Author Archives: Terry Hansen

interior

4 things nobody tells you about buying a home

The journey to buying your first home is always an exciting one, but it is also a time full of a lot of unknowns.

While everybody’s experience is going to be somewhat different, there are some common feelings and situations you’re likely to face that you may not expect.

  1. It takes time finding “the one”

It could take months, or maybe even years, to find a property that ticks all of the right boxes on paper. Then even when you think you’ve found a place it might not match up to your expectations when you see it in real life, or it could be out of your price range.

You’ll want to get well acquainted with your real estate apps because you’re likely going to be checking them daily as you wait for new listings to come up that might meet your needs.

Try to be patient as you wait for the right property to become available, and be prepared for it by making sure you have all of your finance organised.

  1. You might need to compromise

Property prices may be coming down, but unless you have a bottomless wallet you’re going to have to compromise.

Decide early on what is important to you in a property, whether it’s location, size, or something else.

If you’re coming up short of options then you may need to be more flexible. Perhaps you’ll need to expand your search to a different location, or look at properties with different characteristics to your ideal scenario.

Another option if you don’t want to compromise on some of your key property criteria is to keep saving and wait a bit longer until something more suitable comes along.

  1. You’re going to question every decision you make

It’s normal to have doubts, especially when you’re making what could be the biggest purchase in your lifetime.

It can help to having people by your side to support you on your journey. Experts like mortgage lenders and real estate agents can help you understand everything involved in the buying process so you’re not caught out unawares.

Do as much of your own research as possible though, so you can feel more confident that you are making the right decisions for both now and the future.

  1. You’ll have a great sense of pride

After all of the searching, waiting and paperwork, there’s nothing quite like getting handed those keys and being able to move into your very own home!

 Buying a property is a huge milestone in many people’s lives and it’s one worth celebrating.

Take the time enjoying your new property and invite friends and family over to see your new home, after all it’s a great accomplishment that will have you on your way to future financial freedom.

house

Rate cuts expected to help affordability, says REIA

Two rate cuts in a row have brought the official cash rate to an all time low of 1 per cent, which should provide a much-needed boost to housing affordability in the country.

Homebuyers are expected to benefit from the RBA’s decision to cut rates for two consecutive months, according to Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

“Subject to the banks passing on the cuts in full this means that for each $100k borrowed annual payments decrease by $500. For a first home buyer, who in the March quarter of 2019 had an average loan size of $338k this means a saving of $140 per month,” said REIA president Adrian Kelly.

Mr Kelly also noted that the rate cuts would reduce the proportion of income needed to make home loan repayments.

REIA figures showing that the share of income required to meet home loan repayments decreased to 30.3 per cent over the March quarter, however the rate cuts will see this decrease to 28.6 per cent – the lowest it has been since 2003.

“Unlike the last series of cuts in 2015 and 2016 which stimulated the housing market through increased investor activity this cut will stabilise the market,” Mr Kelly said.

“It is first home buyers that will benefit most with the number of first home buyers decreasing nationally to 8,010 in April with the average for the first four months of 2019 being 8,319, down by 1,100 per month compared to the last four months of 2018,” he said.

Is it time to jump back in?

If you’ve been looking to jump on the property bandwagon then it’s certainly a good time to start looking at your mortgage and property options.

Property prices across most of Sydney probably aren’t going to get any cheaper than they are now so you’re likely to be disappointed if you wait around for further price drops.

Once you have found that home you want to buy, shop around and see what different lenders can offer you because there is a lot of competition around at present.

metro

Have your say on spaces surrounding new metro line

Those who have been using Sydney’s Metro Northwest rail line may like to provide feedback on what should be done with the public spaces surrounding its new stations.

The state-owned developer Landcom is asking the public what they care about and would like to see in their ideal town centres, public plazas or local shops. It might be street trees and places to sit, or perhaps something else altogether.

By finding out what is most important to the community, Landcom is hoping to be able to prioritise their developments and create a sense of neighbourhood and belonging for those who use them.

According to Landcom CEO after the Metro’s opening: “The new communities that will grow along the Metro Northwest rail line will enjoy world-class public transport, high-quality public open spaces, parks, cycling connections, walking paths, play spaces and sporting grounds easily accessible to all.”

“These high-amenity public spaces will serve to support everyone enjoying these new communities, from the residents that will call these places home, to the children who will attend the new schools, and the people working in and around the new employment hubs that will grow along the Metro Northwest rail line,” Mr Stokes said.

How to have your say:

To share your opinion simply head to www.placescore.org/metro and complete the 10-minute survey.

