Our Advice

Am I Ready to Buy for the First Time? Or Again?

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There is one constant in the ever-changing world of banking: the confusion as to what people can and can’t afford. Lance explores the murky waters of why some banks say yes and some say no.

 

Yeah? Nah.

 

I often find myself sitting with people who believed they were in no position to purchase but could and, conversely, people who believed they could but, at that time, could not. Beyond this, they may have been sabotaging their plans by putting together a strategy that was actually taking them even further away from their house-buying goal.

 

To help clear up some of the confusion, there are really only three things a bank is interested in:

1. Deposit (or equity)

2. Income

3. Debt

 

A scenario I have come across often is when people have strong income, some debt, but a low deposit. They believe their biggest hurdle is the debt, so set about reducing this. The truth is, while they have some debt, their earnings are at a level that the debt is easily managed, even with a mortgage. They need to increase their deposit, but unfortunately all their extra cash is being channelled inefficiently towards debt repayment and, so, unnecessarily delaying their timeframe for purchase.

 

To all those colour-coded Excel spread sheet lovers …

 

There can be times when people have been up all hours looking at properties or going to open homes for months when, unfortunately, they had no ability to purchase at their target price point. This can be frustrating as numbers can be based on correct “true-to-life” calculations. However, banks have their own rules of basic math.

 

When a bank calculates what we can afford to borrow, they use a far higher interest rate (to mitigate fluctuations), and they have a minimum average spend for cost of living for each scenario presented e.g. two adults, one child vs. one adult, no children etc. Furthermore, because each bank perceives risks in different ways, they each calculate a household’s scenario differently. They’ll give greater or less importance to things like the number of vehicles you own and whether child support is organised formally through the IRD, as well as a few other quirks.

 

“If I could turn back time.” — Cher

Time is our gift to you. Tell us your scenario, what you are hoping to do, and when you are hoping to do it. Let us sit down and come up with a clear strategy based on what you are truly able to do.

 

If it is not today, let us help you journey towards that “yes” sooner rather than later. Let’s unpack your plans beyond this next purchase and consider the ramifications of each step. Let’s reduce the uncertainty.

 

Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

October’s Market Turbulence: What Does it Mean?

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By Amanda Chadwick (Authorised Financial Adviser of Forsyth Barr Wellington)


The share market took a tumble (or was it more of a stumble?) last week. Headlines

warned that KiwiSaver accounts could halve in value. Was it just media hype?

What are the experts saying? To answer these questions, we approached Amanda

Chadwick of Forsyth Barr to comment on the wobbly market and how we should

respond.


Between October 5th and 11th 2018, global sharemarkets hit turbulence, with

the MSCI World index (in New Zealand dollar terms) falling 6.2%, the Standard &

Poor’s 500 index falling 6.7% and the NZX 50 index declining 5.4%. While the fall

occurred sharply, given the same three indices were up 19.6%, 27.0% and 15.0%

over the preceding 12 month period, Forsyth Barr did not consider the pullback

to be unexpected. By the time things had settled a week later, the same three

markets had rebounded by 1.0% to 2.0% of their initial fall. In some cases,

market volatility can provide an opportunity to invest in quality companies at

more favourable prices.


Market behaviour (as with everyday life) is a combination of reality mixed with

emotion. It is not unusual to see an initial dramatic reaction to market news or

events, often presuming the worst, rather than taking the time to understand the

cause or context of the situation. Human nature has a knack for focusing on

negative news and amplifying its impact through isolation, which is why it’s

valuable to have an Authorised Financial Adviser providing much needed

perspective and strategy. One of the first questions to answer in response to any

sudden market movement is “what’s the cause?”


When reflecting on last week’s correction, the main contributors to the sell-off

were largely a mixture of:

  •  the United States Federal Reserve signalling potential interest rate rises;

and

  •  continuing trade tensions between the United States and China.


Investors with their own investment portfolios, should seek advice from an

Authorised Financial Adviser they can have regular contact with, who provides

proactive updates and communication and is readily available to ‘chew the fat’ in

response to market events. An Authorised Financial Adviser’s real value is not

just managing a portfolio to generate returns, but in navigating the client’s

investment experience. It’s important to consider everything from personal life

goals and objectives, portfolio expectations, the economic landscape, and how to

position the portfolio at any given time, given both the client’s needs and risk

appetite (or lack of it), as well as the stage of the market cycle.

Amanda Chadwick, Authorised Financial Adviser, Forsyth Barr Wellington.

