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Catherine's Chat

Wholistic Financial Solutions provides information and updates regarding the property investment industry. Learn more from Catherine's chat here.

Brisbane Property Market

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Whilst the Brisbane property market perhaps didn't meet the expectations bestowed upon it in 2015, with modest gains of around 5% on average, the greater Brisbane region threatens to surge in the years ahead.

"With affordability much less of an issue, comparatively high rental yields and improving economic conditions" there is a lot more growth to be found in Australia's 3rd largest city.

"Brisbane housing market fundamentals are arguably healthier than the larger capitals"

Tim Lawless - CoreLogic RP Data - March 2016

Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Blueprint released for Melbourne's growth

Thursday, November 24, 2011
Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Blueprint released for Melbourne's growth

Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Consumer confidence rebounds 8.1%

Friday, September 30, 2011
Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Consumer confidence rebounds 8.1%

Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Cut rates this year, Westpac tells RBA

Friday, September 30, 2011
Real Estate Investar - Real Estate Software and Tools for Investors | Real Estate News | Cut rates this year, Westpac tells RBA

The Eurozone debt crisis and Australian housing

Friday, September 30, 2011
The Eurozone debt crisis and Australian housing

Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the SECOND ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

Download the full report at

Element 2. The Right Finance – “How to be confident that you have found the right loan and structure so that you can meet long-term financial goals and avoid     serious costs – potentially saving 1000’s of dollars in long-term exit fees and interest rates”

The Right Finance

 “How to be confident that you have found the right loan and structure so that you can meet long-term financial goals and avoid serious costs – potentially saving 1000’s of dollars in long-term exit fees and interest rates”

“Finding the right loan to meet your needs can be a very daunting task. With so many lenders to choose from and so many products within each lender, it is almost impossible for the average person or investor to sort between the products (including all the fine print). It is important that you are sure the finance you are choosing is the best one for your circumstances.’

We like to use the example of buying a car.

If you walk into a Ford car yard and describe all of the features you want in a car and the salesperson thinks to themselves, “Gee, the latest Holden Statesmen would be the best,”– will he tell you that? No! He will convince you that the latest Ford something-or-other meets your needs. It’s the same with the banks. If you walk into a bank, any bank, you will only be sold that bank’s products.

We would recommend that everyone who wants to take out a mortgage should use the valuable services of a mortgage broker. Whether you are buying your first home or investment property or whether you are building a huge investment portfolio you should consult a mortgage broker. The advantages of using a broker are twofold. Firstly, it is free – the bank pays the broker the commission – and secondly, the broker is aligned to scores of banks and will find the best for you. It is in the broker’s interest to find the best product because they want your continued business.

Brokers have access to over 30 banks and lending institutions, including all of the majors (CBA, St George, NAB, Westpac, etc) and many popular smaller and non-bank lenders (ING, Bankwest, Rams, Suncorp, etc). Mortgage brokers will help you find your way through the complex maze of product choices and help you decide the best one for you. Everyone’s situation is different and different products suit different circumstances.

Mortgage brokers also assist you with all of the paperwork, submit the loan, handle all the bank’s annoying questions, co-ordinate the process with your solicitor and real estate agent and basically take all the stress and pressure from you. They’ll ‘hold your hand’ the whole way through and deal with any complications that may arise.

Mortgage Brokers


May save you time in shopping for loans.

May save money if fully independent.

Usually free.

Sometimes, given the broker-lender relationship, a bank will accept a loan application that they would otherwise have rejected.

Mortgage Brokers


•       You may pay more for your loan than necessary if the broker is not independent.
•      They may charge excessive fees or undisclosed commissions.
•       You may be persuaded to borrow more than you need, as this will boost their commission.

The cons can be easily overcome by using a broker aligned with Wholistic Financial Solutions as we ensure our brokers do are fully accredited, trained and ethically in all regards.

So, once you have chosen a product how can you be sure the ‘structure’ is right?

“It is very important to get the ‘right finance’ right from the start but it is also just as important to get the ‘structure’ right. It can be very costly, frustrating and time-consuming to act hastily and rush the finance part of the property transaction and not get it right. Realizing your mistake later can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in break fees, discharge fees, re-valuation fees, applications fees, fees, fees, and more fees.”
For example, we are seeing countless clients who locked in at 8.5% for five years. They are now paying far more for their mortgage and are coming to us for advice about breaking out of the loan. We had one quote from a bank of break fees in the order of $66,000. The client is simply locked in and has no way out other than the pay these exorbitant fees.

