Are You Covered? Insurance Options

In life, things happen. When they do, it’s important to know that you, your family and your assets are protected against unforeseen events.

We can help give you peace of mind with a range of insurance options. Examples of the types of insurance you may consider include:

Home and contents insurance
This protects your home and belongings against loss or damage caused by events like storms, fire and theft. It may also provide liability coverage you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while insured.

Landlord insurance
Landlord insurance covers you for the cost of replacement or repair when damage occurs at your investment property.

Motor insurance
We can line you up with motor insurance, whether you’re after third-party cover (doesn’t cover damage to your car) or comprehensive insurance.

Caravan and trailer
Ensure your caravan or trailer is covered for things like accidental loss or damage, emergency repairs, towing and legal liabilities.

Business insurances
We can also assist with a range of business insurances, from commercial vehicle insurance to insurance to cover you and others in the workplace.

To explore your insurance needs, reach out today.

Cash Rate Rise Questions

I understand there could be challenging periods ahead for mortgage holders, given the recent cash rate rise, and I want to reassure you that I’m here to assist.

If you’re wondering what this means for you and your wallet, I’ve answered some common questions below.

What’s the impact on homeowners?

Lenders often pass on the rate rise to variable loan holders via an increase in their variable interest rates. Even a small increase in your variable interest rate could have an impact on your repayments.

How much more could I pay?

This will vary for everyone depending on the value of your loan, what’s owing and your loan structure (fixed versus variable).

As an example, say you’re a homeowner who purchased a property for the price of $999,037 with a 20% deposit. Your monthly repayments might jump from $3,365 to $3,765 if the cash rate were to hit 1 per cent and your interest rate increased from 2.99 per cent to 3.89 per cent. That’s an increase in repayments of $400 a month.

What do I do if I can’t make my repayments?

With interest rates likely to continue going up, it’s important not to be complacent if you think you may have difficulty meeting your repayments.

The first step is to speak to me, but here are some options to consider:

  • request a lower interest rate 
  • switching to interest-only repayments
  • fixing your interest rate so you can budget for repayments
  • asking for fees and charges to be waived 
  • consolidate debts to make repayments more manageable.


You’ll find more examples in this article.

I’m available to discuss these options, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Long Term Broker!

At Xclusive Money, we’re in it for the long haul. Our goal is to support you with all your big finance decisions, at every stage of your life.

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, next home, an investment property or another big-ticket purchase, forming a strong relationship with your broker is one of the smartest moves you can make.

Here’s why.

1. Deal with one person who has your best interests at heart

We operate under a statutory obligation to act in the best interests of our clients when providing credit advice. Banks, however, are not required to operate under the same obligation.

We’ll listen to your financial situation and goals, then explain which finance product may be right for you – now and in the future.

2. Make the most of your income and available credit

We help you use your income and borrowing power wisely to support your lifestyle in the future.

What’s more, we’re happy to work with your financial planner or accountant to achieve your goals.

3. Ongoing support

Sometimes lenders reel you in, then forget about you once they have your business. In contrast, we’ll be on your team for the long run.

When something comes up you should know about, we’ll let you know. If there’s an opportunity to get you a more suitable loan or save money, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

4. Manage your loans and stay on top of your financial situation

With time, your financial situation will change. You may get promoted, have a baby, decide to downsize or change your living arrangements.

We’ll be there to help you navigate through those changes and support you in making the right finance decisions for you.

Let’s start with a chat. Reach out and we’ll explore how we can support you with your finance journey.

Damian Claridge

What’s a fair price for a property?

How do you know how much to pay for a property? As a buyer, it can be tricky.

Offer too much and you’ll end up paying more than market value. Offer too little and you risk missing out on your dream home or investment property.

So, how do you ensure you’re getting a good deal whilst remaining competitive against other buyers? Here are some tips.

Look for recent sales in the area

Start by looking at what’s been selling in your preferred neighbourhood. Focus on the immediate area surrounding a prospective property (say within a few kilometres), as values can differ greatly within the same suburb.

Historical price trends are great for background information, but for an accurate gauge of today’s prices, focus on sales within the last few months.

Look for similar properties

If you’re wanting to buy a three-bedroom home with two bathrooms, there’s no point looking at sales of one-bedroom units. To be relevant, comparable properties should be pretty similar to the one you’re sussing out.

Features to consider:

  • Dimensions – are the land area and dimensions similar?
  • Location – look for properties that are the same proximity to local amenities (like schools and transport lines) as the one you’re interested in
  • Interior – compare properties with the same number of bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms and living areas.
  • Exterior – outside features should be similar, for example, both should have a garage or the same number of parking spaces
  • Condition – compare properties that are in a similar condition to the one you are interested in.

