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#1 Property Valuations: Maximising Your Property’s Worth


Refinancing your mortgage to get a better deal or to use the equity in your property means arranging a valuation of your property to determine its value. Getting a lower than expected valuation can affect the interest rate your lender offers as well as the amount of equity you’re able to tap into. Here’s how to maximise your property’s valuation.



Clean things up

Presentation is probably the most important thing to take care of when you have an upcoming valuation. This is your opportunity to present the best first impression of your property, starting with the exterior. Along with a tidy up of the garden and front yard, repaint the outside of your home if necessary or ensure at the very least that the exterior walls and windows are clean.

Some simple things you could do include:

  • Mowing the lawns and tidying the garden.
  • Vacuuming and cleaning the property to a presentable standard.
  • Washing and packing away any dishes.
  • Putting clothes away and ensuring beds are made.
  • Sanitising bathrooms. 

Make it easy

Provide the valuer with information like recent property sales in your area, your municipal rates notice, building plans or an estimate of value. If you’ve done a bit of research and have the data to back up your figures, the property valuer is far more likely to respond positively when doing your valuation. 

  • Recent property sales in your immediate area may not yet be available on the central property databases so it’s worth sharing these with the valuer.
  • A copy of the building plans can help speed things up and ensures accuracy when the valuer calculates the living spaces, outdoor areas and car parking.
  • An estimate of value based on research of comparable property sales in your area saves the valuer time when comparing properties of a similar value.
  • Prepare a list of hard to see features that add value to your property so the valuer can take these into consideration.
  • Highlight any recent or significant renovations conducted since purchasing the property along with the approximate cost of those renovations.
  • Some valuers may also request your rates notice, so it doesn’t hurt to have these readily available.

Be realistic

A valuer’s job is to assess fair market value based on the market and sales of properties similar to yours. A certified valuer will be able to determine the value of your property, so there’s no point exaggerating. Be honest with yourself and with the valuer.

If you are considering refinancing your home – either for a better deal or to tap into your property’s equity – talk to our team of mortgage brokers first.


#2 Top Tips For Buying Off Plan


Buying off the plan is becoming an increasingly popular option for good reason. As well as getting a brand new home, you’re also buying at a set price and usually only need a small deposit. However, if you do decide to go down this route, it’s vital you go in with your eyes wide open. Here are some of the things you need to think about when buying off the plan.




Research the property market

Regardless of whether you’re an owner occupier or an investor buying a rental property, do your homework when buying off the plan. Take a look at current vacancy rates, rental yields and demographics of the area you’re considering buying into. Compare recent property sales figures and check out any proposed future developments which could impact the value of your new home.


Research the developer

Ensure the developer is reputable and trustworthy. Do a quick online search for their name, the name of the builder and the name of the project marketer or real estate agency in charge of marketing the development. Find out what experience the developer has, take a look at recent projects they’ve worked on, and find out if the project was completed on time and to budget.


Consider the risks

Before buying off plan, it’s important you find out if the developer has already reached their pre-sales target and when construction is expected to begin. Adverse weather could slow things down, as could getting the necessary approvals in place.

Be sure to check the sunset date in the contract – the final date that the developer must complete the building or you have the right to exit the contract. An excessively late sunset date should sound alarm bells, as it means uncertainty around when the property will eventually become yours.


Do the maths

Be mindful of the costs involved in buying off the plan. While you won’t be paying a mortgage yet, you’ll need to have enough saved up front to cover a deposit, legal fees, and any other stamp duties or borrowing costs you may be charged.


Seek legal advice

Because buying off the plan is a little different to buying an established property, it’s vital you get legal advice from a lawyer or conveyancer who has experience in dealing with off the plan contracts. Have your lawyer review the contract before you sign.


Work with a broker

Partnering with a Mortgage Express broker helps you get a great deal that is tailored for you. With access to a panel of both bank and non-bank lenders, our team of professional brokers will shop around on your behalf to find the deal that best fits your unique situation.


#3 To refinance or not?