Other clients we have seen have taken out what they thought was a very simple and easy to understand loan. However, when they have come to us to buy their next investment property, we’ve had to inform them that to restructure this loan they’d be paying deferred establishment fees in the order of $16,000. And not only that, they would have to refinance their whole portfolio because their bank had

‘cross-collateralized’ all of their properties across all of their loans. A very simple mistake that could be avoided with the right advice.

Another common example is the client who has taken a loan to buy their home with the intention of eventually upgrading to a bigger home. They did what they thought was the right thing and paid as much as they could off the loan. Then when they came to us for advice about buying their dream home and using the existing home as an investment property, we had to give them the unpleasant advice that they would now be fully taxed on all their rental income and their large loan for their home would be non-tax deductible. Another simple mistake that could have been avoided.

So, as we explained above, it is very important to use the services of a mortgage broker. However, you need to be careful about choosing the Right Mortgage Broker. The average mortgage broker is ‘transactional’ – they just get the best deal for you for that transaction. They do not normally consider your long-term strategy and whether the loan they are signing you up for will be the right loan for you 12-months down the track when you buy your next property. We have seen so many clients who were signed up for the wrong loan and are now paying the price.

To determine whether your mortgage broker is the right one for you ask the right questions.

Questions to ask your mortgage broker:

•       How much does the service cost and when do I have to pay?
•       Do you belong to an industry association such as the MIIA/MFAA and if so, does that association have a dispute resolution policy? (Ask to see it in writing. Disgruntled borrowers can also contact the Mortgage Industry Ombudsman on 1800 138 422.)
•       How do you identify the best solution? Is it simply commission-based or do you use a software package? (Their criteria for selection should be logical and transparent.)
•       How many lenders (and which lenders) do you represent? (Make sure the broker deals with a spread of lender types i.e. banks, mortgage managers and others.)
•       How do you get paid? (Ask them to disclose all commissions and payments.)
•       Can you provide comparisons of any loans recommended, including upfront and ongoing fees?
•       Can you clarify the actual cost of the loan, including and excluding interest, fees and ongoing costs?
•       Do you comply with the Privacy Act?
•       Do you have professional indemnity insurance?
•       How long have you been in the industry and can I read your testimonials from previous clients?

Download the full report at

Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
“Stop Wondering what is the Right Investment Strategy for You and Discover How to Build a Property Portfolio the Right Way – Right from the Start”

This FREE report will reveal the 7 elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”
This is the first element of the 7 elements – download the full report at

1.The Right Investment Strategy

– “Discover the most critical step to property investment before you start to invest – if you DON’T define this step you will never have success with property investment”

The first step is determining your strategy. The question is not what the right strategy is but rather which strategy is right for you? You should not invest in property until you know your strategy. 

Getting the strategy right is the absolute crucial first step.

The majority of investors are what we call ‘accidental investors'’ – they accidentally buy a property without much thought. Perhaps they upsized to a new house and decided to rent their old house rather than sell, maybe they bought while on holiday, perhaps they inherited or maybe they just bought because it seemed like a good idea. However, they most likely did not sit down and actually plan what they were attempting to achieve from their property investments.

As they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

“Everyone who wants to be financially independent needs to plan how they are going to get there! Financial independence rarely happens by accident. The plan needs to include these three important points:

1) What you want to achieve
2) Why you want to achieve it
3) How you are going to achieve it

The ‘what’s’, ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ are paramount to your success!”
 In order to determine your strategy you need to determine what you want to achieve by investing in property and why.

What is your ‘so that…’ factor?
What is your ‘emotionally dominant’ reason?

Is it ‘so that’ you can retire early and relax on the beach or travel the world? Is it ‘so that’ you can provide housing for your children as you realize housing is becoming less and less affordable? Is it ‘so that’ you can gift more money to charitable causes? The more you understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’, the more likely you are to stay on track and achieve

-your goals, the more likely you are to feel the fear and do it anyway, the more likely you are to take the steps necessary to reach your goals and realize your dreams.

