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Welcome to the official website of NRG Financial Services, The go-to destination for your financial needs. With over two decades of experience in the finance industry, we aim to help you navigate the complex world of home loans and financial services.
Choose us as your trusted partner to experience the difference in personalised service, industry expertise, and unwavering commitment to your financial success. Contact us today to get started on your financial journey.

Extensive Experience

With over two decades in the finance industry, our deep knowledge and expertise ensure you receive reliable guidance and tailored solutions.

Commitment to the Community

As active members of the local community, we are dedicated to making a positive impact beyond financial services.

Personalised Approach

We take the time to understand your unique needs and goals, providing personalised solutions that address your specific circumstances.

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Unmatched Industry Connections

Our affiliation with the country's largest broking company gives us access to a vast network of lenders and financial products, ensuring a wide range of options for you.

State-of-the-Art Technology

Our advanced tools and systems streamline the home loan application process, enabling efficient comparisons and informed decision-making.

Trusted Professional Affiliations

We are proud members of respected industry associations, reflecting our commitment to professionalism, ethics, and your best interests.

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Transforming Possibilities and Inspiring Triumph - Our Managing Director, the Navigator of Achievement

At NRG Financial Services, Tim Jennings’s dedication to excellence and his passion for helping clients achieve their financial goals are the driving forces behind our success. Tim holds a Master of Business Degree from Newcastle University, demonstrating his commitment to continuous learning and staying at the forefront of industry trends. With his extensive background in mortgage broking, he possesses a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in securing the right home loan tailored to your unique circumstances.

With his own Australian Credit Licence number 384496, Tim operates with the utmost professionalism and transparency. He is a staunch advocate for his clients, ensuring their best interests are always at the forefront of every financial decision. Tim’s commitment to ethical conduct is further exemplified by his role as a Justice of the Peace.

Beyond his financial expertise, Tim is also a Station Officer for Fire and Rescue NSW, highlighting his unwavering commitment to serving and protecting the local community. As a resident of Newcastle and the Hunter, he has an intimate understanding of the region’s unique needs and is dedicated to assisting his fellow community members in achieving their financial goals.

Tim is a proud member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (44198) and the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (member number 3054), demonstrating his commitment to maintaining the highest professional standards. Additionally, he carries Professional Indemnity Insurance of up to $20,000,000, providing you with peace of mind and protection.

Tim utilizes state-of-the-art technology to simplify the home loan application process for you. With the capability to objectively compare 1,650 of the latest financial products from over 40 lenders, including the Big 4 Banks, he ensures you have access to the most competitive options available.

We invite you to experience the difference of working with a trusted broker who genuinely cares about your financial well-being.

Transforming Possibilities and Inspiring Triumph - Our Managing Director

At NRG Financial Services, Tim Jennings’s dedication to excellence and his passion for helping clients achieve their financial goals are the driving forces behind our success. Tim holds a Master of Business Degree from Newcastle University, demonstrating his commitment to continuous learning and staying at the forefront of industry trends. With his extensive background in mortgage broking, he possesses a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in securing the right home loan tailored to your unique circumstances.

With his own Australian Credit Licence number 384496, Tim operates with the utmost professionalism and transparency. He is a staunch advocate for his clients, ensuring their best interests are always at the forefront of every financial decision. Tim’s commitment to ethical conduct is further exemplified by his role as a Justice of the Peace.

Beyond his financial expertise, Tim is also a Station Officer for Fire and Rescue NSW, highlighting his unwavering commitment to serving and protecting the local community. As a resident of Newcastle and the Hunter, he has an intimate understanding of the region’s unique needs and is dedicated to assisting his fellow community members in achieving their financial goals.

Tim is a proud member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (44198) and the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (member number 3054), demonstrating his commitment to maintaining the highest professional standards. Additionally, he carries Professional Indemnity Insurance of up to $20,000,000, providing you with peace of mind and protection.

Tim utilises state-of-the-art technology to simplify the home loan application process for you. With the capability to objectively compare 1,650 of the latest financial products from over 40 lenders, including the Big 4 Banks, he ensures you have access to the most competitive options available.

We invite you to experience the difference of working with a trusted broker who genuinely cares about your financial well-being.

Tim Jennings

Managing Director

Enhancing Efficiency and Empowering Progress - Our Executive Assistant, the Fuel for Growth

Meet the dedicated executive Afrida who plays a pivotal role in the success of NRG Financial Services.
As the Executive at NRG Financial Services, Afrida is responsible for overseeing the company’s operations, driving growth initiatives, and ensuring the highest standards of customer service. With her keen business acumen and analytical mindset, she consistently identifies opportunities for improvement and guides the implementation of effective strategies.
Afrida’s exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to build strong relationships contribute to the seamless collaboration between team members and clients. Driven by a genuine desire to make a positive impact on clients’ financial journeys, Afrida is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses achieve their goals. Her unwavering commitment to excellence, coupled with her ability to navigate complex financial landscapes, makes her an invaluable asset to the NRG Financial Services team.

Afrida Kaiser

Admin Executive

Afrida Kaiser

Admin Executive

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Attentive, particular and thorough. Extremely helpful in assisting thru the process. Highly recommend!!! Thank you !!

Richard Jay December 1, 2022
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Thank you to Tim and his team for helping us to refinance our home loan, they took the stress out of it and guided us through every step of the process. Tim is always very friendly and was very quick to respond to my emails and messages.

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The longer you take to pay off your home, the more you are going to pay. There are many strategies to reduce your loan. Click here to download my "Top 12 Tips to Paying Your Off Home Loan Sooner". https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/top12tips.pdf

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Six Steps to becoming mortgage-free - Step 6: Is the grass greener on the other side? Do you ever wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side? The question today is: are you getting the best deal on your mortgage? How would you like to make a few small changes that could lead you on the path to becoming mortgage-free and financially fabulous? Well, there are six simple steps that you can implement today, that will help you knock over that home loan in record time. In the past weeks, we learned how choosing the best possible loan product could make a big difference to your back pocket. How changing the frequency of your repayments could lower your interest. Why it makes sense to pay more off your loan whenever possible, how to make the most of handy features like offset accounts, and redraw facilities, and why refusing lollies from strangers is always a good idea. Step 6: Refinance for a better deal The fierce and ongoing competition between lenders in the home loan market can sometimes play out like a scene from Gladiator. But the clear victor emerging from this never-ending battle is you - if you keep your finger on the pulse. Now more than ever, it's vital that you keep assessing your financial needs and look out for opportunities to get a better deal on your loan. Even though you compared your options and secured the best deal a few years ago, that doesn't mean that your current interest rate is the best, or even close. By refinancing with another lender you could reduce your costs, and save time. Many borrowers who refinance are able to save as much as 1% off their interest rate, which could mean paying that loan off several years earlier than planned. If you haven't reviewed your options for a while, it pays to speak with your mortgage broker and find out if the grass really could be greener on the other side. It could make all the difference if you want to pay your loan off sooner, and keep more money in your pocket in the process.

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One little mistake that could ruin your life - and how to avoid it. There are so many things you need to organise when you purchase a property, and many buyers become quite overwhelmed with all of the paperwork, and coordinating their move. Mistakes can be made, and you might be surprised if you knew how many people forget to do a thorough inspection before settlement. By thorough inspection, I don't mean turning the lights on and off and looking for marks on the wall. The biggest mistake that many buyers make at the last hurdle, is forgetting to measure the boundaries of the property to check that everything is correct. You might think that this isn't really a big deal - who cares if the neighbour has a few centimetres of your back yard? Well sometimes it can make or break you financially, and cause an enormous amount of stress and conflict in your life. Meet the Wilsons: The Wilson family discovered the importance of checking boundaries when they moved from their 3 bedroom townhouse to a house with a big backyard in Fremantle last year. It was a hectic time for everyone, and it wasn't easy packing up the house with a baby and a toddler to think about. When the Wilsons did their final inspection, everything looked to be in order. The vendors had left the house wonderfully clean which was very helpful. They even mowed the lawns and replaced some of the light bulbs. The couple had forgotten to borrow a measuring wheel but they took a couple of minutes to count their paces along the boundary line to see that the title was correct. It wasn't until several months later that the family was confronted by their new neighbour on the left. He'd been measuring his block to get a planning permit through the council for a possible home extension. In the process, he discovered that the Wilson's garage on the edge of their property was actually built over 1.5 metres of his land. What followed was a lengthy legal battle which was expensive and stressful for all parties. In the end, the Wilsons were forced to tear down one side of their garage and make alterations to reduce its size. They also had to remove and rebuild the fence along the left boundary of their property. This is a great example of why it's so important to do your research when you buy a property, and avoid ending up in a similar situation.