Most Australian homeowners choose to refinance because of interest rate. But that’s not the only thing to consider when deciding whether or not to refinance. If you are thinking about refinancing, it’s important you consider all of the reasons to do so, as well as the options available to you so you can make the best decision.


Why refinance?

Typically, homeowners begin to look around for a better deal once they’ve been paying a mortgage for some time. This is usually centred around finding a lower interest rate and hence lower repayments.

Some of the benefits to refinancing are listed below: 

  • Lower repayments – an obvious one! With a lower interest rate comes lower repayments which means more disposable cash each month for other things you may need.
  • Change your loan period – refinancing doesn’t always mean finding a better interest rate. You may need to refinance to extend your loan period and help lower your repayments each month, or to shorten your loan period so you get debt-free much quicker.
  • Switch from variable to fixed – for many homeowners, the security of knowing how much repayments are each month is an important factor. It’s particularly useful in a volatile financial climate when interest rates can change several times during a year.
  • Tap into your home’s equity – refinancing can give you the option of accessing your home’s equity – the difference between the market value of your home and what you still owe the lender for your mortgage. You could choose to use your home’s equity to renovate your home, take an overseas family holiday, or pay for expensive medical treatments.
  • Debt consolidation – rolling all of your debt into one manageable loan at a much lower interest rate could help you clear that debt much sooner.
  • Save more – ultimately, refinancing is all about saving you money. And even the smallest amount each month can quickly add up to a sizeable savings, particularly if you’re cash strapped. 

What to look out for

While refinancing can mean a lower interest rate and a saving each month on repayments, it could also extend your loan period which means it will take you longer to become debt-free. 

Be sure to calculate how much you’ll save each month versus the total loan you’ll repay over the extended course of your loan period. If you can keep up your repayments at the original level you were paying before refinancing, you’ll have a much better chance of becoming debt-free sooner.

Switching from a variable interest rate to a fixed loan is not for everyone. Taking advantage of dips in the interest rate can mean considerable savings to homeowners prepared to take a chance. It’s important you weigh up the pros of fixing your home loan – security, peace of mind - against the cons – potentially losing out on a saving if the interest rate decreases considerably.

Refinancing to consolidate debt can be seen as simply moving the problem, so if you do choose to refinance in order to roll your debt into one simple loan, make sure you make additional repayments whenever you can in order to clear that debt faster.

Seek professional advice

Refinancing your home loan is not as simple as it sounds and it’s best to seek professional advice from a mortgage broker or legal advice from your lawyer, and carefully weigh up the pros and cons before making any decisions.

#4 Make your home equity work for you



Across most of Australia and New Zealand house prices have jumped considerably over the past 10 years (2006-2016). There’s no doubt that a lot of our wealth is locked up in real estate. But how do you access that wealth? And how do you make your biggest asset work harder for you? Read on to find out how you can make your home equity work for you.




What is home equity?


Home equity is the portion of your property’s value that you own. It’s calculated as the difference between what your home is valued at on the current market, and how much money you still owe on it.


In simple terms, equity is the unrealised value in an asset. For example, if your home is worth $500,000 and your mortgage is $250,000, you have equity of $250,000.


Once you have enough equity, there are a few ways you can make it work for you - refinancing your mortgage with better terms so you can pay off your mortgage quicker, renovating to increase your property’s value, or buying an investment property to generate wealth through rental income.


Access equity by refinancing


Refinancing your home loan to a better interest rate or terms could save you thousands of dollars of mortgage repayments over the life of your loan. Many refinance home loans reward lower loan-to-value ratios with better interest rates. So, the more equity you’ve built up in your home, the better the interest rate you could get when refinancing.


Refinancing is also a means of tapping into the equity in your home to use to buy a second property, renovate your existing home, buy a new car, or pay for a holiday. The amount you may be able to borrow will depend on the current value of your home, how much security the lender requires, as well as your ability to service a bigger mortgage.


You’ll need at least 20% equity in your home to qualify for a refinance mortgage. Applying for a refinanced home loan with little or no equity is tricky, so it’s best to get advice from your mortgage broker or mortgage adviser before you make any decisions.