The ‘what you want to achieve’ needs to be in clear and measurable terms so that you can set the specific goals that you want to achieve. For example:

“Let’s say you want to retire at age 55 so that you can help your daughters with their children by babysitting when they are due to go back to work. This is a ‘so that’ factor and it is specific. We can then calculate how much money you will need to have at age 55 to make this happen. Then we can look at the ‘how’ to achieve this goal through property investing.

Or you may have a completely different strategy. Maybe you are a ‘handy man/woman’ who loves home improvements and handiwork yet you’re stuck in a boring office job. Perhaps you would like to purchase a set of units so that you can eventually retire early and
look after the maintenance on the units as a full-time job.

Perhaps you want to buy properties close to home and good universities so that your children can move into them when they are studying to become doctors and lawyers.”
Everyone has a different ‘so that’ factor and it is important that you understand this right from the start.
So once you understand your ‘so that’ factor, we can begin to look at the ‘how’? We will help you identify your individual strategy. Is it…?

For the next 6 elementsof the 7 elements – download the full report at

Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the FOURTH ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

Download the full report at

4. The Right Property – “How to buy the right property at the right time in the right location in less than 5-minutes

“How to buy the right property at the right time in the right location in less than 5-minutes”

Sourcing the Right Property:

Once you have decided the Right strategy, organized the Right finance and sought the Right tax advice you then need to source the Right Property.

This can be an extraordinarily time-consuming, complex and confusing process. You can do it yourself if you have ample, and I mean ample spare time to spend hours upon hours every night and weekend researching and ensuring that you are completing your due diligence. You will need to research:

•       the best states to invest in all across Australia
•       the best suburbs within those states
•       the best streets in those areas
•      the demographics (in relation to those in the area – their age, sex, marital status, average income, family size and
Whether they are renters or owners – both now and predicted)
•       the capital growth of the area – both now and predicted
•       the average rent of the area – both now and predicted
•       the infrastructure of the area – both now and predicted
•       the government zonings of the area (now and planned changes)
•       the government’s plans for development of roads, hospitals, schools, shopping centers, etc
•       the government’s planned changes or improvements to surrounding roads, highways and suburbs
•       plus many, many more factors

Once you have researched all of the above and you are sure that you have located the right area of Australia to invest in, you will then need to contact all the local real estate agents, set aside a few weeks of your time, try to arrange all of these agents to show you the stock they have on hand at that time and hope you can find a property that meets your criteria during this time, otherwise you will need to re-book the trip and go again when new stock reaches the market…

…or you can simply use a property buyer’s agent service or a property aggregator…

 What is a buyer’s agent or property aggregate? 
You need impartial, independent and reliable advice in order to be successful at property investment and that’s precisely what buyers’ agents and property aggregators are in the business of providing.

‘Buyer’s agents work for the buyer NOT the seller’.

Imagine that instead of having to contact heaps of different real estate agents and developers and then having to sift through all of the competing and contradictory information they give you, imagine if you could contact just one agent and they would do all the running around for you.  They would contact many different vendors, real estate agents, developers, etc and, after determining what your needs and wants are, they will then present a summary of the best options available on the market at the moment that suit YOUR NEEDS. 

That’s what Buyer’s agents or Property Aggregators’ do. They work for you.

They provide market analysis and identification of growth areas in the capital city markets. They identify, source and negotiate specific investment properties in keeping with market conditions and the client’s requirements. Clients are provided with recommendations in a written report covering:

•       indicative investment cash flows
•       detailed market demographics and commentary
•       specific property recommendations
•       property plans, ,photos, specifications etc
•       full financial spreadsheets
•       assisting clients with the inspection and purchase of appropriate investment properties
•       negotiation of purchase price
•       coordination of the purchase process and ongoing client support

 What to look for in a buyers agent

Independence is the number one factor. Ask them if they:

•   Sell more than one product from more than one           developer
•       Have access to all of the fast-growing states of Australia.
•       Are knowledgeable about investment strategies.
•       Are experienced in property investment. Do they walk their talk? Ask them, “How many properties do you own?” Don’t be afraid to interrogate them. It’s your money they will be spending so you need to ensure you are 100% comfortable with their knowledge and experience.
•       Have access to every other specialty field necessary to help you complete the transaction, that is:                                          
1.      property strategists
2.      a finance team
3.      tax advisors
4.      property managers
5.      life coaches
“A really good buyer’s agent is knowledgeable about most mainstream investment strategies. They have an understanding of what the client’s needs are on a more personal level with regard to their goals, strategies and fears. They have the ability to ‘hear’ the client’s views and to take them and turn them into fully-realized achievements.”