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How to buy with a friend - without killing the friendship or your credit rating Have you ever heard the expression, 'no friends in business'? It's an oldie but a goodie. This is the attitude you should bring when considering buying property with a friend. Many good friendships have gone under the bus, and lots of people have taken a bullet to their credit rating by not giving this decision adequate thought. So what are the risks involved with co-ownership, especially when you purchase with a friend? What if one owner wants to sell? One of the biggest problems with co-ownership is when one owner decides they want to sell the property, but the other owners don't agree. This often ends up in court, and the process can be costly and upsetting for everyone. And needless to say - the friendship probably won't survive. Buying could be harder in the future. It might seem like the dream scenario to invest now with your best friend. But if you decide in a few years to purchase a home to live in, the lender will assess your financial commitments based on the whole loan for the first property, not just the portion that you agreed to cover. This could make it very difficult for you to get another loan. You could be left holding the baby. If something happens and your friend is unable to make their repayments, you could be left in the difficult situation of repaying the entire loan by yourself. Coupled with your other living expenses, you might not be in a position to cover the whole amount yourself. But there are some ways that you can reduce the risk, if you are keen to purchase property with a friend: 1) Put a legal will in place. It's important to make arrangements for what will happen to your assets if you pass away or become incapacitated. 2) Draw up a co-ownership agreement. If you can think about any issues that might possibly come up in the future, and have an agreement in place to solve them, you're less likely to wind up in court trying to work things out. 3) Choose the right structure - tenants in common, or joint tenants. Tenants in common can own a different portion of the property, and they need to specify in their will who will inherit their portion if they die. Joint tenants jointly and equally own the property, and if one person dies, their share automatically goes to the other(s) regardless of the instructions in their will. 4) Choose the right person. It's important to discuss your financial goals and values before you enter into this sort of arrangement. You need to feel comfortable knowing that your friend will be financially secure enough to keep up their end of the bargain - otherwise you might be left trying to cover the repayments alone. It's important to think about your own relationships as well, if your partner is keen for you to buy a house together next year, you might want to think about how this first investment might impact your borrowing power.

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If things have changed recently - a Home Loan Update may be in order. When I speak to clients I am often surprised at how much their lives have changed since we last spoke. Some have married or unmarried, had children, changed jobs, bought a car, got carried away with their credit cards or even changed their financial goals all together! Sometimes real life gets in the way of our best laid plans and juggling the family finances becomes a challenge. If your life has changed, it is definitely worth spending a little time for a financial check up. It doesn't cost anything for me to take a look at your situation and see if there is any way I can help you get set for the next set of changes in your life. Don't worry about wasting my time if you don't need a new loan. My job is to give you ongoing guidance on the lending options which are right for you and your future. We might not need to change anything at all. However, the banks change their loan offerings constantly and it can be hard to keep track of whether you are in the best loan or could be getting a better deal elsewhere. Satisfy your curiosity and give yourself some peace of mind. Give me a call today. Or if you prefer, you could even just fill out this form and fax or email it to me and then I'll get back to you with some ideas. Looking forward to catching up with you soon. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/lifeandfinanceupdate.pdf

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Buying and selling at the same time - discover the Big Question that could make or break you. Are you nearly ready to upgrade your home? It's often a natural progression - we come to a point where the house is just too small to fit everyone comfortably. Maybe it's got to the stage where you really need a home office. When you decide to make the move, one of the biggest questions will be - 'should I sell my home before I purchase the next property, or buy first and sell later?' Selling first... One of the biggest benefits of selling you home first, is that you won't commit to a new home until you know how much your old home has sold for. It's difficult to shop for a property without knowing what your budget is, so this method is safest if you want to avoid getting yourself in some hot water financially. It's easier to get finance when you sell first, because you will ideally have some equity from your original home ready to contribute to the purchase of your next home. If you sell your home first, you won't be trying to cover the cost of two loans if your home doesn't sell as quickly as you thought it would. You could also request a long settlement period when you sell, to give yourself time to search for a new property. One the flipside though, if you aren't able to get a buyer to agree to a long settlement, you might be forced to rent while looking for a new home. This means moving twice, unpacking and repacking, and going through all of the fuss of sorting out utilities, internet and other services. If it takes a long time to find another home, there could be upward movement in the property market, leaving you with less purchasing power to buy the type of home you want. Buying first... If you're financially able, buying first can be a lot more convenient. There's no need to rent between homes. You might even be able to move into the new home before you sell the other, making it a lot easier to keep your original property looking nice for inspections. Many people find their dream home before they sell. If you have already stumbled on 'the one' it probably won't be on the market by the time you sell and settle on your home. However if you take out bridging finance, you will be paying a loan on both homes until your old home is sold. So depending on your financial capabilities, this could be a risky decision. It might take a lot longer to sell your home than what you estimated. Sometimes there is no good reason why some properties sell almost immediately and others take quite some time to move. You might feel pressured to sell quickly if you already bought, and you could end up accepting a lower price in order to get it over and done with. Renting your home - the other option This one is definitely a conversation to have with your accountant, but if you can afford it - the other option is to keep your existing property and rent it out. This could get you on the fast track to creating wealth through property investment - just make sure you get the right tax advice and check that you can cover all of your costs. It's particularly important to budget for times when you might be in-between tenants for a few weeks or more. Could you cover both loans while there is no rent coming in.

How to buy a property overseas without losing the lot: Every year, more and more Australians make the decision to invest in overseas real estate. Some are your 'perma-vacationers' -those people who enjoy their holiday so much that they never want to go home. Others have managed to enjoy lucrative investments by choosing the right property in a great location. But there are many risks involved in deciding to purchase a property overseas, and it's essential that you do a lot of leg-work to make sure that you don't end up becoming a cautionary tale for others. Research is everything. Just as you would research your home purchase here in Australia, it's vital that you do a lot of research before deciding to purchase an overseas property. The difference is, you're probably starting with little to no knowledge about the local real estate market, so it could take a bit longer before you know enough to act with confidence. Of course, you need to take into account all the same factors you would when buying a property at home such as its location, proximity to transport and shops, condition of the home, and features. But depending on what country you choose, don't forget to also consider seasonal weather patterns and the possibility of flooding during the wet season. Some tourist areas are seasonal and shops will close during the off-season, so this is another important factor to keep in mind. Hire an expert You might need to engage a buyer's agent to help you look for and negotiate on the property. Someone who is very experienced in dealing with the locals and knows the local property market inside out. There is no substitute for actually seeing the property yourself, but a Buyer's Agent might be able to help you narrow down the search. It's also helpful to use an international solicitor if you want to rent the property out, so that you can ensure you comply with local rules. Speak to your accountant It's important to understand the tax implications of investing in overseas real estate. Your accountant should be able to help you through your decision, but you might need to do some investigating of your own when it comes to the tax laws of other countries. You don't want to get caught out with enormous property sales taxes or land tax that you didn't know about. Investigate your loan options There might be a home loan for you here in Australia, or you might need to use an overseas lender. Most major banks have delegates in other countries which can be helpful for overseas investors. Make sure you ask about foreign exchange rates impacting your purchase, otherwise you might end up paying a lot of money to facilitate the transaction. Find out about the buying cost associated with the purchase Depending on the country you choose, there might be very different stamp duties, property taxes and registration fees to what we have here in Australia. Don't forget to investigate and factor these into your budget. Try finding a solicitor who understands the local laws and tax system.

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If you are a first home buyer - know what you are entitled to: First home buyers have a range of different entitlements and concessions they may be eligible for. They differ from state to state, and often are dependent on the value of the home you are buying. There are also various ways that first home buyers can be helped by family members to get into their first home - not just by lending money towards a deposit - which can possibly save thousands in fees when done the right way. For more details about the ever changing government incentives, read my guide - "Know your entitlements". https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/knowyourentitlements.pdf

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Know your rights as a borrower. As a borrower, it pays to know your rights - and don't be afraid to exercise them! It can all seem a little intimidating when you apply for a loan, and it seems like the lender is putting a lot of conditions on you as the borrower. But what are your rights? Borrowers are heavily protected by state and federal law, and you can expect your lender to keep up their end of the bargain too. You have: The right to know what you're in for The lender must provide you with a very detailed contract which outlines all of the terms and conditions of your loan in clear language. You should take the time to understand all of your obligations, fees and charges and make sure the loan amount details are all correct. The right to know your interest rate Your lender is required to communicate interest rate changes to you in advance - either directly, or by putting an advertisement in a major newspaper. The right to know your repayment amount The lender must provide you with written notice at least 20 days before your interest rate is due to increase. The right to a copy of your loan statement A loan statement must be provided to you every six months. You have the right to dispute any transactions that you don't feel are correct or justified. The right to pay out your loan at any time There may be some fees involved, but you do have the right to pay your loan out at any time. Accordingly, you also have the right to know your payout figure, which your lender must provide to you within 7 days of receiving a written request. The right to terminate your contract before the funds are drawn down You have the right to pull out of the transaction if the funds have not yet been drawn down for settlement to take place. The right to get assistance in times of financial hardship There is legislation in place to protect you if you experience financially tough times. It's worth investigating the relevant options so that you are ready for the unexpected. But, you would remember from childhood that more rights usually equals greater responsibilities. There are a few obligations that you must keep to your lender as well: Provide truthful, factual information when you apply. - Make all of the repayments on the due date. - Keep the property in good condition and don't make any big alterations without getting permission from your lender. - Take out insurance for the full replacement value of the buildings/structures and keep the insurance policy paid and current. - Don't sell, rent, or mortgage the property without your lender's permission.

