Can You Make a Profit from Buying a Fixer-Upper Home?


It used to be fairly easy to flip a house, provided you had the capital to purchase a fixer-upper in the first place. You’d buy a home that needs some work, put five or ten thousand dollars into remodeling it, then sell it for a large profit. Real estate investors have been dancing the same waltz for decades, but many investors fear that the days of easy profits in real estate might be over.

Can you make a profit from buying fixer-upper homes? That depends. Some say that the state of the market has no bearing on whether or not you can profit from flipping a house, while others feel that the market is the key to all real estate transactions. If you have a truly spectacular home, chances are you’ll be able to sell it, and you might not have to take too much of a dive compared to recent years. Nevertheless, the rise in foreclosures does tend to scare your target market, and flipping fixer-upper homes might not be the most stable source of income.


First of all, a fixer-upper home is not a dump in a seedy neighborhood. You don’t want to wipe out your chances of reselling by purchasing a house that has no potential. If you’re going to make a profit from buying fixer-uppers, you have to have an eye for potential in real estate. Ideally, you won’t need to put more than six or seven thousand dollars into the repairs and improvements before you attempt to flip it, just in case you can’t sell it at all.


Major problems like cracks in the foundation or lack of insulation should be red flags to all real estate investors. You can wind up spending tens of thousands of dollars before the house can even go on the market, and by that time you’ll probably have lost money. If you want to make a profit, you’ll probably have to sell all investment properties below market value, just to move them out of your acquisitions folder.


It is also a good idea to choose a fixer-upper home with repairs you can do yourself. If you don’t know how to paint walls or repaint floors or install fixtures, you’ll spend far too much money hiring a contractor. The purpose of buying a fixer-upper is to make a profit as quickly as possible, not to hang on to the property until it needs even further repairs.


As long as there are families and singles looking for homes, you can make a profit from buying fixer-upper homes. You just have to be smart about your methods and pay attention to local trends. To increase your chances, review the following tips:


Rent until you flip. If you’ve already finished the repairs and improvements on a fixer-upper home, you can generate some revenue by renting it out until you can sell. Some houses take several months to find an interested buyer, so consider renting on a month-to-month basis until you’ve closed on the deal.


Look at the neighborhood. When buying a fixer-upper for profit, you need to look at more than just the condition of the structure itself. Homes in good school districts with plenty of community parks, shopping, restaurants and well-maintained landscaping will sell much faster than others. If you want to make a profit at this, be smart about where (and not just what) you buy.


Make smart improvements. Research the area where your fixer-upper is located and find out what local residents want. Installing new counter tops or hardwood floors can skyrocket the interest in a home. Pay careful attention to the landscaping, as well, because curb appeal is high on the list of attractive amenities for prospective home owners.

Seven Ways to Protect Yourself Against Real Estate Scams


Most of us have heard about real estate scams, which can cause problems not only for individuals, but also for the real estate market in general. If you’re going to be buying a home, selling a home or investing in real estate, it helps to know how to protect yourself against scams. Following are seven of the most important tips I’ve collected from my father and my own experiences.

1- Join an Organization


In many cases, the best way to protect yourself against real estate scams is to have a solid source of accurate information. When you join an investment club, you gain access to experts who can answer your questions when a deal seems “off”. In other words, don’t make decisions until you run it by your fellow members.


2- Request Identification


Before you show a property to a prospective buyer, and before you look at a property with a seller or real estate agent, verify they are who they say they are. Requesting valid identification is your best defense against real estate scams, and has become so common as to be considered the “norm” these days. If they don’t have I.D., go with someone else.


3- Safeguard Your Money


Your closing agent is your strongest ally when closing on a real estate deal, so avoid those scams by placing your money in the agent’s escrow account. This way, if you discover that you’ve been involved in a scam, you can yank your money from escrow immediately rather than struggling to find out where exactly it is. Remember, scam artists work together in teams, so it’s easy to be fooled.