Why use a buyer’s agent?

In a nutshell, because they save you the time you would otherwise spend researching. They save you the cost of the trips (all of which are non-tax deductible as you haven’t selected a property yet). AND THEY ALLOW YOU TO SLEEP AT NIGHT because you have done your due diligence by focusing on selecting the right buyer’s agent, trusting them to select the right property.

Buyer’s agents are experienced professionals who buy properties on behalf of clients on a daily basis. They have extensive contacts and have many buying strategies at their disposal. In other words;
‘They take a client’s request and apply their experienced strategies to deliver the best result for that client. You wouldn’t ask a boxer to do brain surgery…why not use an expert property sleuth to find the right investment for you?’

  An example of this is my own experience with buying a property in Frankston, Victoria and Springfield, Queensland.  For the Frankston property, my husband and I spent hours researching, calling agents, comparing properties on the internet, etc. Then we took four days off work, flew to Melbourne and spent four solid days in a hire-car looking at as many properties as possible. Our heads were spinning and we had no real idea of what we were doing. In the end, we spent $3,500 on the trip (not to mention the cost of four days off work and countless hours of research) and simply wanted to buy something…anything…so we didn’t have to do it again. So we bought the best of a bad lot and hoped for the best.

When we decided to buy in Queensland, we hired a buyer’s agent, accepted his recommendations and signed on the dotted line. To this day, we have not even seen this property and it has performed far better than the Frankston one.

I used to think I knew it all and could do it all myself. Now I realize it is far more appropriate and time-saving to pay the experts to do what the experts do best – allowing me to do what I do best – advising others on tax and finance strategies.

Download the full report at

Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the FIFTH ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

Download the full report at

5. The Right Management – “How to have a remote control property portfolio which means no rental headaches for the  lifetime of the ownership of the property”

The Right Management

 “How to have a remote control property portfolio which means no rental headaches, ever, guaranteed”

What if I were to suggest that you don’t have to worry about late rents? Or no rents? That’s right – we can find you properties with guaranteed rent for 10 years without excessive management fees and restrictive clauses locking you in for the whole period. But oops…! This is a secret I shouldn’t be revealing!

Why Use a Property Manager?

  “It’s crucial that your investment property is well-managed and that you choose a good property manager. Effective property management is the key to protecting your asset. Remember, it’s not just a property, it’s a significant investment and you want it well looked after. You want its value to remain high and you want the best rental return on your investment.”

 Some landlords try to manage their investment property themselves. Sometimes this works OK. However, there can be many pitfalls. We have found from our experience that a good property manager is worth their weight in gold in looking after our investment and saving us hassle.

A good property manager will excel in the following:

– Marketing your investment properly to get the maximum exposure to the right kinds of tenants. Effective marketing is a key factor in ensuring your property is not left vacant.

Legal requirements
– Being fully aware of all legal requirements and ensuring that all requirements of government legislation relevant to your investment property are complied with – advising you on your rights and obligations.

Your rent
– Consistently monitoring market trends for rental returns and ensuring your investment is getting the highest possible rental return – regular rental reviews – ensuring tenants pay the rent on time.

Tenant selection
– Ensuring the best quality tenant for your investment property – following strict and professional guidelines in
tenant selection, including checking references, employment stability and proof that the tenant is capable of paying the rent and a proven quality in their previous rental history.

Agreement preparation
– Arranging the preparation and signing of the residential tenancy agreement and lodging the rental bond.

Tenant management
– Ensuring the tenant is well educated in the terms of the residential tenancy agreement and that the terms of the tenancy agreement are complied with
– Building a good relationship with the tenant – a happy tenant is a tenant who stays and who will contact their property manager immediately with any issues.
– Acting as a negotiator in any disputes between tenant and landlord. A good property manager can ensure that most disputes between landlords and tenants are solved before they escalate.