Amanda Chadwick is an Authorised Financial Adviser with Forsyth Barr Limited in

Wellington. For further information on any aspect of this article or to arrange a

meeting to discuss your investment objectives in confidence, call 0800 367 227 or

email amanda.chadwick@forsythbarr.co.nz. This column is general in nature and is

not personalised investment advice. Disclosure Statements for Forsyth Barr

Authorised Financial Advisers are available on request and free of charge.

A Tale of Three Cities

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By Graham Goodisson

I’m currently wading through the murky waters of trying to sell and buy in three

separate cities. It’s in no way as impressive as it sounds. Each requires a different

strategy and each can play havoc on the emotions. Engaging all three cities at once

creates something of a perfect storm.

We’re currently living in Wellington, but right now I’m attempting to sell and buy in Tauranga,

Lower Hutt and Christchurch. This has led me to observe again how different

cities are form each other, not just in their geographies or demographics, but also

how the real estate markets differ from city to city.

Tauranga seems to have auctions and you engage an agent who has the ability to

work across all real estate companies. There are lots of houses on the

market—and lots of really badly built ones at that. I think the real decision in

Tauranga is, not how many avocados to buy, but how to not be caught with a

leaky home. Prices are similar to Wellington.

Selling in Lower Hutt is a little more reserved it seems. It will be sold on a BEO or

listed price basis and will be with the company that seemingly “owns” that

particular suburb. Succeeding here is about a realistic price expectation and also

the thought that it might take a little while. The question in the Hutt Valley is

this: “Will it occur before Christmas?” Immaculate presentation is the key. Stock

levels are still low so that is helpful.

Christchurch is another story again. There are always many questions around

earthquake repairs. Initially, we’ll aim to sell via auction to get some interest and

then we will see. Our agent is the top agent in the city and it’s interesting to be

part of his process. Only one company is involved. It’s a conservative market

with lots of houses to buy.

I’ve learnt that what I know in Wellington is only transferable in terms of doing

your checks, spending time learning the value of properties and that local

knowledge trumps all. Also, you should never be emotionally involved, and that

is just about impossible for an emotional being.

Graham Goodisson is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Hope for First-Home Buyers?

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By Stevie Waring

As the newest member of Velocity Financial (I started with the company in April), I

quickly realised that I was the only person in the office who isn’t a homeowner. I

soon became determined to change that.

My partner and I had talked about home ownership a lot over the past year but

viewed it as something that could only occur in the future—maybe one or two

years away at the earliest.

We watched as the news reported rapid increases in house prices in New

Zealand and Wellington. We were faced with an epidemic. Who were we but

mere mortals? We couldn’t fight an epidemic. So we made peace with the ever

lengthening time between now and home ownership.

Coincidently, I had organised to come along to Lance’s Home Buyers Club that he

runs fortnightly at the office to see what it involved and, just mere days before

this, my partner and I found out that we were getting kicked out of our rental

property and we needed to move again this year.

At the Home Buyers Club it quickly became clear that things weren’t as grim as

we had once thought. There were still houses on the market, in our price range,

and the overdraft we ran into during our first years of university wouldn’t put us

on the bank’s black list after all. What a revelation!

What was to follow in the next four months was like your first relationship: an

emotional rollercoaster filled with checking your emails and TradeMe

obsessively—hoping that cute little three bedroom with insulation likes you as

much as you like it.

I hope our story can bring hope to those with seemingly far off home ownership

dreams. As time continues to go by and your friends and family are telling you

that the next one will be the one, it can be really easy to put pressure on yourself.

However, here are three tips that helped us stay sane and optimistic along the

way:

1. Take a Break

You will not miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you spent one

restful Sunday eating brunch and lying in the sun, I promise.

2. Don’t Shop for a Bargain

They don’t really exist. And hunting for these unicorns just takes up your energy

and time.

3. Make it a Team Sport

Build an amazing team of professionals around you who will reduce your stress

and encourage you to persevere during this process.

10 Wacky, yet true, Winter survival tips

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By Lance Shearman

 

Lance shares his secrets for coming through winter unscathed: snuggle in a sauna wearing mittens and second-hand clothing while watching Mike McRoberts and Seinfeld.

 

1. Mittens. These are all about first impressions. Shaking people’s hands in winter can leave a lasting impression you can do without. Warm welcomes are always in fashion. It also shows confidence and elegance when you say, “I do not need my fingers individually wrapped.”

 

2. Hunker down for winter! The one thing we can learn from nature, is the amount of animals that hibernate for the cold season. My research team confirm there are at least two animals that do this through winter, those two know how life should be done. So, when the street lights go on, come inside and get some rest.

