The fees and costs of refinancing

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Australia’s record-low interest rates are creeping up in the next couple of months, thanks to the announcement of the success of the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine and the outcome of the U.S. election. The good news brought with it a rise in bond yields, and the average interest rate of a 30-year mortgage followed suit. 

The housing finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics June quarter revealed that an estimated $40 billion worth of home loans had been refinanced since March. 

For Australians looking to take advantage of record-low interest rates and join the unprecedented refinancing boom of 2020, the slight rise in interest rates has created a sense of urgency. 

Speaking to Market Watch, Chief Economist at Realtor.com Danielle Hale said a vaccine was expected to continue to push rates higher.

“It should push overall interest rates up because it improves prospects for economic growth,” she said. 

Even with the slight rise, Australian’s looking to refinance can still find historically low-interest rates and potentially shave money off their mortgage. Before deciding whether refinancing is the right financial move, it’s essential to understand the associated fees and costs. We’ve compiled a list of every possible dollar and cent you could run into on your refinancing journey. 

What is refinancing?

Refinancing is essentially replacing your old loan with a new, better loan. Through the same mortgage application process, a new loan is taken out to repay your existing loan, either with the same lender or an entirely different one. There are different fees associated with refinancing compared to a regular mortgage, which is dependent on your existing loan, your new loan and your lender. 

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Why do people choose to refinance?

The main reason for refinancing, and the driving force behind the refinancing boom, is to save money by switching to a loan with lower interest rates.

Refinancing is also a common option for homeowners looking for extra funds to finance renovations or access their equity in an emergency.

Mortgage holders can also refinance to consolidate their debt, with their new mortgage absorbing their high-interest personal loans. It’s also possible to save money by switching to a mortgage with a different rate type or loan features and by shortening the life of the loan. 

How much does it cost?

The fees and costs of refinancing vary depending on several factors, including which state or territory you live in, as government fees may still apply. Fees are also dependent on your lender, whether you choose to refinance externally or internally, and the amount of equity in your home. Refinancing involves a legally binding document so remember to factor in legal fees. 

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Discharge fee or termination of mortgage

Commonly known as a settlement or termination fee, a discharge fee covers the lender’s legal costs and is paid when closing down your old loan. The amount can vary greatly, ranging between $75- $600.

Property valuation fee

Getting your property valued is an essential part of the refinancing process. A valuation identifies the equity in your home and helps to determine which loan is right for your financial situation. A valuation needs to be carried out by a certified valuer, which can cost anywhere between $50-$420. Check with your lender if the cost is included in your application fee. 

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Mortgage application fee

Mortgage application fee, start-up or set-up fee, the name and amount varies from lender to lender. You’ll be familiar with a mortgage application fee from when you took out your original mortgage, where you would have paid somewhere between $150-$995. Thankfully, some lenders are kind enough to waive the fee entirely.  

Break cost

Break costs usually apply if you are switching from a fixed-rate loan, reimbursing the lender of any potential losses suffered when you closed down your mortgage. Banks aren’t always forthcoming with their break costs, or how they are calculated, but are usually dependent on your current and new interest rate, the amount you borrowed initially and the remaining balance on your loan. 

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)

LMI is used to reduce the financial risk for the lender and still applies to refinancing if you are borrowing more than 80% of the value of your property.

The amount of LMI you will pay will depend on the size of your loan, and the amount will increase the higher the percentage of the loan compared to the value of your property. When refinancing, the equity in your property takes the place of deposit, meaning you usually won’t have to pay LMI.

If you don’t have enough equity in your home, you don’t need to worry about coming up with LMI upfront, as it is usually incorporated into the loan. 

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a government tax on real estate transactions, and one of the largest fees involved in refinancing. The amount of stamp duty you will be required to pay is dependent on the cost and type of your home, and where you live. You can potentially avoid paying stamp duty if you borrow under the same name, don’t increase the loan amount and choose to refinance internally.  

Click here for the stamp duty costs for each state and territory and check out eChoice’s Stamp Duty Calculator.

Switching fee

Switching fees are incurred when you switch between mortgage products with the same lender. The average cost is $300 but will vary depending on your financial institution. 

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Settlement fee

A settlement fee can cost anywhere from $15-$650, depending on your lender. The fee goes to your new lender to cover the costs involved with establishing your new loan and closing down your old one. 

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Title insurance

A type of specialised insurance, title insurance covers specific issues that were possibly missed in the conveyancing process, including zoning rights, illegal structures and encroachment. Title insurance varies wildly and can cost you anywhere between $500-$3000. Unfortunately, title insurance is tied to your mortgage, so will be required upon the establishment of your new loan. 

Exit fees

Exit fees only apply to loans predating July 2011. If your mortgage commenced before this date, exit fees are calculated on time left on your loan, your lender and the size of your loan. Luckily, some institutions removed exit fees from all existing loans, and others have been known to waive them – it won’t hurt to ask. 

Mortgage registration fees

A mortgage registration fee is paid to the government to register your property as security for your home loan. The small feel – $116.80 – $187 – allows future buyers to see any claims that have been made on the property. The fee is paid twice – when establishing and discharging your mortgage. 

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Title search fee

Your lender will conduct a title search to confirm you own the deed to your property. At approximately $30, a title fee search is one of the smallest costs incurred when refinancing a home loan.

Time and effort

Cast your mind back to when you got your original mortgage – do you feel like you could go through that process again? Just like getting any mortgage, refinancing is a complex undertaking, so before you pull the trigger, make sure you’ve got the time and energy to commit to the process.

You might also like: Federal Government HomeBuilder stimulus creates buyer confusion

Words by Nell Matzen

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When it comes to securing a mortgage, your bank statements are a vital piece of information. They give lenders a snapshot of your spending habits, provide proof of income, and help establish that you’re a responsible borrower. So chances are you’ll need your bank statements for your mortgage application.

While in theory, pulling together your bank statements should be the easiest piece of the home-buying puzzle, this isn’t always the case. Some customers struggle to locate where to download their bank statements in their internet banking, aren’t sure how far back in time to go, or are uncertain whether they need their transaction history too.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to getting your bank statements together to provide to your lender. From why they’re important to where to find them and what lenders are looking for in your bank statements, we’ve answered all your most pressing questions.


What is a bank statement?

A bank statement is a record issued by a financial institution periodically (usually each month) summarising the financial activity that has occurred during that time. It includes any funds that have been paid into the account and transactions that have occurred.

For your lender to accept this document as a bank statement, it needs to include:

  • Bank name and logo
  • Full name and address of the applicant
  • Applicant’s account number
  • Opening and closing balance of the account

Is a bank statement the same as transaction history?

