Melbourne’s Six-Week Corona virus Lock down

Just under a week ago, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that Melbourne would undergo a strict six-week lock down to prevent a second wave of corona virus cases within Victoria. To further limit the spread of the virus, authorities also announced the closing of the border between Victoria and New South Wales to further limit the potential spreading of the virus to other states across the country.

As the number of cases surge across the state, the initial lock downs of several suburbs that were deemed “hot spots” for the re-emergence of the virus have led Victoria to reimpose Stage Three restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne. As per the restrictions, people are allowed to leave their homes for work or study, exercise, shopping for supplies and for medical purposes. 

What this means for home buyers

It was only just a few weeks ago that display villages and open houses were beginning to reopen to the public, however due to the current restrictions, most have been forced to close temporarily. Despite that, some home builders are allowing customers to book a private viewing of display homes to allow them to view the home in-person, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

Virtually visiting display homes

Thanks to modern technology, home buyers still have the opportunity to virtually “visit” display homes via 360º virtual tours of the homes. In fact, home buyers can take advantage of these virtual tours by taking their time exploring the homes and even taking screenshots of any particular designs or fixtures they may be interested in. On top of that, virtual tours present the opportunity for home buyers to “visit” the display home at their convenience as often as they like.

Home buyer grants for pandemic buyers

Just a month ago, the Australian government introduced the Home Builder grant program for eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers. The grant of $25,000 provided to eligible Australian citizens assists home buyers in their journey towards home ownership during the pandemic period. 

Achieve Homes will continue construction of new homes during this pandemic period, while adhering to social distancing guidelines and constantly ensuring the safety and well-being of all our staff, including those in construction, sales and administration. 

To view our display homes, you can take a Virtual Tour of any of our homes, or for private viewings of our Melbourne display homes, please contact us to book an appointment. If you are interested in our House & Land packages, our sales consultants in Canberra and Melbourne will be more than happy to help you find your new home. 

Tips from an expert Canberra Builder on How to Choose the Right House and Land Package

Choosing the right house and land package within Canberra can be overwhelming, particularly for new home buyers, and there are a range of factors you need to consider ahead of purchasing a house and land package from Canberra builders.

If you’re in the market for a new home or house and land package in or around Canberra or you’re starting to do your research for the future, as local expert builders, we’ve put together some great tips to ensure the entire process is smooth and there are no surprises.

Tips for choosing the right house and land package in Canberra

We’re all unique when it comes to the style, size and location of our home, and your builder should be focused on creating a home design that suits your needs to a tee.

But how do you make sure you are considering all the key points when you are choosing a house and land package?

Here are some things to be aware of when choosing the right house and land package:

  • Look for a house and land package with a fixed price – the term ‘turn-key solution’ is a common one in the house and land package industry and you want to make sure that you are choosing a package that outlines all the costs upfront and there are no hidden surprises. If a house and land package seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Ask about inclusions, selections, and after-sale service.
  • Choose a style or design that will be suitable for now and in the future – future-proofing a design of a home is essential if you are planning on staying in the home for the long term. While you might have a young family when you move in, choosing a design that suits teenagers with multi-purpose spaces can be beneficial for resale value and also ensure your property will suit your family in the future.
  • Consider the re-sale value when selecting your location – when you’re selecting your house and land package it might seem unusual to take in consideration selling it, but ensuring you are keeping in mind the location and the local community is important to ensure you are building a house in a community that is desirable and great infrastructure.
  • Ensure you can customise your design to suit your family or needs – when you are selecting your house and land package builder in Canberra, be sure to engage a builder that can create a custom design to suit your exact needs. One size fits all doesn’t always work when it comes to home design, and choosing a builder that takes the time to ensure your home design suits your exact needs is essential.

Achieve Homes are the experts in Canberra for house and land packages, including designing and building of homes, knockdown and rebuild and much more.

