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NEW YEAR NEW HOME: WHAT ARE YOUR 2018 PROPERTY RESOLUTIONS?

By Catherine Rayward

Before the champagne bottles popped and the fireworks lit up the sky you probably had a conversation about your New Year’s resolutions. They might be lofty goals for 2018, from getting shredded abs, to growing your savings account and everything in between.

But what you probably didn’t talk about was your property goals. The roof over your head is even more important than your stomach muscles – so why not take a moment to consider what you want to achieve property-wise over the coming year?

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME 

Toward the end of 2017 almost 18 per cent of home buyers in the country were first timers, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data. That percentage has been steadily improving for months, which might indicate that it’s getting easier for first home buyers to get into the market.

Price movements support this notion – they’ve stalled and even started to decrease in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin, according to CoreLogic RP Data. But generally property prices tend to trend upwards, meaning that the current stagnation may not last for long, and they may soon start increasing again.

For that reason, 2018 could be the perfect year to take the first step up the property ladder while the going’s good.

DOWNSIZING OR UPGRADING

Your home should always suit you, making life easier. That’s why when circumstances start to change your home should change with them, whether you’re welcoming a tiny new family member or entering retirement.

If you’re about to enter a new stage of your life, pre-empt it by changing your home first. It’s better to do so before the change comes around, rather than try and buy a home and take care of a little one (or sort your retirement) at the same time.

To get started figuring out what you need from your new abode, get in touch with a local real estate agent that you trust.

MAKING CHANGES AND RENOVATING

Home renovation is practically an Australian pastime. In fact, 62 per cent of Australian home owners (or 8.2 million households) did some kind of renovations over 2017, according to Roy Morgan’s data. There’s a good reason why – renovating can greatly increase the value of your property or make it better to live in.

If you are going to make changes keep in mind that, generally, updating bathrooms and kitchens tends to add the most value, while adding maintenance-heavy features like pools could actually scare buyers away.

Estimates from Home Improvement Pages can give you an idea as to how much your reno project may cost:

Kitchen: $10,000 to $45,000 depending on level of finishing and appliances.
Bathroom: $10,000 to $35,000 depending on whether or not you tile, and the level of finishing.
Decking: $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the size, elevation and materials used.
Living room redecoration: $10,000 to $15,000 or more for premium finishing or structural additions.
Whatever changes you make always consider what prospective buyers will think if you do eventually decide to sell, as the right renovations could add attract more buyers and a higher sale price.

PURCHASING A PROPERTY INVESTMENT

There are 2.03 million residential property investors in Australia, owning roughly $1.37 trillion worth of assets, according to CoreLogic’s Investor Profile Report. There’s a very good reason why so many of us own property – if you’re smart it’s a brilliant way to secure your financial future.

In 2018 why not take control of your future and buy your first investment property? If you already own property speaking to a mortgage broker to refinance and using your existing equity to purchase an investment could be easy and straightforward.

This could be a simple process, and with any luck you could be collecting rental income and eyeing up capital gains within the year.

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR MORTGAGE

Your mortgage should be a tool that you use to improve your financial position and be comfortable in a home that you love. But unfortunately, mortgages are a source of severe stress for 29.7 per cent of households, according to Digital Finance Analytics.

It needn’t be this way. With smart, tailored advice from a professional mortgage broker, you can restructure and refinance your mortgage so that it works for you – not the other way around. That means you may be able to pay yours down quicker, lose the monthly repayment stress and even reduce your interest payments.

Whatever your property goals are this year, make sure you get the best advice and assistance possible from professionals that you can trust. And good luck achieving your property goals in 2018!

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