Author Archives: Terry Hansen

christmas

It’s time to decorate your home for Blacktown Christmas Lights Comp

Get out the fairy lights and put up your best Christmas decorations for the neighbourhood to see and you could be in with a chance to win some great prizes.

Blacktown City Council is again hosting the ‘Decorate Your Home Christmas Lights Competition’ and this year they have a total prize pool of $4,500 on offer.

The competition is open to all residents of the Blacktown Local Government area who want to get in the Christmas spirit by decorating their home, townhouse or villa.

According to Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP the competition has become a tradition for the city and he has urged entrants to connect with their neighbours to demonstrate unique, contemporary and individual displays.

“Whether you are entering for the first time or you are a dedicated yearly supporter there are heaps of chances to share in the prize pool,” he said.

There are 13 individual categories in the competition, which includes an overall winner as well an acknowledgement of the city’s best street.

The Best Street Title encourages neighbours to get together in the spirit of Christmas to create a festive atmosphere for the street and the rest of the community to enjoy. To be eligible for this title you need to have at least 3 decorated properties involved, so start chatting to your neighbours!

What you need to know

To nominate your property or a neighbour’s property, go to www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Nominations close on Tuesday 4 December.

Judging and photography will take place between Thursday 6 December and Saturday 15 December inclusive, from 8.30 pm to 11 pm.

plans

What to do when your interest-only period expires?

Interest only property loans have been popular amongst investors in recent years, with many hoping to jump on the property bandwagon while making minimal repayments.

According to finder.com.au, interest only loans made up 42% of new lending in 2014-2015. With many interest only periods lasting for just 5 years, many borrowers are about to find themselves up for paying both the principal and interest on their loan, which can be a significant increase.

Starting to pay off the principal of your loan can be seen as a good thing, as it will help you chip away at your home loan and build equity, however there are things you may need to do to get ready for the higher payments.

  1. Confirm when interest only period ends 

The first thing to do is confirm with your lender when your interest only period will end, and what your new repayments will be. You may also like to discuss the possibility of extending your interest only period if you want to hold off on paying off the principal.

  1. Re-evaluate your budget 

Once you’re aware of the extra costs involved in paying off principal plus interest each month you will need to reassess your budget. It’s best to prepare as early as possible so you can start cutting out any extra costs to make way for the extra payments.

  1. Shop around 

Your current lender may not offer the best home loan rate. Before your new rate kicks in it’s a good idea to shop around and see what other products are available. Chat to your lender too and see if they can improve the rate they are offering. Any savings on your repayments will help free up some of your cash flow.

  1. Talk to a broker

Reverting to paying principal and interest can be a shock, but you may have a few options available to you. Talk to your mortgage broker or lender to find out what is best for you going forward. For any advice contact Professionals Finance.

bathroom

5 things every buyer is looking for (even if they don’t realize it!)

While it’s true that no two buyers are the same, there tends to be some common features that most people look for in a home.

Being aware of what buyers are looking for can be helpful for sellers as they can use this information when planning renovations or home staging.

  1. Big bedrooms

Large bedrooms are important for homebuyers. They want large, private master bedrooms and rooms that are big enough for the kids to play in.

Many buyers also realise that floor plans are hard to change, and it’s very difficult to increase a bedroom’s size without doing a very costly renovation.

Rooms that are size challenged can benefit from being painted in lighter colours and having proportionately sized furniture within them.

  1. Natural light

A sense of natural light can go a long way in improving people’s moods and so it’s no wonder that many people look for a property with abundant sources of natural light.

When selling it’s worth finding ways to let more light into the home, whether it’s by adding skylights, changing window treatments or trimming trees that block out natural sources of light.

  1. Lifestyle

People tend to pick homes for the lifestyle it has to offer, whether it’s a quiet country escape or a vibrant inner-city pad.

As a seller you should play up the lifestyle benefits your property offers. For those with large, rural properties you should showcase spaces to relax or large areas to entertain guests.

