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Entering The Property Market (Part One): 5 Major Considerations

entering the property market the short advice

About the Author

Stephen Pace is an experienced commercial and residential mortgage broker with BCP Finance in Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Parkville, on the city fringe. He specialises in home and commercial loans, and has agreed to share some general advice when it comes to entering the property market. Today’s article is part one of a two-part series, so be sure to follow posts over the coming months for part two! So, if you’re considering entering the property market and you’re looking for a lender, look no further than the very knowledgable Mr. Pace, and here’s why…

Entering the Property Market

Financing a property is always challenging and as for most in the general public, it is very likely that you will have to think long and hard whether or not you’re ready and capable of making such a financial commitment. Buying a property is usually the single most expensive transaction a person will make in their life, and if done right, entering the property market can be both a smart expense and good investment.

1. Purpose – Owner Occupied Vs. Investment

The first primary factor when considering entering the property market is to determine the purpose of the purchase. Are you looking to purchase this property to live in? Or are you looking for an investment purchase seeking to obtain rental income?

The two key factors above impacts not only the buyers appetite but also the bank’s from a loan point of view, in regards to the minimum contribution, and also servicing factors. Making a decision can be tricky but is should be determined by your current financial and lifestyle position. Looking forward 1-3 years of your goals is a point recommended to help to assist your decision making. If you are seeking an investment purchase, there are 3 underlying factors which would determine if the property will make a good investment, these 3 simple things are; rental yield, capital growth potential and the underlying demand.

2. Analyse and Evaluate the Financial Commitment

Once a buyer has determined the purpose of the purchase, each buyer should evaluate their finances. As mentioned above, entering the property market can be the single most expensive transaction a person can make, so don’t go in blindly! Do some research and educate yourself in regards to property areas, fluctuations in property prices and lender appetite and requirement. It’s also important to know what to look for when prospecting for a property, to ensure you’re not falling into a financial hole of additional costs outside of the purchase price.

a) Buy What You Can Afford

In this current market, with the rise of cost of living, you should buy the house you know you can afford, no point buying a house and then all your pay goes towards the mortgage repayments, you still need money for cost of living. Mapping out a plan of attack by creating a strict budget is a good idea. In the period of seeking a property, try and avoid overspending, as this could jeopardise your financial stability – from here you should only consider the ones that you budget can handle.

b) Understand The Various Expenses of Entering the Property Market

A point that also must be considered when evaluating your finances is working out and getting comfortable with the on-going expenses and commitments post-settlement. A lot of buyers drain their bank account and put their every last dollar into the purchase, but don’t take into account the maintenance costs of the house and insurances. The question then gets asked, is it worthwhile looking into a brand new house or buying an established house in an established area?

c) Inspecting For Potential Costs

If the house is established, when inspecting a house you should inspect it thoroughly, focus on the structural stuff, aging appliances, cracks/chips/mould in the walls any leaks or water damage – you may consider paying an external upfront building report. Enlisting a professional for the building report will cover off on factors mentioned above, as well as:-

  • Ensuring the foundation is solid
  • Is wiring up to code
  • Is the house structurally sound
  • Are you buying a property that has any wood eating pests? How will you know?

This is an important point as maintenance costs can end up eating heavily into your savings and budget, so it is worthwhile saving some money in your bank account for a rainy day.

3. Identifying the Area and Type of Property that suits You

Identifying a property, the underlying area and buying to suit your lifestyle is important. There are some factors that cannot be ignored, such as:

  • Do you actually require a house? Maybe a townhouse or a unit would suit?
  • Is the area close to work? Family? Friends?
  • Is the property close to public transport and schools?
  • How is the condition of real estate in the area?
  • Is your area prone to bush fires? Flooding? Is it in a flight path?