4- Hire an Attorney


Your real estate agent might be experienced in handling contracts and negotiations, but an attorney has him or her beat on all counts. Before you sign anything, have your attorney look over the documents to ensure you are protected against real estate scams. It’s better to be overly cautious than to make a very costly mistake.


5- Locate Liens


Before you invest in or purchase a real estate property, make sure there are no outstanding liens against it. Real estate scams often involve trying to sell properties with hidden liens, especially when the lien was placed recently and doesn’t yet show up under title searches. This means using all of your city’s resources to locate potential problems.


6- Obtain Title Insurance


This tip is worth its weight in gold, and will go a long way toward protecting you from real estate scams. Unfortunately, this is an expense that shouldn’t be spared, even if you don’t think it’s worth the money. It only takes one sour deal to put you in the poor house, so start shopping around for title insurance immediately.


7- Compare on Your Own


Some real estate scam artists will provide fraudulent comparison reports when trying to sell a property. They will claim that similar homes or businesses in the area are worth twice their actual value, and will have a partner in appraisals or research to substantiate their claims. Do yourself a favor and research your own comparisons.

HGTV’s Designed to Sell Offers Great Real Estate Advice


Designed to Sell on HGTV takes viewers on a quick trip through home redoes that ensure homes on the market will sell more quickly and for more money. Home makeover shows have captured the American audience. Designed to Sell puts a twist on the traditional makeover show by teaching viewers how they can add big bucks to the bottom line value of their home. Each show is full of interior design ideas, home improvement projects, and real estate insider secrets.

Each show beings with the host Clive Pearse walking Shannon Freeman, a real estate agent, through the home they will be renovating. Shannon Freemon is completely honest in her assessment of the house. Beginning with the outside she begins to point out strengths and weakness of the property. Great architectural detail always gets a thumbs up, while plain homes quickly receive her verbal wrath. Shannon also accesses the state of repair the home is in. Rickety railings and peeling paint clearly do little to impress this savvy real estate agent. While Shannon is assessing the property the homeowners are watching a recording of her comments. While honesty is not always appreciated, it definitely is here. Owners want the most money for there property and now they know what they need to do to get it.


After being assessed, the home begins its redesign under the care of resident designer Lisa LaPorta. Lisa LaPorta hails from Los Angeles, California. She graduated from UCLA’s Department of Environmental Design. Her design style is strong and practical. Although Lisa is tiny in size, her ideas are huge. Taking into account Shannon’s assessment of the property, Lisa organizes her team of experts and the homeowners and they tackle home improvement projects and interior design issues.


Designed to Sell acknowledges that many homeowners do not want to invest a lot of money into a home they are trying to move out of, so each show is given a $2000 budget. With this small budget, Lisa and her team try to make the home the hottest property in the neighborhood.


Home Improvement Projects


In the episode titled Completing Home Projects, Lisa and her team tackle a myriad of home improvement projects begun by the homeowners. Ellen and Chris DeVrieze began working on what they thought would be their dream home, but now they are moving and the projects are still incomplete. Incomplete projects scare potential buyers away and they should be completed at all costs to increase the bottom line of the home. Lisa and her team show viewers how to retile a back splash, lay laminate self-adhesive floor tiles, and how to hang crown molding and door molding. By the end of the episode all projects are complete and Ellen and Chris DeVrieze are ready to receive a great offer on their home.


Interior Design Ideas


In the first episode, entitled ’70’s Home Update, Lisa and her team tackled some major interior design issues that many older home have: dark wood paneling, years of clutter, and outdated carpet.


Removing clutter from your home is a must do when you are selling your house. This is one of the single most important tasks a homeowner can do while selling their home. Clutter tells potential buyers that they will not have enough room for their own belongings. Clutter also prevents potential buyers from really seeing your home. Buyers cannot see your beautiful hardwood floors if they are covered in toys and clutter. Homeowners Jani and Rick Geary from ’70’s Home Update held a yard sale to remove the clutter so that they could begin to update their home’s interior. In other episodes, homeowners de-clutter by beginning to pack and moving the boxes out of the house to a storage unit or their new home.