Tune into the market

Property market conditions can change fast, so it’s important to keep abreast of what’s going on. A sale price from even a few months ago may no longer be relevant if conditions have changed.

One way to keep on top of local market conditions is to go to plenty of inspections and auctions. You might even like to befriend a few local real estate agents and ask them to keep you in the loop about upcoming opportunities.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of:

  • Clearance rates (the percentage of properties sold at auction – a good indicator of demand)
  • Days on market (how many days it takes for a property to sell)
  • Median price (the midway point of all properties sold at market price over a set period).

Don’t take the advertised price as gospel

Remember, the advertised price is a guide only. This price can also change during the marketing campaign, based on comparable sales, market conditions and if any offers are rejected by the vendor.

Don’t be afraid to check with the agent whether the advertised price has changed.

Want to hear the good news?

You don’t need to spend countless hours researching – we’re here to help.

We offer a range of free property market reports to help get you up to speed with everything from the estimated price range of a particular property to local suburb information.

Get in touch today to find out more.

What insurance do you need when buying a property?

As we have seen with the recent east coast floods, unforeseen disasters can strike at any time. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and your family financially – with the right kind of insurance for when something unexpected happens.

Sure, insurance may not be all that flashy and many people downright begrudge having to pay for it. But it gives you something that’s invaluable: peace of mind that your financial plans are protected, no matter what.

Here are the types of insurance you should think about when buying a property.

Income protection

Say you get sick or have a bad accident and cannot work. Income protection is your financial safety net.

Income protection insurance pays part of your lost income for a set time if you’re unable to work due to partial or total disability, caused by sickness or injury. It takes the financial pressure off you while you get back on your feet and enables you to cover your mortgage repayments and other expenses.

It’s a good idea to check whether you have income protection insurance through your super fund, but if not, we can line you up with a reputable provider. Premiums for this type of insurance outside of super are usually tax deductable.

You may also like to consider trauma insurancetotal and permanent disability insurance and life insurance to protect you and your family’s financial future.

Mortgage protection

Mortgage protection insurance covers the cost of your mortgage repayments if you die or become seriously ill. It should be noted that it is only meant to cover your mortgage repayments and not any other expenses for you or your family.

Mortgage protection insurance may be a wise choice if you already have some other kind of life insurance – say with your super plan.

Landlord insurance

If you own an investment property, be sure to look into landlord insurance. This type of insurance can cover you against the risks landlords often face. Examples include tenant damage, theft, vandalism, fire, storms and other natural disasters.

It may also protect you if the tenant stops paying rent, as well as against other legal liabilities.

As with any insurance choice, it’s important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to check what exactly is covered.

Building & Contents

Building or home insurance protects against the cost of rebuilding or repairing your property from things that are outside your control, like fire or natural disasters. You can opt for total replacement cover (to rebuild your home as it was prior to the event), or sum-insured cover (coverage up to a certain amount).

When you buy a property, your mortgage broker will most likely recommend that you insure the property before settlement day. When choosing your policy, make sure you have the right amount of coverage, as well as the right type of insurance for your actual needs.

Contents insurance protects your belongings, including carpets, rugs and curtains, in events such as fires, storms or theft. Often it will be bundled together with home insurance.

How your mortgage broker can help

Planning a property purchase? Working with a mortgage broker takes the burden out of finding the right home loan for your needs and the right type of insurance.

We can access some of Australia’s most respected insurance providers and offer you a competitive price.

Let us do the hard yards for you. Get in touch today. 

How to make a pre-auction offer

With auction clearance rates soaring above 80% in many markets in recent weeks, the competition amongst buyers for properties is often fierce.

One tactic some buyers use is to make a pre-auction offer before the property goes under the hammer. The idea is that if you make your offer enticing enough, the vendor may ditch the auction altogether and sell to you.

The benefits of making a pre-auction offer include:

  • Avoiding the stress of bidding at auction
  • Potentially knocking out the competition
  • Sticking to your budget
  • Flexibility to negotiate the terms of the contract (unlike at auction, where the contract is unconditional and there’s no cooling-off period or other special conditions like ‘subject to building and pest’ or ‘subject to finance’).

So, how does making a pre-auction offer work?

The first step is to check with the vendor’s agent whether they are open to accepting pre-auction offers. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can put in a written offer prior to the auction. The negotiation process will be the same as buying by private sale.