The prices of property tend to vary in different locations and suburbs which is derived from several different factors. For example, a house that is situated in close proximity to infrastructure, walking distances to public transport, shops and schools, will generally cost more than a house located further from such amenities. Each location and suburb will have its own niche advantages; find out what suits your budget and meets all of your needs before making a final decision on which property to purchase or invest in.

4. Obtaining a Pre-Approval

Once you have worked out your potential purpose, created a budget and identified a preferable property type, where to from here? There is no written rule that you require one, but anyone in the financial game in this day and age would advise that obtaining a pre-approval is highly recommended.

Obtaining a pre-approval with a lender or approaching a mortgage broker for a professional opinion and guidance is worthwhile – we deal with this stuff every day and have the ability to guide and educate you throughout the whole process.

A pre-approval is a powerful tool to have up your sleeve; no doubt there will always be some mitigating factors or conditions to meet before going to a final approval, but it provides any buyer the confidence that they have the support from a lender. This will enable a buyer to attend an auction or even a private sale arrangement and confidently bid within their limitations.

5. Representation

Having a pre-approval provides confidence to any buyer entering the property market, as you have a lender in you corner to guide and assist you. So, why not continue to bolster up your team?

a) Real Estate Agents

Having a realtor that works for you and an experienced solicitor round off your trio. The seller pays the commission to the real estate agent, so it makes sense to capitalise on their free service as a buyer! The realtor can:

  • Provide area and property data
  • Identify current and potential properties coming up in the area
  • Share knowledge regarding the area and suburbs you seek to buy
  • Negotiate with the seller
  • Assist in additional inspections

b) Solicitors

Secondly, having a solicitor is beneficial. Each property sale will come with a contract and there will be papers to sign. And more papers to sign… And more! The contract will contain a lot of legal jargon, so who better to review and provide advice than a solicitor? Their role is to ensure that the contract is sound and there aren’t any mitigating conditions popping out that will put their client (you) at risk. The contract is originally drawn up from the seller, so there is room for negotiations. Whether you need additional time to settle, or another inspection of the property, or to waive a condition, your solicitor will act on your behalf to do all of the heavy lifting. This helps to ensure that the contract will meet your requests and obligations.

A contract of sale is typically drawn up and available when a property is advertised; it becomes available from the acting seller’s real estate agent. Before attending an auction, try and obtain the draft version and provide this to your solicitor; they will advise accordingly if everything is in order. This way, you can attend an auction or bid on a private sale with confidence. If there are any clauses which jump out to them, they can be amended on the draft and reviewed by the seller before either party signs.

Final Note

Whether you are an experienced property investor or entering the property market for the first time, buying a property is both an exciting and stressful experience. You may not always find a likeable home and buy it first up; there are people whom have been unsuccessful multiple times at auctions… Just remember to remain calm and positive that there are always many more opportunities. It is important to keep the above mentioned points in mind and all that is involved, including the moving factors and components within it. The more educated you are, fire power you have up your sleeve and stronger team you have to represent you, the better off you will be! The experience will become so much easier and more enjoyable.

Stay tuned for our next guest post in the coming months, detailing the important considerations of finding a home loan.

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How To Be More Assertive At Work: 5 Assertive Actions

More Assertive in The Workplace The Short Advice

Assertive VS Rude

There is a difference. A big difference in fact. But too many people are unwilling to explore this difference, and end up becoming the victim of unmanageable workloads, and sometimes even workplace bullying. From a managerial perspective, it can mean giving instructions firmly, fairly and confidently. Being more assertive isn’t quite jumping on your desk and booting the computer across the room (as pictured above). But then again, your boss probably isn’t a Yeti… Rather, assertiveness is the ability to be heard with confidence and conviction. It’s standing up for yourself, and it’s getting things done that need to be done. In contrast, throwing insults around the workplace when you’re not getting your way would of course be rude!