For sharing your thoughts you’ll have the opportunity to win one of ten $50 Opal cards.

A snapshot of Sydney Metro

Officially opened in May 2019, the Sydney Metro service is the country’s largest public transport project, offering a turn-up and go service catering to areas of Sydney such as North Ryde, Epping, Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Kellyville, and Rouse Hill.

Construction is currently underway on the Sydney Metro City and Southwest lines and there are plans to create a Sydney West line from Sydney to Parramatta, eventually extending out towards the Western Sydney Airport.

This exciting new transport infrastructure is reshaping Sydney’s transport network and is expected to improve connectivity and transform many communities in the greater Sydney region both now and in the years to come.

boxes

Moving homes? Don’t forget these 4 things

Some people have mastered moving homes into a fine art, but for others it can be a real pain.

Between dismantling furniture and packing boxes there always seems to be a never-ending list of things to do, making it easy for important tasks to fall through the cracks – like getting electricity connected!

A to-do list is always a good idea when moving, and to start it off you might like to add some of these often forgotten tasks:

  1. Pack a separate bag for your essentials

There are some things you’ll want to be able to keep accessible during your move. It’s best to pack important items away separately early on, just in case someone unwittingly packs them in a box and you can’t find them again.

Your essentials bag might include things like clothes for work or school, important documents, toiletries and maybe your laptop or even a trusty Allen key – anything you know you might need with you throughout the move. 

  1. Set a aside time for all the admin

 Packing is a big part of moving, but some people forget about all of the small administrative tasks that are involved, such as forwarding mail or switching over utilities.

It’s best to deal with all of these types of tasks as early on as you can so you don’t have to stress last minute that you might not have internet or power ready for you when you first move in. 

  1. Lock in friends to help 

You probably have friends and family that will be happy to help you pack or move but they might require a bit of notice. Start asking anyone you hope to help as soon as you’re aware of your moving day, so you don’t risk people making other plans.

Similarly, if you need to book in removalists then do this as early as possible to ensure they will be available. 

  1. Sit back and enjoy

Moving homes can be stressful, but it should be equally as exciting. Once all the hard work is done on moving day, don’t forget to take a moment to soak in your new home and neighbourhood.

Grab some takeout and enjoy that first meal, or leave the unpacking for another day and take a stroll around your new neighbourhood. Doing little things like this will help you get acquitted with your new abode and have you well on your way to feeling right at home again.

realtor

5 things you should always bring to an open home

Planning to hit up a few open homes this weekend?

Looking for a new home can be an exciting time, but it can be stressful too, after all how do you ever know if the property you just visited is “the one”?

To help make your property hunt a little easier, don’t forget to take these things along with you…

  1. List of must-haves features

Take the time to think about the property features that you absolutely must-have. This might be a certain amount of bedroom or bathrooms, or perhaps you need to live somewhere that’s quiet or close to public transport.

Everybody’s non-negotiable list will be different but come up with yours from the get-go so you can easily disregard any property that comes up short.

  1. Tape measure

If you have any large items of furniture that you’ll want to move into a new property then having their measurements handy can help you work out if they will be able to fit where you’ll want them to.

While you shouldn’t necessarily discount a property because your current couch won’t fit properly, having some general measurements for where you plan to move can always come in handy for future furniture planning.

  1. A second opinion

Take someone with you so they can pull you out of a trance if you become blinded by something like beautiful styling or a trendy locale. Sometimes you need someone to put things in perspective for you and point out details that you might not notice in your excitement over other aspects of the property.

Also keep in mind that if you’re buying with the intention to rebuild or renovate then you should also bring along your intended builder or someone with a bit of know-how so they can provide you with onsite advice.

  1. Easy to slip-off shoes

Some open homes will require you to take your shoes off so, while not absolutely necessary, you won’t regret wearing footwear that is easy to get on and off again. This will save you some time and make it much less awkward if you want to go back and forth from outside to inside a property.

  1. Something to write notes on

Whether it’s your phone or an old-fashioned notepad and pen, you’ll want to have something you can quickly take notes on to help you in your decision process once you get home. Don’t rely on memory alone, particularly if you’re visiting a few open homes in a day, because it’s easy for details to become blurred.

It’s also worth writing any questions that come to mind in your notes so you can bring these up with the selling agent later on.

house

Have Sydney’s price falls come to an end?

The Sydney property market could be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, with new data showing that housing values are starting to edge higher.

Figures from CoreLogic’s Hedonic Home Value Index for June 2019 have recorded the first increases in both the Sydney and Melbourne housing market since both markets peaked in 2017 (Sydney’s peaked in July 2017 and Melbourne’s in November 2017).

