You'll always remember the experience of buying your first home. While it is an incredibly exciting time, it's also a serious and important purchase. We support you throughout the buying process, offering you the right information and expert advice when you need it.
Check out the 10 steps involved in buying your first home:
1. Know the Market
Do your homework and research the area you are buying into by browsing online property listings and speaking to local real estate agents. Attend plenty of property viewings and auctions, each time asking yourself: Does it suit my needs? What are its faults? What are its features? How does the price compare with other properties I’ve seen? The more informed your decision, the better chance the property you buy is the right one in terms of price, location, value, size and lifestyle.
Speak to your Boss Adviser about obtaining a comprehensive Comparative Market Analysis for any property you are interested in. This is a free service that will give you all the information you need about the property, including historical sales and recent sales in the area.
2. Do Your Sums
Once you have an idea of the property market, you need to know what you can afford to spend and repay. Your borrowing power is determined by your income and financial commitments, as well as your current savings and credit history. A Boss Adviser can help you work out how much you can borrow and what type of loan will suit your budget and lifestyle. We can advise you of the true costs involved in taking out a mortgage, including stamp duty, taxes, legal costs and insurance, as well as how to build in a buffer to interest rate calculations so that you are prepared in the event that rates rise. To save you time, we can also help you apply for the First Home Owners Grant and check your eligibility for stamp duty discounts.
3. Get Your Tick of Approval
Now you know how much you can borrow, make an appointment with a Boss Adviser to have your finance pre-approved. While you can leave this step until after you find a property, pre-approval is recommended because it gives you a realistic budget to go house-hunting with, and it ensures you’ll be treated as a serious buyer by agents.
4. Make an Offer
When you make an offer, the vendor may accept it straight away or seek to negotiate on price or other aspects of the sale. If you cannot agree on a price, you can withdraw your offer.
Remember, always give yourself room to move in the negotiation by making an initial offer that is less than you’re prepared to pay. Include terms you're willing to bend on such as the length of the settlement period. You can also put an expiration date on your offer to create a sense of urgency – i.e. my offer is valid until 5.00 pm Friday.
It’s important to note that if you intend to buy a home at auction, you will be required to pay a deposit – usually 10 per cent of the purchase price – immediately. If you buy privately, you are usually required to pay a holding deposit and when you exchange contracts, pay the balance to reach 10 per cent.
5. Start the Paperwork
Contact a Boss Adviser with the details of the property you want to buy so we can get the ball rolling on obtaining formal loan approval. As part of this process, the lender will organise an independent valuation of the property to make sure the amount you’re offering is reasonable. You will need to provide us with a range of documentation including ID and income verification.
Now is the time to engage a property law specialist – if you don't have one, we can recommend one for you. The seller will make the Contract of Sale available to your solicitor or conveyancer for review. The contract is a legal document that outlines your offer, the date of settlement, and any conditions that must be met before the sale goes ahead, such as ‘subject to finance’.
Now’s a good time to take the opportunity to do another inspection on the property, checking all fittings and fixtures are in place.
6. Organise Insurance
Proof of building insurance is usually required by your lender as part of the home loan process. Your Boss Adviser can help arrange this. The insurance can take effect from the date of settlement, or even before settlement if you are not aware that the seller has a current insurance policy. If you’re purchasing a Strata Title unit, villa or townhouse, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Currency from the body corporate insurer.
7. Arrange Relevant Inspections
As the seller won’t provide you with any guarantees about the structural soundness of the home, it is wise to have a building inspection undertaken before you exchange contracts. You should also have the property inspected for pests because the building inspection doesn’t include the detection of termites and other timber destroying pests.
This is also a good time to check with the local council and the state government roads and traffic authority about whether there are any future developments planned that may affect your home.
If you’re buying a Strata Title property, arrange for an inspection of the books and records of the owner’s corporation. It’s common for your solicitor or conveyancer to look over this documentation on your behalf.
8. Exchange Contracts
A property sale isn’t signed, sealed and delivered until the exchange of contracts. Once you and the vendor have both signed the contract and the purchaser has paid the deposit, the agreement is legally binding. Depending on your specific contract and which state you’re in, it generally takes four to twelve weeks from exchange of contracts until settlement.
9. Cooling-Off Period
If you exchange contracts in a private treaty sale, some states of Australia entitle you to a legal cooling-off period, which gives you the opportunity to withdraw from the contract. If you’re absolutely certain the property is perfect for you, you can waive the cooling-off period with the agreement of the seller. Your solicitor or conveyancer will advise you through this process.
