Author Archives: Terry Hansen

bank

Lenders crackdown on Bank of Mum and Dad

Those hoping to break into the property market with the help of the Bank of Mum and Dad may now face a harder time, with a number of lenders introducing strict new guidelines covering guarantors of home loans.

The guidelines come as a response to the new Banking Code of Practice that was introduced in June and aims to help borrowers and their parents fully understand their obligations and risks when taking out a loan.

The Bank of Mum and Dad has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and while it can be a great way for some to get a leg up into the market, it has also been known to have caused family rifts and leave some parents financially destitute.

Despite this, the Bank of Mum and Dad is one of the top 10 lenders in the country. According to the Australian Financial Review loans from parents to their children has grown by 300 per cent over the last four years, with Aussie parents lending over $20 billion to their offspring each year.

Parental assistance can come in many forms, whether it’s gifts, loans or repayments, but it can become a particular issue when a parent becomes a guarantor and doesn’t fully realise the financial implications of it.

Becoming a guarantor for a home loan is a massive responsibility that could have dire consequences if things don’t work out, and both parents and their children may not plan for situations such as a change in income, break-ups or another change in circumstances that might impact repayments.

New rules being introduced by lenders will hopefully help all parties plan for contingencies and avoid financial disasters.

Guidelines being introduced include:

– Tougher scrutiny on loan guarantors. They will need to provide more information about how it will impact their finances.

– Evidence will be required that a guarantor obtained legal advice, or reviewed terms and conditions.

– Co-borrowers that don’t stand to gain a substantial benefit from the proceeds of a loan will need to prove that they understand its risks.

Overall, it’s important that all parties are completely aware of their risks and responsibilities when it comes to taking out a home loan, as things in life don’t always go to plan.

Protect yourself and your relationships with your family by getting independent legal and financial advice.

 

Source: The Australian Financial Review

st marys open mic

St Marys Open Mic Night to awaken night time economy

St Marys is set to come alive for an evening of music and entertainment on Thursday, 19th September with its first Open Mic Night.

Following on from two successful Open Mic Nights in Penrith, this exciting new event will be held in Coachmans Park and feature a mix of local emerging and established talent alongside tasty food and drink offerings.

There will be delicious café-style fare from Cassandra’s On the Park and hot fresh doughnut balls from Mr Puff.

Plus, the evening will feature a pop-up record store between acts for visitors to browse.

This new event is part of a council plan to encourage a vibrant arts scene in our city, after releasing a new Street Performers Policy in 2018.

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said in a statement on council’s website that the Open Mic Night is the natural next step in nurturing a lively music and street performance landscape.

“By supporting a culture of street performance and busking, Penrith is following in the footsteps of renowned creative cities like Barcelona and Edinburgh,” said Cr Fowler.

The event is set to enrich the feel of Penrith City, while also utilising public spaces that would otherwise be underappreciated.
“Another tangible benefit of the Open Mic Night series is that it provides local talent an opportunity to develop their act, and puts them in front of an audience so they can grow their following,” Cr Fowler noted.

Fowler also encouraged local talent to make the most of the new event and take over the mic.

“Whether you are an up-and-coming artist wanting to gain experience on stage, or a more established artist looking to blow off the cobwebs and get back out there, we encourage you to book a timeslot,” Cr Fowler concluded.

St Marys Open Mic Night

When: Thursday 19 September, 5-8pm

Where: Coachman’s Park, Queen Street St Marys

Cost: Free

To find out more about performing at the event visit penrith.city/StreetPerforming or contact Dimity Mullane on 0429 905 046 or dimity.mullane@penrith.city.

interior

The risks of not inspecting before purchasing a home

Everybody knows that inspecting a property before making a purchase is an important part of the property buying journey, but what happens when you can’t physically go to an open home?

Some buyers have a hard time getting to property inspections and so decide to make offers on a property before they’ve even seen what it looks like in real life.

It could be that a buyer lives interstate and can’t get to the property, or maybe they’re just busy and don’t want to be beat on what looks to be their dream home on paper.

Getting to a property to inspect it can be tricky but there’s no doubt that inspections are important for spotting potential issues and making sure that real estate pictures match up to a buyer’s expectations.

What could you miss?

If you haven’t done your homework then buying without first conducting a property inspection could leave you with a lot of surprises.

It’s difficult to tell from photos alone what a property is like and whether there are things like structural damage, asbestos, unpleasant smells or sounds… the list goes on.