Prices went up by 0.1 per cent in Sydney and by 0.2 per cent in Melbourne, which while only minor, could be a sign that the worst of the downturn is over.

Across the country the only other regions to see a rise in housing values for the month was Hobart with a 0.2 per cent rise, along with regional areas of South Australia (0.1 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.2 per cent).

At a national level, prices fell by 0.2 per cent, which is actually the smallest monthly decline that has been seen in over a year and yet another positive sign for the market.

The below table provides a snapshot of CoreLogic’s results:

corelogic Index Results

Source: CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index June 2019

According to CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless, these slight market improvements could be an early sign that lower rates and improved sentiment are having a positive flow on effect for the Sydney property market.

However he also noted that conditions have been improving since mid-May, which pre-dates the positive boost in sentiment following the federal election and interest rate cuts in early June.

July’s interest rate cut is likely to add a further boost to the market. While we may not see a huge increase in prices in the months ahead, slow and steady improvement does seem likely.

This is good news for sellers who might start seeing more buyers turning up to open homes, and it’s good news for buyers too.

Buyers have a unique opportunity at present to get into the Sydney market while there are subdued prices and low interest rates, with a good chance that they are buying at, or close to, the bottom of the market cycle.

Those looking for advice for buying or selling property in outer western Sydney should contact us at Professionals Outer Western Sydney.

real estate

Rates are down again! What does this mean for you?

Just in case you thought one interest rate cut wasn’t enough to put a smile on homeowners’ faces, a second rate cut for July has put the official cash rate down even further to a new all time low of just 1 per cent.

While those who hold home loans will see rate cuts as a good thing, there are a lot questions that successive rate cuts brings about. Such as…

What does this mean for the economy?

Two interest rate cuts in a row is almost unheard of. In fact, it hasn’t been done since back in 2012, but then again we haven’t seen rates change at all since August 2016 either.

Odds seemed to be in favour of a rate cut this month however, with RBA governor Philip Lowe remarking in June that one rate cut wouldn’t be enough to achieve the changes they were looking for, namely reducing unemployment and lifting inflation.

The housing market may have played into the RBA’s decision to drop rates again as well, although since there has been a slight increase in activity lately it doesn’t seem to have been the bank’s main concern.

According to Governor Lowe in the RBA’s statement following the recent cut: “Conditions in most housing markets remain soft, although there are some tentative signs that prices are now stabilising in Sydney and Melbourne… Mortgage rates are at record lows and there is strong competition for borrowers of high credit quality.”

Will rates go lower?

Further rate cuts are a possibility, but the RBA may sit back and see how effective their most recent cuts have been before they lower the cash rate further.

Lowe hasn’t ruled out a further cut, stating that, “The Board will continue to monitor developments in the labour market closely and adjust monetary policy if needed to support sustainable growth in the economy and the achievement of the inflation target over time.”

A further rate cut by the RBA might not equate to large rate cuts from lenders however, with many being less generous in their passing on of the cuts the second time around.

How do I know if I’m getting the best rate?

Most lenders have announced their rate cuts by now so if you have a home loan, or if you’re looking at getting one, then it’s a good time to shop around.

Some lenders have dropped their rates below 3 per cent, however keep in mind that the interest rate isn’t the only thing to look at when comparing rates.

If you’re unhappy with what your lender is offering though then now is the time to have a chat and negotiate a better deal if you can. Use online comparison websites to see what interest rates are being offered across the board.

It can take a bit of research, negotiation and paperwork to change to a new home loan, but the savings might just be worth it in the long run.

house

Would you take out a 40-year home loan?

Paying off a 25 or 30 year mortgage may sound like an eternity to some, but what about a 40 year loan?

It may sound like a long time, but if you’re young and have time on your side then maybe an extra 10 or so years on your mortgage doesn’t sound so bad – particularly if it means smaller repayments on the way.

It must have some appeal at least, because a handful of lenders are now offering a 40 year loan term according to financial product comparison website RateCity.

SCU, Teachers Mutual Bank and UniBank have these loans on offer specifically for first home buyers, with Resimac, Pepper Money and the Police Credit Union making them available on a case by cases basis.

So what’s the appeal?

The big appeal of a longer loan is lower repayments each month, which may help first home buyers in getting a foot on the property ladder sooner. But this does come at a cost.

Should you consider a longer loan term?

A longer loan may mean cheaper monthly repayments, but it also means it’s going to take much longer to pay down your equity, meaning more interest in the long run.

If you’re struggling to get into the property market then it’s always worth looking at all of your options, but maybe if you can’t get your foot in the door for a 30 year loan it’s worth sitting back and reassessing your situation.

