Finance advice

Ease your debt burden through consolidation

By Stacey Moseley

Most working Australians are no stranger to debt. These days, most of us have at least one credit card, a car loan, and in many instances, a personal loan.

 

Access to credit has made life easier and in many cases a lot better for most people in general. But while there are many positives associated with using credit, there can be a downside.

It is easy to let your credit card balance creep up, and before you know it the bank has kindly increased your limit. Before you know where you are, you’re up to your eyeballs in repayments and your cash flow is getting tighter.

When debt starts to spiral, it’s imperative that you take decisive action if you’re to regain control. The first action must be to address your spending habits to ensure that the debt does not continue to climb at the same pace.

With a tighter grip on your spending, your main focus should be on reducing the debt levels on your credit card, as this is where you are likely to be paying the highest interest.

It can be tempting to take out another credit card with a lower rate, but be warned: if you don’t close down your existing cards, you’ll simply magnify the problem.

It is better to focus on reducing the outstanding amount, and that means saving more than you spend each month.

The most effective way to achieve this goal is to set a budget. This will help establish what your fixed costs are, such as your mortgage, school fees and utility bills. You can then look at what’s left and decide where you can pare back.

With a simple strategy in place, and a goal to strive for, you should see your situation begin to improve. And the lower your debts are, the less interest you’ll pay out each month – and the greater amount you’ll be paying off the debt itself.

There are instances, however, where it may be more effective to look at restructuring your debt in conjunction with implementing a budget.

If you decide to take this approach, make sure that you look for a loan that will offer you a far more competitive rate than a credit card.

One option is a personal loan but that is still likely to attract interest of around 11 to 14 per cent, or more. It may also be possible to consolidate high interest debt into your home loan if there is sufficient equity in your property.

If consolidation is the only answer, using your home loan to pay off a credit card can be an effective solution as the interest rate on a mortgage is significantly lower than a credit card – in some instances it is as little as one third.

Remember, as soon as you’ve tackled your credit card debt reduce the maximum available balance – stick to using just one card and keep spending on track by staying with your budget.

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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding"
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  string(55) "boost-for-investors-as-new-app-sets-up-off-site-bidding"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(144) "

Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED:

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How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals
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  ["id"]=>
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  ["title"]=>
  string(88) "‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end"
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The practice of property investment firms sharing undisclosed kickbacks among the supply chain involved in development sales will be outlawed in NSW on 1 July this year under the Real Estate Reform being handed down by regulators in NSW.

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Property commentator and valuer, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter, said the reform will address conflicts of interest.

She said they arise when a mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner receives part of the commission from the property firm, who receive their fees from the developer or seller.

“This puts the broker into a position by which they are being paid on both sides of the fence,” she said.

“Until now this has been a grey area and there was nothing stopping this practice.” 

Ms Porter said this has been a common practice in the industry.

"Some well-known mortgage broking firms openly admit to receiving $5,000–$10,000 per referral in their pocket.”

She also said this process has been going on for decades.

"Property investment firms commonly pass some of their commission on to the mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner as a reward to them for passing on the referral. This means that many brokers or financial service providers are making significant amounts of money just to refer on to a property firm, often totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Anna Porter said.

Ms Porter said the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will be in force from July this year, and will prohibit this practice unless the broker or referring partner also holds a real estate industry license.

"Under the new laws, if the broker takes a referral fee from the property firm, they will have to be a licensed real estate agent and also hold a corporation’s license,” she said. 

“Subsequently, every transaction that they receive a referral fee from, they will be putting their license up against the transaction and taking full liability for the conduct, practices and outcome of that transaction, even if they have little to do with the transaction; they are a party to it financially and therefore take as much risk as everyone else in the transaction.”

Mr Porter said where a referrer holds a real estate license, and receives a part of the sale commission, they may find themselves in breach of the ethical requirements under the act.

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‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end

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