There is no doubt that technology has made it easier than ever before to do a lot of research online, however this can never fully compensate for visiting a property in person.

Visiting a property in person allows you to see the full picture. You can assess details up close and get a good sense of the neighbourhood it’s located in.

Every little feature of a property will help you in determining whether or not you would like to purchase it, and how much it might be worth.

What should you do when you can’t make an open home?

Those that can’t make it to a scheduled open home should call up the selling agent and try to arrange an inspection at a different time if possible.

If you’re worried about missing out on a property and can’t make it to any inspections then you may still have some options.

Make sure to do your due diligence and try to get a trusted friend, or perhaps a buyer’s agent, to inspect a property on your behalf and let you know if it meets all of your criteria.

If it does and you want to go ahead with an offer then it’s a good idea to make it conditional upon a professional building and pest inspection to identify any issues, which may also give you some extra time to go and visit the property for yourself.

You really should try to inspect a property before making a purchase though.

A property is likely to be the most expensive investment you ever make so even if you need to spend a little to get to an inspection, it’s going to be nothing compared to the costs that could arise from purchasing a property with problems that you hadn’t identified or factored into its purchase price.

airport (1)

Where to get the best view of the Western Sydney Airport

Those wanting to learn more about the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and what it will mean for the region will be able to do so at the new Western Sydney International Airport Experience Centre, which opened last week.

Located in Luddenham, the centre will take visitors through an interactive exhibition space that includes digital videos showcasing the history of the region, the importance of the airport to Western Sydney and the massive economic benefits it’s set to bring.

The centre also includes a viewing area that will allow visitors to see the airport construction’s take shape.

The viewing area is equipped with an augmented reality feature where visitors can see how the terminal and runway will look once it’s operational.

The experience centre is an important milestone for the $5.3 billion airport project and it’s hoped that it will give locals and visitors alike the chance to connect with the project and find out more about how it will benefit the community.

Construction on the airport began last year and is expected to be complete in 2026.

Want to experience the airport?

The experience centre is located at 100 Eaton Road in Luddenham.

It’s free to visit and open to the public Monday to Thursday, from 10am to 4pm.

It’s designed to be an experience for all ages to enjoy. Large groups of 10 or more are encouraged to book in advance by calling 1800 872 872 or emailing info@wsaco.com.au

grass

Are you prepared for bush fire season?

Bush fire season has begun early this year and the NSW Rural Fire Service is reminding residents in outer western Sydney to get to know their bush fire risk.

The Bush Fire Danger Period for the Blacktown, Fairfield and Penrith Local Government Areas officially began last Sunday, September 1.

Fire season doesn’t typically begin until October 1, however ongoing dry and warm conditions has caused the RFS to move the start of the season forward, along with many areas across the state.

NSW RFS Superintendent Simon Davis has urged residents to know the risks and take precautions now.

“We have experienced a long, dry and warm spell, which is increasing the bush fire danger across the region, “ Superintendent Davis said.

Davis said there are simple things that people can do to be bush fire ready including creating a bush fire survival plan, preparing their home or property, knowing bush fire alert levels and knowing where to go to get information during a fire.

“The things you do now can make a big difference to your safety during a fire and whether your home survives, “ he said.

For local residents it is well worth following the NSW Rural Fire Service – Cumberland Zone on Facebook to stay informed on local fire conditions.

For information on planning and preparing for a fire, head to www.myfireplan.com.au.

You can also find valuable information at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

apartment

Houses versus apartments – is there a real estate winner?

Have you long held the Australian dream of buying a house on a quarter acre block with room for the kids to run around in the backyard? Or is an inner-city apartment close to trendy shops and cafes more your speed?

Everybody’s property dreams are different. While houses are always going to be a popular option, as property prices creep up across the nation there is a growing trend for apartment living as well.

But is one better than the other? Let’s take a look at the best parts about living in both.

The best things about houses

Bigger footprint – In general you’re going to have a lot more living space if you choose to live in a house over an apartment, which is one of the drawcards for many people (although this can be a negative too).

A backyard – If you’re looking to grow a veggie garden or need space for pets to run around outside then there’s no doubt that a house is going to be your best option. However, depending on how much outdoor area you need you could compromise and look to living in something like a townhouse or duplex.

Easier to personalise – Apartments can be tricky to renovate or personalise, but if you own a house you’re pretty much free to do whatever you want as long as it follows local council and building laws. This means that you can extend your home or improve its façade to help add extra value.

