Welcome to roaring fires and hot chocolates..almost!
Welcome to the Autumn edition of our newsletter, where March marks the start of the impending cooler weather. But don't panic - we're not quite at the stage of roaring fires and electric blankets just yet!
In this edition:
Are you house hunting? If so, check out our house hunting checklist to make sure you choose the house of your dreams.
And, with the cooler weather heading our way, check out our delicious recipe to tempt you back indoors after the long hot Summer that Sydney has just enjoyed.
Brian and Rebecca Rusten
Finally, we all know that breaking up is hard to do. But we also know that sometimes it happens. Read our tips on how to make this process as stress free as possible.
2017 sees Energise Home Loans entering our 8th year of business and we have had the privilege of helping hundreds of customers in that time to buy a home, an investment property, a car, a business or all of the above!! We love what we do, and we can't wait to help lots more of our wonderful customers in the year ahead.
Image courtesy of googleimages.com
Buying a Property - You'll Need This!
Buying a new home is a big commitment, and a place where you're likely to stay for many years to come. So it's important that you're clear on your wish list before heading out on the property hunt.
Here are some tips to help you find the home you love.
Is it right for you?
Is a spare bedroom, second bathroom or ensuite a must? Will everyone be safe or comfortable climbing stairs? Does your dog need space to roam? Be realistic about the features you can’t live without.
Floor plan and room sizes
Walk around the property to get a sense of how one room flows into the next. Check whether the rooms are the right size and shape for your existing furniture and appliances. If not, are you prepared to splash out on replacements? The rooms should also be practical. For example, does the kitchen layout suit your needs? Is there enough space for a dining table?
Orientation and natural light
Check where the property’s windows are, and whether trees or nearby buildings will block out sunlight. If the lights are on, switch them off to get a feel for the natural light. The inspection may have been timed to maximise natural light.
Consider whether neighbours can see directly into the property. It's also worth checking whether they've lodged any development plans with the council. Walk around the block to see how well other properties in the area are maintained, and to listen for noisy pets.
If there’s off-street parking, are there enough spaces? Check local parking restrictions, and how much a resident's or visitor’s parking permit costs. Consider how hard it would be to find on-street parking at peak times.
Heating, cooling and ventilation
If the property has heating or air conditioning systems, check that they work, how old they are and if they’ve been recently serviced. Keep in mind that high ceilings can make it difficult (and expensive) to heat a room. Ventilation is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms, so test the extractor fans.
Check whether the water pressure’s up to scratch, especially in the shower. Can you get the right mix of warmth and pressure, or will it cost you to change this? Consider whether the hot water heater is big enough for your family's needs. And don’t be afraid to flush the toilets.
Do the built-in wardrobes suit your needs? If there aren’t any, will the bedroom be large enough for a freestanding wardrobe? If there’s a garage, check that it's big enough for your car and any other items you’d like to store.
Fixtures and fittings
Are there enough power points? Are they in convenient locations? Check behind the furniture, because they may be hidden. If the house has blinds, curtains, flyscreens, light fittings or other fixed features, they should ideally be clean and in good working order.
Common walls, floors and ceilings can be a real issue, as can communal areas such as stairwells. Consider how well-insulated the property is, how well-fitted the doors and windows are, and whether there's carpet or double glazing. Traffic, shared courtyards and nearby schools and sporting grounds are all potential sources of noise.
Outdoor maintenance can be hard work. Do you have the time or money to mow the lawn, weed the flower beds or clean the pool?
Will you need to install or repair security doors? If the property has a shared entrance, check whether the main door locks and if the other owners and tenants generally keep it closed. A building inspection covers the property’s structure, but there are many other things to consider. Check for what’s important to you, so you can make the best home-buying decision.