As the local specialist in Canberra for quality new homes, Achieve Homes is proud to be the recipient of a wide range of awards including Winner 2019 HIA Professional Medium Builder/Renovator of the Year (ACT/Southern NSW), Winner 2019 HIA Small Lot Housing of the Year (ACT/Southern NSW), Winner Master Builder Association 2019 – Custom Home Less Than $350,000 and much more.

Whether you’re searching in Canberra for house and land packages, new home development, contract building project, custom home designs, or knockdown rebuilds, Achieve Homes is focused on 100% satisfaction guarantee and the highest level of workmanship.

Let us find the perfect home for you in the ACT. Whether you’re searching for the ideal home design, or you want to discuss a unique design for your dream Canberra home, speak with Achieve Homes today to arrange an obligation-free quote from our Canberra builders.

How To Get A Home Loan As An Investor

Australian residential property continues to be one of the strongest performing asset classes for investors.

Over the last 25 years, house prices in Australia have continued to increase at a steady rate of 6.8%, making owning an investment property both a popular and lucrative option for Australians.

Prior to the recent COVID-19 slowdown, property experts predicted the return of the housing boom, as Melbourne property prices continued to rebound strongly. So despite what people may assume of the current pandemic’s effect on the property market, there are still plenty of experts suggesting it is still a good time to be buying an investment property in Australia.

For property investors, arguably the most important stage of the process is usually securing a loan to finance the purchase of their first investment property. While there are subtle differences between home loans for investors and loans for people to live in (owner-occupiers), the process of getting a loan is very similar.

What are the differences between home loans for investment vs. owner-occupiers?

A home loan for investment operates in a similar manner to an owner-occupier loan, however, there are a few subtle differences.

Generally speaking, investment loans attract slightly higher interest rates than owner-occupier loans. Investment loans also have modestly higher fees. This is because investment loans are considered slightly riskier than owner-occupier loans.

There might also be some differences in the deposit you are required to put down on a property to be able to access an investment loan.

With owner-occupier loans, it is possible to get very high loan-to-value ratios (LVRs), as much as 95%, and banks and lenders will often accept various forms of collateral including guarantees from parents to help their children enter the property market.

For the most part, these types of loans are less accessible to investors and lenders generally like to see a 20% deposit. However, there is still the option to get a higher LVRs, but they will come with lenders mortgage insurance which comes into effect for loans with LVRs over 80%.

Another key consideration for investment properties and loans is that it is unlikely that you would be eligible for some of the major government incentives, such as stamp duty exemptions or the first-home owners grant. However, potential investors can still access these incentives, they will simply need to purchase and occupy the home for a period of time, prior to making the shift to renting it out as an investment.

Advantages of Investment Loans

The key advantage when it comes to getting a home loan as an investor comes down to the fact that you can include the potential rental income which boosts your serviceability.

It doesn’t matter what type of loan you are looking to get, lenders assess both your income and expenses before they will approve your loan application. They do this so they can be sure that you are able to meet your loan repayments based on your income.

For owner-occupiers, they will need to be able to meet 100% of the ongoing loan repayments. However, investors have a big advantage here as they can include future rental income, which can dramatically increase your ability to borrow money from a bank.

It is worth noting that banks will only assess between 70-80% of rental income, as that takes into consideration periods of vacancy for the rental property, property management fees and ongoing maintenance costs.

Another big advantage when it comes to getting investment loans is being able to access the equity in other properties. If you currently own your own home, and that property has appreciated in value, you are able to tap into that equity and use that as a deposit on an investment property.

Different Types of Investment Loans

These days, banks offer a huge variety of home loan products to suit all types of investors and their personal situations. However, there are a few key types of loans you should consider.

An interest-only loan is a product that lets the investor only pay off the interest and not principal. While this might seem like a bad idea as you are not making inroads into actually owning the home, there are some important reasons why this is actually a good option.

When you are applying for your investment loan, you will be able to borrow more money if you only need to make interest payments. That is because your weekly or monthly payments will be lower, enabling you to potentially own an investment property when you otherwise could not.