It’s important to note that a bank statement is different from your transaction history. A bank statement is a list of transactions made within any given period (which you can choose yourself within your internet banking). Generally, you will be able to download this as a CSV file to send off.

It’s important to note that most lenders want to see both bank statements and your transaction history.

Why do you need to provide bank statements?

Your bank statement is considered more of an official document than your transaction history. It provides key identifying information your lender will use to validate your transaction history, such as your name, address and bank name.

Why do you need to provide your transaction history?

Your transaction history will usually cover a longer period than your bank statements, giving lenders a clearer idea of your overall financial habits. Your transaction history also tends to be more recent since it can be generated at will whereas bank statements are issued periodically.

Do bank statements show transactions?

Yes, bank statements show your transactions. However, this will only be within a certain timeframe, as determined by the statement period chosen when the report was generated.

how-to-find-your-bank-statements-for-your-mortgage-application

Can banks see your transactions?

Generally, banks can’t see the exact products or services you purchased, although it can often be inferred. Banks will usually see the vendor you purchased the product from, its price and the category of the transaction – which is sometimes enough to work it out.

How far back do lenders check bank statements?

Most lenders will require two to three months of bank statements, as well as the transaction histories from that period. Generally, lenders will ask for bank statements no older than 60 days to support your mortgage application.

Can I get bank statements from 5 years ago?

Most of Australia’s main banks will allow you to view and print up to 7 years of bank statements within your online banking app. However, it’s highly unlikely that your lender would need to see records dating this far back. Usually, this only happens if there’s a particular blimp on your credit record that they need to address.

How long do banks keep records of transactions?

By law, financial institutions must retain a record for seven years after the transaction.

What are lenders looking for in your bank statements?

Refinancing your home loan to consolidate debt

Refinancing multiple debts into a single home loan can help simplify your finances and make your repayments more manageable. What is a debt consolidation home loan? A debt consolidation home loan is when you combine your outstanding debts under your mortgage. Instead of paying off loans such as credit cards, a car loan or personal…

Your bank statements and transaction history give mortgage lenders an insight into your spending behaviours, how much you earn, your expenses and any debt obligations. Generally, the things they will be keeping an eye out for include:

Overdraft fees

This is a fee charged by your bank when you spend more money than what’s actually in your account. This can include dishonour fees from bills or transactions that have been scheduled to automatically go through, despite the money not being there.

Dishonour fees can indicate to lenders that you’re financially irresponsible, so it’s best to avoid them. If you have any overdrafts on your account, it’s best to wait a few months before starting your mortgage application. You should also set reminders for when your direct deposits will come out to prevent it happening in the future.

Large, irregular deposits

These can be a red flag to mortgage lenders, as it can indicate that you’re receiving money from external sources – like parents. This can give a lender an inaccurate view of how responsible you are as a borrower, so all gifted deposits must be accompanied by a note from your parents.

Excessive or irresponsible spending

Lenders will check the living expenses you’ve listed on your mortgage application against your transaction history to ensure it all lines up. If they find that your spending is actually higher, or you’re using it on services like UberEats every night of the week, this can diminish your borrowing power or even make it difficult to obtain a loan.

how-to-find-your-bank-statements-for-your-mortgage-application
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How to get your bank statements and transaction history from your online banking

While some financial institutions send bank statements via mail, the best way to access them is through online banking.

Nowadays, most banks have an online access portal, helping you to avoid going into the branch. To access your statements, you can usually use the app, but it’s easiest to view and print these using a desktop.

Each bank has a different process to download these, so it’s important to check the specific procedure for yours. Here, we’ve included a step-by-step guide to getting your bank statements and transaction histories from some of Australia’s most popular banks, including CBA, ANZ, St George, Westpac, NAB, ING, Macquarie Bank, Bankwest and AMP.

How to get your bank statements from Commonwealth Bank

If you have a Commonwealth Bank account, you can use NetBank to access the required documents.

Bank statements:

1. Log in to NetBank using your client number and password. Contact Commonwealth Bank if you don’t know what these are, as you may need to register for online banking.

2. In the top menu, select ‘View accounts’, then ‘Statements’.

3. Click on the account you need a statement for, then select the option for the most recent statement and click ‘Next’.

4. Your bank statement should now be downloaded as a PDF, which you can email to your lender or broker.

Transaction history:

1. Log in to NetBank using your client number and password. Again, contact Commonwealth bank if you don’t know what these are.

2. In the top menu, select ‘View accounts’, then ‘Statements’.

3. Click on the account you need a transaction history for, then select ‘Go’.

4. Find ‘Transaction Search’, then enter the date range you want to view. Click ‘Search’.

5. Instead of exporting the transactions (as lenders do not accept this), press ‘Print Page’ on the top right-hand side of the screen to print the page or convert into a PDF to email to them.

6. You may need to scroll to the bottom of the page and press ‘print’ on each individual page if your transaction history is particularly lengthy.

How to get your bank statements from ANZ

Bank statements:

1. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to register for online statements with ANZ. You can do this by contacting the bank.

2. Log in to your internet banking and select ‘Accounts’ in the top menu.

3. Click ‘View Online Statements’, then follow the prompts to download your most recent statement.

Transaction history:

1. Log in to your internet banking and select the account you would like to view transactions for.

2. Next, click ‘Search Transaction,’ then select your desired date range.

3. Select ‘All Transactions,’ then click ‘Search’.

4. Click ‘Print Copy’ on the top right-hand side of the screen or convert it into a PDF to attach to an email.

How to get your bank statements from St. George

Bank statements:

1. Log in to your online banking.

2. Select ‘eStatements’ on the left-hand side of the screen.

3. Click on the account you would like a statement for, then select ‘View Recent eStatement’.

4. This should download the statement as a PDF that you can email to your broker.

Transaction histories:

1. Log in to Internet Banking.

2. Click on the account you need a transaction history for.

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and use the ‘Refine Your Transaction History’ search box to select the desired date range.

4. Rather than exporting your transactions, print the page or convert them to a PDF so that you can attach them to an email.

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How to get your bank statements from Westpac

Bank statements:

1. Sign in to Westpac Online Banking.

2. Select the account you need a statement for.

3. In the top menu, select ‘eStatement’.

4. Click ‘View’ then ‘Save or print a high-quality version of this statement’. This should download the statement as a PDF you can email to your lender or broker.