 

3. Seinfeld! Every winter we all need to relive the entire nine seasons of the most brilliant comedy show of all time! The “show about nothing” will make you feel you have actually watched something, when in truth you haven’t. Michael Richards as Kramer is amazing. If you have seen him in his more recent stand-up work, you may struggle to get back on this wagon.

 

4. Shut the front door. If you have children, they will be spending more time inside. You may have notice a lot more noise in the home lately, so, here’s a tip: initiate the “two door policy”. Make sure there are at least two doors closed between “us” and “them” at any given time. The more doors you have closed between you, the better. If you only have one door, ask a tradie, or handyman to add another (there is currently a six-year wait period for tradies). 

 

5. Snuggle more. This is the perfect time of year to re-introduce yourself to your loved one and so benefit off each other’s radiated heat. They may have some questions about where you have been for the last nine months, but you will smooth this over in your usual way I am sure.

 

6. Get out of here! Go on holiday … somewhere warm ... nothing more to add.

 

7. Move your desk. If you have watched a movie where a boat has sunk or a plane has crashed in the mountains, the people will always huddle together. This is also a great idea in the winter work place! Move all your desks to one spot in the office and stay tight. Just remember that unlike the movies, no one will come to rescue you. So you may need to come up with your own words to yell if you are concerned for your safety.

 

8. Got a sauna in your living room? Why not? Ever wanted to go find a warmer part of the house, but still wanted to keep up to date with the latest current events and news on TV1? For this you will need, a living room, a sauna, and 1x towel. The sauna and living room are self-explanatory, the towel is to wipe the sweat and mist off glasses so you can keep your eyes on Mike McRoberts.

 

9. Pre-warmed clothing. They say that your bed mattress doubles in weight after eight years of use. Imagine how much extra warmth could be found down at your local second-hand clothing store after someone has worn that jacket for eight years. As our skin gets thinner with age, the combination of pre-loved wool and skin cells could be the new feather down!?

 

10. Warm someone else up. Winter can be a tough time for all of us. It is dark, we get stuck inside, the wind beats us up, and our umbrellas turn inside out. Research shows that when we give, we not only brighten the other person’s day, we actually feel warmer ourselves. Send someone a card, make someone soup, do something to warm someone’s day!

 

Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A Disclosure Statement is available free of charge upon request

How do tiny houses stack up?

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By Stevie Waring

 

Is the tiny house the answer for the struggling first-home buyer? Definitely “yes” for some; definitely “no” for others.

 

In recent years, it has become more and more difficult to be a first-home buyer in New Zealand and renting has become more expensive in many parts of the country.

 

Naturally, many people have come up with alternative solutions. Some students have chosen the “go big” alternative where you live with 10 or more people in the hope of splitting costs. Or you may want a waterfront property without the price tag? Enter the houseboat life. Or you may be a young person, family or couple that wants a home but have no idea how to fund it.

 

This is exactly where the tiny home revolution has taken off. The idea being that you can live a minimalist lifestyle in a carefully designed bespoke small space that is both efficient in space and cost.

 

Apart from the creativity and innovation of it, the biggest bonus of a tiny house is the price. You essentially pay for a standard base plan, and then you pay per room after that. It is totally customisable. It allows you to be creative and unique with your space while giving you the financial freedom to spend your money on higher quality items that may have been unavailable to you with a regular home, such as full insulation, solar panels or beautiful hardwood floors, for example.

 

So how do you pay for it?

 

In Wellington, the average house price is $639,112 (as of June 2018, QV.co.nz) but basic tiny houses are less than $100,000. That’s a no-brainer, right?

 

The short answer is that you can do it, but a bank won’t necessarily give you a mortgage for it.

 

If you see a tiny home in your future, here are a few things to consider:

·         Where will you put it?

o   If you’re planning to buy land, you may be able to use your KiwiSaver.

o   If you have friends or family with some land, it’s probably easiest to put it there.

·         Do you or family have an existing mortgage?

o   If you or your family have existing equity in your property, you may be able to refinance it to access that cash to put towards your new tiny home.

 

Long story short: If you are looking to lead a simpler, more efficient lifestyle that is cheaper in the long-term, then this may well be the solution for you.

 

If you are looking for an alternative to buying a first home because you may not have the funds for a deposit yet, this may not be the solution for you.

 

As with everyone situation, there is often more than one answer, so give us a ring and we can talk through your options—big or small.