Over time, given the strong returns, we’ve seen in the Australian residential property market, the capital growth will allow you to effectively pay out the loan as the value of your property appreciates over time. A quick rule of thumb is that property prices double every ten years, meaning that by simply holding a property, you will have paid off the debt without ever needing to make a repayment of the principal.

There is also the option for fixed rate vs variable rate loans. For the most part, investors will be better off simply sticking with a variable loan as in the current environment, fixed-rate loans have a higher interest rate, given the low overall level of interest rates.

However, it is important to note that many banks offer a very low introductory offer to new applications and in the current environment it’s possible to secure a very attractive interest rate, if you are looking to take out your first investment loan.

Another type of loan to consider is for those looking to buy land and build. There are house and land loans that you could access for this purpose, or you can get two separate loans – a loan for the land and the construction loan. You can even access loans easily though your custom home builder in Melbourne or Canberra, so it’s worth talking to them if you are looking to build an investment property.

“So, how do I get an investment loan?”

To put it very simply, these are the typical steps on how you would get an investment loan:

  1. Save for a deposit. Most lenders will like to see a 20% deposit, however, you can still access higher LVRs (above 80%), but you will need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance.
  2. Speak to a mortgage broker who can assess your income and expenses and give you an idea of what you will be able to borrow.
  3. Assess future rental income. Speak to a property manager who specialises in the area you are looking to invest and get an estimate of comparable rental incomes. This will help you in borrowing more money for your investment property.
  4. Consider interest only. Not only will you be able to potentially borrow more money, but the loan payments will be lower.

If you’re looking for builder that understands the property market, Achieve Homes is the builder for you. As experienced custom home builders in Melbourne and Canberra, you can trust us to build a quality home for your investment that suits your budget and fulfils your requirements.

Get in touch with our building experts today at sales@achievehomes.com.au or 1300 234 432.

How to Start Saving for Your New Home

It’s not called the great Australian dream for nothing. Saving for your new home is, for most Aussies, their major life goal. Fortunately, even though house prices have continued to rise, the dream is very much alive for those wanting the security and safety of having a home to call their own. But the first hurdle most people run into is needing to save up for a deposit. However, there are a few things you can do to make this process a lot easier.

Common Misconceptions

First and foremost, there are a few common misconceptions when it comes to buying a home. The main one is that most new buyers think they are going to be priced out of the market because they can’t afford the 20% that most banks want to see.

But the truth of the matter is there are plenty of lenders that require a far smaller deposit – with some as low as only 5%. On the purchase of a $400,000 property, that is only a $20,000 deposit. So while it will take some work to save that money, it is certainly doable for young couples or even singles wanting to get into their own home. Just note that, Lenders Mortgage Insurance might be payable.

There is also the opportunity to get into a home and borrow 105% of the purchase price. The additional 5% is to account for the additional costs such as stamp duty. You can use this type of loan if you are able to have a guarantor on the loan. Normally for first home buyers, that’s going to be Mum and Dad. It can be a quick and easy way to buy a first home or even a house and land package from a custom home builder in Melbourne without needing to save at all.

It’s also easy for those looking to buy a home to forget about the additional costs that come with the actual purchase. Those costs include stamp duty, settlement costs and loan establishment fees. So when working out how much you actually need to save, you’ll have to factor those costs in, which are generally around 5% of the property’s value.

How to Start Saving for Your New Home

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first home buyer or a downsizer looking to buy your forever home, the process of saving will be the same.

All home buyers need to start with the end in mind, so it is vital that you first talk to a mortgage broker and work out how much you’re going to be able to borrow based on your level of income. From that, you will also be able to find out what your options are regarding the LVR and deposit.

Find out what those total upfront costs will be and that should be your savings goal.

At this stage, you then need to work out a weekly budget that will let you save the extra cash you’ll need to get that deposit.

A great free tool is PocketBook, which you can use to track your spending, so you know exactly what areas your money is going towards.

Budgeting and saving are not always easy so one useful way to better manage your expenses is to allow yourself a weekly ‘float’. Transfer your weekly spending money into a separate account and only access it via debit card. That way, you have a fixed amount you can spend each week and you know you’ll be able to save. All those savings you are collecting should be transferred into a separate high-interest saving account, not to be touched.