Transaction history:

1. Sign in to Westpac Online Banking.

2. Select the account you need a Statement for.

3. Click ‘Transaction List’ in the top menu, then select and search for the required date range.

4. Rather than exporting your transactions, print the page or convert them to a PDF ready to attach to an email.

How to get your bank statements from NAB

Bank statements:

1. Sign in to NAB Online Banking.

2. Scroll down to ‘Statements’ on the left-hand side, under the tab ‘Account Info’.

3. Click on the account you need a statement for, then select the most recent statement or your desired date range.

4. Statements should appear by date sent. Select the one you want, and it will automatically download as a PDF.

5. Save this as a copy to your computer, which you can email to your lender or broker

Transaction history:

1. Sign in to NAB Online Banking.

2. Select the account you need a transaction history for.

3. Click ‘Show Filter’ on the top, left-hand side.

4. Select and search for your desired date range then click ‘Display’.

5. Rather than exporting the transaction, print the page by selecting ‘Print on the top menu bar’ or convert it to a PDF.

How to get your bank statements from ING

Bank statements:

1. Log in to ING online banking via the purple ‘login’ button at the top right of your browser.

Source: ING

2. Select ‘Statements’ and select your preferred account and statements period.

3. Click ‘find’.

4. The search will generate a list of available statements. Click on one to download, view and/or print.

Transaction history:

1. Log in to ING online banking via the purple ‘login’ button at the top right of your browser.

2. Go to ‘Transaction History’.

3. Select the transactions you wish to save and click ‘Share as PDF’. Once the PDF is downloaded to your computer you will be able to print.

How to get your bank statements from Macquarie Bank

Bank statements:

1. Log in to Macquarie Online from the Macquarie Bank homepage.

Source: Macquarie Bank

2. To download your statement from the last 6 months, select ‘Accounts & Statements’ then ‘Statement Files’.

3. A list of available statements will generate. Download the most applicable file by clicking ‘Download statement file’. This will download to your computer as a PDF where you will be able to print it.

Transaction history:

1. Log in to Macquarie Online from the Macquarie Bank homepage.

2. Select ‘Accounts & Statements’ then ‘Account List’.

3. A list of accounts will generate. Tick the box of the account you wish to generate a transaction history for, then click ‘Find & view transactions’.

4. You will be asked to fill in the search criteria. Fill in the date period and any other details you wish to specify for then click ‘Find transactions’.

5. A transaction list will be generated.

How to get your bank statements from Bankwest

Bank statements:

1. Log in to Bankwest Online Banking via the orange ‘log in’ button at the top right of the homepage.

2. Enter your person access number (PAN) and password. Contact the bank if you do not know these.

3. Click ‘Self service’ then ‘Statement options’.

Source: Bankwest

4. Select the ‘Online’ option then click ‘Next’ to confirm. You will now be able to view this statement.

Transaction history:

1. Log in to Bankwest Online Banking via the orange ‘log in’ button at the top right of the homepage.

2. Click ‘Transaction search’ on the left-hand column. You will be able to filter your search by account and date range.

3. Use the printer feature on your internet browser to download via the ‘Print to PDF’ option under available printers.

How to get your bank statements from AMP

Bank statements:

1. Log in to My AMP (AMP’s online banking portal) via the ‘log in’ button on the top right-hand corner of the homepage.

Source: AMP

2. Once logged in, from the ‘I want to’ menu select ‘View statements and correspondence’.

3. Click ‘View’ next to your account to see all available statements.

Transaction history:

1. Sign-in to My AMP (AMP’s online banking portal) via the blue ‘log in’ button on the top right-hand corner of the homepage.

2. Use the ‘I want to’ menu to view your transaction history.

3. Use the ‘print page’ feature on your browser or the type the command ‘Ctrl + Print’ (Command + P on Mac) to open up the print dialogue box.

4. From here select ‘Print to PDF’ to download. Note: this might need to be done a number of times depending on the length of your transaction history.

Formatting your bank statements

It’s important to keep in mind that your bank statements and transaction history need to be in a particular format to be accepted by your lender. This means screenshots are not considered valid.

The ways you can send your documents to your lender include:

Printing and scanning with a traditional scanner

Most online banking websites will give you the option to print out your bank statements or transaction history. You can then scan this document back in and attach it to an email to send to your lender or broker

Printing and scanning with a virtual scanner

If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can also use an app like TinyScanner or ScanBot to take a virtual scan, then attach it to an email.

Printing and taking a photo

After printing your document, you can also place it on a flat surface, take a picture of it and send it in an email as an attachment. Just be sure to check on your computer that it’s clear enough to see the information.

Save as a PDF

This option may seem a little high-tech, but it’s actually the quickest and easiest option. When viewing your transaction history, simply select your date range then click ‘print’ where you will need to adjust your print settings so that the destination of your print job reads ‘Print to PDF’ or ‘Save as PDF’.

This will download or save the file to your computer, allowing you to then attach it to an email.

Providing the correct documentation is essential when it comes to applying for a mortgage, and your bank statements and transaction history are no exception. In fact, these are arguably the most important documents you’ll provide to a lender since they help solidify your status as a responsible lender.

By referencing the tips in this article, you can easily provide all the banking history your lender needs to continue with your mortgage application.

Words by Emma Norris, Michelle Elias and Kathryn Lee

Feeling overwhelmed by all the documentation you have to provide with your mortgage application? eChoice’s award-winning brokers can help make applying for a mortgage as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

Nights are getting stickier and days are getting longer – summer is well and truly in the air. After a long winter of hibernation, everything is looking a little unruly, especially our gardens. With shorts and beer weather on the horizon, it’s time to get out your mower and hose and tame the backyard jungle.

A lot of Australians are looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, with drought and fires still fresh in our minds. Tending to a garden used to mean a hike in water bills and litres of wasted water, but not anymore. We’ve compiled a list of wallet-friendly, eco-friendly tips to save water, and ensure your garden thrives through the harsh summer months.


1. Install a water tank

Take advantage of El Nino this year and install a water tank to capture the rain. If you’re feeling especially at one with Mother Nature, you can choose a tank big enough to supply water to your whole house. If you lack the space, and the budget, there are plenty of smaller tank options out there that will hold enough water to tend to your garden generously. Newer model tanks are compact and add a decorative touch to your backyard.

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2. Utilise recycled or greywater

Households use and discard hundreds of litres of water every day. From showers to cooking spaghetti, washing up or washing our hands – all that perfectly reusable water goes down the drain. You can capture greywater with high-tech filtration systems or a couple of buckets in the shower. If you aren’t filtering your greywater, you will need to be careful with the shampoos and detergents you use, as products with high sodium can mean big trouble for your garden.

