It’s the hope that kills you. Just ask Carlton fans, NSW Blues supporters, Wallabies sufferers, and hopeful homebuyers who have fallen victim to underquoting. Obviously, you can’t change your footy team, but you can follow these tips to avoid the sketchy real estate practice.

If it hasn’t happened to you, it’s probably happened to someone you know.

You find a dream home that appears within your budget, you get your finance pre-approved, you get your hopes up, and … you get blown out of the water come auction day because the agent has underquoted the property.

But hang in there – all is not lost, as we’ll touch upon below.

What is underquoting?

Underquoting is the misleading practice of advertising a property with a price guide that suggests to hopeful buyers that it could sell below market value, or for less than what the agent knows the vendor will accept.

Accusations of underquoting have been rife in recent times, as national property prices have soared 24% over the past year alone.

Now, there’s no doubt that some agents out there have been intentionally underquoting properties to drum up interest. But not always.

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) president Cate Bakos says on many occasions selling agents get blamed unfairly for their reluctance to predict a strong competitive result, and in many circumstances, vendors exercise their right to change their price expectations without prior consultation with their agent.

“Underquoting is amplified by a rising market,” adds Ms Bakos.

Which means as property prices peak in Sydney and Melbourne, and the rest of the country starts to follow a similar trend, less underquoting should occur.

Why do agents underquote a property?

The main reason vendors and agencies underquote, explains Ms Bakos, is based on the belief that an underquoted property will attract more prospective buyers.

It’s hoped that these buyers will fall in love with the property so much that they’ll find a way to compete against more cashed-up buyers, helping to push the property’s final price up in the process.

“The reality is that many buyers find themselves shortlisting properties that are beyond their financial constraints, and this can lead to disappointment, wasted expenditure for building reports and due diligence, and lost opportunity,” says Ms Bakos.

Isn’t underquoting illegal?

Ms Bakos said while price guide legislation varied between states and territories, the problem was relatively endemic in many cities across the nation.

She said while underquoting was illegal, there were still many legal loopholes that existed in current legislation, particularly in Victoria.

“In Victoria for instance, vendors are not required to state their reserve price for an auction until moments before the auction,” says Ms Baokes.

“And some offending agencies take advantage of this by pitching the property at a price lower than that of a reasonable price expectation or a realistically anticipated reserve.”

How to avoid becoming a victim of underquoting

Rather than rely on the price guide the real estate agent gives you, do your own homework.

You can do this by looking at comparable sales within the last month or two (on websites such as Domain and realestate.com.au), and compare like-for-like properties and locations.

“It’s an approximation, but it’s more helpful than living in the past and working off older, unreliable sales,” adds Ms Bakos.

Here are the REBAA’s other top tips to avoid becoming a victim of underquoting:

1. Compare comparable properties by location, land size and condition.

2. Spend the months leading up to active bidding time (while obtaining finance pre-approval) to inspect, inspect and inspect as many properties and neighbourhoods as you can.

3. Look at other similar properties in the area and see what the agent’s initially-published estimate price range was; what the reserve price was; and what it finally sold for.

4. Consider consulting and engaging a REBAA-accredited buyer’s agent to take care of the process so you can “buy with confidence.”

And last but not least, don’t forget to get in touch with us in advance to get your finance pre-approved.

That way, come crunch time, you can spend less time on your finance application, and more time doing your homework to make sure the properties you’ve got your heart set on haven’t been underquoted.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Car enthusiasts around the nation got a bit of a shock this week when the Tesla Model 3 rocketed up the sales leaderboard to place third for all new vehicles sold in March. How did that happen?

You might have seen an article by us a few weeks back about the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) almost tripling in the past year – from 6,900 in 2020 to 20,665 in 2021.

Great growth for sure, but when you consider that 101,233 vehicles were sold across the country in March alone, you wouldn’t expect any one EV model to threaten the big players such as Toyota, Mazda or Mitsubishi anytime soon.