Smaller properties may benefit from highlighting low-maintenance aspects for those that want ease of living. Think about your buyer when selling and what they might enjoy about the property.

  1. Modern wet areas

There’s no denying that quality kitchens and bathrooms help sell homes. Many buyers are looking for freshly renovated wet areas that are move in ready.

Buyers may forgive one of these rooms being unrenovated, however if both areas are worse for wear then it can negatively impact the property. For a simple renovation on a budget consider resurfacing cupboards and/or splashbacks or just replacing some of the fittings or appliances.

  1. A homey feeling

At the end of the day all homebuyers are looking for that inexplicable feeling of warmth and welcome when they walk through the front door.

A clean and well-presented home is a good start to helping make buyers fall in love with your home. It’s well worth engaging a professional staging service to help transform your home into a relaxing oasis that buyers can connect with.

For further advice about presenting your home for sale contact Professionals Outer Western Sydney.

home

Why first home buyers are heading west

If you’re a first home buyer tired of Sydney’s high property prices then chances are you’re one of the many that has your sights set on the outer western suburbs.

News.com.au revealed that seven of the ten most popular Sydney suburbs for first home buyers in the year to October 2018 were located in the west.

According to the article, which was based on exclusive data from St George, some of the top first home buyer suburbs in Sydney include Kingswood, St Marys, Liverpool, Penrith, Campbelltown, Toongabbie and Wentworthville.

Kellyville in the Hills Shire, Mount Colah in the Hornsby region and Bucketty in the Hunter region also made up the top 10 list.

Why the west

There are a number of reasons why Sydney’s outer western suburbs have such strong appeal to first time buyers.

The biggest drawcard for many is likely to be the price. Properties in Sydney’s outer ring can be found considerably cheaper than they can be closer to the city.

Government incentives are helping drive demand too, with many buyers looking to find properties that allow them to take advantage of generous stamp duty concessions.

Since July 2017 first home buyers have been able to take advantage of stamp duty exemptions on properties priced below $650,000 and reductions on properties priced up to $800,000.

Many first home buyers are also keen to snap up house and land packages that allow them to take up the $10,000 First Home Owner Grant for new homes. It covers new home purchases up to the value of $600,000 for a property where you enter into a contract to build, or up to $750,000 if are an owner builder.

Lifestyle and investment

It’s not just price that is drawing buyers west, there is a lot more the region has to offer from culture, sport and entertainment to jobs, great schools and more. Many areas are an easy commute to the city, or if you prefer you can escape to the country too.

Whether you want to be near shops and cafes, or prefer quiet, rural living there is something for everyone in the west and for a fraction of the cost to live closer to Sydney.

Major infrastructure projects such as the Western Sydney Airport, Sydney Science Park and the North-South Rail Link are other big drawcards for the west and will help see many first home buyers investment pay off in the years to come.

If you’d like to find out more about buying a first home in Sydney’s outer western suburbs contact Professionals Outer Western Sydney.

house

The pros and cons of furnishing a rental property

Whether to furnish a rental property is a common question among landlords, particularly as it can help increase rental yields. However, offering a furnished rental property may make a property harder to rent out and affect the types of tenants you attract.

The positives of furnishing a rental:

Higher rents

All other things being equal, a furnished property should attract a higher rent than an unfurnished one. 

Short-term leases

Furnished properties generally attract tenants that are looking for more flexibility than a standard 6 or 12-month lease. This can be appealing to landlords who want to use the property for part of the year themselves.

Tax advantages

There may be depreciation benefits available on a furnished property. It is best to discuss these with a specialist Quantity Surveyor. 

The negatives of furnishing a rental:

Higher turnover

Furnished properties tend to attract people looking for temporary accommodation such as business travellers, students, expats and holidaymakers.

More to maintain

If any of the furniture becomes damaged or broken it will need to be repaired or replaced.

Limited rental market

A lot of renters own their own furniture and may not be willing to part with it in order to rent the property.