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Sending warm wishes to all the mothers who make the world a better place with their kindness, strength, and unconditional love. Happy Mother's Day! Today, we celebrate you and all that you do. 🌷 #MothersDay

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If you are thinking of buying your next home - here is a choice you will be facing: Will your life come to an end if you don't have a walk in wardrobe? Is it important for you to have a home cinema, or would you prefer to be in a modest property, within walking distance of great restaurants and sporting facilities? There are so many choices when you start shopping for a home, and one difficult decision is whether to choose a new home (buying off the plans or buying something recently constructed), or whether to opt for an older property at a better price. There are plenty of pros and cons to take into account, but here are a few of the main ones: New Home: A new home is unlikely to need any ongoing repairs in the short term. Anything that happens in the first seven years should be covered by the builder's warranty. You won't have to worry about the ducted heating breaking down and costing you a fortune to replace. If something happens and you need to put the property up for sale, a new home is a more attractive option for buyers. It's likely to have more features and conveniences than an older home, and it won't have mustard coloured wall paper (unless you chose that option when you built!) Like all shiny new things, a new home usually comes complete with a higher price tag, which means higher repayments and greater likelihood of you experiencing financial hardship in the future. You will have less of a financial buffer if things change, like interest rates increase, sudden unemployment, or long term illness. Usually new homes are built in a more distant location, unless you really are stretching the budget for a new home in an inner city suburb. Because you're likely to be further out, it might take longer to achieve the growth that you would like - especially if the same house and land package is still available just down the road after your home has been finished for several years. Keep in mind, there will also be additional cost of finishing the home, such as curtains, carpets, landscaping and driveways. Older home: If you purchase an older home, it's likely that you will be in a better location with higher chance of capital growth. This means that you could make quite a bit on your investment by hanging onto it for a few years, or you might even choose to renovate in the future which could further boost the value of the property. It's likely that you will have a lower purchase price with lower repayments, which means a buffer for any unexpected things that might arise. You will have a better chance of building your investment portfolio in the future by keeping the purchase price down, rather than blowing the budget on building a new home. It's your personal choice whether you change anything, but there should already be window furnishings, established gardens and driveways so you won't have to finish the dream. On the flipside, an older home might be less attractive to buyers if you have to sell - or you might end up having to do some renovations to achieve a good price. There could be a need for ongoing repairs and maintenance which could be very expensive depending on the problem. If you discover a major issue with the foundations of the home, for example, the repair bill could run into the tens of thousands. One important step if you choose to purchase an older home is to obtain a building and pest inspection report. This will help to ensure that your dream home isn't riddled with termites, or about to slide down the hill.

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Do you feel a bit ill when you open the letterbox and see your credit card statement? It's happened to most of us at some point - a few untimely expenses pop up, and suddenly that credit card has a life of its own. The good news? There is hope. You can get control of your credit card debt today with a few simple steps. Stop the bleeding It might sound obvious, but the first step to cutting down your credit card debt is to stop growing it. If you have any direct debits connected to the card, make other arrangements for these to come out of a bank account. Then, use whatever means necessary to destroy the card so that you can stop accruing debt. Pay more than the bare minimum If you only pay the minimum amount each month, you'll see many birthdays waiting for your credit card debt to decrease. In most cases, you will only be paying the interest on the debt without reducing what you owe. It's time to sit down and make a budget, and look for ways to pay as much as possible off your credit card each month. Work out your priorities If you have debts on more than one credit card, your instinct might be to pay the largest amount off as a priority. Alternatively, try focussing on the card with the highest interest rate. It's also worth knocking over your smaller cards first (and then cancelling them) so that you can concentrate on one monthly repayment. Try a balance transfer Many lenders offer great introductory rates on new credit cards. Some even offer rates of 0% for the first 6 or 12 months. This presents a great opportunity to work on getting your balance down, without being charged interest. Beware though - it's important to investigate what your interest rate will be after the introductory period. It's also vital that you do pay as much as possible off the balance. If you don't reduce your debt, and if the standard interest rate is higher than what you had before - you will only do further damage. Save for a rainy day Many of us get into trouble with credit cards because we don't have adequate savings when something unexpected comes up. While you work hard at reducing that credit card debt, try to put a little bit in savings each month and build up a buffer. That way if you suddenly need a new set of tyres or a hot water service, you won't undo all of your good work by whacking it on the credit card. Put your hand up If you can't seem to get control of your finances and you feel like the situation is getting worse every day, it might be time to ask for some help. There are experienced financial counsellors and legal representatives who can help you to make a plan and get back on top of things again.

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Introducing 5 great reasons to invest in property today: Do you sometimes listen to those seasoned property investors and wonder how they got started? It's quite simple actually - they probably started with just one investment property. Anyone can realise the dream of achieving your financial goals through property investment. If you're not sure why you would want to get involved, here are the five best reasons: 1. Financial Independence Now, more than ever, it's important to make sure you have steps in place if you want to live comfortably in your retirement. The retirement age seems to be increasing, and people are no longer able to rely on the aged pension as a sole source of income. If you start now you can build a property investment portfolio that will provide you with financial independence - whatever that means to you. For some people that means one investment property that provides a rental return. For others, it means building a veritable monopoly of investment properties in an apparent bid to conquer the universe. 2. Take control of your own investments The great thing about investing in property is that you're completely in control of what you purchase, and you can take steps to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of achieving excellent capital growth or rental return figures. The problem with investing in shares and superannuation is that you aren't able to control fluctuations in the market - your role is very passive. 3. Grow your portfolio as your equity increases Once you start investing in property, it's sometimes difficult to stop. One investment starts to grow which allows you to purchase another, and before you know it you have a nice little collection of properties making money for you. 4. Capital Growth If you choose wisely, you should be able to achieve strong capital growth on your investment properties. The key is to choose the right type of property in the right area. This might not be an area where you would choose to live - it just needs to be an area with lots of potential for growth. 5. Rental Income If you hope to achieve a good rental income from your investment properties, you should purchase carefully, and keep your ideal tenant in mind. If you like the idea of renting to students, make sure you look in areas near a university or very near to public transport. If you would prefer to rent to a family, schools, shopping centres and parks might be more important. But decide what's most important first: capital growth or rental return. You might not always get a great rental return in an area that has a high level of growth.

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🔑 Curious about Securing the Best Home Loan Rate in Today’s Market? Whether you're stepping into homeownership for the first time or considering a refinancing option, NRG Financial Services is your trusted companion in navigating the realm of home loans. Why NRG Financial Services? Because we will help you to find - ✅ Competitive Rates ✅ Tailored Loan Solutions ✅ Streamlined Application Process 👇🏻Click 'Send Message' to unveil how effortlessly you can secure the ideal home loan with NRG Financial Services.

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Here is why you shouldn't scrimp on loan repayments: With household costs on the rise, many mortgagees are struggling to balance their budgets. It's not surprising more Australians are skipping mortgage payments to help make ends meet. However, missing loan repayments could land you in a bigger hole. Not only will you be up for late fees - ranging from a manageable $9 to a stinging $195 per overdue payment - but you could be adding thousands of dollars of extra interest to your debt. At worst, a string of missed mortgage payments could see the bank recalling your loan, forcing a fire sale of your home. Even a couple of missed payments could put a red flag on your credit history, which is going to cramp future borrowings. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of mortgage stress is to give yourself a buffer on your budget. In Australia, it's recommended borrowers' mortgage repayments make up no more than 30% of household income. The problem is many home owners borrow to the edge of the threshold when interest rates are low - as they are now - leaving no room for inevitable rate rises and other increased living costs. Instead, budget for mortgage repayments at a 9% interest rate, a long-term average that accounts for peaks and troughs over the long run. When rates are low, stick the extra funds into your mortgage. You will not only save on interest but will have established a safety net, which you can draw on if needed when rates run high. If you are already feeling the pinch and struggling to make payments, talk to a Mortgage Broker sooner rather than later. A Mortgage Broker can help negotiate with the lender on your behalf and can look into other loan options to ease the squeeze.

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Happy St Florian’s Day all!

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Today, we celebrate International Labour Day by acknowledging the invaluable contributions of workers in every sector. Your commitment and resilience are the foundation of our progress. Here's to you! 🌟 #MayDay #WorkersRights

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How do you get your hands on the equipment you need to grow? And how do you do this whilst still keeping the all-important cash flow and working capital in hand? Talk to me today about smart solutions when it comes to asset and equipment finance.

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Want to go green? Contact me for a loan that pays itself off with your power bill savings.