Distance from neighbours – Living in a house means that you’ll probably have a bit more distance between you and your neighbours than if you lived in an apartment. This means you don’t need to worry as much about disturbing your neighbours, or about them disturbing you.

The best things about apartments

Affordability – While not always true, apartments are generally more affordable than houses, and because new developments are popping up everywhere there is bound to be a lot of options for those looking to purchase.

Less maintenance – One of the best things about apartments is the low maintenance and stress-free lifestyle they have to offer. There’s no need to worry about mowing lawns on weekends, or cleaning out gutters, as the building’s strata fees usually cover any maintenance of the exterior communal areas.

Access to facilities – The facilities available will depend on the apartment in question, but if you’re lucky your apartment building might give you access to a gym, pool, sauna, media room or even a rooftop entertaining space.

Security – If security is a concern for you then you may appreciate living in an apartment where there are added layers of security that can make them harder to break into than a house.

Which is right for you?

There are plenty of great reasons to choose to buy a house or an apartment so there is no easy answer as to which is a better option.

Everybody’s situation is different so before purchasing any kind of property you need to ask yourself what your long-term goals are, as well as considering what your budget is.

Think about what is most important to you and look at your options from there. But try not to discount one property type over another as they both have a lot to offer.

house

Is the property market really in recovery mode?

The Australian property market has just been through one of the biggest pricing slumps we have seen in decades, but despite some positive signs that the market is turning, can we be sure that the downturn is truly over? Or is it still too early to tell?

Property prices in Sydney and Melbourne have gone up (although only slightly) in the last couple of months, according to CoreLogic’s Home Value Index, which is a very promising sign that the market has bounced back.

On top of this buyer interest has been increasing steadily, which can be witnessed through an increase in foot traffic at open homes as well as an uptick in recent auction clearance rates.

Mortgage Choice has also reported that home loan applications have been up “significantly” in the last few months, possibly in part thanks to recent interest rate drops and an easing of lending criteria.

So why are some still cautious?

While there are definitely strong indicators that the housing market is gaining momentum again, some are questioning whether it might be premature to say that the downturn is well and truly over.

Some have attributed the positive signals we have been seeing to low levels of housing stock on the market.

A higher auction clearance rate for example may be due to buyers having fewer options to choose from, therefore creating stronger demand for those properties that are currently for sale.

CoreLogic’s senior research analyst Cameron Kusher has admitted it could be too early to tell if the market has recovered, but that there are definitely positive signs to look to.

“While there are clear signs of improving conditions, many point to the fact that the very low volume of sales in the market indicate that the recovery is not real or unsustainable,” he said.

“While that could very well prove to be true if/when stock levels rise, the truth of the matter is that in a downturn, sales volumes typically fall and subsequently, the early stages of a housing recovery are usually characterised by low volumes of sales.”

We may get a clearer picture of what the property market is doing as we come into spring.

Mr Kusher pointed out that as a higher volume of stock becomes available for sale in the spring market we might get to see whether there has been any real increase in housing values.

But at this stage, he says, “the improving trend is quite real”.

st marys spring festival

Get ready for markets, entertainment and fun at St Marys Spring Festival

Say goodbye to winter and give spring a warm welcome at the St Marys Spring Festival on Saturday, September 7.

The popular festival will have Queen Street bursting with fun and excitement, with three stages of entertainment, a grand parade and over 200 unique market stalls set to delight this year’s crowds.

For the little ones there will be a guest star appearance from Peppa Pig. She will be doing two live shows and a meet and greet. For the older generations there will be plenty of other performers keeping the crowds happy, including music from band 3 Way Split who will be playing popular songs throughout the day.

The St Marys Spring Festival has been running for over 40 years, growing to become one of the biggest events in the area. It now attracts crowds of over 20,000 people from far and wide.

The festival is FREE to attend and is a great way for families to celebrate the arrival of the new season.

Need to know

The St Marys Spring Festival will be held in Queen Street from 9am to 3pm.

One of the festival’s highlights will be the annual street parade, which will get underway at 12:15pm.

Keep in mind that there will be some road closures on the day.

To find out more head to the St Marys Town Centre website – http://stmarystowncentre.com.au/event/2019-st-marys-spring-festival.

 

Image via https://www.facebook.com/stmarystowncentreltd

house

4 tips to help first home buyers get their foot in the door

Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it is usually an extremely daunting one too.