BBQ Chicken Tacos With Nectarine Salsa
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 550g chicken breast fillets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil divided
- 2 ripe but firm nectarines halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeno chilli, seeded, diced (optional)
- 2 limes, zest finely grated, juiced
- 2 teaspoons castor sugar
- 1 large avocado, peeled, coursely chopped
- 10 small flour tortillas (15cm), warmed
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, loosely packed
Prepare a barbecue for medium-high heat. In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, stir coriander and cumin seeds for 2 mins or until toasted and beginning to pop. Using a mortar and pestle, grind toasted spices into a powder. Mix in 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a large bowl, toss chicken, spice mixture and 3 tsp oil to coat. Barbecue chicken, turning halfway through cooking, for 12 mins or until cooked through. Let rest 5 mins. Thinly slice.
Meanwhile, brush cut sides of nectarine halves with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and barbecue cut side down, moving as needed, for 5 mins or until char marks form. Cut nectarines into small dice. In a bowl, toss nectarines, onions, jalapeño, 3 tbs lime juice, and sugar. Season salsa with salt.
In a medium bowl, combine avocado, 2 tsp lime zest, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Using a fork, mash avocado to an even consistency. Season with salt.
Spread mashed avocado over centre of tortillas. Top with chicken, fresh coriander and salsa and serve.
Image and recipe courtesy of taste.com.au
Mortgages and Break-ups - some practical tips when separating
Breaking up is hard to do. On top of the emotional impact, there are practical ramifications as well. When there's a separation or divorce, debts you've accrued during the relationship unfortunately don't go away. The longer the couple is together, the harder it can be to unravel all the financial connections. Here we outline some of the issues facing both de facto and married couples when dealing with what is usually the most significant debt: the mortgage. Used alongside professional legal and financial advice, it's possible to make this difficult transition a little less stressful.
Get advice from the experts
The end of a relationship is one of life’s most stressful events. You don’t have to handle it alone – there's emotional, legal and financial support out there.
Visit a counsellor to work through the emotional weight of breaking up – it's hard to make decisions when you're angry or sad. You may want to access a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) mediator to assess whether both parties are emotionally ready to negotiate on money matters, and to help resolve disputes.
Lawyers who specialise in family law can provide legal advice. Initially, they can advise whether you’re eligible for legal aid, and help with timelines and deadlines for your property settlement. Importantly, they should help you to set realistic expectations.
Talk to your lender or broker to understand the current state of your mortgage, and to learn what options are available regarding mortgage repayments. You may be able to defer payments, giving you time to get back on your feet. Your lender or broker can also help you review your finances before you decide whether you can refinance and take on the mortgage yourself. It’s a sad fact, but they’ve probably dealt with this situation before.
Sort out your living arrangements
Some separating couples are able to continue living in the same house, while for others that simply isn’t possible. If one of you needs to move, sort that out first, before turning your attention to the mortgage. Again, financial advisors, lawyers and brokers can help you plan a budget and figure out how your mortgage will be paid until you sell or settle.
Settle your finances
When you divorce or separate, your assets will be divided. To help you understand your financial situation, have all your documentation at hand – bank statements, tax returns, superannuation, and so on. With professional advice, you can figure out your assets and liabilities, what each person is entitled to, and whether one of you can afford to take on the mortgage alone, or if you have to sell.
One Option: Sell the property
You might decide to sell your property, divide any assets and move on. The first step is to have your property appraised so you know the market value. From there you can figure out your total equity. For example, if your house is appraised at $800,000 and you owe $200,000 on the mortgage, your equity is $600,000. Things can become complicated if there’s a disagreement about how and when to split your assets and liabilities. Legal expertise or a mediator may be needed.
Another Option: Sell to your partner or buy them out
If one of you wants to remain in the house, it might be possible for that person to refinance the mortgage and take it on alone, depending on their income and other assets. This is sometimes the preferred option if there are children involved. Again, agreement must be reached on the value of the property and whether it’s a 50-50 split. Professional property valuers, financial advisors and lawyers are all able to provide advice and information. It's difficult figuring out who gets what and when, but getting the right legal and financial advice can help you both break up the mortgage and move on with your lives. Relationships Australia’s A Fair Share provides a good summary of your options and of the Family Dispute Resolution process. You can also get great information on the legal process from the Family Court of Australia.
Words of Wisdom