In this issue:


March 2014


Welcome to our March newsletter

At its board meeting this month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) once again decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 2.5 per cent. This is great news for both mortgage holders and property buyers, who are enjoying low interest rates and a competitive loan market as a result.

The decision came as no surprise to market analysts, who expect the RBA to continue their policy of low interest rates for the remainder of 2014. In his statement after the meeting, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens confirmed these expectations by saying that "On present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates."

The RBA policy of keeping interest rates at their lowest levels since the 1950s, is designed to reduce the value of the Australian dollar against other currencies to stimulate our economy through increased activity in exports and local property investment. Governor Stevens said "the decline in the exchange rate seen to date will assist in achieving balanced growth in the economy."

Governor Stevens also said that "the Australian dollar remains high by historical standards." This could indicate that a further rate cut may be on the horizon later in the year – which would mean even more good news for mortgage holders and property buyers alike. Other factors which could influence the RBA to further cut interest rates are rising unemployment, weakening investment in the mining sector and the effect of the Government's upcoming budget cuts.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the low interest rate environment has already had a very positive effect on all property markets, but particularly in new home constructions. Total national building approvals for January jumped 6.8 per cent to 17,514 dwellings, 35 per cent higher than this time last year.

This is the biggest annual rise in construction approvals since 2002 and one of the strongest monthly gains on record since mid 1983. Approvals for private sector houses grew by 8.3 per cent in January, while approvals for apartments rose 4.6 per cent.

The Housing Industry Association Summer Report indicated that housing starts increased by 11.7 per cent to 161,970 during 2012/13, following two consecutive years of decline. Activity is forecast to rise again in 2013/14 by 2.8 per cent, going on to reach over 170,000 by 2016/17.

A rise in new housing construction is great for first home buyers and those looking to purchase. Rises in approvals are usually followed by a rise in availability, and this should help to keep housing price rises in check and in reach for those entering the property market for the first time.

In 2013, strong demand for houses encouraged price rises around the country, with average home prices increasing nationally by 9.8 per cent last year. This trend was also reflected in a rise in unit prices. However, auction clearance rates in all capital cities have continued to remain above 70 per cent, which would indicate that despite the recovery in housing prices, property is still very affordable to the average purchaser and bargains are still available in most markets.

With interest rates looking set to remain on hold at historically low levels for the remainder of the year, both mortgage holders and property buyers can look forward to a very competitive loan market, with plenty of opportunities to save. Conditions look positive for increased housing availability, which should keep home prices at affordable levels in 2014/15.

Want to find out more about property market trends and low interest rates? Please give us a call.

Sincerely, the Team at Great Aussie Dream




Conveyancing explained

If you are going through the property buying process for the first time, you may think that conveyancing is just another formality and expense that complicates the purchasing process. In fact, a good Conveyancer simplifies the process for you, explains the (sometimes complicated) legal requirements of buying a property and most importantly, protects your legal interests.

In this article we will take a look at the process of conveyancing. 'Conveyancing' is the term used for the legal and statutory processes required to effect the transfer of the title of ownership of real estate from one person to the other. The preparation, execution, verification and lodgement of the very numerous legal documents required to actually make your new house yours, are all part and parcel of the conveyancing process.

Because these processes can be detailed and time consuming, it is recommended that you choose a reliable Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor to do the work for you. Although this is not a legal requirement, a professional Conveyancer will have the experience and specialised knowledge you need to navigate the specific regulations, laws and requirements unique to your state and local area.

What will a Conveyancer do for me?
A reliable Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor will protect your interests during the transaction and make sure everything runs smoothly. In addition to ensuring your deposit is kept safe in an escrow account, they will conduct searches and inquiries on the property on your behalf. They do this to discover if anything affects the property, such as proposals by government departments, illegal buildings, boundaries, outstanding rates or taxes, liens against the property and to discover any other issues you may need to be aware of.

It is recommended that you appoint a Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor early on in the purchasing process so they can guide you through the legal requirements. They will immediately commence the preparation of all the necessary documents required to facilitate the sale and final settlement.

What documentation is involved?
Although there are a lot of details to cover off during the process of transferring a property title, a typical conveyancing transaction involves three stages where you may need professional advice:

• Before the Contract of Sale is signed
• Before completion of the transaction
• During/after the settlement of the Contract of Sale.