10. Pay and Settle
Stamp duty, which is calculated on the purchase price of the property, must be paid at settlement. The First Home Buyers scheme provides full or partial exemption on duty to first home buyers – we can advise you of your eligibility. Your conveyancer will advise on the amounts and parties to distribute funds to and will attend settlement on your behalf. At settlement, the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller and you become the legal owner of the property.
The keys are finally yours now – congratulations!
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If you’re a first home buyer wanting to maximise your buying potential, a house and land package could be worth considering. With the right approach, this purchase can see you achieve your real estate goals faster and at significantly less cost.
Here are the top four reasons to consider a house and land package as your first home:
1. First Home Buyer’s grant
As a first home buyer, talk to your broker about whether buying a house and land package could make you eligible for a state government grant, valued at up to $20,000.
2. Potential savings on Stamp Duty
Depending on the state you’re in and factors such as location and property value, a house and land package can potentially save you a lot of money. Talk to your broker to see if this applies to you.
3. Brand new home
You’ll have opportunities to customise the aesthetics of your new home to suit your preferences. All new homes built in Australia need to meet high energy efficiency standards, meaning you’ll save on power bills. Additionally, a new home will come with significantly less maintenance costs than an established property.
4. Depreciation benefits for investors
If you’re buying as an investment and plan to rent out the property, not only can you attract a higher rental return given it’s a new build, you may also be eligible for thousands of dollars’ worth of tax deductions. On settlement, have a tax depreciation schedule calculated to claim deductions for your new property’s fittings and fixtures.
If you would like to discuss your situation further, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below.
Following the lodgement of a home loan application, hopeful borrowers are often keen to know what will happen next and how long it will take for them to receive the verdict.
The bad news is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, the good news is that a solid application is the key to a short approval time – this is why choosing the right broker is so important!
Here are the 6 key steps to be aware of:
1. The amount of time it takes for you to receive a response on your home loan application can vary. It’s most common to receive an answer between two days and two weeks, depending on a range of factors. The more complex the circumstances are, the longer it can take. Lender turnaround times will also be heavily influenced by their volumes at the time.
2. Before offering conditional approval, your potential lender will need to make an assessment of your application and conduct a valuation of the property. Valuations are critical to the credit risk assessment undertaken by the lender when assessing your application. It will expedite the process if you have a valuation done in advance, provided it is acceptable to the lender.
3. The lender will also assess your capacity to repay the loan amount you have requested. This is where all of the information about your salary and liabilities come into consideration, and where accurate and complete information is essential. There can often be some to-and-fro between you, your broker and the lender should the lender request further information as the credit assessment takes place.
4. Your potential lender will then make an overall judgement of you as a borrower. The complexity of your financial history will affect how long this takes. The biggest red flag to a lender is non-disclosure of liabilities, so, it is always best to provide full and comprehensive information about your financial situation.
5. The complexity of the application process is just one of the reasons to engage an experienced mortgage broker, as they can explain the requirements and handle the application process for you.
6. Following the submission of an application, you can expect your broker to be in touch with you to update you on progress and to notify you of the outcome. If your application is approved, your broker will also advise you of when to expect a formal letter of approval from your lender and assist you with any queries right up to and beyond settlement.
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It’s fair to say that cashflow and budget management typically ranks low on most peoples’ priority lists, especially for time-poor business owners. But while it isn’t exactly the sexiest of business ownership activities, the extent to which you can effectively manage your incomings and outgoings is without doubt one of the biggest predictors of your company’s long-term success.
The term ‘cashflow’ is used to describe the movement of money in and out of a business each month. Essentially, the objective of any business is to have more money coming in each month than is going out, the term used for this is ‘positive cash flow’.
In Australia, lack of cash, or working capital, is known to be the primary reason that SMEs go out of business. “Cash is king as we all know. It really is the life blood of your whole business. If you don’t have cash, you can’t buy stock, pay bills, hire staff – you need to be on top of your cashflow if you want to succeed in business.”, says Paul Bevan, CEO at Boss Finance Australia.
According to Xero’s recently launched Small Business Insights research which reviewed the aggregated data of more than 500,000 Australian small businesses, only 50.7 per cent had a positive cashflow as at June 2017.
“Seasonal businesses are at greatest risk of negative cashflow because they will have significant fluctuations in business across the year.”, Paul says.