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Cure your confusion today - 9 steps to purchasing your first home. Do you start to get a headache when you think about everything involved in getting a home loan? Don't despair. Many other borrowers have felt the same way in the past. It can seem a little overwhelming at first, but really, there are 9 simple steps that will carry you from tenant to proud home owner with minimal fuss. 1. Preparation The first step is to get all of your ducks in a row, ready for your meeting with a mortgage broker. Make a list of all of your assets and your liabilities, taking into account your living expenses, loan repayments and student debts etc. Spend some time looking at the different loans available, so that you can be ready to ask plenty of questions when you meet your mortgage broker. 2. First Meeting Your mortgage broker will have his/her own way of doing things, but usually will give you a run-down of their panel of different lenders, what fees and commissions they charge, and the information they need from you. The next step will be a discussion around your financial position, how much you need to borrow and what sort of loan products might be best for you. Your mortgage broker will then collect all of the relevant information needed to complete your application. 3. Application Your mortgage broker will review your application and make sure that all of the details are accurate and complete. They will provide some information to the lender about your ability to service the loan and then they will submit the application on your behalf. 4. Pre-approval If all goes well between your mortgage broker and your chosen lender, the next step is Pre-approval, or Conditional Approval. This allows to you start looking for a property, because the lender has advised you that you're likely to be approved, and the approval amount. There will be some conditions attached, and nothing is guaranteed. 5. Valuation The lender will investigate the value of the property you choose to make sure the market value is similar to your purchase price, and also to ensure that they are happy with the property itself. 6. Unconditional Approval Once you meet all of the conditions that the lender sets out, you will receive unconditional approval. 7. Letter of Offer Your letter of offer makes it all official, and it's important to make sure you understand all of the conditions, fees and details contained within the document. It's a good idea to ask your solicitor or conveyancer to help at this stage if you're unsure. 8. Mortgage Documents The mortgage documents will usually arrive with your letter of offer, and they outline the contract between you - the borrower, the lender and the State Revenue Office. This should be carefully reviewed by your solicitor or conveyancer. 9. Settlement The settlement date is the big one - when the money actually changes hands, all of the different costs are settled and you can then take possession of the property. This step should be handled by your solicitor or conveyancer in conjunction with the legal representatives of each party involved. If everything goes according to plan - this is the part where you pick up the keys, grab a bottle of bubbly and start celebrating. Congratulations - you're now a property owner!

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ANZAC Day Remembrance On this ANZAC Day, we take a moment to honour all those who served. Lest We Forget. #ANZACDay #LestWeForget

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How to take advantage of a buyer's market: One of the keys to success in the property market is TIMING. So how do you know when the time is right to step up on the property ladder? For the answer, download our guide to "Taking Advantage of a Buyer's Market". https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/takingadvantageofabuyersmarket.pdf

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Face the future with greater certainty with a fixed rate home loan. One in five Australians taking out a home loan is now opting to fix their interest rate, according to a recent AFG Mortgage Index. Not only are fixed rates proving popular in the midst of global economic uncertainty, many borrowers are cashing in on unprecedented, increased competition around fixed rate loans. Traditionally, lenders have set fixed rates a smidge above the average variable rate. At the moment, however, many institutions are offering fixed rates below others' variable rates, prompting savvy borrowers to shop around. The main benefit of a fixed rate is certainty. Regardless of shifts in the economic sands, your mortgage repayments stay the same, allowing you to budget with more confidence. If official interest rates rise, your mortgage repayments are unaffected. On the flip side, of course, if interest rates drop, you won't benefit. With experts wavering on whether local interest rates will go up, down or nowhere over the next 12 months, now could be an opportune time to take advantage of special offers around fixed rates. Some lenders, for example, are offering fixed rates at 0.8 per cent lower than the standard variable rate of other institutions. On a $300,000 loan, that equates to a $200 saving in interest each month. Fixed rates are generally based on what the economy may do over the next three to four years, while variable rates are more aligned to the current cash rate, set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. At the moment, this is overlaid with the fact lenders are looking to drive movement in the market through competition. Although Australia's economy is deemed very stable against the backdrop of the European debt crises and slow economic recovery in the United States, home owners have been happy to sit on the sidelines to see how it all plays out before making any decisions about buying and selling. As a result, many financial institutions have been trying to entice us back in the game with competitive fixed rates. As with all borrowing situations, your decisions should be based on your circumstances and financial goals. However, there are some basic pros and cons that apply to fixed rates that you should consider. The biggest benefit of a fixed rate, is knowing exactly what your repayments will be for a set period - usually one to five years. This can be a real advantage if you are considering a career change, starting or expanding a family or have kids moving into private education, because it can ease the stress of budgeting. On the downside, fixed rate loans tend to be more restrictive than variable ones. You usually can't make additional payments, plus lenders generally charge high break fees if you want to exit the loan during the fixed period. If you want to tap into the benefits of both a fixed and a variable rate, consider splitting your loan so a portion of your debt is exposed to shifts in official rates - up or down - and the rest is locked into a set rate. With official interest rates sitting at affordable levels and question marks hanging over which way they will head over the next 12 months, it's worth chatting with your local Mortgage Broker about fixed rates and what the market has to offer. It may be just the move to help you face the future with some certainty.

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If you are planning to buy a new home, possibly selling your current one at the same time, this is the best order to organise things. 1) Get a Free Property Valuation from us. You will get a written notice from a professional valuation firm. If you are selling this can come in very handy during negotiations with buyers. It will also guide you in setting a price with the real estate agent who is selling your home (or if you plan to sell it yourself). If you plan to keep your current home and rent it out you will now know its rental value and how much equity you have. Tip: For a quick assessment, a useful tool is to do a �Sold� search on RealEstate.com.au and look at the real price that similar homes around you recently sold for - http://www.realestate.com.au/sold 2) Get your next home loan pre-approved. A pre-approval lasts for 3 months and doesn�t cost you anything or obligate you to that lender. In most cases you can extend that 3 months by later providing updated income evidence. Being pre-approved puts you in the strongest possible buying position. A seller is more likely to accept a lower offer if it comes from a buyer who has their finance ready to go. Also, it ensures you don�t encounter any unexpected problems or delays that could put your new home in jeopardy. Finally it means you can take some time to get the best deal you can, rather than being rushed to meet a �subject to finance� deadline. Personally, even as a Mortgage Broker myself with a good understanding of my borrowing potential, I always get pre-approved as soon as I plan to start house hunting. Tip: To give yourself the best chance of a great home loan, use this checklist: �20 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Broker�. brokerchecklistarrow If you plan to sell your home it�s now just a case of waiting for the right offer. Or if you are going to keep it, you are ready to make an offer on the next one. Any questions, just let me know, that's what I'm here for. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/brokerchecklist.pdf

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Introducing 5 great reasons to invest in property today: Do you sometimes listen to those seasoned property investors and wonder how they got started? It's quite simple actually - they probably started with just one investment property. Anyone can realise the dream of achieving your financial goals through property investment. If you're not sure why you would want to get involved, here are the five best reasons: 1. Financial Independence Now, more than ever, it's important to make sure you have steps in place if you want to live comfortably in your retirement. The retirement age seems to be increasing, and people are no longer able to rely on the aged pension as a sole source of income. If you start now you can build a property investment portfolio that will provide you with financial independence - whatever that means to you. For some people that means one investment property that provides a rental return. For others, it means building a veritable monopoly of investment properties in an apparent bid to conquer the universe. 2. Take control of your own investments The great thing about investing in property is that you're completely in control of what you purchase, and you can take steps to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of achieving excellent capital growth or rental return figures. The problem with investing in shares and superannuation is that you aren't able to control fluctuations in the market - your role is very passive. 3. Grow your portfolio as your equity increases Once you start investing in property, it's sometimes difficult to stop. One investment starts to grow which allows you to purchase another, and before you know it you have a nice little collection of properties making money for you. 4. Capital Growth If you choose wisely, you should be able to achieve strong capital growth on your investment properties. The key is to choose the right type of property in the right area. This might not be an area where you would choose to live - it just needs to be an area with lots of potential for growth. 5. Rental Income If you hope to achieve a good rental income from your investment properties, you should purchase carefully, and keep your ideal tenant in mind. If you like the idea of renting to students, make sure you look in areas near a university or very near to public transport. If you would prefer to rent to a family, schools, shopping centres and parks might be more important. But decide what's most important first: capital growth or rental return. You might not always get a great rental return in an area that has a high level of growth.

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Will a new vehicle jump-start your earnings? It�s always important to take stock and consider whether the purchase of new assets or equipment will benefit your business. Asset finance is often the answer. Financing new equipment, instead of purchasing it outright, can be a good way to preserve cash flow and working capital while adding an asset that can begin to generate immediate income. And, of course, there may be potential tax advantages that could also come your way.