What's my borrowing power if I earn $ per year?

3. Water your garden at the right time

Watering your garden at the right time is a simple way to reduce water wastage. Give your garden a drink in the early morning or evening to avoid the evaporation that occurs in hotter parts of the day. The general rule of thumb is never to water your plants when they are in full sun, as the water will evaporate before it has time to penetrate the soil. During heat waves, save your watering until the sun goes down, giving your garden plenty of time to soak it all up. Also, put the sprinkler away on windy days.

4. Fix leaky taps and hoses

A leaky tap can potentially waste thousands of litres of water a month. Next time you’re checking your household taps for leaks, take a look at how your outdoor fittings are faring. Replace leaky faucets and opt for high-quality nozzles and hoses that won’t leak or break.

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5. Utilise a moisture-holding mulch

Mulch is one of the best tools in the water-saving arsenal. By shielding the soil from the elements, mulch helps soil to hold moisture, potentially reducing the watering time by two-thirds. Specialty moisture saving mulch is darker in colour to keep the soil cool and moist, clinging onto the water to prevent evaporation. Mulch also fends off weeds that will steal water and nutrients from your plants.

6. Choose the right plants

Native plants are beautiful and hardy, requiring a lot less water than foreign varieties. Native flora has evolved to survive in our harsh climate, meaning they need less water, pesticides, fertilisers, care and money. A native garden is also excellent for the environment, supporting biodiversity and providing food and shelter for our native wildlife. 

7. Get a water-saving nozzle

Just like your showerhead, a water-saving hose nozzle can potentially knock litres off your water usage. A trigger nozzle is a great way to limit water waste, as it gives you more control over how much you are using. In fact, a lot of states require the use of a trigger nozzle to comply with water restrictions. Some councils even off a trigger nozzle exchange program, where you can exchange your old school hose nozzle for an efficient trigger one.  

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8. Reduce foot traffic

It may defeat the purpose of having a lush green lawn, but reducing foot traffic on your grass can help save water. High foot traffic condenses the soil, making it difficult for your lawn’s roots to reach the moist layers of soil.

9. Use a wetting agent

A biodegradable, water-soluble, non-toxic wetting agent is a secret weapon to getting the most out watering your garden. Wetting agents reduce the surface tension of water, helping it to be absorbed more easily into your soil. Take care when choosing your wetting agent, as some can be toxic to animals. If you can’t find a non-toxic version, you can make your own with food-grade gelatine or agar.

10. Let your grass grow

The longer the grass, the more moisture it can retain – so waiting as long as possible between mows will reduce your lawns watering needs. When it’s time to trim the grass, raise the height of your cut 10mm or more.

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11. Control moisture stealing weeds

Weeds are sneaky little plants that suck up water and nutrients from other plants. Controlling the weed population in your garden will guarantee that all the water goes to your beautiful plants, and none of it goes to waste.

12. Sharpen your mower blades

Dull mower blades rip and tear your lawn instead of cutting it, leading to poor lawn health. Sharpening or replacing your mower blades will ensure a clean cut and healthier grass that requires less water.

13. Increase organic matter

Increasing organic matter in your soil will allow it to hold considerably more water. Whether your soil is clay or sand, adding organic matter will help it hold on to moisture better and longer. Compost is an easy way to get organic matter into your soil, which will also increase soil health as it continues to break down. You can buy ready-made compost, or invest in a system to make your own. They come in a range of sizes so that you can even create compost in the tiniest city backyard. Compost also helps to drought-proof your soil, which is essential in Australia’s climate.

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14. Use a moisture meter

A moisture meter is a relatively inexpensive tool that can help you identify when and how much you need to water your garden. The gadget will determine the percentage of moisture in the soil, and what action to take depending on the result – 10-30% being too dry, 80-100% too wet and 40-70% is just right.

Are you looking to purchase a property or refinance?

15. Don’t overwater

Don’t kill your lawn with kindness, whilst washing precious water down the drain. It might be an obvious tip, but overwatering your yard is big water waster. If you aren’t into gadgets, there are a few other ways besides a moisture meter to tell if your garden needs a drink. If your lawn springs back when you push down on it, it means it’s nice and moist. The amount of water need is also dependent on the weather. If it’s hot and dry, you’ll need to water more frequently, and if it’s raining, put your feet up for a few days and let nature work its magic. Remember that plants and grass prefer fewer long soaks, to daily sprinkles.

Words by Nell Matzen

Sources:

We’re committed to making your home loan journey go smoothly! Our eChoice brokers can help get you a credit report to see if your expenses will affect your application and discuss any unnecessary debts that might jeopardise your chances of a home loan approval.

As far as the Australian property market is concerned, the recession might as well have never happened.

At a national level the Australian property market appears to be doing well, despite the recession. The market’s seen ongoing sales and auction clearance rates, figures trending upwards towards pre-coronavirus levels.

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During the first week of November, CoreLogic reported 1,758 homes taken to auction across combined capitals, preliminary data showing a 73.2% clearance rate. While this is lower than the 2,412 homes to hit the hammer this time last year, data is trending in an upwards direction.

Source: CoreLogic

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Further contributing to the uphill trend, in the week prior the preliminary clearance rate hit 77.0%, before being revised down to 71.0% at final figures. This was the highest preliminary figure since the week ending 1st March (77.1%).

Regionally, the market is also performing well. Regional housing values have been rising. CoreLogic reported values across the combined regional market increased 4.8% over 2020, compared to 3.7% across capitals.

The property data and analytics company, however, also noted that the higher performance of regional markets is necessarily an unusual pattern, given capital city markets are known for their volatility. It is not uncommon for capital cities to see higher returns in upswings lower declines in downswings.

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Confidence in the housing market is also rising. The Westpac Consumer Sentiment report for October showed a 10.6% rise in its ‘time to buy a dwelling’ index. It was the highest level recorded since September 2019.

Its key measure of house price expectations also increased 31.5%.

‘The national Index is now ‘only’ 17% below its pre-pandemic level and back around the level seen in July last year,” said Westpac chief economist, Bill Evans.

“There is clear optimism in smaller states – where housing has underperformed the major eastern states for several years – although the apparent resilience of the Victorian market is impressive.”

Angela Carrick, founder of property buying and management company Air Design Australia says she expects the momentum in the property market to continue.

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“Historically cuts to interest rates have fuelled housing market activity and generally aligned with upwards pressure on dwelling prices,” Ms Carrick told eChoice.

“If passed on by the banks, which is highly likely, we will see mortgage rates fall further from their already record lows. With the trend in housing values already rising around most areas of the country, there is a good chance lower rates could see momentum building across the nation.”