However, regardless of industry, all business owners should have their own formal method of recording, tracking and forecasting incomings and outgoings each month. For anyone struggling with cashflow, implementing a formal plan can get you back on track, achieve a positive cashflow every month and avoid financial stress.
Proper cashflow management can also enable you to take better advantage of business opportunities as they come up. Sydney-based tradie recently reached out to Boss Finance Australia for help. “He had great turnover for the year, but due to the nature of his business and the ebbs and flows each month – paying invoices, paying suppliers, buying materials, paying wages etc. – he was always finding himself short on cash.”, says Paul. “We were able to map out his cashflow month to month so he could see where upcoming shortfalls were likely to occur and prepare accordingly. The outcome for him was significant. His stress levels are reduced and the clear picture of his incomings and outgoings has given him the ability and confidence to take on larger jobs as they come up, whereas he would have previously been reluctant.”
Here are five key steps to adopting a simple and successful cashflow plan for your business:
1. Use a smart template to build out your plan
There are plenty of expensive software solutions out there that can manage your budgeting and forecasting for you. But for a simple cashflow plan, you can download our simple Excel template for free. Alternatively, if you’re a spreadsheet whiz, you may choose to build your own!
2. Identify where your revenue is coming from
Once you have the right template, it’s time to get started creating your business cashflow picture. Start by reviewing your business revenue.
Organise your income by breaking it down into two main streams:
It’s important to know exactly where your money is coming from each month – and it might surprise you (or not!) to know that for most business owners, this is the first time they’re seeing the full picture since starting their business.
3. Identify where your money is going
Now it’s time to review your historical costs. Enter your monthly expenses into your Cashflow Plan. If you’re using the template referred to in Step 1, it offers you a list of standard outgoings including insurance, stock purchases, office supplies, loan repayments etc. The template will then automatically subtract your expenses from your income.
Now that you’ve created a clear picture of your monthly income and expenses, it’s clear to see where your strongest and weakest months are, as well as the periods where your costs are highest. Now that you can see it clearly in front of you, it’s possible to plan ahead.
If this is the first time you’ve undertaken this kind of analysis, we recommend you ask your accountant to provide you with some figures on comparable businesses in your industry so you can compare typical costs and revenues.
Consider how your cashflow compares to your financial goals – are you on track, or do you need to think about a different approach? Are you in serious cashflow trouble? If you can see that more cash is leaving your business than is coming in each month, consider whether additional working capital via a loan or line of credit could help. Other factors to consider include an audit of your business activities to identify areas that are costing you more time and resources than they are worth. Most businesses have opportunities to cut down costs and increase revenue by removing redundant practices and focussing in on their areas of greatest profitability.
6. Update and monitor regularly
Make sure you stay on top of your budget by updating your plan on a monthly basis or as your circumstances change – SME is an ever-changing environment!
The time you devote to implementing sustainable cashflow management practices into your business will pay dividends. Why not get started now!
We know that a healthy and engaged workforce is likely to be more productive and effective. With this in mind, as a small business owner, supporting your staff to lead healthy lives isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s also a smart thing to do!
Here are five steps for starting a wellness program when time and resources are tight:
1. Consider your budget
From the outset, know how much you can afford to spend so that you can set the right parameters.
2. Get your senior staff on board
Explain why wellbeing is important to you, and why you’d like it to be important to them.
3. Consult your staff
Don’t assume you know what your staff will want! Ask them openly or think about creating an online survey – what would a meaningful wellbeing program look like to them? It might surprise you that it could be as simple as allowing longer lunchbreaks so staff can go for runs or walks, or striking a deal for your staff to get discounted membership at the local yoga studio.
4. Review the program
Ensure you have established a feedback loop to collect regular formal and anecdotal feedback. Are staff making use of the program? Does it meet their needs? If not, how could it?
5. Revise and refresh
Use staff feedback to revise and refresh the program accordingly. What suits your current staff today may not work so well in six months’ time.
Be sure to revisit Steps 4 and 5 every 6 to 12 months so that your business and your staff continue to get the most out of it.
Your accountant’s expertise and intimate knowledge of your business means they are well positioned to advise you on how your business is tracking. So, are you on track? Ask your accountant these 5 critical questions to find out:
1. How is my business really doing?
Ask this question to get a better perspective on the overall financial health of your business. Ask your accountant to talk you through the financial data. Are you maximizing your cash flow? Where are the opportunities to make more money? Are there any problems you weren’t aware of (or were avoiding)? How can they best be resolved?