In addition to the title searches and background research your Conveyancer will conduct on the property, your Conveyancer will make sure the Contract of Sale is correct and that it lays out all the property details and conditions that have been agreed upon by you and the vendor.

In many states of Australia, the transaction will also require a Vendor's Statement. In this document, the vendor is required to disclose any details of the property which may affect the sale. This can include body corporate fees, special conditions, encumbrances, taxes and rates and anything else that may affect the price or your decision to purchase. Your Conveyancer will investigate this document and verify the legal aspects of each detail against their research to ensure the vendor has made full disclosure.

Another important part of the process is the Transfer of Land. It includes all the particulars of you and the vendor and is submitted to the relevant state revenue office in your area, where it will be stamped after the payment of stamp duty and then lodged in the Land Titles Office.

Please note that the laws, procedures and documents involved may vary depending on where the property is located. A good Conveyancer will explain the meaning and importance of each process to help you completely understand what's involved.

How do I find a reliable Conveyancer?
As we all know, the best way to find a reliable professional is to ask people you know. We will be able to give you a referral to a Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor, but you should probably check out several and compare prices. Here's some questions you should ask prospective Conveyancers:

• What type of property do you specialise in?
• What will it cost?
• On settlement day, what time frames can I expect?
• How will you communicate with me, and how often?

if you need to get started on locating a reliable Conveyancing professional, or you’re on your way to your first home purchase, please give us a call. We'll be happy to help.




Do I need a building inspection?

You spend a lot of time and effort searching for the perfect property to buy. When you find the right one, it can be very exciting and you can even fall in love! Buying a property can be a very emotional decision, so it is important to get professional advice to ensure you remain sensible and objective. A building inspection report is therefore a very important part of the decision making process when it comes to purchasing a home or investment property.

Why do I need a building inspection?
Paying for a fully comprehensive building inspection report is a great way to ensure you are buying the best property for your budget and not purchasing a property that will require endless repairs and expense. It should provide you with an evaluation of the current condition of the property, all of its components and the items that are installed in the house.

There are three good reasons why you should get a building inspection report before you purchase any property:
1. To know in advance if there are any problems with the property, so you are able to budget for repairing them.
2. So you can use this information to negotiate a lower price for the property.
3. To find out if there are any major structural problems that may put you off purchasing the property entirely – like a roof that needs replacing, for example.

Getting a building inspection report is also a great way to stay sensible when you're getting caught up in the excitement of purchasing a home. You'll be able to enter into negotiations knowing the present condition of the structure of the house including the foundations, subfloor, roof void and external roof – things that might be expensive to repair.

A building inspection will also review other elements of the property including visual inspections of structures such as sheds and pergolas, interior plumbing, electrical and air conditioning systems. If you want to be really sensible, you may also request that the building inspection include a condition report on things like windows and doors, flooring, ceilings and walls and other temporary fittings.

When should I get one?
Ideally, a building inspection should be performed before you sign a Contract of Sale, or prior to auction if that is going to be the method of sale. In other kinds of sales, it is standard practice to insert a clause into the Contract of Sale stating that the purchase is subject to building and pest inspection reports.

That way you have the option of asking the vendor to address the problems and pay for repairs prior to the purchase being completed, or renegotiate the price of the property to allow for the repairs that must be performed.

It's important to remember that a proper building inspection report must be performed by a professional – a licensed builder, surveyor or architect. You can source these professionals through businesses who specialise in providing building inspection reports for homebuyers, or ask us and we may be able to help you with a referral. Whoever you use should provide you with a report that complies with the Australian Standard (A4349.1).

What should I expect from the report?
When a building inspector comes across a problem that may be an important defect or even a structural problem, they will recommend you seek further advice from a professional specialising in that area before proceeding with the sale. Usually, they will not provide you with a quote on the repairs.

The building inspection cannot cover everything and so it may also be a good idea to get a pest inspection as well. Problems like termites often cannot be detected by the naked eye, so this is particularly important in areas where termite activity is high.

You should also remember that a building inspection is not a method of preventing future problems occurring with your home. It is inevitable that you will have to budget for maintenance and repairs as a normal part of home ownership. A building inspection will only give you a report on the current condition of the property so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to buy it.

For more information about locating a reputable company or qualified building industry professional to perform your building inspection, please get in touch. We maintain relationships with many professional companies relating to the purchase of your home, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you require any assistance.




Thinking of getting a granny flat?