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Revealed - the secrets to buying property with confidence. Getting the right property at the right price isn't good luck. Its all about being prepared and taking the right steps at the right time. Read this article - "Buying with Confidence" - for a number of quick tips to playing the home buying game on your terms. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/buyingpropertywithconfidence.pdf

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Competition among lenders for home loans remains steep but borrowers may still be missing out on great deals and important information that could save them thousands of dollars. 1. YOU CAN SET UP A LINE OF CREDIT TO HELP FUND YOUR INVESTMENT PROPERTY If you are negative gearing an investment property, you will have a shortfall between your costs and rental earnings. You can fund this gap with a line of credit (LOC) product using equity in your home or another property. Say you have a gap of about $500 each month for your investment property, including interest and other costs, such as repairs and rates. You could set up a LOC for $20,000 to fund these expenses for a period of time, which may give you a little more financial breathing room. How long the LOC holds up will depend on interest rate fluctuations and your rental costs. Like interest on your primary investment loan, the interest on this LOC is tax deductible, providing its sole use is to cover your investment expenses. One caveat: this strategy works providing there is capital growth in your investment property over the same period, otherwise you are eating into your capital gain. You also need to have some fiscal discipline and not dip into the LOC for non-investment related expenses, such as holidays. While lenders will be able to set this structure up quite easily, they are not likely to offer it up front as part of your investment loan. Talk to your broker and financial advisor about whether this strategy is a smart option for you. 2. PEOPLE WITH POOR CREDIT RATINGS CAN STILL GET HOME LOANS While it's true a poor financial record will probably make it harder for you to land a loan, the doors may not be closed. Lending criteria has tightened in the wake of the global financial crisis but there are still plenty of loans up for grabs for those with a blemished track record or little financial backing. Be prepared, however, to pay a higher interest rate than the standard offering. A Mortgage Broker will be able to help you find loans with less stringent criteria, often labelled non-conforming loans, and will help negotiate with the lender on your behalf. You should also do a budget to ensure you are able to make any repayments, lest you end up adding to your woes. 3. THERE ARE WAYS TO AVOID LENDER'S MORTGAGE INSURANCE IF YOU DON'T HAVE A 20 PER CENT DEPOSIT Lender's Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is a one-off payment by the borrower when a loan exceeds 80 per cent of the property's value. It covers the lender's risk if the borrower defaults, but does not cover any loss by the borrower. LMI can be a painful hit to the hip pocket, often running to several thousands of dollars, especially after a home buyer has scraped together the minimum deposit. One alternative to paying LMI if you have less than a 20 per cent deposit is to secure a guarantor to cover the extra stretch. A guarantor is usually a family member who is willing to put forward their property as security. One of the common myths that can scare family off is that the guarantor is then responsible for the entire loan. Not true. They only need to guarantee any amount beyond the 80 per cent loan-to-value ratio (LVR). Although it's a good idea for a guarantor to seek both financial and legal advice before committing. The advantage of securing additional funding through a guarantor is that it simply gets tacked onto your loan so you can repay it over time, rather than forking out up front for LMI. The key before you make any big decisions about home finance is to have all the facts at your fingertips. Your broker will be able to compare the products and options that are out there and size up which arrangement will work for you and your circumstances. 4. YOU HAVE FREEDOM OF CHOICE Most lenders will pitch one or two loan products to customers. But that's a tiny fraction of the number of loans available in Australia. If you want to get a grasp of the wide variety of products out there, consider a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker works for you, not the lender, and can help you tap this vast vein and find the loan that is best suited to your needs. Talk to your broker about your financial circumstances and goals so they have as much information as possible to determine the best product solution for you.

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Did you know that approximately 80% of Australians end up on some form of government assistance in retirement? Did you also know that ONLY 20% of Australians invest in property? Coincidence you think? I'd say not. You could probably afford an investment property for less than the repayments on a small car. So rather than upgrading your car as soon as it is paid off, consider building wealth for your future. Have a look at this short article for more details - Are You Driving Your Investment Property.pdf https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/areyoudrivingyourinvestmentproperty.pdf

Australia has once again become a nation of savers. No longer is debt de rigeur. In this post-GFC era we prefer to play it safe with lower levels of debt and are looking for ways to be debt-free faster. Savvy savers are making the most of low interest rates and their savings by maximising offset accounts. An offset account is essentially a savings account that is linked to a loan account. Instead of earning interest on your savings deposit, the funds are used to offset the loan account. Your loan repayment remains the same, but more of it is used to pay off the principal, reducing the life of your loan and slashing the amount of interest paid. How offset accounts work Lenders generally offer two types of offset accounts: full offset or partial offset. A full offset account offers you the same interest rate on your savings as what is charged on your home loan. For example, if you have a $100,000 home loan with interest charged at 6%, plus $10,000 in an offset account earning 6%, the lender will offset your loan balance with your offset account balance and only calculate interest on $90,000. A partial offset account only offers you a standard savings rate, which is lower than the interest charged on your home loan, so one does not completely offset the other. Using the same example as above, a partial offset account might charge the same 6% on the loan but only offer 4% on the savings. Instead of one lot of interest completely offsetting the other, you would pay a reduced interest rate of 2% (the difference between 6% and 4%) on $10,000 of your loan. Many borrowers opt for a 100% offset account to take full advantage of this feature, but speak to your broker for more information about this type of account. Benefits An offset account still allows you to make extra payments on the loan. However, instead of paying more into your actual mortgage, you maintain as high a balance as possible in your savings. This reduces the interest and life span on your loan but gives you all the access and flexibility of a regular savings account, should you need it. Some lenders even allow you to set up an offset account with a fixed rate loan, giving you certainty around your payments plus the opportunity to get ahead of the debt. There is also the added benefit of a tax incentive. Because the interest is essentially not earned, you don't have to include it in your taxable income. Still in the nest The key to maximising an offset account is to maintain as high a savings balance as possible. The first step to flesh out your finances is to have your salary paid directly into your savings account. Then it's a matter of keeping your money in the savings account for as long as possible. One of the most effective tools is a credit card with a generous interest-free period. Look for a lender offering 55 days interest free. While it may seem strange to use credit to save, putting as many costs as possible on a card with a long interest-free period can be an effective loan buster. The interest-free period allows you to squirrel away as much of your pay, and any other earnings, for as long as possible to maximise your interest earnings. You just need to make sure you pay off your credit card debt in full before the interest-free period runs out. What you should consider An offset account can be a very effective strategy to stay one step ahead of your home loan, providing your spending does not outstrip your savings and you leave your funds to grow over time. You also need savings to start an offset account. The whole concept fails if you don't have any savings to leverage in the first instance. You then need to ensure you can maintain surplus cashflow, especially if taking advantage of a credit card with an extended interest-free period. If that's the case, you will need to be disciplined with expenses, payments and timing. If tempted to put too much on the plastic, the credit card tactic may become a debt trap. Similarly, if you don't want to be tempted to overspend, you may be better off injecting any spare funds straight into your loan repayments instead of turning to an offset account. Look for an offset account that still gives you the standard benefits of a regular savings account: ATM, EFTPOS and telephone and internet banking. Although the aim is to maximise your savings, you still want to be able to access and use your funds as you would with any regular savings account. Lenders also often charge a higher home loan rate for an offset account. Ask your broker to help you shop around for the most competitive option to suit your circumstances. If you are still paying off your home or an investment property, but also managing to sock away some savings, an offset account could help you be debt-free faster. Talk to your broker about your circumstances to find out which options may work best for you.

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Finally - your survival guide to a joint bank account: It's the one proposal that never appears in romantic movies. It doesn't involve a big diamond, and it won't lead you down a flower-adorned aisle to the tune of 'the wind beneath my wings'. For some, it's an exciting affirmation that the relationship is becoming more serious. For others, it can be a disaster waiting to happen. So 'what's this proposal?' you ask. It goes a little something like this... "Honey, do you want to open a joint bank account?" 10 little words that will either melt your heart, or have it beating double time in sheer panic. So how do you avoid joint account disaster? Is it ever a good idea to entwine your finances? Like many other financial decisions, this one is best served with a healthy dose of discussion, and some planning. It's crucial to compare notes early on, and ensure that you're both on the same page when it comes to matters of the wallet. Clear the air One of the biggest relationship-killers is money. Some people feel that money is a necessary evil, something that comes and goes, pale in comparison to experiences and relationships. Other people see money as a means to achieving freedom and happiness, and have clear financial goals in mind. You might be very compatible in many ways, but it's possible that you have very different attitudes about money. It's important to have some open discussions about your financial situation before you open a joint account. Plan a budget Discuss what your joint account will be used for. Many couples have a joint account for the rent and household bills, and they each deposit an agreed portion of their pay. The remainder stays in personal accounts to be used for savings, leisure or personal shopping. It's important that both parties are clear about which expenses can be paid out of the joint account. This will avoid arguments when one party tries to pay the gas bill, only to find that their partner has withdrawn that money for a friend's birthday present. Sharing is caring It might be a difficult topic, but this is the time to be honest about what you have, what you owe and what you earn. If one partner earns significantly more than the other, you will need to work out whether you both deposit the same amount into the account every month. If one partner has significant debts, it's vital to get this out in the open to avoid problems down the track. With a bit of planning and some candid conversations, your relationship can survive the joint account challenge.

