Property market

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.

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.

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.

Remember the days of the old school yard

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The property market is much like the school yard; it’s full of bullies, rules, rule enforcers, and of course opportunities for growth and the people to help you grow.

 

My daughter turned five a couple of weeks ago. Awesome, she is now off to school! But what came next I was not prepared for: immense sadness.

 

It was sadness that my baby had taken her first step to independence, pain and concern in being responsible for making her go to a place where she knows absolutely nobody, and the fact that for the next 13 years she will have to raise her hand if she wishes to go to the bathroom.

 

Why did nobody warn me? And where was my fathers-of-five-year-old-girls support group?

 

When I started school I can vividly remember loving it from day one (well, truth is, I cried day one … a lot, but day two onwards was great!). I didn’t occur to me at the time that my parents, also, might have the same sort of concern that I’ve had these past weeks.

 

Anyway, all this reflecting on the virtues and risks of school, got me thinking that the lessons from the school yard transfer well into the property world. So, here are my three top school yard lessons for the home-buyer:

 

#1 - The more you learn, the better things go

If you pay attention in class and do your homework, much of your school experience runs fairly smoothly. It’s the same when looking to purchase property.

 

Those who go in most educated, learn the importance (or lack of importance) that RVs play in your decision-making process, know what to do when something you wish to buy has unconsented work on it, or know who you should consult to make sure your offer actually legally protects you, will come away with a higher chance of success and less chance of falling in to traps.

 

#2 – Find your BFFs

Today (my daughter’s eleventh of school), when dropping my daughter off, three children came up to her and said, “Can we play with you?” Then all four of them ran off and I left watching them running around laughing. I felt comforted in knowing she has a network of support.

 

The idea of purchasing sounds like fun. However, once we’re in the thick of it all, signing on the dotted line and trawling through confusing legalese, there is nothing more comforting knowing that you have team around you, who all place your best interests first. Your Velocity Financial adviser is a key member of that support team. We will keep you informed, we’ll do much of the donkey work for you, and you can contact us and ask your questions, absolutely any question! Let us support you.  

 

#3 - Avoid the headmaster’s office!

If you are in the dreaded headmasters office, things are not going well with your school experience. We can all identify (or have several first-hand experiences!) with this threat of going to see the person at the top, who will tell you off in such a way that makes you wish you still had the comfort of “pull ups” for back up when the fear kicks in.

 

Unfortunately, in the finance world, we have seen people who have found themselves in a world of trouble. Sometimes this is through association, debt from previous partners (“hanging out with the wrong crowd”), or have simply not understood the true ramifications of the decisions they have made (such as tax implications upon sale of a property). Our role in these situations is to sit with you, unpack your situation and help you navigate your way out. We’ll help you understand what will keep you away from walking down that lonely hallway to the naughty chair.

 

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.

 

Property market watch: The election, winter and a downturn

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With the election and spring fast approaching, change is in the air … or is it? Graham shares what this all means for the property market.

On 23 September 2017, we’ll discover who we can blame for the next three years. It's also the end of winter, the start of daylight savings, and it’s been eight years since 23 September 2009. 

 

So, what do we make of all those things? Well, they all have some part to play in what’s going on with the housing market at the moment, and what’s going to happen in the near future.  

 

Apparently, during every election cycle, Wellingtonians put their plans to buy and sell on hold. It makes sense when you think that the largest Wellington employer, the Government, is in a period of sustained breath-holding while public servants wait to find out who their new boss is. The traditional thought that National makes for a smaller public service and Labour for a larger team obviously impacts public servant’s enthusiasm to change houses and so on.

 

That’s the election, but let’s combine that with winter and the slowdown that comes with sellers wanting to list in spring when there is more sun. And how about we garnish this discussion by adding in a property cycle that traditionally lasts eight years (and yes, it’s exactly eight years since 2009)—and we find ourselves in a perfect storm.   

 

But is any of this true? 

 

Well, on one hand, listings are low but, on the other hand, there are buyers. Well-presented properties continue to sell with good prices, but, at the same time, many buyers remain frustrated. So, much of it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle/prophecy. 

 

It’s certainly a great time to buy; the banks are a little hard work at the moment but most borrowers are being put off by the negative media spin as opposed to banks saying no. If you know someone who is waiting for the great property price slump tell them to wake up. It isn't about to happen. 

 

The lead up to 23 September is certainly going to be a great watch. 

 

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.