Despite current stimulus measures, Ms Carrick says it isn’t just first home buyer activity fuelling the market.

“… we find it is the self-funded retiree segment who feel the need to see increase in their investment portfolio with cash and super rates low,” she said.

“Changes to work-place arrangements and awareness around work-life benefits has seen an increase in the 40 plus age group investing in areas they may not have considered previously.”

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What does this mean for the future of the Australian housing market?

As far of the future of the Australian property market is concerned, the outlook remains uncertain.

Recently, insurance group QBE released its Australian Housing Outlook 2020 – 2023 report, authorised by Bis Oxford Economics. The report found despite the relative resilience of the Australian property market so far, future price drops are anticipated.

“Over 600,000 jobs have been lost since March, and the economy shrank by 7% in the June quarter. This challenging environment is likely to weigh on housing market activity and on prices,” the report said.

“Thus far the market has shown relative resilience, with a variety of government financial support packages for people and businesses, interest rate cuts and mortgage repayment deferrals helping to prevent a sharp market correction, but further price declines are expected.”

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The report predicts a varying future across capital cities. Sydney and Melbourne are both expected to underperform in the near term, due to their exposure to the economic damage caused by COVID-19. In contrast, the report believes Perth’s resilience to COVID-19 and the pick-up in mining sector construction activity will lead its market to outperform.

The Brisbane market is expected to remain affordable due to its oversupply of properties while Darwin is expected to see a modest correction from its previously weak market.

Adelaide and Canberra are both expected to see prices supported as COVID-19 recovery continues, due to their protected local economies and lack of housing supply.

The Hobart property market is expected to be relatively stable due to “contradictory pressures”. While the state is reliant on international tourists, the report said Tasmania’s recent population growth led to a tight supply of housing which will limit market contraction.

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Is it a good time to purchase property?

Gold Coast based buyer’s agent, Caleb Gray believes anytime is a good time to buy a property if it’s a long-term investment, though he also expects the market to loosen over the coming months.

“If you’re investing (or purchasing your home) for the long term then it’s always a great time to invest,” Mr Gray told eChoice.

“Given the current high demand of buyers compared to sellers, I would stress to would-be buyers that, if the perfect property comes up, then pounce on it quickly, however, if you keep getting beaten out or can’t find the right one, then don’t worry the market will loosen up over the coming months.”

Are you looking to purchase a property or refinance?

You might also like: Home loan questions to ask before buying your first investment property

Mr Gray expects sellers to gain more confidence in the market in the coming months, creating more options for buyers, though he doesn’t anticipate the recently forecast ‘market crash’.

“JobKeeper and mortgage deferrals will wrap up and we will see an increase of stock that hits the market. However, I would not be expecting a property crash as many were predicting a couple of months ago.”

Words by Kathryn Lee

Sources:

Are you on the lookout to save more on your home loan? Contact eChoice to help you work out your home loan options. With access to 100s of mortgage products from over 25 lenders, eChoice has the resources to get YOU the right home loan deal.

Renovating your home doesn’t always mean you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars. There are plenty of ways you can transform your home whilst keeping control of your budget.

If you are looking to make some improvements to your home but you don’t have the funds for a huge renovation, here are some tips to help you along the way:

Improve curb appeal

One of the easiest ways you can improve the look of your home is by having a focus on the exterior and front yard. Improving your home’s curb appeal can not only increase its value, but also give pass-byers a positive impression without having to see the rest of your home.

There are a number of ways you can improve your curb appeal including mowing the lawn, collecting any rubbish and newspapers littering your lawn and front strip, cleaning and repainting your front porch, washing your driveway and adding a brand new welcome mat. One of the more creative ways to transform your front yard is to give some attention to your garden. Pull out the weeds, trim the trees and plant some lovely new flowers to add some colour to your front lawn.

Declutter or adopt minimalist look

Sometimes all your home needs is just a big spring clean. When you look at all of the knick-knacks you have accumulated over the years, you may find that there is a lot of stuff that you can do without. Take some time to go through each room and figure out what you want to get rid of. You could not only save some money, but possibly earn some if you choose to sell the bits and pieces you don’t want in a garage sale.

You may choose to take it a step further and do a complete rehaul of your home’s look, adopting a more minimalist aesthetic. This involves the stripping back the decor in your home to the bare minimum. This means getting rid of all useless knick-knacks and furniture that you don’t need and painting the walls a single neutral colour. This may make your home look more spacious while giving you a clearer head. 

Deep clean home

In addition to decluttering your home, doing a nice big deep clean could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Once you have moved everything out of each area, you can take this opportunity to clean the spots that you may miss during your regular clean-ups. Take it one room at a time so the task seems less daunting.

This can include washing the exterior of your home, vacuuming and deep cleaning your carpets, washing the interior and exterior sides of your windows and window sills, cleaning under large pieces of furniture such as beds or cabinets, dusting ceiling corners, scrubbing the walls and disinfecting light switches and outlets and any other electronics.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Sometimes all you need is a fresh coat of paint to light up a room. If you’re bored of staring at the same old off-white walls, opt for a brand new bright colour to give your home some personality. Adding a feature wall could be exactly what you need to give a room a nice big change without overpowering the space with too much colour.

If you don’t want to do anything too ordinary, there are plenty of ways you can do something a little more creative while painting your walls. Some techniques include using a stencil, color washing, strié, rag rolling and sponging. Any recreational painters out there may want to take it a step further for the kids’ rooms and do a Disney, comic book or fairytale-themed design.

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Replace fixtures and fittings

As the heart of your home, your kitchen may be the main place where you could really make a big impact through some small budget-controlled changes. One of the ways you could do this is by replacing some of the fixtures and fittings. This may include light fittings, fans, door fittings, taps and plug sockets.

This being said, replacing fixtures and fittings isn’t limited to the kitchen. Your bathrooms, bedrooms, living area, home office and even your outdoor areas. Doing a complete recall of all of these things in every area of your home can make it seem a bit more new while ensuring that any broken or damaged fixtures are found and replaced as quickly as possible.

Consider changing windows treatments

Our blinds, curtains or shutters may not be something we think about when we consider making some changes around the house. However, changing your window treatments may not only be a good idea, but also a much needed task to complete.

Some of the reasons why changing window treatments may be a good idea could be that you have damaged or bent slats, frayed cords, dirty or discoloured curtains or that they are now out of style. You may want to change to a completely different style of window treatment or just find an updated version of your existing ones.

Are you looking to purchase a property or refinance?