Why You Need to be More Assertive in the Workplace

The workplace can be a stressful environment, and part of managing this stress is being more assertive. You have a workload to manage, same as the rest of your colleagues. But the reality is that some people manage this better than others. A manager needs to be assertive when giving instruction and ensuring deadlines are met, and protocols are followed. A team member needs to be assertive when their manager and colleagues are trying to handball their unwanted workloads off to somebody else. Whatever your role, it pays to stand up for yourself. Our 5 points below will help you to better understand just what that looks like…

1. Say ‘No’

We’ve started with this for a reason. Too many people feel rude saying ‘no’, when really, they’re helping themselves and others in the long run. If you bear the load of others too frequently, it might not be sustainable. It could cause you to be highly stressed over time, and even lead to burnout. Of course, we all want to help people. But, we need to put ourselves in a position of strength and power in order to be most effective for those we wish to help. Be more assertive, and empower yourself with the ability to say ‘no’ when appropriate, but do it politely. You’ll still be an effective team member, perhaps even more effective now that you’ve got the time to complete all of your tasks to the best of your ability.

2. Know Your Role

Job titles can be quite ambiguous, so it’s worth understanding exactly what roles and responsibilities your title comes with. From a managerial perspective, it’s also worth being explicit when providing these details, so that each team member is aware of the requirements of their role. Simply knowing your role will help you to be more assertive, as you can make better judgements on where you should focus your energy, and when you need to say ‘no’. It will also help you to justify ‘no’ as an appropriate response, when your more pressing responsibilities are clearly outlined for you.

3. Anticipate Problems

This refers to being aware of your environment, and the pressures and issues that can arise. In other words, you shouldn’t be surprised that other people will try to take advantage of the ‘yes’ man as frequently as possible. Sometimes they themselves are so unassertive that their stress and workload has them asking others for help so often. Being aware of this destructiveness will help you to identify it, and rise above it. You don’t want to find yourself stuck in either situation, so have your assertive actions prepared in advance.

4. Value Your Time

If you don’t, nor will anybody else. This is actually a great supporting argument when it comes to saying ‘no’ more often. If you are seen as the ‘yes’ man, people may perceive you to have an exorbitant amount of time on your hands, and respect your time less. Little do they know, your mountain of work is piling up. If however you place value on your time, and agree to help only when you are ‘able’ to, people will respect your time more, and tend to ask for favours less frequently. By placing greater value on your time, you are supporting your ability to be more assertive. If the mountain of work continues piling up however, maybe it’s time to checkout our time management tips!

5. Manage Expectations

If you are doing the right thing at work, and working hard towards your targets, then you have nothing to hide. You produce a high level of output, and are efficient in your duties, although your manager’s deadlines are still near-impossible to meet. In this case, questions need to be asked about your role and responsibilities, realistic deadlines, and breakdown of hours for a given task. If the expectation is that you slave away, take work home, get in early and stay late, and are underpaid, is this an expectation you’d like to continue supporting? Probably not. Being more assertive means negotiating more reasonable and realistic expectations for a sustainable/happier workplace environment. Stand up for yourself!

Final Note

There are many ways in which you can be more assertive and they are all a far-cry from being rude. Assertiveness can help you to be more helpful, manage your time more effectively, and even increase job (and life) satisfaction. Approach situations confidently, knowing you are prepared for the pressures of your environment, and become a more effective member of your organisation in doing so. With the above assertive actions, you’ll be free to get on with your own work. As always, thanks for reading!

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How To Be A Critical Thinker: 5 Critical Thinking Questions

Critical Thinker Critical Thinking The Short Advice

Being a Critical Thinker

Being a critical thinker is less about being right or wrong, and more about deciding what is right and wrong. It’s a skill that is becoming increasingly more important, as more and more fake news and unverified information is being published to the internet every minute. A critical thinker has the ability to form their own views and opinions, and does not blindly follow others. So, next time you’re being fed some new info, consider how likely it is to be true before accepting it as the truth. Sometimes it pays to be skeptical…

Approaching a Theory With Critical Thinking

There are a multitude of conflicting views and opinions in the world. Contradicting evidence and research being used to prove one theory and exclude another makes it very difficult to know what is true, and what isn’t. That’s why we’ve compiled this short list of 5 questions to help you become a critical thinker and better decision-maker. So, give it a try next time you need to approach a situation with critical thinking!