Create open spaces. Buyers want open living spaces. Most buyers will tell you they do not want to be separated from their family while they are preparing meals, hence the popularity of the kitchen and great room combination. The team removed upper cabinets in Jani and Rick Geary’s kitchen that divided it from the family room. This created an open modern floor plan that homebuyers look for.


Remove dark wood paneling. Painting over the wood paneling in the home creates a lighter and brighter contemporary setting. Wood paneling can date a house and turn away potential buyers. Lisa and her team also removed the old navy blue carpet throughout the home and installed a lighter neutral beige color. These steps add valuable light inside the home.


Update fixtures. In almost every episode Lisa and her crew replace outdated light fixtures as well as faucets and mirrors. Replacing fixtures is an inexpensive way to instantly update the look and feel of a home.


Real estate Insider Secrets


Highlight architectural features. Shannon Freeman encourages buyers to carefully consider furniture placement. This is not the time for what works for your family, but for what works to highlight the best features in you home. It is your job to do the work for the prospective buyers. Furniture placement creates flow through the home and can accent great architectural features through out the house. Creating cozy sitting areas that draw the eye towards features such as fireplaces and architectural detail can make your house a hot commodity to buyers. This is the time to remove any unneeded furniture that is making your house look small or poorly laid out.


Character is a must. According to Shannon freeman, “Character equals money.” If your home is plain, then the owners need to create some charm to really make their house stand out in the real estate market. Highlighting existing over looked character or creating new character will bring in the money. To save money highlight or further develop any charming qualities your home may have.


Create a clear purpose in each room. Everyone has a junk room where all the leftover furniture you did not know where to place ends up. This is a huge don’t when you are trying to sell your home. Remove the clutter and assign one purpose to the room. Create a home office, gym, or guest bedroom. Remember, you must think for the buyer.


Create a great first impression. First impressions set the tone for the entire visit. A great landscaped yard or a fabulous front door can be great deal closers. Buyers will make their judgments of the home in the first minute. Do not waste this opportunity. It is a lot easier to start with a great first impression than it is to try to recover from a bad first impression. Lack of care to the outside of the home will lead buyers to believe that this condition is true through out the home.


Designed to Sell incorporates all of this advice into a weekly thirty minute show that can be viewed on HGTV on Tuesday nights at 8:00pm eastern standard time. This is a useful and educational show whether you are in the market to sell your home or would really like some ideas to revamp your current home.


Buying Las Vegas Real Estate

Las Vegas

Most of the people in the world will own a piece of real estate at one point or another in their lives. Where and how they come to own the real estate remains to be seen, but they will own it none the less. No matter where you go there is something going on in the market. Either the time for selling is right or the time for buying. Those who keep track of this kind of thing know that the market will be in a constant state of change that will effect that way they do business.

Las Vegas Nevada real estate is one of the markets that a good many people are always interested in. There is a lot of reasoning behind this as well. If you think about it Las Vegas Nevada real estate is bound to be a hot commodity and with that in mind you must consider that there is going to be a need for someone who is willing to invest in these kinds of properties when the time is right. If you are that person then there are some things that you might want to be aware of.


First and foremost, property in the Las Vegas Nevada real estate market tends to run high. This stands to reason because this is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and also one of the top tourist destinations that one can find. This means that the real estate in the area may be very hard to come by to say the least. It also means that a person thinking about investing in the Las Vegas Nevada real estate market needs to be on the top of their game.


It is no secret that new buildings are springing up all over the city and country side in this area. Most often these buildings are for the more commercial purpose, like a casino, but often they are housing developments as well. With this in mind you can be one of the many that is in line for a spot in the booming market with the chance of a very high payoff in the end. To do this requires one to plan and be on the line when the offers start to come in.