Redo your outdoor living area

Just like your front yard, your backyard and outdoor living area could do with a bit of a face lift. The outdoor area may be neglected or may get messier than your indoor area so it may be time to give it some attention while you’re not entertaining as often.

Some of the easy ways you can renovate your outdoor living area include cleaning furniture and veranda, cleaning and refinishing the deck, replanting your garden or trimming the trees, add some decorative accents such as cushions, colourful pots and lanterns and installing some wind sails.

You might also like: Five things to consider when building a fire pit in your backyard

Rearrange your furniture

You could even do something as simple as rearranging your furniture, which wouldn’t cost you a cent. Moving some of your furniture around could be a great way to make some extra space in a room without going through the hassle of extending it. This can be done in the bedroom, living area, bathroom or outdoor area.

This could also give you a chance to clean under the things you would normally ignore like beds, cupboards, tables, washing machines or couches. 

More Aussies appear to be jumping on the property ladder despite COVID-19 woes, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which showed a surge in new loan commitments over August.


New loan commitments for housing increased in August, with seasonally adjusted figures revealing a 12.6% jump, according to the ABS data released in October.

While investor new loan commitments were up 9.3%, new loans for owner-occupiers jumped 13.6% over the month.

Owner occupier first home buyer loans commitments saw a 17.7% surge. Most first home buyers bought properties to live in, with those buying for investment purposes accounting for 4.2% of all first home buyer loan commitments.

“The value of owner occupier home loan commitments was $16.3 billion in August, the highest value in the history of the series,” said ABS head of Finance and Wealth, Amanda Seneviratne.

“August’s 13.6 per cent increase in the value of owner occupier home loan commitments is the largest month-on-month rise in the history of the series, eclipsing the previous record of 10.7 per cent set in July.”

BIS Oxford Economics principal economist Tim Hibbert said the latest data was promising.

“The latest lending indicators data is encouraging, with households responding strongly to record low interest rates and the various buyer incentives in play,” BIS Oxford Economics principal economist Tim Hibbert told Business Insider Australia.

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Confidence in the market growing

Along with an increase in lending over August, confidence in the housing market is also growing, according to Westpac.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment saw confidence in the housing market boom over September, with the ‘time to buy a dwelling’ index increasing by 10.6% to its highest level since September 2019.

House price expectations also improved, with all states recording positive results and the national index climbing by 31.5% to 117.3.

“The national Index is now ‘only’ 17% below its pre-pandemic level and back around the level seen in July last year,” Westpac Chief Economist Bill Evans noted in the report.

Mr Evans believes the upturn in consumer confidence across all measures of the report can be attributed to the recent Budget announcement and the speculation of another interest rate drop.

“The Index has now lifted by 32% over the last two months to the highest level since July 2018,” he said.

“The Index is now 10% above the average level in the six months prior to the pandemic. Such a development must be attributable to the response to the October Federal Budget; ongoing success across the nation in containing the COVID-19 outbreak; and the expectation that the Reserve Bank Board is likely to further cut interest rates at its next meeting on November 3.”

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Low interest rates

In good news for property investors, interest rates are historically low and are expected to stay that way for at least three years, according to Dr Lowe’s opening statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in August.

“The Board has clearly indicated that it will not increase the cash rate until progress is being made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2-3 per cent target range,” he said.

“Given the outlook I discussed earlier, these conditions are not likely to be met for at least three years.”

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee believes the low interest rate environment presents an opportunity for investors.

“Interest rates are incredibly low,” she told The Herald Sun.

“A lot of finance restrictions on lending have been relaxed – it’s easier to get finance.”

What's my borrowing power if I earn $ per year?

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Government schemes available to homebuyers and investors

Depending on your individual circumstances and where you live, there are a variety of government schemes available to encourage buyers into the property market. Below are some of the grants currently up for grabs which you may be eligible for.

First home buyer owner-occupiers

  • First Home Buyer Grants: Depending on the state or territory you intend to buy in, you may be eligible for a First Home Buyer Grant. Ranging between $10,000 and $20,000, where available most of the grants require you to buy or build a new home. Find out more on the First Home Buyers Grant for your state here: First Home Buyers Grant: Everything you need to know
  • Slashed stamp duty: Some states have slashed stamp duty for first home buyers or introduced generous concessions, so long as they meet the criteria.
  • First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS): The extended scheme will let up to 10,000 first home buyers build a new home with a deposit as low as 5% without needing to pay a costly Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) premium for having a low deposit.

Owner-occupiers

  • HomeBuilder: A $25,000 grant that allows eligible owner-occupiers to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. Find out more: Building a home? Your guide to the HomeBuilder Grant
  • The Western Australian government’s $20,000 incentive for the construction of new builds.

Investors

  • WA $20,000 Building bonus scheme: Also mentioned above, the Western Australian government’s $20,000 building incentive is available to both eligible owner-occupiers and investors.

Is now a good time to buy or invest in property?

For those who are financially secure, property investment adviser Michael Yardney says now could be a good time to invest.

“In my opinion for those who have a secure job and their finances organised, this is a great time to buy a home or investment property at a price that you were unlikely to be able to get a couple of weeks ago when the property markets in big capital cities were booming and there were more buyers around than sellers,” he advised readers of his blog, propertyupdate.com.au.

“It is likely that human nature will cause many would-be buyers to sit on the side lines for a little while until things become more clear, which means that sellers will be more amenable to accepting offers rather than holding out for a top price.”

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Buyers’ agent Lloyd Edge, however, believes it’s more so a question of ‘where’ rather than ‘when,’ when it comes to buying property.

“Every investor or buyer should have a specific strategy in place that is unique to their goals. Common goals include wanting to retire, putting children through private school tuition or wanting to go on more holidays,” he told Business Insider Australia.

“This strategy will then inform the location of the property, for example buying in the city or in a regional area. There are many markets in Australia and each one performs differently due to their cycles, so make sure you stay up to date with the latest data, instead of viewing Australia as a whole.”

Mr Edge suggests it is best for buyers to invest in property according to their goals.

“Are you looking to buy for the long term, or for cashflow, or to add value to a property? If you’re looking for an investment, make sure you buy in an area where there is scarcity,” he said.

“Tenants are looking to outer suburbs and regional areas right now, as they are looking for a home office or backyard due to working from home policies. Whereas, if you’d like to live in a city suburb, you might be able to snap up an affordable property right now.”

Words by Kathryn Lee

Sources:

Looking for a home loan? Contact eChoice. With access to 100s of mortgage products from over 25 different lenders, eChoice brokers have the resources to help you find the perfect home loan. Best of all? We do all the paperwork!