It may help to chat to a financial advisor and mortgage brokers so they can consider your particular situation and give you the most appropriate advice.

sydney

Sydney property market forecast to bounce back in 2020

After experiencing the biggest pricing downturn in recent history, the Sydney property looks set to turn a corner in 2020, according to new property projections.

Domain’s Property Price Forecasts for June 2019 predicts that the Sydney property market will bottom out by the end of this year thanks to factors such as low interest rates, changes to lender rules and the end of the negative gearing election debate.

This will leave the Sydney median house price just above $1 million for 2019, and unit prices just below $700,000.

Over the next six months Domain predicts a modest price increase of 2 per cent in Sydney, with further improvements in 2020.

Next year house prices are expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent over the year, and unit prices are expected to go up by 2 to 4 per cent.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire has noted however that we can’t expect property prices to go back to boom times.

“Banks and borrowers are still pretty cautious,” Mr Wiltshire said.

“Housing affordability is still a major problem even though we’ve seen this correction. Prices are still much higher than what they were, house prices are still 60 per cent higher and unit prices 40 per cent higher than what they were in 2012.

“The outlook for the economy is pretty weak so that’s another reason why I don’t think we’ll see a big boom.”

All in all it’s a good sign for those planning to sell though, with auction clearance rates are at their highest point in over a year and general sentiment in the market improving.

Should buyers move fast?

If you’ve been waiting for the Sydney property market to reach the bottom of the current price cycle then now might be your best opportunity to get in, as prices aren’t likely to get much, if any, lower.

However the best time to get into the property market is when you are ready. With subdued growth over the next year there’s no need to rush in, however you might find that over the next year you start facing increased competition for the properties you want.

Every neighbourhood, and in fact every property, is different though. If you want to find out what is happening in the outer wester Sydney property market then contact the Professionals Outer Western Sydney team today.

Visit Domain for the full Property Price Forecast – June 2019.

large home

The 3 options you have for getting a bigger and better home

Are you getting to the point where things are starting to feel a little crowded at your house? Maybe there’s not enough room for the kids to run around and play, or you’d like more space to entertain your family and friends?

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to improve your home, once you’ve made the decision to upgrade the tricky part is figuring out how to go about it.

There are a few options worth considering. Let’s take a look. 

Renovate or extend your current home 

Renovating allows you to retain all of the things you love about your current home, while adding the things that you might need, such as an extra bedroom or bathroom, or maybe a bigger kitchen.

If you only require minimal changes to your home then renovating might be the least disruptive option as you should be able to remain living at the property while the renovations take place.

Things to consider:

  • Renovations can only go so far to improve a home and it may not be able to add all of the extra space that you require.
  • It’s easy for renovation costs to blow out, especially if you find unforeseen issues with the property as you go.
  • Your local council may have limits on what can be done to a property (for example if it is heritage listed) so it’s always a good idea to check if there are any development controls on your property. 

Build an entirely new home 

If a renovation won’t quite cut it then it’s worth investigating knocking down your current property and building a new one from scratch.

Rebuilding on your current block lets you stay exactly where you are (which is great if you love your street and want to stay in the same school zone) and means that you can build a new property with all of the features you want.

A new build on your block will also reset the age of your home and provide you with a modern abode that should last you for years to come. 

Things to consider: 

  • If you’re tight on money then rebuilding may not be an option. Also once you start you need to stay committed right until the end otherwise you will be left with an empty block or half finished house.
  • Building a new home can take time and you will need to move out while construction is taking place.
  • As with renovating, you may be limited with what you can do on your land so you will need to chat with builders and your local council to find out what is possible.

 Find a bigger home to move into  

If building or renovating sounds like too much hard work then you might like to find a home where all of the hard work has been done for you.

The greatest benefit of finding a new home to move into is that you can walk through the home and see the finished product right away, which might make decision making easier for you. 

Moving to a new home can also work well for those who want to upgrade their location along with their home.

Conversely, a move might also be worth considering for those who are happy to live in a cheaper neighbourhood if it means they can have the type of house they want.

Things to consider: 

  • Moving to a new home might mean you need to sell your existing property, so you will probably need to juggle a property sale and purchase simultaneously.
  • It might be hard finding a new property that meets all your needs.
  • You may still want to renovate your existing home to improve its property value when selling.

The verdict!

Deciding whether to move or improve can be difficult. It’s always best to consider your specific wants and needs, along with your budget, to come to the best decision for you.

Also don’t forget to chat to experts, such as builders, architects and real estate agents, to help you on your journey. Good luck!