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Did you hear about this great win for home buyers? Australian home owners scored a win on July 1 2011 when lenders were banned from charging exit fees on home loans, making it more enticing for borrowers to shop around for a better deal. Exit fees were generally charged for the first four or five years of a mortgage to discourage borrowers from switching to a competitor before the lender had made a profit on the loan. Unable to now charge exit fees on variable loans, many lenders are making sure they cover their costs upfront with higher set-up fees. If you are thinking of switching, you should make sure you get all the facts and compare like with like so what you gain in the short term isn't lost in the long run. Take into account loan establishment fees, ongoing account fees, the cost of any property valuations required by your new lender and settlement fees when doing your sums on how much you will be saving by switching. Exit fees also shouldn't be confused with break fees on fixed rate loans. Lenders can and do still charge a fairly hefty fee if you exit a loan during a fixed term. Break fees on fixed rate loans are usually based on: the interest rate you locked in, compared to the current market interest rate; the length of time remaining on your fixed-rate term; and your original loan amount. They can run into thousands of dollars, and remain a formidable deterrent to fixed rate customers thinking of a switch. One of the best ways to get a helicopter view of what it will cost you to switch and what you stand to gain is to talk to your local Mortgage Broker. That way you can be sure if you close the door on your current loan, you are stepping forward financially.

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How to fix a broken Credit Record. Do you know what a lender will find when they look at your credit history report? For many borrowers, it's not until they apply for a loan that they even lay eyes on this document for the first time. Unfortunately, this is also when many people find out that their credit history is less than perfect. There are lots of little mistakes you can easily stumble into when you're not focussing on maintaining a healthy credit record. Don't despair though - there are also ways to fix them, as long as you're willing to be a little proactive. Multiple Applications Some people cast a very wide net when applying for a home loan. They complete applications with a variety of lenders in the hope that one of them will be approved. This tactic might have been a great idea when you were applying to universities, but it's the worst possible way to apply for a home loan. Unfortunately when you apply for a loan and you aren't successful for any reason, this is noted on your credit record. There may be logical reasons for your application being declined - sometimes it's as simple as not being a customer of that particular bank. The problem is, when you have a few of these on your record it can start to appear that you aren't a very good risk for a lender - since so many other lenders have already said no. The best way around this is to engage a mortgage broker, who will investigate on your behalf before lodging and application with the most appropriate lender for your personal circumstances. Digging your heels in Let's face it - there are some companies out there who are just shocking to deal with. If you spend a lot of time on the phone arguing over incorrect bills, you're not alone. After lots of phone calls, it might seem like a good idea to ignore that incorrect phone bill and hope that it goes away. The problem with that approach - the bill might be listed as a default on your permanent record. For your own best interests, it's probably better to pay the bill, and then dispute it afterwards. Not keeping on top of your bills If you have moved house a couple of times, or if you don't have the best filing systems in place, it's possible that you might have misplaced or neglected to pay the occasional bill. Sometimes people have defaults listed on their credit history report due to moving house, and not receiving any bills or reminders relating to the debt. Make sure that you have proper mail redirections in place when you move, and make a list of companies to update your details with as soon as possible. If you have these sorts of defaults on your credit history report, you might be able to have them removed by communicating directly with the company who reported the default. Failing this, you might be able to lodge a dispute through a credit reporting body such as Veda.

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When buying a home doing things in a certain order can make it a lot less stressful. I hope my one-page Step by Step Guide to Buying a Home has some tips that may help when buying your next home. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/astepbystepguidetobuyingahome.pdf

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Do you feel a bit ill when you open the letterbox and see your credit card statement? It's happened to most of us at some point - a few untimely expenses pop up, and suddenly that credit card has a life of its own. The good news? There is hope. You can get control of your credit card debt today with a few simple steps. Stop the bleeding It might sound obvious, but the first step to cutting down your credit card debt is to stop growing it. If you have any direct debits connected to the card, make other arrangements for these to come out of a bank account. Then, use whatever means necessary to destroy the card so that you can stop accruing debt. Pay more than the bare minimum If you only pay the minimum amount each month, you'll see many birthdays waiting for your credit card debt to decrease. In most cases, you will only be paying the interest on the debt without reducing what you owe. It's time to sit down and make a budget, and look for ways to pay as much as possible off your credit card each month. Work out your priorities If you have debts on more than one credit card, your instinct might be to pay the largest amount off as a priority. Alternatively, try focussing on the card with the highest interest rate. It's also worth knocking over your smaller cards first (and then cancelling them) so that you can concentrate on one monthly repayment. Try a balance transfer Many lenders offer great introductory rates on new credit cards. Some even offer rates of 0% for the first 6 or 12 months. This presents a great opportunity to work on getting your balance down, without being charged interest. Beware though - it's important to investigate what your interest rate will be after the introductory period. It's also vital that you do pay as much as possible off the balance. If you don't reduce your debt, and if the standard interest rate is higher than what you had before - you will only do further damage. Save for a rainy day Many of us get into trouble with credit cards because we don't have adequate savings when something unexpected comes up. While you work hard at reducing that credit card debt, try to put a little bit in savings each month and build up a buffer. That way if you suddenly need a new set of tyres or a hot water service, you won't undo all of your good work by whacking it on the credit card. Put your hand up If you can't seem to get control of your finances and you feel like the situation is getting worse every day, it might be time to ask for some help. There are experienced financial counsellors and legal representatives who can help you to make a plan and get back on top of things again.

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How to be a Mortgage Master! We can't control the economy but we can control our budgets. Borrowers should do what they can to pay off their loans fast while times are good. 1. Pretend rates are higher One of the biggest mistakes mortgage-holders make is pocketing the savings from reduced interest rates. The problem is they're usually spent, instead of being socked away. Try working to a tighter budget, where you make home loan repayments at the rate of 9% per annum. If, for example, you have a $250,000 mortgage over 30 years with an interest rate of 7%, you'll save nearly 11.5 years and a whopping $150,000 if you pretend the rate is 9% and pay an extra $350 a month. What's more, if rates do climb, you will be well prepared financially to cope with them. 2. Make more frequent payments Switching from monthly to fortnightly payments can slice years and thousands of dollars off your mortgage, with minimal disruption to your budget. By halving the monthly repayments and paying fortnightly on a $300,000 mortgage over 30 years, you'll save more than six years and more than $100,000 over the life of the loan. 3. Make the most of windfalls Put away the travel brochures and get into the habit of spending your tax return and/or professional bonuses on your home loan instead. You should also channel any annual pay rises into extra repayments (if the terms and conditions of your loan allow you to do so without penalty payments). Providing your loan has a redraw facility, you should be able to access the funds if the need arises. 4. Offset with savings Link your home loan to an offset account, where your savings are offset against the principal, reducing the amount of interest you pay. The more you have in savings, the lower your repayments. 5. Small change - big difference Grab the kids' piggy bank and start stashing your gold coins. You won't miss one or two dollars in change, but it can make a big dent in your mortgage if deposited regularly over long periods. Just an extra $20 a fortnight will shave nearly $15,800 or more than 1.25 years off a $300,000, 30 year loan. Pack your lunch and forgo a take-away coffee each day and your interest savings soar to more than $40,000! 6. Ask your Mortgage Broker to shop around We shop around for the latest technology deals but probably don't go to the same lengths for our loans. Lenders can no longer charge mortgage exit fees if you decide to break a variable home loan, so there has never been a better time to ask your broker to shop around for a better deal. Your existing lender may even come to the party with a lower interest rate in a bid to keep your business. 7. Bank on your local Mortgage Broker Let your broker do the legwork to find the best loan for your circumstances. You may qualify for a package deal with a discounted interest rate over the life of the loan, which could save you thousands. Your broker also has access to a wide range of banks and credit unions, including more boutique lenders who may be prepared to offer more than the majors.

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If things have changed recently - a Home Loan Update may be in order. When I speak to clients I am often surprised at how much their lives have changed since we last spoke. Some have married or unmarried, had children, changed jobs, bought a car, got carried away with their credit cards or even changed their financial goals all together! Sometimes real life gets in the way of our best laid plans and juggling the family finances becomes a challenge. If your life has changed, it is definitely worth spending a little time for a financial check up. It doesn't cost anything for me to take a look at your situation and see if there is any way I can help you get set for the next set of changes in your life. Don't worry about wasting my time if you don't need a new loan. My job is to give you ongoing guidance on the lending options which are right for you and your future. We might not need to change anything at all. However, the banks change their loan offerings constantly and it can be hard to keep track of whether you are in the best loan or could be getting a better deal elsewhere. Satisfy your curiosity and give yourself some peace of mind. Give me a call today. Or if you prefer, you could even just fill out this form and fax or email it to me and then I'll get back to you with some ideas. Looking forward to catching up with you soon. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/lifeandfinanceupdate.pdf

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Federal and State Governments review their incentive schemes for First Home Buyers with each annual Budget. To find out the latest benefits you are eligible for, visit http://www.firsthome.gov.au/. If you have any questions or would like some help in obtaining all the benefits you can, I'm here to help. http://www.firsthome.gov.au/