When we renovate our homes, we try to make them as comfortable as possible for all who live there. Why shouldn’t this idea extend to our furry, feathered or scaly family members as well?

We love our pets and want to make sure they feel like they are part of the family and feel comfortable in our home. Just like when a new child comes along, it may be necessary to make some changes when you get a new pet or move into a new home with your pet.


The renovation planning process involves thinking about the ways we can make our homes more liveable for each of its inhabitants. Considering the needs and wants of our cats, dogs and everything in between, while doing this can be surprisingly easy.

Here are a few tips for all the pet owners out there:

1. Decorate your home with pet-friendly room accessories

If you have pets that live inside there is a good chance that if you have a breakable knick-knack sitting somewhere in your home, it will be broken at some point. A great way to try and avoid this is to fill your home with pet-friendly room accessories that won’t be damaged if they are knocked over or cause harm to your pet. This means you would want to avoid anything made out of glass, as well as expensive rugs.

2. Get some ‘pet furniture’

Personalising your home is not just limited to the paint on the walls or the knick-knacks on the shelves. Making sure you have the right furniture that matches the lifestyle you have and the kind of family you are living with is essential. Pet owners may want to look into getting some pet-friendly accessories, such as a cat tree or a cute dog bed, that not only performs its function, but also matches the aesthetic of the rest of the house.

cats playing on cat tree

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3. Buy a good quality sofa

When you decide to get a pet, the first thing you may need to sacrifice are your dreams of an expensive couch. Whether you like it or not, your pet will jump onto the couch and therefore it will need to withstand any damage from scratches and will need to be easy to clean. Good quality sofas to look into will need to be genuine leather in order to take the little disasters that your pet may bring.

4. Think about getting low maintenance, slip resistant flooring

One of the benefits of owning your own home is being able to renovate it in any way you desire. One way to do this if you are looking to pet-proof your home is swapping any carpets or slippery tiles for something that will incur the least amount of unintended damage. Some of these include carpet, vinyl tile or plank flooring and laminate flooring.

5. Create a mini bathroom for your pet

Pets love to get grubby as they play, so having a space just for them to get cleaned up might be a great addition to your home. Rather than having to bring all of their stuff into your nice, clean bathroom and trying to clean them in your bathtub, find a space in your laundry and build a bathtub in their size and include some steps for them to climb up and down themselves. You can keep all of their towels, soap and shampoo in there so it’s all ready when you need it.

6. Install in a pet-friendly entrance

You want our family and guests to feel welcome when they come into your home. Your pets should be no different. Setting up an entrance just for them is a nice way to allow them to enter and exit your home with ease. You may choose to get creative with the design or even add a little doormat just for them.

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7. Think about your pets’ daily routine and what they like to do

What does your pet like to do during the day? When do they prefer to eat their meals or sleep? These are all things you may want to consider when you are setting up your pet-friendly spaces in your home. You may want to make sure their sleeping area is constantly accessible, especially when you are not home, and that they are able to reach all their toys easily.

8. Create a special areas for your pets to hang out in

You don’t have to make your whole home centred around your pet, but it may be nice for them to have a little space that’s just for them. Whether you are able to create a small area in a corner of a large room or even dedicate a whole room to them, this will allow your pet to have their own place to call home within your home. Plus, this can be where you store all their toys, treats and care products so they can be easily found when they are needed.

9. Make sure you have adequate fencing and outdoor space

Even if your pet doesn’t live outside, having adequate fencing and an outdoor space that is suitable for a pet is essential. They need to spend some time outside so ensure that they cannot get into harm’s way and that they have the space to run around and play could help to make sure they are safe and happy.

dog playing fetch outside

You might also like: How to keep your fencing up to date

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10. Give them a comfortable sleeping space

Although they may want to sit with you on your bed, your pet needs their own little spot for them to sleep in. This starts with a comfortable bed in a spot that is easily accessible throughout the day and that is just the right size for them. If it’s a bit chilling where you live, you may want to include some extra blankets and pillows to keep them warm as they drift off to dreamland.

11. Install a large window

As we know during these strange times, being inside four walls for long periods of time can be difficult. It can be the same for pets who live indoors. Having a large window where they can sit and look at the goings-on of the outside world could help keep them sane. You can include a cushioned seat under the window for them to sit comfortably on as they people-watch peacefully.

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12. DIY your own storage

It may be difficult to find the appropriate storage facilities for your pets snacks, toys and other accessories, so it may be a good idea for you to start a little DIY project and create your own. Think about the items you need to store and what you want it to look like. This will also give you a chance to personalise it to match the aesthetic of your home’s internal design to prevent it from clashing.

Are you inspired to renovate your home? Check out our guide so you can work out your game plan before you begin.

Words by Jessica Testa

Sources:

You don’t need to leave your house to get an eChoice home loan consultation. As always we will discuss your options over the phone – we’re here to make your home loan journey easier.

The eviction ban in Victoria has extended to March 2021, creating questions for many tenants and landlords alike. The good news is, there is government assistance on offer – here’s what you need to know.


With a State of Emergency and State of Disaster being declared in Victoria to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Victorian Government the moratorium on evictions that has been in place since 29 March 2020, has now been extended until 28 March 2021. The move is backed by rental relief for eligible tenants, a suspension of any rent increases, and a free dispute resolution process available for tenants and landlords.

Under the laws, those suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic are now protected from eviction and can negotiate a rent reduction with their landlord. These laws apply to tenants and sub-tenants in residential properties, rooming house, social housing, under a site agreement at a caravan park and/ or specialist disability accommodation.

The changes in law are not only related to evictions – they have also changed to allow more flexibility in ending a lease early should a tenant find themselves in financial hardship or apply for a rent reduction.

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The issues

With COVID-19 shutdowns seeing an increase in unemployment, reduction in working hours and therefore income, or people taking up temporary work in a field that pays less to make ends meet, the rental market was understandably hit hard. Tenants finding themselves struggling to make the rent could in turn have a knock-on effect to landlords relying on the rental income to make mortgage repayments.

Investment properties with a mortgage attached to them could see landlords having to come up with the shortfall themselves – or discuss with their lender an appropriate plan forward. With the ban in place, landlords could be looking at reduced rental incomes, deferred payments or payment plans to negotiate and stay on top of until next year.

You might also like: Home loan questions to ask before buying your first investment property

Rent reductions to the rescue?

Negotiating a rent reduction may allow some tenants to pay some of their rent payments.