So should you furnish your investment property? Everyone’s situation is different so there is no one size fits all answer.

An investment property may make sense for particular properties, however in general they will face a reduced rental market and added complications and therefore may not be worth the extra income they attract.

If you’re unsure whether or not it’s a good idea to furnish your rental property it’s best to discuss your situation and your property goals with your property manager.

flipping property

Are we in a buyer’s market?

Property stock levels have reached the highest levels we have seen since 2012, which means that now could present a great time for buyers looking for the upper hand in negotiations.

According to CoreLogic, fresh listings have risen by 16 per cent compared to the end of winter, however they are still tracking 4 per cent lower than at the same time a year ago and are at the lowest seasonal level we have seen since 2012.

Tim Lawless, Head of Research at CoreLogic, says that the low level of new listings can be attributed to weak vendor confidence, which he believes is no surprise given housing market conditions have weakened and selling conditions have become more challenging.

“The rise in total listing numbers isn’t due to a panicked surge in new listings,” he said.

“This is more about less demand which is causing a rise in relisting’s along with longer selling times and fewer successful sales at auction.”

What this means for buyers

More stock can only be seen as a good thing for buyers, given it provides more choice.

CoreLogic’s Lawless noted that buyers have little sense of urgency under these market conditions.

“They can negotiate hard, take their time to make a purchase decision, and if they feel a property price doesn’t reflect fair value, they can easily move onto the next property option,” he said.

On the flipside, vendors may need to adjust their price expectations depending on what is happening in their local market.

If your property is taking a long time to sell or is facing fierce competition then an effective marketing campaign and quality advice from local area experts is absolutely crucial to help guarantee a successful sale.

Get in touch with Professionals Outer Western Sydney for any advice.

building

Chance to talk to Blacktown councillors

If you have an issue you want to discuss with Blacktown Council then you may want to head along to their upcoming pop-up information session at Westfield Mount Druitt.

The special event, to give residents the chance to have their say and speak directly with local councillors, will be held from 1pm to 3pm this Saturday 3 November.

According to Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP, addressing residents and ratepayers concerns on the spot is one of the most effective ways to engage with the community.

“The pop-up sessions have proven to be a very popular new initiative, with residents raising their concerns in a casual environment at their convenience,” Mayor Bali said.

Blacktown Council held two pop-up sessions earlier in the year, which have proven to be a valuable way for the council to hear feedback from residents.

“Next Saturday’s pop-up session at Westfield Mount Druitt will be a chance to meet with me and my fellow Councillors and Council Officers to answer your questions and concerns,” Mayor Bali said.

Mayor Bali is hoping as many people as possible will turn up to the session to have a say.

Community Forum

For those who can’t make it this Saturday, there will also be a Community Forum held at the Max Webber Library Function Room on Tuesday 13 November from 7pm.

This event will be an opportunity for people across Blacktown City to discuss what they think, feel and want for the City, as well as learn about what’s happening in the region.

Call 9839 6914 or email forums@blacktown.nsw.gov.au to find out more.

Pop-up session details:

Date: Saturday 3 November, 2018
Time:  1 pm to 3 pm
Venue: Westfield Mount Druitt, Carlise Avenue Mount Druitt (outside Specsavers)

interior

Why finding good tenants is key to investment property success

Good quality tenants are worth their weight in gold and may be one of the most important factors in determining the long-term success of an investment property.

As landlords usually never get the chance to meet their tenants they may not be bothered by who they are as long as they pay their rent on time, but there are a number of other reasons why landlords should make the effort to attract and keep a quality tenant.

Less maintenance costs

Ideally you want to attract tenants that will look after your rental property and treat it like it is their own.

Good quality tenants keep a property clean and tidy and are more likely to alert you when small maintenance issues come up, which may prevent a more expensive problem from developing.

Fewer vacancy periods

Any time your property is left vacant means that you’re without any rental income for a period of time. If a tenant decides to leave you may be left in the lurch with no income in a slow market and money will need to be spent on things like advertising and property inspections. 