For homeowners who are looking to build their dream home or perhaps downsize, you are likely in a slightly different position. While your income might be higher, you also will likely have greater expenses. It is still a matter of budgeting and using a weekly ‘float’ is a great idea.

One tip for this group is that if you already have an existing home loan, make sure you have a 100% offset account attached to it. You are able to use the offset account to park your spare cash and it attracts the same interest rate as your home loan. Meaning that you could be making 4-5% on your money which is far higher than a term deposit or savings account in the current environment.

Government Initiatives To Help You Buy That New Home

The Australian Government is very much all about helping people build or buy their new home. As such, there are a number of schemes that you can use, particularly if you’re a first home buyer.

First Home Owner Grant

The FHOG is a Government Initiative that helps first home buyers by offering them up to $20,000 to help with the purchase of a new home.

The FHOG Victoria is only available if you buy a newly built home or choose to build through a custom home builder in Melbourne. You can access $10,000 if you build or buy in Melbourne or $20,000 if you buy or build in regional Victoria.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme 

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme was made available from 1 January 2020 and it helps buyers by effectively letting them put down a deposit as small as 5% of the purchase price.

This saves buyers around $10,000 in lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) fees, which generally applies to loans with an LVR of more than 80%.

Whether you have a partial, full or even no deposit, we’re happy to have a chat with you about your future home. We offer plenty of house and land packages suited for your situation, whether you’re a first home buyer, forever home buyer, downsizer or investor, we offer something for everyone. If that’s not what you’re looking for, we also offer a custom design building service so you can get exactly what you want.

Get in touch with our building experts today at sales@achievehomes.com.au or 1300 234 432.

5 reasons people have already bought at Ginninderra Estate

Ginninderra Estate has some exclusive features to offer those looking for a change of scenery.

Set your sights on a lifestyle that boasts lush green spaces, fitness trails and ample space to relax and unwind, less than a 15-minute drive away from the vivacity of Canberra’s CBD

1. Green space galore

Due to the vast neighbouring green space, you can rest assured that your surrounding area will never be developed.

Just beyond Ginninderra Estate’s immediate surroundings, you’ll also find an abundance of natural space, ready to be discovered. Why not take a self-guided walk through Kama Nature Reserve, or perhaps explore a local historical landmark like The Pinnacle, at The Pinnacle Nature Reserve?

(Image via In The Taratory)

2. It’s an apartment free estate

An entirely apartment-free estate set on a gentle slope, residents of Ginninderra Estate will forever enjoy marvellous views of the Brindabella Mountain Range and the picturesque local landscape as no storey complex will be built to disrupt your view.

3. Lifestyle and leisure

The adjoining Belconnen Golf Course is just one of the many perks of living in this impressive estate. Fitness enthusiasts will also enjoy a fitness trail featuring numerous exercise stations, a dog run to take furry family members for a jog and a large green public open space – the perfect spot for some relaxing yoga.

(Image via AllHomes)

4. Shopping at your fingertips

With Kippax and Westfield Belconnen shopping centres a short drive away, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to retail destinations.

Be inspired by the variety of grocers at the local Kippax Fair, and cook up a storm in your new home. Westfield Belconnen is also just a short distance away and is one of Canberra’s largest centres. Featuring around 270 specialty stores plus the added bonus of free parking for up to 2 hours, there’s something to suit the whole family’s needs there. 

5. Wining and dining

Whether you consider yourself a master chef in the making or you prefer to dine out with friends, whilst living in Ginninderra Estate, the finest food selection of the region will be right at your fingertips.

Image via Ricardo’s

The north side is home to a number of delectable eateries and bars, including Olive at Hawker, Ricardo’s Jamieson and Ha Ha Bar & Dining. Alternatively, opt for a night out in the city, as you’ll be just a short drive away from Braddon, New Acton and the CBD’s vibrant establishments.