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Fixed rate loans - Safety Net or Hostage Situation? Do you buy your movie tickets before you leave the house? Do you like to book a table at a restaurant to make sure you don't miss out? There is a certain comfort in knowing what's going to happen, especially when it comes to planning your financial future. If you worry about the ups and downs of the official cash rate, and the possibility of your home loan repayments increasing without warning, a fixed rate loan could be your new best friend. Fixed interest rates are a kind of insurance policy that protect you against the financial pressure caused by interest rate movements. Depending on your personal situation, you might struggle to meet your repayments if interest rates were to rapidly increase. If you opt for a variable interest rate, you have no control over fluctuations in the market. Ideally, you should have allowed for a few rate rises when deciding how much to borrow. But if you stretched your limit in order to buy your dream property, then fixing your interest rate is a great safety net. Fixed rate loans allow you to be sure about your exact repayment figures for a fixed period of time. This is great for borrowers on a tight budget - because you never have to worry about interest rate fluctuations during the fixed period. The purpose of a fixed rate loan is not to save you money on interest. Generally, these loans will cost you more in interest. Fixed rates are usually higher than variable rates, so the only way this approach will save you money, is if there is a rapid fluctuation in interest rates, and the standard variable rate climbs significantly above your fixed rate. A fixed rate could cost you money if interest rates fall. You will be locked into a higher rate when other people are enjoying a reprieve. You need to decide if you're happy to take this risk and fix your rate for a period of time. The biggest risk of going fixed is the penalties that you will incur if you need to get out of the loan. Many lenders charge enormous discharge fees for borrowers leaving during the fixed interest rate period. It's also very difficult to change your loan during the fixed period, and generally you can't make any lump sum repayments. If you have a variable rate loan, it's a great idea to regularly review your needs every few months. You might decide that the time is right to fix your rate, depending on your circumstances, and the fixed interest rates on offer. Beware of sitting on the fence. Many lenders promote the concept of 50/50 fixed and variable rate loans. Some borrowers see this as a risk-free alternative to choosing either fixed or variable rates. Keep in mind - if you choose to fix part of your loan and leave the other part variable, you will still be locked in because of the fixed portion of the loan.

How to buy with a friend - without killing the friendship or your credit rating Have you ever heard the expression, 'no friends in business'? It's an oldie but a goodie. This is the attitude you should bring when considering buying property with a friend. Many good friendships have gone under the bus, and lots of people have taken a bullet to their credit rating by not giving this decision adequate thought. So what are the risks involved with co-ownership, especially when you purchase with a friend? What if one owner wants to sell? One of the biggest problems with co-ownership is when one owner decides they want to sell the property, but the other owners don't agree. This often ends up in court, and the process can be costly and upsetting for everyone. And needless to say - the friendship probably won't survive. Buying could be harder in the future. It might seem like the dream scenario to invest now with your best friend. But if you decide in a few years to purchase a home to live in, the lender will assess your financial commitments based on the whole loan for the first property, not just the portion that you agreed to cover. This could make it very difficult for you to get another loan. You could be left holding the baby. If something happens and your friend is unable to make their repayments, you could be left in the difficult situation of repaying the entire loan by yourself. Coupled with your other living expenses, you might not be in a position to cover the whole amount yourself. But there are some ways that you can reduce the risk, if you are keen to purchase property with a friend: 1) Put a legal will in place. It's important to make arrangements for what will happen to your assets if you pass away or become incapacitated. 2) Draw up a co-ownership agreement. If you can think about any issues that might possibly come up in the future, and have an agreement in place to solve them, you're less likely to wind up in court trying to work things out. 3) Choose the right structure - tenants in common, or joint tenants. Tenants in common can own a different portion of the property, and they need to specify in their will who will inherit their portion if they die. Joint tenants jointly and equally own the property, and if one person dies, their share automatically goes to the other(s) regardless of the instructions in their will. 4) Choose the right person. It's important to discuss your financial goals and values before you enter into this sort of arrangement. You need to feel comfortable knowing that your friend will be financially secure enough to keep up their end of the bargain - otherwise you might be left trying to cover the repayments alone. It's important to think about your own relationships as well, if your partner is keen for you to buy a house together next year, you might want to think about how this first investment might impact your borrowing power.

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Finance new equipment to generate new income.

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Happy Easter! Wishing you a fun-filled day. Sending Easter blessings your way! May this holiday bring you peace, love, and hope. ️✝️

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It seems Australians' love affair with renovating continues to blossom. We forked out more than $28 billion on refurbishments last financial year, with that figure set to jump further over the next three, according to the Housing Industry Association. But when it comes to remodelling, money spent does not necessarily translate to money made. Unfortunately, many renovators get caught up with lifestyle choices and lose sight of the need to add value. Whether you plan to live in, rent out or sell a property, you need to consider it an investment, which means avoiding over-capitalising. The key is to do your homework on local property values, understand your finance and capability limits and stick to them. Sometimes the latter can be easier said than done, so follow our tips to help avoid turning your property into a money pit. Consider being an owner-builder The label is a bit of a misnomer as it implies you will be the one with hammer in hand throughout the job. In reality an owner-builder is essentially a project manager. So the first question you should ask before taking on the task is whether you have time, energy and organisation skills. If the answer to any of these is �no� then steer clear and hire a licensed builder to take on the project from start to finish. But if you feel you are up to the challenge, there can be significant savings in being an owner-builder, mainly because you choose the tradespeople and materials and have complete control over the entire project. You can, of course, still work on the project yourself, adding to your savings. Even if you�re not an expert, you might offer to labour for your chosen bricklayer or plasterer, saving time and money. The key to being a successful owner-builder is having time to manage the project properly. You will need time to find the right tradies and materials at the right price, co-ordinate who is on site and when, and answer any questions along the way, all of which can be incredibly taxing. You also need to ensure you have approval from your council and State building authority and relevant insurances in place. A visit to your council is your best starting point for any renovation as they will advise on approval and licensing requirements. DIY vs expert tradies You know we are a nation of would-be DIYers when renovation-based reality TV out-rates most other programs. While it�s tempting to take to the tools to save a few bucks, there are lots of things that can go wrong, which is probably why the TV shows rate so well. Unless you are extremely skilled and have plenty of time, renovating is an area where only qualified experts should dare to tread. Sure, there are some tasks novices can tackle with care � pulling up flooring materials, stripping old paintwork, dismantling cabinets and painting � but most trades require experience, expertise and, above all, safety. In 2011, a National Injury Surveillance Unit reported more than 25,000 hospital visits due to DIY-related mishaps. At Sydney Hospital�s hand unit alone, they claim to see at least one injury from a power tool every week. Apart from the risk to life and limb, serious injuries can drain your funds, especially if you need to take extended time off work and have no income protection insurance. You may well find what you aimed to save in the first place is soon lost on household bills, sinking you into unforeseen debt. Designing with your head not your heart One of the main reasons we renovate is to improve our lifestyle, which is where many remodels go awry. It might make sense to add an ensuite, which is very likely to add value, but do you need the European bidet and Carrara marble vanity? The answer lies in the demography of your suburb � who lives there now and who is likely to be living there in the future. These are the factors that influence property prices and ultimately determine how much you should spend on your renovation. Do your homework on recent sales of similar homes in your area, taking into account the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, which are the key influencers of price. You should also consider water or city views, which tend to push property prices up. You will find property types in your suburb have a price ceiling. Your aim is to ensure your renovation doesn�t push the cost of your property through that ceiling, or else you have over-capitalised. You also need to remember that property cost does not equal property value, which is determined by how much someone is prepared to pay. Consider how long you plan to stay This is a key consideration because time can have a big impact on property prices. If you plan on staying in your renovated home for more than five years you may be able to spend closer to your local property price ceiling than if you were looking for a quick turn-around. That�s because capital gain over those years could eclipse your renovation costs. However, you will also be paying interest on your home loan over that time and when combined with renovating expenses, you may not be as far in front as you had hoped. If you have bought a fixer-upper and are looking for a fast turnaround, you will need to be quite clever and restrained with your project. Focus on elements that will add immediate value (see information below) and avoid unnecessary frills, such as expensive curtains, which may only end up getting replaced by new owners.

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Do you know the difference between how much you 'can' borrow, and how much you 'should' borrow? There might be a very big difference between how much a lender is willing to give you, and how much you can comfortably afford to repay. So how do you work out your real 'should' borrowing capacity? Don't you want to be sure that you can afford to make the repayments on your loan? Lenders will take into account your ability to repay the loan, based on what you earn, how many dependants you have, what your credit rating is, and your declared living expenses. However, lenders only know what you tell them, and there are a few things you need to take into account that might not be considered by a lender when deciding on your borrowing capacity: Job Security How secure do you think your job is? If you've worked for the same company for several years and earn a decent wage, your lender will view this very favourably. But have you been hearing murmurs about a possible restructure? Do you work in a department that could potentially be outsourced offshore? You're in a much better position to assess your job security than a lender is, and you need to be realistic. If you commit to the maximum loan amount and then your role is made redundant, you might struggle to keep up your end of the bargain. Job Satisfaction Your excellent employment history was a definite tick for your lender, but how do you feel deep down about your job? Have you just been hanging on until you can get finance approved? If this is the case, think carefully about how much you should borrow. You might need to take a pay cut early on, if you decide to move into a different line of work. Family Planning You answered 'zero' when asked about your dependants, which contributed to the assessment your lender made when offering you a bumper loan. But what if you were suddenly expecting a child, or if you decide to expand your family a few years down the track? Your Lifestyle You might be able to 'afford' the repayments on a big loan, but what happens when mother's day, your brother's birthday and your car registration all come around at once and you need some extra cash? Or maybe you would like to take a holiday at some stage next year. Don't leave yourself short, or it's going to be a very long 25 to 30 years. Your other goals Would you really love to continue your studies in a few years? Do you dream of taking off for a few months to take the kids around Australia? Don't forget about your other dreams and goals when you work out how much to borrow. You still need to have a life, and some things are more important than having a spare room for your shoe collection.