No headaches 

Having a bad tenant can be very stressful so it’s best to try to avoid them from the outset.

Try not to compromise during the application selection process and make sure that your tenant has good references so you can avoid any potential dramas. Work with your property manager and get their advice while you’re looking for a tenant, as they may be able to bring up issues that you hadn’t considered.

And for those that already have fantastic tenants make sure you do what you can to keep them by responding quickly to any requests and staying on top of maintenance issues.

sydney

Typical Australians are richest in world

Many Australians may not feel it, but as it turns out we are among the richest people in the world according to Credit Suisse’s 2018 Global Wealth Report.

Australia has overtaken Switzerland for the title of having the highest “median wealth per adult”, which has been driven by high real estate prices and growing superannuation balances.

The report found that the median Australian adult has US$191,453 in wealth. Swiss adults aren’t too far behind with a median wealth of US$183,339 per adult. The county also still has the highest wealth when calculated as a mean average.

According to Michael Marr, head of the private bank at Credit Suisse Australia: “Australia continues to be among the wealthiest countries in the world due to our superannuation system, an unprecedented 26 years of continuous economic growth, high real estate prices, the strength of the Australian dollar, and plentiful natural resources.”

The wealth of the typical Aussie is expected to continue to grow, with the report estimating that the number of millionaires will grow by 41 per cent over the next five years to 1.8 million people. This represents the third highest growth in the Asia-Pacific region behind Greater China and New Zealand.

Why don’t we feel rich?

A lot of Australians may not feel like they are among the richest in the world, however many have benefitted from growing property prices and a healthy amount of superannuation. Both of these assets accumulate over time and aren’t readily accessible so many people may not pay regular attention to the value of these assets

Even those who don’t have many assets to their name may be enjoying a range of luxuries that others around the world aren’t such as regular travel, media services, eating out or material items.

How to get richer?

If you want to see your wealth grow then you need to start making a plan today!

Go and have a chat to financial advisors and figure out what you can cut back on so you can save more. Putting more funds away in super or adding to your property portfolio are other ways you might be able to enjoy higher wealth in the future.

People need to keep in mind that being wealthy doesn’t happen overnight, but those who plan for success and work hard are generally those who are rewarded.

proposed blacktown uni campus

The major projects set to transform Blacktown City

Two major infrastructure projects have just been given the tick of approval from the Blacktown City Council, with hopes that they will help transform Blacktown into a “city of talent”.

An extensive community consultation process will soon begin for the proposed International Centre of Training Excellence (ICTE) at the Blacktown International Sportspark, and the Warrick Lane Precinct project in the Blacktown CBD.

According to Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP: “The ICTE and the Warrick Lane Precinct are both vital projects forming major parts of our vision for transforming Blacktown City into a modern metropolitan city of talent, a magnet for economic and social investment and growth.”

The next stage of planning for the projects will involve major expenditure reviews and finalisation of all design documentation and cost estimates so they are ready to go to tender.

There will also be a full round of public consultation to further gauge community support and get valuable feedback.

The ICTE

The ICTE at the Blacktown International Sportspark will be a world-leading multi-sport facility providing high performance training, education, sports medicine, research, accelerated recovery and rehabilitation.

The $100-million project will involve the construction of a performance, health, recovery and research building, infrastructure and sporting fields upgrades and academy accommodation for 100 people.

Warrick Lane Precinct

The Warrick Lane Precinct is set to turn the Blacktown CBD into a modern metropolitan entre. It will include a new public plaza to be built above an underground car park catering for 450 vehicles.

It will link seamlessly to Main Street and offer new retail and commercial opportunities and the potential to house a university campus and new council offices. The project is expected to cost $76.5 million and pave the way for future development.

The International Centre of Sporting Excellence is due for completion in 2021 and the Warrick Lane Precinct first stage is planned for completion in 2020.

Further information can be found at the Blacktown City Council website – www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

 

Image via www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.