You will find that often in the Las Vegas Nevada real estate market there is the opportunity to roll or flip a property and make a rather large sum of money in the process. This happens when you own a piece of property that is impeding the development of a large scale operation. It may be something as small as a home that is next door to the area where a new casino is being built. With that in mind you will see that the owners of the new development will take the chance to offer you a nice sum of money for the property that you own. Be sure that you are getting at least fair market value if not more and you will come out of the whole deal a winner.

Basic Real Estate Tips


If you want to be successful in buying and selling real estate, there are some very simple principles that should be adhered to. While it is certainly a more complicated venture than these over-simplified tips might indicate, it is not as difficult as many seem to think. Being successful in any investment is all about putting in the work, doing the research, and being diligent in methods. Land is no different than any mutual fund or five-year bond. By following these tips, you will have a good chance to make some profit in real estate.

The most important thing to remember is that cheap land does not always equate to the best land. Think about the fact that it might be cheap land for a reason. If no one wants to buy it, it will have a low price tag. With that said, not all cheap land is created equally. Some sellers fail to see the long-term value that a property may have. The key is to do the research in order to know whether or not a cheap piece of land has a chance to appreciate. Do not make the mistake of jumping the gun on a plot of land simply because the price tag is low. In addition, higher priced land has a chance to increase by a higher dollar amount. Property generally goes up or down on a percentage basis. Expensive properties offer an opportunity for more profit.


Another thing to remember is that you do not always have to blaze a real estate trail. Generally, well invested markets are well invested for a good reason. People buy properties on water because that land has a tendency to appreciate in value. Consider following market trends that people have laid the groundwork for before you consider heading off on your own to be a trend setter. This is not fashion. We are talking about real estate.


Location is probably the most important factor to consider when considering real estate. Take both a global view and local view. If you can see the big picture and notice what areas of the world seem to be up and coming, you can score big on some foreign land. In comparison, local land takes a little bit more surgical research. Find out where the big developments are going and buy land near there. That land will go up in value if you know what you are doing.


Buying real estate is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is made a lot easier if you understand these basic principles. By putting in the work and doing the research, you can make sure the property you invest in is going up in value and will eventually be a money maker for you.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent


If you’re looking to either buy or sell real estate in the near future, you’ve got many questions on your mind. It’s a scary process, and to make sure you get through it without losing your mind you need a real estate agent that you can trust and will do a great job on your behalf. So how do you choose the right real estate agent? There are several ways to do this, and I’ve listed a few of the more effective ways to choose the perfect agent for you.

Over the course of the last twenty years, real estate agents have developed a poor reputation that rivals that of a used car salesperson. Being a real estate agent myself, I hear this comparison all of the time. It’s true, we are salespersons. But we have a duty and obligation to practice a code of ethics, and to work in any prospective seller or buyer’s best interest. We’re not allowed to pressure anyone into selling their home, or a buying a home when we know they cannot afford one. However, I must say there are some very terrible real estate agents out there, and I think it’s these agents that have given the rest of us a bad name. Keep in mind that we all work differently. For instance, if you and I took a pen and signed our names, though the result would be different we still used to the same tool to do it. If you apply this to real estate, you’ll see that though all agents use the same methods we don’t always get the same results. Choosing the right agent can be the difference between achieving your real estate dreams or experiencing a nightmare. Choose wisely and I hope these steps will help.


Ask your friends for recommendations.

This is my number one method for choosing a real estate agent. Don’t pay attention to the advertisements, commercials, or word of mouth around the city. If you trust your friends opinions, then I highly suggest listening to them. As a real estate agent, 70% of my business comes from referrals generated from past clients. Each time I have a new client I always take into consideration that it could lead to future business, therefore I try to do a great job. If you know of someone that has had a polite experience with a particular agent, then find a little bit more about the agent and call them for an interview.


Don’t get wrapped up in an agent’s production.