There are a lot of potential buyers who are keen to jump onto the property ladder but get overwhelmed by the process and don’t know where to begin.

But with interest rates at all time lows, and property prices at the bottom of the cycle in Australia’s major cities, it’s a great time to jump on the property ladder if you can.

To help buyers on their journey, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Be diligent about saving

The more money you have saved away for a deposit the more you will be able to borrow, which will give you a lot more property options.

Find ways to add to your savings by cutting back on subscriptions (maybe Netflix or gym plans?) and by reducing your spend on luxury items. It may be tough now but you will be rewarded in the long run.

Also make an effort to pay down any outstanding debt too, to help put you in good stead when you apply for a home loan.

Research government incentives

First home buyers may be eligible for a number of grants and concessions that help make home buying easier.

In NSW, there is a stamp duty exemption for homes valued up to $650,000, with concessions also available for properties valued between $650,000 and $800,000.

Most first home buyers are particularly interested in taking advantage of the First Home Owners Grant (New Homes), which in NSW provides $10,000 to purchase a new home of up to $600,000 or to build a new home up to $750,000.

Since the grant is only available for the purchase of new homes, this can influence some first home buyer’s choices.

Keep in mind however that while the extra funds from the grant can come in handy, it will limit your choices and you may end up finding a more affordable property if you look at established homes.

Full information on NSW’s first home buying grants and concessions can be found here.

Don’t get too fixated on a particular suburb

There are lots of great properties out there and while you might like to hone in on a particular area, it could take awhile to find the perfect home if you focus on one suburb alone.

If there’s one suburb that you love then it’s worth taking a look at the nearby areas too. There’s a good chance that they will have the same lifestyle on offer, but by widening your scope you will have a lot more properties to choose from and you might even find an area that you like better than the one you initially started looking at.

Consider long term outlook

Your first home probably won’t be your last home, but you’ll want to choose a property that will put you in a good position for the future.

While you might just want a home that helps you get your foot in the door, don’t forget to consider the long term prospects of the area you want to buy in.

Look into things such as projected population growth, infrastructure plans and developments to help ascertain whether your property will perform well in the future.

spring selling

10 of the best home staging hacks for spring selling

It’s not quite spring yet, but the property market is already starting to heat up.

Potential homebuyers are starting to hit the pavement. Many are hoping to make their property dreams come true, while also hoping to take advantage of historically low interest rates and a more stable market.

But even if the buyer competition this spring looks likely to be strong, sellers should still make the effort to grab buyer’s attention and that means taking time to stage their property.

A lot of buyers are picky and want to feel a connection with a home right away.

Property styling can help tap into buyers emotions and help them see all of the good points about it instantly, so it’s importance in selling shouldn’t be underestimated.

In many cases property styling is best left to the experts, but here are some tips for those who want to have a go at staging themselves.

  1. Make a killer entrance – Make sure that the first impression counts! Roll out the welcome mat, couple it with some pot plants and consider painting the front door a bold new colour too.
  2. Pick a style and stick with it – Aim for cohesion throughout the home by picking one style and colour palette. This will help you when choosing any new furnishings or items for the home.
  3. Spring clean – Clean like you’ve never cleaned the home before so buyers can see the property at its best.
  4. De-personalise – Pack away things like family photos or any documents and papers that might be lying around or stuck to the fridge. Clothes or toiletries spilling out of cupboards should find a new home that is out of sight too.
  5. Give spare rooms a purpose – Don’t leave rooms empty if you can help it. Buyers like to see what a room could be used for. A smaller room could be setup like a study or a large area could become a second living area.
  6. Use fresh linen – Head to cheap department stores and purchase some new bedspreads, towels and throws to help give your home a quick and inexpensive makeover.
  7. Focus attention in the right places – The kitchen, lounge, master bedroom and main bathroom are where people are going to focus most of their attention so if you don’t have time to makeover your entire home then at least do up these rooms to as high a standard as you can.
  8. Add life with plants – Plants are great both inside and outside the home. They can add a bit of life and warmth and can help an otherwise stark area feel a little more lived in.
  9. Re-arrange furniture – Think carefully about the furniture placement in each room. Place large pieces of furniture towards the walls if they are overwhelming a room and make sure there is enough space for people to walk from room to room freely.
  10. Add a bit of “wow” – Make your home a memorable one by adding something that will stick in visitor’s minds such as an attractive piece of art or a cool piece of furniture.