If your intentions change, you can usually withdraw your pre-auction offer, so long as no contracts have been signed.

It’s a good idea to seek legal advice and check the rules that may affect your pre-auction offer. For example, in Victoria, if your offer is accepted less than three clear business days before the auction date, you do not get a cooling-off period (time to change your mind).

How to make an effective pre-auction offer

Do your research

Research is key to paying the right price for a property. The listing agent may have provided an estimate of the sale price likely achievable at auction, but you’ll want to do some more digging to understand the property’s market value before you make a pre-auction offer.

Check out recent comparable sales of similar properties in the area to get an idea of how much the property is worth. We can line you up with free property reports to make this task easier.

It may also be worthwhile attending a few inspections and auctions to get a feel for how many other buyers are in the market in the area and what properties are selling for.

The goal is to make a competitive offer that’s too good for the vendor to refuse, without overpaying.

Discover the vendor’s motivation

Ask the real estate agent why the vendor is selling and use the information to your advantage. For example, if they have already put down their deposit on their next property, the vendor may need to settle fast.

This intel could prove useful during negotiations.

Be prepared

If your offer is accepted, you’ll want to have your finance in order.

Make sure your deposit is ready and your home loan is pre-approved. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of your upper spending limit. Having pre-approval in place also gives you an edge over the competition because the vendor knows the deal is likely to go smoothly. 

You may need to be ready to exchange contracts quickly, so be sure to have your conveyancer or solicitor on standby.

Don’t show your hand

Be mindful about giving away too much information to the vendor’s agent. After all, they’re working for the seller, not you.

Never reveal your budget, and always imply you’re interested in several other properties. If they think you’re too keen on the property they’re selling, they may be less flexible during negotiations.

Time your offer well

Timing is crucial when you make an offer. Some experts suggest that you go in hard and early, as vendors may be more inclined to accept your offer because of the convenience factor. This may also be a good tactic in a softening market. 

Others recommend waiting until right before the deadline to make the offer in case the real estate agent plans to shop your offer around to other prospective buyers.

Another tactic is to stipulate a time limit – for example, tell them the offer is only on the table for 48 hours.

Ready to jump in?

Of course, there can be potential disadvantages with making a pre-auction offer. You might end up going in with an offer that’s too high or you might end up laying all your cards on the table and having the seller go to auction anyway.

At the end of the day, making a winning pre-auction offer comes down to being well-informed and using strategic negotiation tactics.

We can help you prepare with local market insights and detailed property reports. Get in touch to find out more.

April Newsletter

As the Easter eggs come off the shelves, some aspiring homeowners are shifting their focus from chocolate to securing a property during the busy Autumn buying season.

If you’ve been struggling to break into the property market, it’s worth looking into the  government’s proposed $8.6 million expansion of the Home Guarantee Scheme, which if elected, aims to get people into the housing market sooner.

As announced in the federal budget by the Liberal Government, here’s what’s on offer:

  • Under the First Home Guarantee, from July 1, 2022, eligible first homebuyers can purchase a new or existing home with as little as 5 per cent deposit
  • A new Regional Home Guarantee would give eligible homebuyers, including non-first home buyers and permanent residents, the opportunity to purchase or construct a new home in regional areas with a deposit as low as 5% (subject to the passage of enabling legislation)
  • The Family Home Guarantee will be expanded from July 1, 2022 to help single parents with children to buy their first home, or to re-enter the housing market, with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent.

The schemes can only be used on homes under a certain price guide outlined by each state and territory government. To find out more about whether you could be eligible, speak to us.

The Labor government have confirmed they’ll also have the regional buying policy with only 5% needed if elected but have not yet stated what they’ll do for metro areas.

We’ll continue to provide updates on the latest information that comes from both political parties on the issues that affect your business as we get closer to the Election.

Meanwhile, property prices in Sydney and Melbourne fell last month, despite a modest national uptick in the monthly growth rate. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the property world.

Interest rate news

At its April meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the cash rate on hold at 0.10 per cent, as it continues to monitor how various factors affecting inflation evolve.

Many economists believe there will be an increase later this year, with some expecting it to come as early as June. The Government’s large-scale cost of living packages announced in the federal budget added further fuel to the fire that interest rates could rise.

Interest rates have been on the move recently, with some lenders slashing variable interest rates and some increasing their fixed-rate loans. Check with us to see how your lender compares to others.

Home value movements

National housing values crept up 0.7% in March, a small increase on the 0.6% rise in values recorded in February.

In Sydney and Melbourne, prices fell by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively and their growth rates were slower in the March quarter than other capital cities.