Renovate to get returns


Adding onto your home through extensions or internal renovations, landscaping or improving outdoor entertainment areas all add value to your home which in turn increases your equity. How much value? It’s hard to say for sure, but some real estate agents suggest as much as $200k could be added to the value of a property with the addition of one extra room.


If you’re not in a position to finance extensive renovations - like a kitchen upgrade or the addition of a second bathroom - start small. A fresh coat of paint on the inside or the outside of your home can add value for a relatively low cost. When considering renovations to your home, keep in mind the risk of over-capitalising on your property.


Grow your property portfolio


Using the equity in your current home as a deposit for an investment property, could be just the boost you need. Buying an investment property in the right area could provide you with a regular rental income and potential capital growth on your investment.


The more equity you have, the bigger your deposit, and the easier it should be to secure a second loan. Talk to your mortgage broker or mortgage adviser if you’re thinking about growing your property portfolio using the equity in your existing home.


Get in touch


If you’d like to find out more about using the equity in your home to refinance, get in touch with a Mortgage Express broker.

Learn About Mortgage Express

Mortgage Express is a mortgage broking company that has been in operation for over 10 years. With access to over 30 lenders and 300 loan products, we believe we can source mortgage finance that will be tailored to best suit your needs.

Mortgage Express implements the latest technologies and software to give you comprehensive comparisons of the very best options in the market place. We help you understand the features of each loan ideal for you so you can make an educated and informed decision.

We don’t sell our own loans or products so you will find we have no bias and nothing to hide. We have a team of experienced Finance Consultants based around Australia.

This service is provided to our clients free of charge.


Finance FAQ

Do I have to pay Mortgage Express a fee?

"Our service is considered complimentary as Mortgage Express Finance Consultants are paid by the lenders for bringing the clients to them.

As with any loan or property fees, our Finance Consultants go to great lengths to ensure that you have a full understanding of the costs of borrowing funds and wherever possible try to reduce those costs. this ensures that you not only get great service but also save you money!"


What is a Finance Consult or Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers are consumer advocates in the home loan selection process, helping homebuyers to pre-qualify, select a home loan and complete the required mortgage documents. They follow your new home purchase, investment or refinance through to settlement providing a smooth and convenient transaction.

By linking with banks, other financial institutions and private lenders, mortgage brokers offer consumers access to a wide range of home loan choices as they select the right mortgage for your needs.

Consumers receive an expert mentor to lead them through the complex home loan lending process. Our Mortgage Express Finance Consultant offers the consumer the convenience of doing all the leg work to access an affordable home loan while balancing the consumers financial interests and goals.


How do I apply for a loan?

We will complete all the mortgage applications for you to ensure your home loan application has the optimum chance of success. Our custom mortgage broking software compares all mortgage rates, fees and hidden costs so we can deliver you the best value home loan for your situation.


What is Pre-Approval?

A pre-approval gives you an indication of the maximum amount you can borrow. By getting your pre-approval you have the power to negotiate with confidence.


Can fees be added onto my mortgage?

In some cases yes, it will depend on how much you are borrowing, and the value of your property.


I've just moved to Australia and have no credit record here. Can you help?

Yes. This is not a problem for us.


I'm self employed and can't prove my income, can you help?

Yes! We have products that don’t need proof of income or an Accountant letter.


Can my application be done via the internet?

Yes, we have an online application form and we can use email for further clarifications and to receive and send information.


Why don't I just go to the bank myself?

We help assess all your options, whereas the Bank is restricted by being only able to present one view.


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication. A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.

Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) is authorised as a corporate credit representative (Corporate Credit Representative Number 397386) to engage in credit activities on behalf of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence number 391237) ACN 123 600 000 | Full member of MFAA | Member of Credit and Investment Ombudsman (CIO) | Member of Choice Aggregation Services.

Meet Rick Spinks

Mortgage Broker

Mortgage Broker

0439 080 560

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