Where tenants have been financially impacted by COVID-19, Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is encouraging landlords, agents and tenants to try to reach an arrangement, put it in writing, then register it with them – they have some handy resources available on their website to help both parties work out a fair reduction, including information on what paperwork tenants will likely need to present.

If you’re a tenant requiring a rent reduction, CAV says you’ll need to pre-prepare information to help negotiate with your landlord, including the amount of rent you can afford. You can do this using:

  • What income you will have from your employer and through any government financial support, and how long this income will last.
  • Your savings
  • Your essential expenses; think food, clothing, medical, utilities, phone and Internet, education, or vehicle expenses.

There is no pre-determined rate or amount that is required for you to pay, and as guide, CAV says paying more than 30% of your gross income would be considered as rental hardship.

They also caution rental reductions and rental deferrals are not the same, and if your landlord asks you to defer payments to a later date, you are able to decline if it does not suit your financial situation.

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You might also like: What to expect when being a landlord

I’m a landlord and I have a mortgage to pay, what can I do if my tenant can’t pay rent?

While you cannot legally evict a tenant who cannot afford to pay rent and you are legally obligated to work with good faith should your tenant request a rent reduction due to COVID-19 related changes in their financial circumstances, the Victorian Government has taken steps to help landlords too. If a tenant comes to you or your agent, you have the right to request supporting evidence, such as a notice of employment termination and evidence about their Centrelink payments.

Rental relief for tenants

The Victorian Government has recently announced rent relief grants for Victorians experiencing rental hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the form of a one off grant payments up to $3,000 (up from $2,000.)

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You have registered a reduced rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria (deferral of rent is not considered a rent reduction.) If you have been unsuccessful in negotiating a rent reduction, you will need to file a dispute through CAV.
  • Your household income must be less than $1,903 per week,
  • You have less than $10,000 in savings
  • You are paying at least 30 per cent of your income in rent.

There are no citizenship or permanent residency requirements for applicants. Applicants that may be eligible include casual workers on holiday and working visas, international students, skilled visa holders, seasonal workers, New Zealand citizens and all refugee and temporary protection visa holders.

If successful, the grant is paid directly to your agent or landlord to contribute towards your rental payments.

If you’ve previously applied before the maximum allowable savings increased from $5,000 to $10, 000 or when the maximum payment was $2,000, your application will automatically be reassessed. Grant applications can be lodged up until 28 March 2021.

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So I cannot evict my tenant under any circumstance?

While COVID-19 impacted financial status covers tenants, it is important to understand you can still be evicted – or evict – under the new laws in certain circumstances. These include:

  • the landlord is selling or moving into the property
  • failure to pay rent when you are not experiencing financial hardship
  • you sublet the property.

If in doubt about the legality of being evicted or if you need to break your lease early, CAV recommend getting in touch with their office for personalised advice.

Words by Melanie Hearse

Sources:

Has your lender made the cut? Take advantage of when lenders start dropping their rates, we can help organise your refinancing or a pre-approval!

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Sometimes we get so busy stashing our cash and budgeting till we burst that we forget to check-in to see how our money is actually doing. Here are 10 ways to help you determine whether your hard-earned moolah is living its best life.


1. You spend less than you earn

It might seem like a super simple question but it’s also a really effective one as it forces us to take a deeper look at our finances and what exactly they’re doing. Are you living beyond your means? Or have you had an opportunity to focus on reigning in your spending? Now’s your chance to make sure your outgoings are less than your incomings.

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2. You have an emergency cash fund to cover unexpected costs

From accidents to illness, sick pets and unforeseen travel expenses – it’s important to have a pile of cash hidden away in case of an emergency. There’s nothing worse than realising you’re in a tough situation with no way out. Not sure you can afford to put anything aside just yet? Start small – even $20 a week. You never know when it may come in handy.

3. You’ve considered or actioned long-term saving ideas

There are a number of ways you can take action today to ensure your future-self is comfortable and enjoying a well-earned retirement (literally). From small-scale investing to making lump-sum upfront payments – it’s often the minor changes that pay off the most. Why not consider making lump-sum upfront payments to help you save in the long-term? Paying your car insurance premiums annually instead of monthly could be a great way to get started. 

You might also like: Could Payment Defaults Stop Me From Getting a Home Loan?

4. You’re no longer worrying about money every day

The goal of becoming financially secure and savvy isn’t just about being able to indulge whenever the mood strikes – it’s to ensure you’re also in a position to have a positive emotional relationship with money. If you find yourself worrying about your finances on a daily basis, or you’re arguing with your partner about money each day, why not sit down and ask yourself what in particular about your financial situation has you stressed?

Are you concerned about your super? Maybe your daily expenses? Or perhaps you’re unable to stretch the budget any further but you know something has to give? The first part of solving a problem is defining the issue. Start here and create a plan moving forward that allows you to experience an elevated peace of mind.

5. You’re debt free

Congratulations, you did it! It took every last ounce of energy and sacrifice but you made it. Now, staying debt free… that’s a whole other ball game.

What's my borrowing power if I earn $ per year?

6. You’re able to pay your monthly expenses with cash leftover

Remember that whole debt free notion? Well, if you’re able to pay your expenses and still have money in your account once you’re done, you’re pretty well on your way. Don’t lose sight of your goal – even though it may be tempting to take that extra money and splurge, you could throw it into your emergency fund instead.

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7. You’ve invested in your Super or have considered making extra contributions

Speak to anyone above the age of 50 and chances are they’ll tell you they wished they’d paid more attention to their Super back in the day. By making extra contributions when you’re in the financial position to do so, you’re helping to ensure your nest egg grows bigger, better and stronger each year. Future-you will thank you for it.

8. You’re not living pay check to pay check

Possibly the most stressful feeling in the world, this way of living is unfortunately a reality for many. Not because they’re bad with money, but rather due to the increasing costs of living. With effectual pay rises still a pipedream for the majority of workers, it can be really hard to pay off debt, get food on the table, pay the rent, the mortgage or the car insurance and still have anything left over.

9. You pay off your credit or charge cards in full each month

If you aren’t able to pay off your credit card debt in one sweeping, grand gesture at the end of each month – it might be time to put the credit card away. This goes back to the idea of spending less than you earn. What’s more – who wants to be paying interest on a debt that feels like it will never go away?

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10. Losing your job wouldn’t mean you couldn’t pay your bills

OK, being made redundant is horrible, but there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re not needed when it’s coupled with a fear of how you’ll get by. Again, this is another reason for that emergency fund. If you’ve got the wiggle room to put money aside each fortnight or month, do so now so future you won’t have to bear the burden of extra worry if you find yourself in a sticky professional situation.

Words by Alana Wulff.

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