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Do you have a big ticket item you would like to purchase but aren't sure the best way to do it? There are many different ways we can buy things - some better than others. There are also some that can end up costing you way more than you might realise. To give you a few new ideas, please have a look at my short "9 Ways to Pay for My Racehorse (or holiday, pool, car ...)" PDF article. https://www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/email/files/9waystopayformyracehorse.pdf

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Over 55% of Australian borrowers (including 65% of first home buyers) choose to use mortgage brokers to secure their loans. https://www.afgonline.com.au/broker/keep-competition-alive/

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Discover the pros and cons of each type of home loan: There are literally hundreds of home loans available, with new products emerging all the time. A professional Mortgage Broker can recommend a loan for your particular needs, help you to complete the paperwork, professionally package it with your supporting documents and submit it to your chosen lender. If you want to do some homework first, pop your details into the clever loan option tool or work out monthly or fortnightly repayments with the calculators on our website. When you're ready, get in touch with me to discuss the next steps. Here's a snapshot of the main types of home loans and some of their pros and cons. A) Variable Standard variable loans are the most popular home loan in Australia. Interest rates go up or down over the life off the loan depending on the official rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia and funding costs. Your regular repayments pay off both the interest and some of the principal. You can also choose a basic variable loan, which offers a discounted interest rate but has fewer loan features, such as a redraw facility and repayment flexibility. Pros - If interest rates fall, the size of your minimum repayments will too. - Standard variable loans allow you to make extra repayments. Even small extra payments can cut the length and cost of your mortgage. - Basic variable loans often don't come with a redraw facility, removing the temptation to spend money you've already paid off your loan. Cons - If interest rates rise, the size of your repayments will too. - Increased loan repayments due to rate rises could impact your household budget, so make sure you take potential interest rate hikes into account when working out how much money to borrow. - You need to be disciplined around the redraw facility on a standard variable loan. If you dip into it too often, it will take much longer and cost more to pay off your loan. - If you have a basic variable loan, you won't be able to pay it off quicker or get access to money you have already repaid if you ever need it. B) Fixed The interest rate is fixed for a certain period, usually the first one to five years of the loan. This means your regular repayments stay the same regardless of changes in interest rates. At the end of the fixed period you can decide whether to fix the rate again, at whatever rate lenders are offering, or move to a variable loan. Pros - Your regular repayments are unaffected by increases in interest rates. - You can manage your household budget better during the fixed period, knowing exactly how much is needed to repay your home loan. Cons - If interest rates go down, you don't benefit from the decrease. Your regular repayments stay the same. - You can end up paying more than someone with a variable loan if rates remain higher under your agreed fixed rate for a prolonged period. - There is very limited opportunity for additional repayments during the fixed rate period. - You may be penalised financially if you exit the loan before the end of the fixed rate period. C) Split rate loans Your loan amount is split, so one part is variable, and the other is fixed. You decide on the proportion of variable and fixed. You enjoy some of the flexibility of a variable loan along with the certainty of a fixed rate loan. Pros - Your regular repayments will vary less when interest rates change, making it easier to budget. - If interest rates fall, your regular repayments on the variable portion will too. - You can repay the variable part of the loan quicker if you wish. Cons - If interest rates rise, your regular repayments on the variable portion will too. - Only limited additional repayments of the fixed rate portion are allowed. - You will be penalised financially if you exit the fixed portion of the loan early. D) Interest only You repay only the interest on the amount borrowed usually for the first one to five years of the loan, although some lenders offer longer terms. Because you're not also paying off the principal, your monthly repayments are lower. At the end of the interest-only period, you begin to pay off both interest and principal. These loans are especially popular with investors who plan to pay off the principal when the property is sold, having achieved capital growth. Pros - Lower regular repayments during the interest only period. - If it is not a fixed rate loan, you have the flexibility to pay off, and often redraw, the principal at your convenience. Cons - At the end of the interest only period you have the same level of debt as when you started. - If you're not able to extend your interest-only period, you could face the possibility of increased repayments. - You could face a sudden increase in regular repayments at the end of the interest-only period. E) Line of Credit You can pay into and withdraw from your home loan every month, so long as you keep up the regular required repayments. Many people choose to have their salary paid into their line of credit account. This type of loan is good for people who want to maximise their income to pay off their mortgage quickly and/or who want maximum flexibility in their access to funds. Pros - You can use your income to help reduce interest charges and pay off your mortgage quicker. - Provides great flexibility for you to access available funds. - You can consolidate spending and debt management in a single account. Cons - Without proper monitoring and discipline, you won't pay off the principal and will continue to carry or increase your level of debt. - Line of credit loans usually carry slightly higher interest rates. F) Introductory/Honeymoon Originally designed for first-home buyers, but now available more widely, introductory loans offer a discounted interest rate for the first six to 12 months, before the rate reverts to the usual variable interest rate. Pros - Lower regular repayments for an initial 'honeymoon' period. Cons - Loans may have restrictions, such as no redraw facilities, for the entire length of the loan. - You may be locked into a period of higher interest rates at the expiry of the honeymoon period G) Low doc Popular with self-employed people, these loans require less documentation or proof of income than most, but often carry higher interest rates or require a larger deposit because of the perceived higher lender risk. In most cases you will be financially better off getting together full documentation for another type of loan. But if this isn't possible, a low doc loan may be a good option to secure the funds you need. Pros - Lower requirement for evidence of income. - May overlook non-existent or poor credit rating. Cons - You will probably pay higher interest than with other home loan types, or may need a larger deposit, or both.

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Are a few unfamiliar words stopping you from building wealth? Are you thinking about dipping your foot in with property investment, but don't really know where to start? There is a lot of information out there, but many first-time investors become overwhelmed by all the technical stuff. Don't panic though - here is a list of some of the most common phrases to do with property investment - and they have been de-mystified for you. Capital gain Capital gain occurs when the property increases in value, over and above what you paid for it, and what you have spent on repayments, improvements and additional costs. So if you purchased a property for $200,000, and you spent $40,000 on improvements, and $50,000 on repayments - then you sold the property for $350,000, your gross capital gain would be $60,000. Equity Equity is the difference between what you owe on your loan, and how much your property is worth. You can build equity by investing in property that is likely to increase in value, while you work to reduce your loan amount. If you purchase a property for $300,000 and you put down a $30,000 deposit you would owe $270,000. Therefore you have $30,000 equity in the property. Investment Strategy Your investment strategy is the plan that you make, taking into account your financial goals. Are you looking for a way to get a quick win - and only plan to focus on short term gain? Or are you looking to build an investment portfolio over a number of years or decades? This could be something to discuss with your accountant or financial planner, as well as your mortgage broker. Interest only loans Interest only loans allow you to borrow money and only repay the interest for a specific period of time. Usually the interest only period lasts from 1 to 5 years. These loans are helpful if you're focussing on short term gain, and plan to sell the property within the first few years. Introductory rate loans 'Honeymoon rate' loans offer a lower interest rate for a short period at the beginning of the loan, before you return to standard variable interest rates. These loans can be attractive for owner builders, or those planning to achieve a short term gain on their investment. The lower repayments mean that you could pay more off your loan balance in the short term. Line of credit A line of credit is a pre-approved amount of money that you can borrow when you need it - either as a lump sum or in small portions. This option is popular with experienced investors, who are always on the lookout for their next property purchase, and need to be able to move quickly. Redraw facility A redraw facility allows you to make extra repayments against your loan, and then take the money back later if you need it. This is a great feature for people buying and selling multiple investment properties. All in one accounts All in one accounts are designed so that all of your income goes to the one place, and the account is used for your loan as well as all of your expenses. Because everything goes into this account, the amount that you owe will be reduced. Be sure to look into all of the fees involved with this option. Offset account An offset account is a savings account linked with your loan which reduces the interest you pay. Your lender will take your savings into account and deduct this figure from what you owe before calculating your interest. Construction loans If you're building a home and you don't need to borrow the full amount upfront, a construction loan allows you to only pay interest on the amount that you have spent. Bridging finance Bridging finance is designed to help you purchase one property before you sell the other. Once you sell the old property, the funds are paid straight into the loan for the new property. The danger here is, if you don't sell the old property as quickly as you thought, you will be responsible for servicing a much larger loan. Of course, there's so much more to think about when you start looking for an investment property. But armed with some of the lingo - you will be an expert in no time.

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