I cannot stress this one enough. Here in Wilmington, North Carolina, there are a few top agents in the area that are known for their production of 80 million dollars or more. Most of these agents have actually branded their name, but have a small team of agents working underneath them that contribute to the overall production. I’ve heard horror stories of someone listing their home with a particular agent, and they never heard from them again. They’d make phone calls that were never returned or e-mails that were never replied to. I attribute this to the fact that they do have so much other business going on that it’s hard to concentrate on one property in particular. An agent with less production actually has the time to concentrate fully on selling your property or showing you houses, and spend time on figuring out creative ways to advertise it.


If an agent exerts more pressure than you’re comfortable with, ask them to leave.

We are in sales, but in the business of selling homes we don’t have to exert pressure. Being a real estate agent is about selling yourself, not selling a prospective client on the idea of listing their home. Credibility is everything with this business, and if an agent chooses to disrespect you and the time you took to meet with them then it’s not worth it. You’ve got many other choices and you certainly don’t want to put your trust into someone that makes you uncomfortable.


Have a simple conversation with them.

Again, real estate agents are normal human beings. While interviewing the agent, find a little more about who they are and where they come from. Of course, you’ll need to find out about their experience and what they’ll do to sell your home, but having a normal conversation will allow you to see how your personalities will match up. For instance, if you live in the South and you’re interviewing a smooth talking, overly aggressive agent that comes from New York City, your personalities may clash down the road, which will affect the way you communicate together. Choose someone that fits your lifestyle and personality.


Choose a company that is nationally known.

I’ve never understood why a seller doesn’t list with a company such as Century 21 or Coldwell Banker and instead lists with Red Tiger Realty. As a seller, you want your home to be associated with the elite in real estate, not a small, failing company that has two part-time agents. There are obvious reasons to use large companies on the selling end, but as a buyer it is to your benefit to use a larger company. The reason being, most of the larger companies such as Century 21 have standards and ethics that the agent’s must uphold. This includes working in your best interests, and not pressuring you into doing something that could be wrong. If an agent in a larger company were to do something unethical, it’s more likely to go unnoticed.


After interviewing, make sure the agent is responsive to all calls or emails.

The number one complaint about most real estate agents is the lack of communication. After your interview, place a few calls or write a few e-mails to the agent to see what kind of response time they give. A good agent will respond within the hour if they’re not busy with appointments, and a poor agent will put it off three or more hours, even sometimes to the next day. This will tell you a lot about an agent. If they’re aggressive and very customer service oriented, they’ll make sure you’re a top priority. You don’t want to make the mistake of going with an agent that responds slowly. If they can’t pick up the phone to call you then they won’t go the extra mile in selling your home.


Colorado Real Estate Search: Look at Homes in Denver and Castle Rock


When you are searching for Colorado homes, it’s best to first narrow down your options to two or three areas depending on your living preferences and desired home value. After all, Colorado is the 8th largest state. Here are two popular areas that you may want to consider in your search for Colorado homes: Denver and Castle Rock.

Denver Real Estate


Denver — also called the “mile high city” — is the capital of the state and home to more than 526,000 people. Denver is unique because it combines an urban flair with the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains that flank it. According to Housing Tracker, the median price of Denver real estate currently hovers around $280,000 and is expected to grow by at least 16 percent between 2008 and 2009 as home inventory goes down.


Castle Rock Real Estate


If you are the type of person who prefers to have a home within reach of a major city while keeping a comfortable distance, you may want to look into Colorado homes in Castle Rock. Castle Rock is a prime location nestled in the mountains of central Colorado, 35 miles south of Denver. The city’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that the population of this burgeoning municipality will double in five years, and Colorado Realtors are jumping on prime homes in this area, so these Colorado homes have plenty of potential for increasing in value and demand over time. Now is definitely the time to settle into Castle Rock, which boasts many small-town charms with big city amenities. Conveniently located halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs, Castle Rock offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and other natural formations. In fact, if you move to a community such as The Meadows, you can enjoy luxurious living in a home expertly designed to blend in with Colorado’s own natural landscapes.