1. What am I being asked to believe?

First, make sure you understand exactly what the person/source is telling you. Build your understanding with further research into the theory and try to decide whether it makes sense to you or not. Sometimes the use of language and vocabulary can make it difficult to understand exactly what is being communicated, so it might be worth finding out if there is another source that is supporting this same theory. This might help you get a better understanding of the theory, or even help you make a decision on whether or not your original source knows what they’re talking about!

2. Who is asking me to believe it?

Considering the source of the information you are analysing is a major part of being a critical thinker. This point raises further questions like ‘why do they want me to believe this theory?’, and ‘what is in it for them?’. This brings us to the point of potential bias. Sometimes, a person/source might stand to benefit from having people believe their theory. Depending on who is telling the story, the presence of bias might exist in persuasive language. Then again, a person can be both persuasive and truthful, no? This is another reason to research other sources who are offering the same/similar information. Is there any variation between different versions of the same theory/information. Has something been lost in translation? Do your research.

3. Is there evidence to support this theory?

Speaking of research, is the source claiming to present evidence-based information? Where and how have they collected their research? The various methods of collecting data can present many challenges in itself, and make way for serious bias. Now it’s time to research the research. If the source of information is claiming to have supporting evidence, you should review this evidence, and decide if you believe it is relevant. There’s always a chance that it’s completely invalid, or that the results of the research have simply been misinterpreted by the source of information. With too many variables that can cause an error in the information offered, it pays to do some independent research of your own.

4. What are the alternatives?

For almost every theory offered, there are conflicting/contradicting ones to match. Some people might still believe that the earth is flat, for example. No matter how certain you may be, it’s likely somebody, somewhere is certain of something else. This doesn’t mean that you’re wrong of course, but in some cases, it might mean that exploring the alternative theories offered is a good idea. You might agree with parts of one theory, and parts of another, forming your own views as a critical thinker. Fill yourself with knowledge, keep on learning, and foster independent thought.

5. What is the most reasonable conclusion?

‘Based on my knowledge, understanding and research, what makes the most sense to me?’ Once you’ve answered all of the above questions, it’s time to draw some conclusions. How reliable is the source? Could the information/data be biased? Does this theory actually make sense to you? A combination of your research, and your opinion based on experience should be considered. Rationality can be used to form theories and opinions, although it does need to be supported by research and experience/observation.

Final Note

The ability to be a competent critical thinker is something that we all need to develop. Critical thinking will help you to make sense of the world, forming your own views and opinions. Don’t blindly accept the truth, and don’t mistake rationalism for certainty. Always do your research, and you’ll be better equipped to start developing some theories of your own… Once again, thanks for reading! If you’ve got a critical thinking question you’d like to add, you can leave it in the comments section below.

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5 Great Songs To Help You Deal With A Break Up

How to deal with a break up The Short Advice

How To Deal With a Break Up

There is no definitive set of guidelines to help you to deal with a break up. Each relationship you have is unique, and you and your partner are both individuals. But you can draw some wisdom from relatable situations. That is to say, you’re not the first to experience a break up, and you won’t be the last. The lyrics we hear in a song can help us to make sense of our own situations, and sometimes encourage critical reflection. It can be comforting to know that other people have felt what you’re feeling, and have still managed to move on and find happiness. You will be sad, and so you should. You may feel guilt, you may feel insecure and vulnerable. These feelings and emotions help us to learn and grow. So don’t ignore them, but rather, try to understand them.