Rent collection
– Providing a good range of options for tenants to pay their rent – requiring tenants to pay rent in advance – daily
monitoring of incoming rentals – having zero tolerance for any rental delays.

Looking after your investment
– Knowing your property, inside out – conducting regular inspections of your property (as per the legislation) and forwarding you a written report on its condition and any maintenance that may be needed.
– Conducting regular external surveillance of the property to assess the external appearance and to ensure its being well-maintained.
– Giving you feedback to help you budget for larger items of expenditure that may be required – providing an after-hours contact for emergencies.

– Communicating well with you on your investment.

Saving you hassle
– No need for you to interact with your tenant at all – paying bills for you – invoicing tenants for user-pays water costs – monitoring and handling any maintenance required, obtaining quotes, dealing with trades people, ensuring the job is well done – providing statements for your tax return.

And if you decide to refresh your investment portfolio
– Liaising with your tenant and your real estate agent to make the sales process easier, smoother and faster – or liaising with your mortgage broker regarding access for valuation purposes, all making things easier for you to refresh your portfolio.

The Right Management solution is one of the most important strings to your investment bow. The management of your property ensures that your investment is being looked after in all aspects. The property manager makes sure that your interests are looked after priority number one! Diligent property management will ensure that your investment property is always tenanted with only top quality tenants.
The point is that the Right Management is the tool that allows you to have a safe worry-free investment solution that is truly ‘Set and Forget’.

Download the full report at

Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the ninth strategy of nine property investment strategies.

Download the full report at

Strategy 9 – Guaranteed Leasebacks


A genuine guaranteed leaseback is a rare thing. If you can find one it can be an outstanding way of ensuring your ‘sleep-at-night’ factor. The biggest fears in property investing are; “What if I can’t find a tenant?” and “What if my tenant doesn’t pay their rent?”

A genuine guaranteed leaseback can take both of these fears away as the guarantor pays you your rent regardless of whether the property is tenanted or whether the tenant is paying the rent.

You can therefore rest easy knowing that your rent will be coming in to cover your mortgage, each and every month.


Well… don’t get me started on this one or I will go on for pages! In a nutshell:

There have been many fly-by-night companies predominantly based in Queensland who flew around the country hosting free property information sessions and drawing innocent investors in through mass telemarketing and promises of free holidays for their attendance. Then the holiday turned out to be a property tour, free of course, as long as they viewed the properties whilst they were there. The organizers then convinced the innocent investors to purchase the properties through ‘rental guarantees’ that sounded too good to be true.

And yes, they were too good to be true.

In some cases, the company went into liquidation straight after completing the final sales. Of course, this meant that the guarantee wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Alternatively, the cost of the guarantee to the company was simply embedded in an inflated price for the property. At the expiration of the guarantee the investor found that they

could not rent their property for anywhere near as much as was predicted. Further, there was never any real tenant in their property. The company had simply used the inflated profits to pay the rent to the investor for the promised period.

Worse still, there were now hundreds of vacant properties in the area all on the market for rent at the same time. And to add insult to injury, investors who couldn’t afford to keep the property now that the rent was substantially less than predicted, tried to sell their property only to find that it was worth considerably less than what they had paid in the first place.

Once again, do your due diligence:
•       Ensure the properties are not over-inflated to compensate for the rental guarantee.  For example, are you able to buy the property on the open market, or from the developer for the same price without the rental guarantee?

•       Ask the guarantor, “What’s the catch?” There must be something in it for the guarantor or they wouldn’t do it. Ask them, “How do you make your money?”
•       Check or  and ensure the predicted rental is in line with the current market rental.
•       Check that the company offering the guarantee has been in business for a considerable length of time.
•       Check the company has a sound reputation. ‘Google’ the company name and you will reveal any ‘dirt’ or dissatisfied customers.
•       Ensure the rental management fee is in line with industry norms – around 7–8% depending on the state.
•       Ensure you can withdraw from the leaseback any time you want to in case your circumstances change and you want to sell the property or move into it.
•       Most of all Get professional advice

Download the full report at

Discover How to Build A Property Portfolio The Right Way Right From The Start

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