2. What should my growth strategy be?
Your accountant can help you understand the true cost vs benefit of your expenses and advise you on opportunities to grow that may not have otherwise been visible to you at the coal face. Tip – check out these 5 ways to grow your small business.
3. What can I eliminate?
The sooner you can identify opportunities to eliminate redundant practices and processes, the better off you and your small business will be. Your accountant can also help you plan to replace assets likely to become a liability, maximizing profits and capping losses. Consider these 5 tasks to outsource in 2017.
4. Am I on track to meet my goals for this financial year?
Every entrepreneur knows the importance of setting clear goals. Your accountant is best placed to help monitor your progress and update you on whether you’re on the right track or not. Ask for regular feedback and advice against your goals.
5. What more can I do to improve my business?
Being a small business owner doesn’t mean you have it all figured out. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes are required to point out missing links and opportunities. Your accountant can provide you with insights and help you reach new ideas to take your business to the next level. These 10 tips for small business success offer you more ideas on how to drive business success.
Achieving your small business goals will take time, energy and passion. Follow these 10 tips for success:
1. Clarify your mission and vision
Your business value proposition needs to be compelling in order to differentiate you in the market. Take time to develop a deep understanding of who you are, why you exist, and the purpose and function of your business.
2. Narrow your target market
The prospect of narrowing your target market may seem counter-intuitive. However, if you specialise in a service or product, this is an effective way to have your business stand out in a competitive market. This is why the next step is so crucial...
3. Be an expert in your market
It’s not enough to just advertise your business and hope for the best – being the expert in your field will earn you the credibility you need to build your reputation and grow your clientele. Think about outsourcing market research – online platforms such as Freelancer give you direct access to freelancers across a range of professions including market research.
4. Bundle products and services
Small businesses often find it beneficial to bundle their products instead of selling them individually. This can make it easier to sell as consumers tend to associate “packages” with saving money.
5. Know the needs of your customer
Knowing your customer better enables you to pitch the benefits of your products and services – how can you help solve their problems?
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals
Your existing customers can be a great source of referral business. If a client is satisfied with your product or service, don’t hesitate to ask them to refer you to other businesses or ask them for testimonials which you can use in marketing. Think about establishing a referral program to reward existing clients when they bring you more business. It’s also a good idea to set up a LinkedIn company page, where you can capture and display customer testimonies and feedback.
7. Sales and promotions
Offering a discount or having a ‘limited time only’ sale can be a great way of boosting sales and creating mutual reciprocity with your customers.
8. Sell more to existing customers
Your top-spending and loyal customers will keep your business alive. Think about establishing ‘members-only’ or ‘VIP’ offers and promotions. Give these customers early access to new products or have a reward points system in place. This will keep your customers feeling appreciated and keep you top-of-mind for future business. CRMs such as Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign and Ontraport offer great tools for establishing marketing funnels that will help you sell more.
9. Listen to your customer
It sounds simple enough but many small businesses don’t do it. If you’re trying to grow your business, it’s important to seek feedback and listen to what current and potential customers are saying. This enables you to better identify their needs and ways that your service delivery can be improved. Think about your business’ feedback loop – are you giving your customers the opportunity to be heard? SurveyMonkey offers simple digital survey templates to provide you with the analytics you need to improve customer satisfaction.
10. Use the internet to your advantage
These days, social media and the internet is your business’ best friend. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, there are so many different platforms from which you can promote your products and services to more people. Explore the tools available to you and consider seeking professional advice on maximising your online presence. Buffer is a great tool that helps you to streamline posts across numerous social channels.
It’s most peoples’ dream to be their own boss, however starting a business can be prohibitive due to the up-front costs. Here are five business ideas that will cost you less than five hundred dollars to get up and running.
1. Virtual Assistant
All you need is a phone, computer and internet access to get up and running as a virtual assistant. Offering a tailored service to meet your clients’ needs means that you can open yourself up to a broad market – from blue collar small business owners through to executive-level professionals. Check out Freelancer as a place to bid for work.
2. Online Sales
It’ll cost you less than $150 to get up and running on a popular platform such as eBay. Do you have an eye for antiques? Grow your merchandise by browsing opt-shops looking for hidden treasures to sell online!
3. Social Media Marketer
The digital age has crept up on a lot of small to medium enterprises (and some large!). If you know social media back to front, this is a sought-after skill. Target your clients wisely and offer outsourced digital marketing packages that will help them sell more products and grow their brand.
