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The Reserve Bank removed LVR rules until 2021 – what does it mean for you?

As you’ll have heard, in April 2020, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand decided to remove loan-to-value restrictions for a full year.

So, if you were working hard to put together a deposit for a property purchase, you may be wondering: what does this mean for me? Here are some key things to know.

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Using debt to regain control of your finances

Many of us have been keeping a closer eye on our finances in the past few months.

Whether you’re a homeowner with a mortgage or someone with a higher credit card balance than you’re comfortable with, here’s how you can use debt for short-term relief and long-term resilience.

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Will low interest rates support the property market?

Unsurprisingly, the number of properties sold across New Zealand dropped significantly in April, according to the Real Estate Institute. Will low interest rates provide stimulus to the property market? Here’s what some economists expect for the next few months.

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Have enough Life Insurance to cover your mortgage?

Have enough Life Insurance to cover your mortgage?

Do you have a mortgage? Along with Income Protection and Trauma Cover, Life Insurance is one of the types of covers that are best suited to a homeowner’s needs. But how can you make sure that you have the right level of coverage? Here are some tips to get you started.

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A beginner’s guide to home-buying methods

Buying your first home is one of life’s big milestones. Maybe you’ve been renting for a while and would like to settle into your own place, or you’re looking to join the property investment market.

Whatever the case, here’s an outline of four common sale methods, so you know what to expect when the time comes along.

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Six steps to owning your first home

Six steps to owning your first home

Attending open houses, weighing pros and cons, stress-testing your finances… Finding your potential first home can be exciting and daunting at the same time. But even if your journey to home ownership takes a few turns, the main thing is not to go off course.

How can you make sure that a certain property is ‘the one’? And what happens if it is? Here’s a handy checklist to get you started.

How much can you borrow?

This is the first of all mortgage questions, the key to understanding what you can afford to buy. Of course, the answer depends on your personal circumstances, including your income and credit score.

Banks’ online calculators can be a first step, but for a more accurate figure, you may need your mortgage to be pre-approved by one or more lenders – which is something we can help you with.

Ask a mortgage specialist

Before you restrict your choice to what your bank has to offer, consider the peace of mind of having an expert work for you. As mortgage advisers, we can shop around and find the best deals, while also helping you design the right home loan structure and repayment strategy.

Get the pulse of the market

While looking for a house, you may find yourself spending hours on websites like Trade Me – Property Insights and Homes.co.nz. And with good reason: they are the go-to tools for getting basic information on sold prices, rateable valuations and estimated market values.

However, those are just rough estimates. To get the real picture, you might need to put on some comfortable shoes on, because it’s time for field work.

Open homes, open homes, open homes

Finding your potential first home may require legwork and tenacity. The more open homes you visit, the more you’ll be able to piece together a clear idea of your desired property, neighbourhood and features. It’s also a good idea to let two or three real estate agents know what you’re looking for – they may keep you in the loop, and you won’t miss out on a great opportunity.

More than meets the eye?

So you finally found it: your potential first home. But before you let the excitement take over and dive head-first into home ownership, there’s one important question to ask: are there any problems lurking in the shadows?
Sure, real estate agents must tell you about any issues they’re aware of – but what if they don’t know everything?

There are ways to save yourself from making an expensive mistake. A lawyer can identify contractual issues and problematic clauses, while a qualified inspector can check out the property from top to bottom, looking for hidden defects and structural issues. Their reports usually cost around $1,000 and are worth every cent.

Time to make an offer

If you’ve come this far and are confident that this is exactly the property you want, there’s just one final step left – making an offer. Depending on the type of sale, you may have to win a property auction, negotiate the price with the seller, or put down your bid and hope that yours is the highest (tender).

Whatever the case, if possible, try not to overbid. Setting a strict budget may help you keep emotional judgements to a minimum, allowing you to cross the finish line on your terms.

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First-home buyer? Looking for creative paths to home-ownership?

The Kiwi dream of owning a house is not over – it’s simply taking a new direction.

According to BNZ Financial Futures Research, a growing number of first-home buyers are thinking laterally, and are planning to enter the housing market through property investment.

BNZ asked aspirational first-home buyers what they were prepared to do to get on the property ladder. Notably, 44 percent said they would buy a rental in a more affordable neighbourhood, town or region, and become a ‘renter-landlord’. Other respondents said they would consider shared ownership and join forces with friends (14%) or family (30%). Also interestingly, 19 percent said they would buy land outside of the city they lived in and build from scratch.

A response to rising prices

BNZ’s findings paint an interesting picture of the current housing market: property investment is no longer viewed as an ‘exclusive club’ but rather a creative, non-traditional route into homeownership. Some would say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. [Read more…]

Get your house sale-ready in five steps

Looking at selling your house? How can you make sure your home truly shows off all of its features? As a would-be seller, you can take a few steps to win buyers’ hearts and maximise the potential of your property. Check out the quick tips below.   [Read more…]

Mortgage Talk

Mortgage Calculator - Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.netHouse purchases have been trickling along over the last few months, with no apparent slow on the market felt from the Reserve Bank’s imposed restrictions on lending. REINZ data show a 2.1 percent increase on October 2012, and an increase of 0.9 percent compared to September 2013.

Housing market indicators provided by the REINZ (October 2013) show house prices are up by 7.2 percent annually, Auckland up by 9.7 percent and the Central Otago Lakes a staggering 19.5 percent. [Read more…]