With Belconnen Fresh Food Markets only moments away, foodies will also relish in the locally produced and delicious gourmet offering of its 30 independent stores.

With all the conveniences the north side has to offer, plus the perks of city-life just a stone’s throw away, Ginninderra Estate really is your key to living the best of both worlds in the nation’s capital.

What’s holding your house up?

There’s more to a house than four walls and a roof.

Foundations and footings, structural timbers and steel, and load bearing brickwork are all doing their bit to keep your house up for decades to come. So, how exactly does it all work?

Foundations and Footings

Houses sit upon a foundation which transfers the load of the walls and roof through the footings to the earth. A house without foundations would sink or topple over from the weight of other parts of the structure.

Footings are wider than the foundation so it can spread out the load of the rest of the house. They are sized according to the weight of the house, the type of rock/soil, available drainage and budget. The main types of footings you’ll find holding Australian homes up include, strip footings, concrete pad footings, ground injected piles, and timber piles.

Timber and Steel

A large majority of Australian homes are built using a timber frame due to its versatility and cost effectiveness. Steel is used throughout the construction to reinforce concrete and is sometimes used in place of timber.

Roof trusses are responsible for supporting your roof over your head while also holding your walls together. Timber trusses are light, durable and can span 10 metres or more without the need for reinforcement. Framing distributes the load of the roof towards the foundations and footings, again framing is typically a timber product and acts as the skeleton of the house.

Load bearing brickwork

The brickwork is an extremely important detail of any house. Not only do your walls keep you protected from the elements, but they take on the load of your roof, hold up against wind and a support a second storey if you’re house has two levels.

Structural Maintenance

It’s possible for buildings to move, the main cause being problems with the foundation soil. At Achieve Homes we provide new home owners with structural maintenance information to help you take care of your house. The CSIRO Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowner’s Guide explains how to maintain your foundations and footings. The documents is designed to help home owners identify the causes of soil-related building movement, and suggests methods of prevention of cracking in buildings. If you regularly monitor and actively prepare your house through methods suggested by the CSIRO it’s possible to save yourself a lot of headache in the future.

If you’re interested in building a new house checkout our house and land packages here or contact us to find out more on how we can help you.

Throsby is the answer

Throsby is the latest addition to sunny Gungahlin.

Sitting on the North side of Horse Park Drive and backing the Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, this suburb has all the convenience of the city with the stunning vistas of a regional township.

So, what makes Throsby so great? Here’s the answer to all your questions

What’s Throsby near?

Throsby holds a convenient location, being so close to the Gungahlin town centre, and within a few minutes drive of the Federal Highway. If you feel like a drive to the coast on a Saturday morning – no problem! Jump on the  Federal Highway followed by Macs Reef Rd, and you will be well on your way to the beach!

For those who commute to Gungahlin, Canberra City or Fyshwick, Horse Park Drive provides access to all major routes. Horse Park Drive’s east side recently underwent an upgrade, which has expanded its capacity to a dual carriageway and has cut the time to the east and south substantially.

And with the Light Rail Network set to commence in 2019, Gungahlin will soon be more connected than ever to Canberra City Centre and its surrounds.

What can I get up to in Throsby?

For the food lovers amongst you, the town centre of Gungahlin has cafés and restaurants aplenty.

Prefer to be out and about? You’re in the prime spot to enjoy mountain biking, hiking and walking, being so close to the Centenary Trail.

Want to shop til you drop? The Gungahlin town centre is now home to Bunnings, and will have K-mart by Christmas 2016.

Throsby is also the home of Mingle, a Community Development Program that provides fun social events to help you meet your neighbours.  The Mingle program consists of workshops, local events, community groups and plenty of fun filled for Throsby residents to get involved in their local community and learn about the resources available in the Gungahlin region, while connecting with their neighbours.

What’s the housing like in Throsby?

The release of “Prestige” has revolutionised housing options in Canberra. Enjoy the spacious and elegant living areas and the glamour of high end inclusions of these terrace homes. These low maintenance houses all have separate titles, meaning no body corporate issues for you to contend with!