4. Events Planner
Are you a natural-born organiser? Companies and individuals alike will pay good money for you to manage their event – be it a birthday or corporate function. It could be easier to start with a friend or family member – remember to document the tasks you undertook and get references! Create a professional LinkedIn profile with references and endorsements and reach out to as many companies as it takes to score your next job.
5. Cleaning Service
All you need to start your cleaning service is the basics. Then you can use profits from your first jobs to buy more specialized products or tools (i.e. carpet cleaner). Work on developing a reputation for reliability and high standards and scale this business by hiring staff and targeting your clientele through online marketing. Check out these 5 tips on growing your small business.
As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. A key indicator of small business success is the ability to successfully identify the tasks that can be outsourced, freeing you up to focus on achieving your goals. In 2017, think about outsourcing these five tasks:
1. General market research
There are many aspects of your industry and business that can be researched more efficiently, and cheaply, by an external party. An example is finding the cheapest supplier for your business’ core assets or stock. This type of work can be undertaken by employing a virtual assistant – do some initial research to find a reliable and inexpensive option. Freelancer is a great place to start, and gives you direct access to freelancers across a range of professions.
Marketing is a core part of your business growth strategy. This is an aspect of your business that you want to be well across, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to drive it. Outsourcing your marketing to an expert – or at very least development of your marketing strategy – can be both time and cost-saving.
3. Website and custom application development
If you don’t have website development experience or in-house expertise, outsourcing this to an expert will deliver a fully functional and presentable website in less time and without the stress. There are several freelancer agency sites that can help connect you to the right people to get the job done.
4. Managing your social media presence
Many small business owners find it easy to set up social media pages for their new business ventures, however keeping them current with engaging content can be another issue altogether. In 2017, an active and professional social media presence is critical to your small business’ credibility. If you are doing social posting yourself, checkout tools like Buffer as a way to streamline and improve social media results across your channels.
5. Call handling
Staying on top of incoming calls can be difficult for many small business owners who are too busy on the job to answer calls as they come in. There are companies that provide 24-hour call answering services with qualified call center staff who can manage basic enquiries from your prospective clients and pass messages on to you in the format you desire. Check out these Google search results to get started.
Successful entrepreneurs live and breathe their business or personal brand. But they also know the importance that balance and lifestyle plays in maintaining a resilient mind and body. These are the 10 most common habits of highly successful entrepreneurs:
1. They keep active
Successful people make time in their busy schedules for regular physical exercise. Research shows that physical exercise increases the neuroplasticity of the brain which in turn increases our ability to effectively solve problems. Regular exercise also has positive health benefits such as reducing stress. This helps you to be more productive throughout the day and stay sharp.
Need some motivation? Take your fitness social and/or competitive with an app like Strava.
2. They read a lot
Successful people read to challenge their views, expand their knowledge and gain a stronger understanding of the world. Reading can also help manage stress levels and stimulate the creative side of the brain. Don’t have time to stop and read? Listen to audio books on the go.
3. Take time out
Great entrepreneurs take time for themselves to recharge and find balance. They use this time to reflect, strategise and visualise their next move.
4. They have effective time management
Entrepreneurs have mastered managing time effectively to achieve their goals. Successful entrepreneurs are among the world’s best at squeezing the most out of every day. This article covers the 20 best time management apps for small business in 2017.
5. They collaborate really well
Success is a journey that requires more than one mind. Highly effective entrepreneurs seek help from others because they believe that success is a shared experience. They’re great at attracting people who believe in their vision and know that more can be achieved together.
6. They set goals
Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that at any given time, they are working to achieve a number of personal and professional goals. They know where they want to be and what they need to do to achieve it.
7. They practice self-confidence
There is a difference between natural confidence and practicing confidence. Successful entrepreneurs back themselves and know that choosing to believe in their abilities will best position them to achieve their goals.
8. They possess a resilient, optimistic and flexible mindset
Successful entrepreneurs have developed a highly resilient mindset, having experienced the ups and downs on the road to success. They also know the value (and attraction) of optimism and maintain a positive outlook about opportunities that exist. They expect and anticipate change and respond well to it.
9. They join groups outside of work
Entrepreneurs involve themselves in various groups outside of work such as fitness groups and book club. These extracurricular activities help them connect with other people outside their usual circles and offers both friendship and business opportunities.
10. They embrace failure
Failure is a part of every entrepreneur’s success story. They understand that failures are what help them learn in order to succeed the next time.