Next Step: Find Colorado Realtors


As you embark on your quest to find great Colorado homes, compile a list of Colorado Realtors who specialize in those areas you’re interested in to assist you in your search. A good agent will understand your needs, provide you with a comprehensive list of Colorado homes based on your requirements, help you coordinate your trip, and help you adjust to your new home and its surroundings. Finding Colorado homes is a much less daunting task when you have a great Colorado Realtor on your side.

Finding An Apartment For Rent That You Like: Searching For a Home That is as Unique As You Are

For apartment hunters looking for something that isn’t run of the mill square corners, like those found mostly in large complexes, the key is the neighborhood.

Large complexes are made for the fluid mover, and so management is usually working to allow renters options to make their apartment their home. Those options can range from more lease options to bulidings that are already built with varietal floor plans.

Although older apartment complexes might have most of the same floorplan designs, many will let you paint or create your own improvements without a deposit penalty.

How to Look for an Apartment

Get out and drive around the town. The most affordable and elegant apartments might not be found in a local newspaper or online. They may be behind a lawn sign from the small contractor or home owner with a mother-in-law apartment looking for a tenant.
Getting the word out is also important. Many small-time landlords or smaller complexes will rely on the local connection to find renters. A small advertising budget doesn’t always mean little upkeep. Some owners are spending the rent money on apartment improvements rather than on a bundle of advertising.

Word-of mouth from co-workers or current residents is the best place to start. Plus, the friend-of-a-friend connection may allow for more negotiable terms on the lease.

Downtown Apartments for Rent Offer Many Options

Although a renovated home may offer fewer neighbors, the downfall of smaller units is they may not have the amenities that can be offered at large complexes such as a health club, pool, or playgrounds.

Many historical homes have been renovated into apartments in recent years. However, if utilities are not included in rent, inquire regarding the utility upgrades. Victorian homes offer beautiful and unique apartments but in climates that teeter on the extreme such as northern winters, appropriate heat saving measures should be installed. Ask whether property owners have the ability to do so. Otherwise, renters may be paying what is saved in rent directly to utility bills.

Finding an apartment outside of metro areas

Small towns or metro areas with a historical zone offer a plethora of unique choices. Again, this may take a little leg work on the part of apartment hunters. Cruise the classifieds and online for the older parts of town that are deemed historic.

Residential areas aren’t the only place to look. Downtown, where building owners might be looking to upgrade the property, add value by adding residential above businesses.

The business/apartment combos can be the ideal place for a nine-to-five worker. The traffic is running throughout the day while you’re at work. In the evening, there is no one to complain about noise. Just be sure to check the business hours of what might be your neighbors. Not everyone will be open to lviing next to an all access fitness center with a booming stereo that is on 24/7.

Mortgage Refinancing – Pros and Cons: Can Someone with Adverse Credit Reduce Mortgage Repayments?

The end of a mortgage term allows a homeowner to consider mortgage refinancing. A fixed-rate mortgage, tracker mortgage or discounted mortgage can help to reduce mortgage repayments, even if an adverse credit history exists. It is not sensible to consider mortgage refinancing before the end of the mortgage term as this incurs an early redemption penalty. Some homeowners utilise the services of a mortgage broker to trawl the market, but this does increase the associated mortgage fees.

Advantages of Mortgage Refinancing

  • Lower mortgage repayments. Homeowners that aren’t tied-in can reduce their mortgage repayments, even after mortgage fees have been taken into account. A homeowner that obtained a mortgage when they had adverse credit is likely to benefit most from mortgage refinancing;
  • Stability. Many families on fixed incomes find that tracker mortgages and standard variable rate mortgages compromise their financial stability. Whilst falls in interest rates help family finances, many homeowners prefer the security of fixed mortgage repayments;
  • Consolidate personal debt. Mortgage refinancing allows homeowners to consolidate personal debt and pay all their debt with a single mortgage repayment. This can help to minimise interest payments and simplify family finances;
  • Home improvements. Families often choose mortgage refinancing in order to pay for home improvements, such as a loft conversion or a new kitchen. This can help to increase home equity as it adds to the value of the family home;
  • Offset mortgages. Homeowners with personal savings can offset their savings against interest payments on their mortgage. This type of mortgage refinancing can help a homeowner to reduce mortgage repayments.