Brisbane (2%) and Adelaide (1.9%) saw the strongest growth in dwelling values in March, while property values increased by 1% in both Canberra and Perth.

CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, said while the monthly rate of growth was up among some cities and regions, there was mounting evidence that housing growth rates were losing momentum.

“Virtually every capital city and major rest of state region has moved through a peak in the trend rate of growth some time last year or earlier this year,” Mr Lawless said.

“The sharpest slowdown has been in Sydney, where housing prices are the most unaffordable, advertised supply is trending higher and sales activity is down over the year.”

“There are a few exceptions to the slowdown, with regional South Australia recording a new cyclical high over the March quarter and some momentum is returning to the Perth market where the rate of growth is once again trending higher since WA re-opened its borders.” Meanwhile, housing values across the combined regional areas rose at more than three times the pace of the combined capital cities through the March quarter.

Why not make your Easter month extra sweet with a property purchase you’ll always remember? Get in touch to organise pre-approval on your finance today.

How redraw facilities and offset accounts can save you money

Redraw facilities and offset accounts work in a similar way – they both effectively allow you to reduce the balance of your home loan, which reduces the amount of interest you pay.

So, how do you know which is right for you, or whether you should choose a home loan with both a redraw facility and offset account built-in? To help you decide, here we explain some of the pros and cons of both.

Redraw facilities

With a redraw facility, you can deposit spare funds into your home loan account, but still draw the money back if needed. You can either make extra repayments above the minimum requirement or throw in a lump sum every now and then.

The pros:

  • Make extra repayments to reduce the total balance of your loan and potentially pay it off sooner.
  • Use it to save money without locking up your funds.

The cons:

  • There may be restrictions on how much money can be withdrawn and when. There may not be same-day withdrawal, for example.
  • Additional fees may be applicable.

Offset accounts

An offset account is a transaction account that’s linked to your home loan, but pretty much functions as a regular everyday account. Usually, you can deposit money into an offset, make withdrawals and buy things using a debit card linked to it as required.

The main perk of an offset account is that deposited funds are offset against your loan balance, saving you in interest.

Here’s an example of how an offset account works. Let’s say you have a $100,000 loan and $10,000 in your 100 per cent offset account. Instead of paying interest on your $100,000 loan, you will only pay interest on $90,000.

In some instances, lenders may offer a partial offset option, meaning only some of the balance of your offset account is taken into consideration.

The pros:

  • Reduces the interest you pay (based on the balance of the account), while still giving you access to your money.
  • Your money is working harder for you in an offset account by cutting down your interest.

The cons

  • There may be additional charges for an offset account. However, the fees may be worth the interest savings and the added flexibility compared to redraw facilities.

Like to know more?

Deciding between a redraw facility and an offset account largely depends on how accessible you need your extra money to be and your personal circumstances.

In some cases, a combination of both may work – that is, the option to keep your spending money in an offset account and tuck funds you’re unlikely to need into a redraw facility. Speak to us to explore your options.

How to compare home loans and features

Which home loan is right for you? How can you tell when there are so many different lenders, loan types and features available?

It can be confusing, particularly if you are a first-time buyer. Fortunately, we’re here to help explain things, so let’s dive in.

Interest rates versus comparison rates

Interest rates are one of the factors that determine the cost of your mortgage and repayments. Even a small difference in interest rates can have a huge impact on how much interest you’ll pay over the course of the loan.

However, rather than just going with the lowest interest rate, it’s important to consider the comparison rate when comparing loans.

The comparison rate is an indication of the true cost of a loan once the interest rate and fees are included. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, making it easier for you to compare the real cost of different loan products.

Loan types

Principal and interest

With a principal and interest loan, you’ll be paying off both the principal (the amount you borrowed) and the interest.

People buying their own home usually opt for this type of loan, as it helps you pay down your mortgage until you eventually own the property.

Interest-only

An interest-only loan allows you to pay the interest you owe on the loan for a fixed period – usually one to five years.

At the end of the fixed period, the loan usually reverts to a principal and interest loan. Some people choose to refinance to another interest-only period at that point.

People buying an investment property often start off with an interest-only loan because the interest is tax deductable. However, interest rates on these types of loans are usually higher. And because you’re not paying down the principal during the fixed period, you will likely end up paying more interest over the term of the loan.

Variable home loan

With a variable home loan, your interest rate will fluctuate. If rates go down, your repayments will decrease, but if they go up, so too may your repayments.

One positive is that often with these types of loans you can make extra repayments, thereby saving on interest and potentially paying off your loan sooner.