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of granny flats being built across the country. Traditionally, the granny flat was a great way of taking care of ageing parents, but these days the benefits are many, not least being a great way to add value to your home, or for adding additional rental income.

What is a granny flat?
A granny flat is a popular Australian term used for a secondary dwelling on your property. They can be free standing structures, attached to your home, or rooms inside your home that are converted to separate accommodation.

Generally speaking, granny flats are usually smaller than the primary home on the block, because most councils restrict them to being only 60 square meters in size. They also must be self-contained, which means they must have their own entrance, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living areas. Most council's regulations regarding the definition of a granny flat include:

• Granny flats can only be built on residential zone properties
• Granny flats must have unobstructed pedestrian access
• The block must be at least 450m2 to build a granny flat, and
• The owner of the granny flat must also be the owner of the primary dwelling.

Why would you build one?
The major benefit of building a granny flat on your property is the potential for extra rental income. With rental housing becoming increasingly scarce in capital cities, a granny flat can be a solid source of revenue for property investors and home owners alike.

In some suburbs of Sydney, a granny flat can generate as much as $450 per week – however in most other cities you can expect to receive between $150 - $350 a week depending on the size and location. In most cities, a two bedroom granny flat can achieve a similar weekly rent to a two bedroom unit.

If you are a property investor, building a granny flat and renting it out could be an inexpensive way of increasing your income yield. But it could also be a great way to generate extra income from your own home, particularly if you're looking for ways to pay off your mortgage sooner and it has the added benefit of adding value to your home.

Before making a decision to build a granny flat on your property, it's probably a good idea to talk to some local real estate agents to assess the demand for smaller properties in the local rental market. If you want to make an income, you need a ready supply of tenants willing to provide it. A real estate agent can tell you how much rent you might expect to receive for a granny flat in your suburb.

Making it happen
The most ideal properties for building a granny flat are corner blocks, because both dwellings on the property can have their own street frontage. This minimises privacy concerns and will make your granny flat much easier to rent. So if you're looking to purchase a property and considering a granny flat to help pay off your mortgage, you should look for a corner block or one with front and rear street access.

The next step is to check with the local council to be sure that building a granny flat will be permitted on your block. Remember that to build or extend a property anywhere in Australia, you will need a permit. In some areas of Queensland, it is only permissible to build a granny flat if a family member will be living in it, and in some built up areas, housing density restrictions prohibit them entirely.

You should also carefully consider the costs of building your granny flat before making a commitment. You can get in touch with local builders and specialist granny flat construction companies to get a ball park figure. Alternatively, if you have a large house you can convert rooms inside the home into separate accommodation, which could be an inexpensive alternative to a free standing building.

Get your financing in place
It is important to have your finances in place from day one if you are embarking on any kind of construction or renovation project. Constructing a granny flat won't cost as much as building a new home, so you may be able to finance it by accessing your equity, or perhaps by increasing or refinancing your current loan. Alternatively, you may be able to take out a construction loan to fund the project.

If you're considering building a granny flat or doing any kind of renovation on your home, just give us a call. We'll be able to determine how much you can afford to spend on your project and help you get your budget and financing in place before you begin, so the whole process goes more smoothly.


Wine review

Wine Review March

Turkey Flat Barossa Rose 2013
Rose is the perfect drop for sharing with friends on those warm autumn evenings. The Barossa Valley has a great climate and ideal grape varieties to produce fantastic Rose. Turkey Flat Barossa Rose is a delicious wine blended from grenache shiraz, cabernet and dolcetto and offers a long, clean palate that's great for current drinking. Salmon pink in colour, the nose is undeniably forward with hints of strawberry, raspberry and rose petal followed by a palate brimming with luscious fruit and a finish reminiscent of turkish delight. Serve it slightly chilled – you can even throw in a couple of ice cubes.

Rating : 4 stars
RRP : $19.00


App review

App Review March

When you're running a business or just on a budget, keeping track of your expenses can be tedious. Expensify is a great new app that makes it easy and fun. Expensify synchs with your credit cards to import transactions in real time, which can then be used to create a great expense report. You can use it to automatically categorise your expenses, or create custom fields that cover everything from travel and car mileage to reimbursements. You can even use your phone camera to scan and upload receipts!

Available on :  iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Also available on Android.




Contact us







Great Aussie Dream

T 1300 72 68 48
F 02 4733 4115

Australian Credit Licence Number: 387787 | ABN: 84129326352


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