Disadvantages of Mortgage Refinancing

  • Adverse credit. Homeowners that took out their mortgage prior to adverse credit may be better-off staying on standard variable rate. Mortgage refinancing can become more expensive as adverse credit customers present a greater risk to the lender;
  • Mortgage fees. Mortgage refinancing incurs a number of mortgage fees. These include arrangement fees, valuation fees, broker fees as well as mortgage indemnity premiums. These mortgage fees can add thousands of pounds to the outstanding amount owed and minimise any savings achieved on monthly mortgage repayments;
  • Early redemption penalty. In order to benefit from lower mortgage repayments, homeowners are tied-in for a period of time. Should someone wish to proceed with mortgage refinancing, they will normally have to pay a hefty early redemption penalty;
  • Complexity. Mortgage refinancing isn’t simple and involves assessing a number of factors before proceeding. Whilst a mortgage broker simplifies the process, their service increases the mortgage fees. Most brokers charge homeowners 1 per cent of the mortgage value;
  • Home equity. Unless home equity is available, mortgage refinancing is unlikely to be possible. This is especially true now that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has changed the rules in-light of the recent collapse in property prices.

The majority of homeowners can benefit from mortgage refinancing at the end of the mortgage term. Mortgage refinancing helps families to reduce mortgage repayments, provided they aren’t already tied-in. Entering a new arrangement before the current one has ended will incur an early redemption penalty. Homeowners with adverse credit should get a few exploratory quotes before mortgage refinancing.

Payment Strategies for Rising Mortgage Rates: Rising Home Loan Rates Require a Disciplined Payment Plan

After a period of historically low home loan rates, the tide is starting to turn in Australia and the lenders have followed the Reserve Bank’s lead and raised interest rates in the past three months.

On the one hand this is good news because it shows that the Australian economy is in better shape than other developed countries. On the other hand it is little comfort to home owners who have a mortgage. Therefore, it is important for every home owner with a viable rate home loan to revisit their budget and put a workable strategy in place to counteract the effects of the rising rates.

Effective Repayment Strategy for a Mortgage Loan

One very clever payment strategy is to set the monthly repayment at a higher rate than is required by the bank. For instance, if the bank’s home loan rate is 6.50%, then calculate the repayments at 7.50% or even 8.50% if the household can afford it. This has the dual effect of getting the household used to paying the higher amount so that if and when the interest rate rises to that level the household knows that they have no problems making repayments. The other benefit is that the increased amount is used to reduce the capital on the loan. For example:

Current Interest Rate 6.50%

Current Monthly Payment $2,275

Higher Interest Rate 7.5%

Monthly Payment at the higher rate $2,517

The additional $242 per month reduces the capital whilst the interest rate remains at 6.50%.

(The above example is worked on a Home Loan of $360,000 over a 30 year period.)

Other Options to Cope With the Mortgage

If making higher than normal repayments are not an option, then there are other ways that householders can try to cope with rising rates.

  • Consulting a mortgage broker to ascertain if the loan product is the right one for the family and to ascertain if there are ‘cheaper’ products on the market.
  • Consider moving all or part of the loan to a fixed rate for a specific period. This will give peace of mind knowing that the during the chosen period the repayments will not change. Of course there will be a cost involved in doing this.
  • If paying multiple loans such as personal loans, car loans and credit card debts which are at a higher interest rate, consider refinancing and rolling them into the mortgage so that only one monthly payment at a lesser interest rate is payable.
  • Consider extending the loan term to reduce the monthly payment.

Factors to Consider When Making Changes to the Home Loan

It should however be borne in mind that any changes to the home loan by way of moving to a fixed rate loan, rolling in other debts and extending the loan term could all incur costs.

With a careful look at the household budget and by consulting a mortgage professional, homeowners will be able to reduce the impact of the rising home loan rates.