Fixed home loan

A fixed rate loan is where you lock in your interest rate for a period (usually one to five years). The key benefit is that you’ll know exactly how much your repayments will be and can budget accordingly.

However, there may be restrictions on maying extra repayments and if you want to end the fixed rate period early (if you sell, for example), you may be up for exit fees.

Split home loan

Want the best of both worlds? With a split loan, you can fix a portion of your loan and keep the rest variable.

This option allows you to budget for the fixed portion and lock in a competitive interest rate, while enjoying any interest rate drops on the variable component and being able to make extra repayments.

Loan features

There are all sorts of loan features that can potentially save you money in interest and shave time off your loan term.

An offset account, for example, allows you to offset any savings in a transaction account against the balance of your home loan. Say you owe $300,000 and there’s $50,000 in your offset, you’ll only pay interest on $250,000.

A redraw facility gives you the flexibility to make extra repayments on your home loan and potentially save on interest, but still gives you access to the funds.

Deciding what’s right for you

The bottom line is there’s no one-size-fits all loan for everyone. The right home loan for you depends on your specific financial circumstances and goals.

Talk to us and we’ll line you up with a competitive home loan that meets your needs.

How to Airbnb your property

Always dreamed of having a successful side hustle? Have you considered joining the thousands of Aussies who are listing their properties on Airbnb and pulling in extra coin?

With Australia reopening its borders to international tourism and more and more Aussies beginning to explore the country again, now could be a good time to consider getting into the short-term holiday rental market.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of hosting on Airbnb:

  • Earn extra money
  • Be your own boss
  • Get creative with your property or space
  • Meet interesting people from around the globe.

So, how do you get started? Here are some tips.

1. Do your research

A good place to start is to do some research to see what’s available in your area and what kinds of properties are in demand. Is your property going to be desirable?

You should also check whether you can legally host on Airbnb. Some municipalities may have laws restricting short-term holiday rentals. In some cases, you may need to register, apply for a permit or obtain a licence before you list.

There could also be body corporate bylaws to consider and safety regulations to comply with

2. Work through the finer details

Operating an Airbnb takes time, so it’s important to consider how much time you’re willing to invest. Are you going to clean the property, organise check-ins and check-outs, and respond to customer service queries or have someone else handle things for you?

Next, crunch the numbers. Your property’s location, size and amenities will impact how much you can earn, as will seasonal considerations. Do some research into what similar properties are listing for.

Consider the costs you may incur. Examples include:

  • Booking platform fees
  • Cleaning
  • Rates
  • Electricity
  • Furniture
  • Gas
  • Internet
  • Maintenance
  • Streaming services
  • Water
  • Insurance
  • Management fees

Lastly, don’t forget to check the tax implications with the ATO or your accountant.

3. Make your property shine

Now comes the fun part – decorating your room or property.

If it’s your home, remove as much personal clutter as you can. Guests will be looking for a clean, fresh space that feels like an escape. You may need to place your personal belongings in storage or at a friend’s place.

A popular design approach is to match the interior décor to the property’s surroundings. If it’s a beachside property, for example, you could go with a beachy theme. If it’s close to a forest, you may choose wooden, natural furnishings.

Another tip: creating an experience that’s different or unique will help boost your property’s appeal. Think themed styling or out-of-the-box types of properties (if you’re buying).

4. Go for quality marketing

First impressions count, so you’ll want the photos on the listing to really ‘pop’.

Ensure everything looks clean, tidy and organised. If your space has natural light, make the most of it and highlight any unique aspects of the space that could resonate with guests.

If you’re serious about turning your Airbnb into a successful side hustle, you may like to consider investing in professional photography. High-quality photos can make a world of difference to how people first perceive your property and ultimately how in-demand it will be.

When it comes to the description, be specific. Sell any unique characteristics that make your property special.

5. Pay attention to the overall experience

Your property will be your guests’ home away from home, so it’s important to make them feel welcome.

It all starts with getting the check-in experience right. Make sure the directions are clear, and the process is effortless.

Next, don’t skimp on the amenities and personal touches. Quality towels, fresh soap, tea and coffee and a city guide can all help get you closer to a five-star review.

If you do get a bad review, reply promptly and courteously.

6. Protect your property

Airbnb provides host liability insurance, which covers you up to a certain amount if a guest gets hurt or their belongings damaged/stolen while at your place.

Ready to get started?

If you’re ready to buy a property and turn it into an Airbnb, we’re here to help.

We can provide free property and area reports to help inform your purchase decision and line you up with the right finance to reach your goals. Get in touch today!