especially), it’s about to be all over.

So ask yourself, when it comes to your finance goals, what have you been able to achieve?

And is there enough time to make the rest of the year count.

Bank backlog

If you were still planning to buy property this year, you’re running out of time. An average settlement period of six weeks would take you through to Christmas, and that’s after you’ve sourced the property and made a successful offer.

If you’re in a position to offer a shorter settlement to the vendors, you might be able to get the deal done, but if you need to borrow money from the bank, that could be a whole new kettle of fish.

The pressure put on the banks by COVID and its financial mess means many have a backlog of loan and other applications they will need to get through before assessing yours.

There are stories out there at the moment about buyers picking up great property deals, only to run out of time to settle before the bank is able to pick up and process a loan application that they would be all but certain to grant.

The flipside is that if you don’t need finance approved, you may be able to swoop in and pick up a property from an eager vendor while your competition struggles to get their finances sorted.

As government grants and economic stimulus begin to wind up, there will be a lot of people looking to offload assets to free up capital or get rid of some of their debt.

A motivated seller may mean you pick up a property for $50,000 cheaper than you otherwise would have and that will be money you have earned on the way in when the market gets back into the swing.

Get in shape for summer

There is never a wrong time to make sure your finances are in the best health possible.

Look at the interest rates you are paying on investment properties or your permanent place of residence.

Chances are, you will be able to get a better deal by refinancing, or even calling up your own bank and threatening to look elsewhere unless they give you a rate reduction.

Especially since the RBA dropped rates yet again. With the official rate set at 0.1% there are now lenders offering rates below 2% and RBA Governor Philip Lowe says it will realistically be at least three years before rates look like rising again, so you’re in a strong bargaining position for a better deal.

Prepare for next year

While you’re at it, look at whether you can get a better deal in other areas affecting your household budget.

If you have been with the same energy provider or health insurer for longer than a year for example, you are missing out on a better deal from elsewhere.

Pick up the phone and you may save thousands and make sure you’re ready to start the new year with maximum borrowing power freed up.

Set your 2021 goals now and get the jump on those that do so in January. Make plans and get what you need into place to make sure next year is a great one.

And talk to a Zinger Finance strategist to see what you need to do to get finance ready for your 2021 goals.