Our ‘Deal With a Break Up Mixtape’

The list of songs below aim to help you make sense of your emotions while you deal with a break up. You’re not the only person in the world feeling the way you are, and sometimes it can help to share your experience with the musicians performing these songs. Some of them are from the perspective of angry, fragile minds. After all, it’s okay to be angry and upset. Others focus on gratitude and moving forward. Notions that we can all benefit from. We’ve tried to include a range of genres, and eras. So be open minded as you share your emotions with the artists listed below. Please note, the title of each song is a clickable link that will redirect you to youtube. Enjoy!

Is This Love by Cake

This track explores the anger and denial that can arise when you are trying to deal with a break up, and it does it quite well. At one point in the song, the artist confesses that they are wishing for their estranged spouse to actually be dead! Immoral, and not recommended, although it certainly paints a picture. The anger, and feelings of hurt and rejection are relatable, and sung over the top of a running bass line that is anything but sad and somber. It’s a great way to reflect on your own situation, without being a tearjerker.

Storms by Fleetwood Mac

In contrast to our first track, this one is sad and somber. Sadness, and self-pity are no stranger during the break up process, and Stevie Nicks definitely feels your pain. The real strength of this song in helping one deal with a break up, is the reflective nature of the lyrics. Stevie notes that whilst she would like to leave the relationship amicably, she’s never been quite so composed. “I’d like to leave you with something more… But never have I been a blue calm sea… I have always been a storm”. So, learn from this line, and don’t act regretfully. You can communicate your emotions, of course. Just try to do it as ‘blue calm sea’, rather than a ‘storm’.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by BJ Thomas

Ahhh the good old days… Too corny for some perhaps, but the message is one that can be applied to many of life’s trials and tribulations. Regardless of what negative experience you’re facing, “…Crying’s not for me, ’cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining”. BJ Thomas goes on to sing about how grateful he is to be alive and free, despite facing a challenging circumstance. The same principle can be applied when you deal with a break up. A trying time, yes. But you still have so much to be grateful for, so don’t allow yourself to despair for too long.

Love’s Been Good To Me by Johnny Cash

Originally by Frank Sinatra and Rod McKuen, this song is another reminder about being grateful for the experience. The end of anything good is always going to be difficult to accept, but the truth to remember is that it was good. Johnny Cash’s version is also great as it is performed in his later years, and sung with experience and nostalgic tones. Hopefully it encourages you to accept the end, but still be grateful for the good times that you shared with your old flame. Everything has an end, but hopefully upon reflection, “Once in a while, along the way, loves been good to (you) me”.

Caught Out There by Kelis

Kelis’ ‘Caught out there’ speaks of her hurt, denial and anger towards an unfaithful partner. Sadly, too many people can relate. Like the first track on our list, Kelis doesn’t hold back when addressing these emotions, stating quite plainly “I hate you so much right now!”. Her words are simple and honest, although her path of destruction not advisable. So listen and relate, but try to exhibit slightly more composed and logical behaviour when managing your emotions as you deal with a break up. Theres also a pretty raw and amusing film clip to match, so check it out!

Supplementary List

Song For Mutya by Groove Armada ft. Mutya Buena

Another fun break up song. Up beat and Groove Armada-ry, this track confronts the reality of seeing your ex-partner with a new person. The great part about this track, is that Mutya is being coached by the voice in her head to act responsibly despite her emotional fragile state “don’t panic (panic) Mutya, don’t act erratic”. Good advice inner-self!

Beautiful World by Coldplay

A melancholy tune, this gem by Coldplay encourages reflection on the fact that despite things not being perfect, we still live in a beautiful world. And to exist in it, is grand. When you deal with a break up, this is something that you might forget to remember… So look toward to tomorrow, and the opportunities of this beautiful world!

Final Note

Music heals all wounds. It is a form of communication that can evoke a different response from each listener, as they interpret it in a way that makes sense to them. There is a song for every situation, and the above list is just a few that hopefully you haven’t heard before (or in a while). If you have any songs that have helped you deal with a break up in the past, please share them with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!