If space is what you crave, Prestige @ Throsby is the answer. Each townhouse has spacious 2.7m internal ceilings, and multiple separate living and outdoor areas. Leave your day behind when you step into your luxurious 3.6 x 4.3 metre master bedroom with walk in wardrobe and double basin vanity in your ensuite.

For those who want to be close to nature, but still enjoy all the amenities that a major town centre provides, Throsby is the answer.

Tips For Buying Off-The-Plan

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When buying a new home there are a tonne of options to consider. One option that should be at the forefront of your decision making is buying off-the-plan.

Off-the-plan refers to purchasing a property before it is constructed. Most of the time this means you will be buying a property while it is just a hole in the ground, and while it may seem crazy to buy something that has not been built yet, there are many benefits to purchasing an off-the-plan property:

The Benefits

  • One of the biggest benefits of buying off-the-plan is having the ability to customise the finishes and fittings in the home to suit your personal needs.
  • Since stamp duty is calculated based on the value of the land and the building, you will essentially only have to pay based on the value of the land, because there is no building yet!
  • In terms of an investment property, the depreciation tax savings are greater for an off-the-plan property, as the newer the building is, the greater the savings are.
  • You have the ability to lock in the price that you will pay, which is financially beneficial as there is a good chance the property will increase significantly in value by the time of completion.
  • The extra time you have while you wait for your new house to be built will allow you ample time to sell your existing home.
  • If you are a first home buyer, you will be able to benefit from the First Home Owners Grant, as well as stamp duty exemptions.
  • Newly built properties in Australia come with a 7 year builder’s guarantee, which means any faults must be repaired by the builder.

The Risks

  • There is always a risk that you will not get what you have already paid for. That is why it is important to have a comprehensive contract detailing all features, fixtures, fittings and time frames to ensure you have a leg to stand on when expectations are not met.
  • Since there is no way to see your apartment before purchasing it, there is a chance that you simply might not like it. Once completed it may look different to your expectations and it will be too late to change anything.
  • If your circumstances change during the build and you are no longer able to buy, it is important to act quickly and ensure you find another buyer to purchase from you at settlement.
  • A risk of having a locked in price is the uncertainty of the property market. Your property may suddenly lose value but you will still be paying the agreed price for it.

Things To Do

  • Make sure that it is definitely the property you want. This includes the size, suburb, orientation, and whether it is on a level you want to be on.
  • Visit the property site regularly and check if there are any other constructions occurring that may obstruct your view.
  • Carefully inspect the display home, including fixtures, fittings and finishes.
  • Research the market conditions and get advice from professionals on the right time to buy.
  • Research the developer. Do not be afraid to ask detailed questions and inspect other projects completed by them in the past. You may even want to talk with a past client to gauge satisfaction.
  • Have a legal professional look over all contracts and translate key points to you in laymen’s terms.
  • Make sure you have a lender that has agreed to financing. A lot of lenders are reluctant to finance off-the-plan properties given their high risk and the chance that the lendee will sell the property for a high price straight away, meaning the lender will lose interest.
  • Check that your deposit is going into a trust account, and do not let that money be released to a personal name to help build the project. This is a sure fire way to lose a lot of money very quickly.

Essentially, when buying off-the-plan, make sure you do the appropriate research to make sure it is the right option for you!

References

Emily Blatchford, Huffington Post, Buying A House Off The Plan: The Things You Need To Know, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/02/18/buying-off-the-plan-australia_n_9269506.html, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Oz Property Law, Buying Property Off-the-plan, http://ozpropertylaw.com/buying-property-off-the-plan/?gclid=CKqb2qX4kNMCFUcKKgodLqkF-g , Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Real Estate View, Things to Consider when Buying Off-the-plan, https://advice.realestateview.com.au/buying/things-to-consider-when-buying-off-the-plan/, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Tim McIntyre, Your Investment Property, The Trick to Buying off the Plan, http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/buying-property/the-trick-to-buying-off-the-plan-148257.aspx, Accessed April 7th, 2017.