Well, we got quite a shock when we looked at the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) March sales figures leaderboard and saw that the Tesla Model 3 had rocketed up to third place.

Apparently more had sold than the Mazda CX-5 (fifth place), the Mitsubishi Triton (fourth), and were outsold only by the Toyota HiLux (first) and Toyota RAV4 (second).

But all is not what it appears

Turns out that Tesla’s third placing is accompanied by an asterisk.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber explains that this is the first month that EV brands Tesla and Polestar have been included in monthly sales figure reports.

And as such, “when interpreting the data for March 2022, care should be taken as the Tesla data represents the company sales for the first three months of 2022”.

Still, that’s a fairly promising sign for EV enthusiasts out there – just three months of sales put them in a podium position with 4417 vehicles sold.

It wasn’t the only bit of promising news for EV fans this week, either.

Hyundai’s release of 109 electric SUVs – the Ioniq 5 – sold out in less than 7 minutes. In fact, 18,000 Australians registered their interest.

Meanwhile, Honda and General Motors have announced that they’ll be teaming up to build EVs that will sell for less than US$30,000 – potentially removing the all-important cost barrier.

Interested in buying an EV?

Did you know some lenders are offering lower rates on electric vehicles?

Macquarie, for example, recently sent out an email promoting comparison rates on electric cars to homeowners from 2.99% per annum (based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of five years).

That’s down from anywhere between 6.48% and 7.15% for a new internal combustion engine vehicle (depending on the loan-to-value ratio).

And as EVs become more popular in Australia, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see more and more lenders get their elbows out to offer competitive rates in this space.

So if you’re considering making the jump to an EV, get in touch and we can help you crunch the numbers on whether an electric vehicle loan is the right fit for you.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Hold onto your hats, things are about to get a little bumpy. Economists from Australia’s biggest bank are predicting the Reserve Bank will raise the official cash rate as early as June – and we’re already seeing fixed interest rates increase significantly.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) economists have brought forward their forecasted Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate hike from August to June, making it the earliest prediction amongst the big four banks.

We’ll go into more detail on why CBA has brought forward their prediction below, but first something a little more concrete: we’ve definitely noticed fixed rates trending up in recent months.

Fixed rate hikes

For example, back in November, for a $700,000 loan at 80% loan-to-value ratio, a two-year fixed rate with one particular lender was 1.84%.

That rate has since gone up to 3.04% – a staggering increase.

While not every lender has increased fixed rates so significantly, we are seeing them go up across the board.

So if you have been umming and ahhing about fixing your rate lately, you’ll want to get in touch with us sooner rather than later.

Because while most lenders have recently reduced their variable rates to compensate a little, with news now that the cash rate is being tipped to increase mid-year, you can expect variable rates to increase with the cash rate.

So why has CBA brought forward their forecast to June?

Ok, so back to CBA’s June cash-rate hike prediction and why they’ve brought it forward from August.

In a nutshell, CBA senior economist Gareth Aird is anticipating inflation to be a lot stronger than the RBA is forecasting.

As a result, Mr Aird believes this will lead to a rise in the cash rate to 0.25% at the June board meeting (currently it’s at a record-low 0.1%).

“We are very comfortable with our expectation that the quarter-one 2022 underlying inflation data will be a lot stronger than the RBA’s forecast,” explains Mr Aird.

And here’s the thing: it’s not the only cash rate hike CBA is predicting the RBA will make over the next 12 months.

Mr Aird is expecting a further three rate increases over 2022 to take the cash rate to 1%, with another move to 1.25% in early 2023.

That’s five cash rate hikes over 12 months!

Get in touch today to explore your options

Believe it or not, there are more than 1 million mortgage holders out there who have never experienced a rate rise (the last RBA cash rate hike was in November 2010).

And if the CBA’s prediction of five rate hikes over the next 12 months proves right, then some households will be in for a bumpy ride as they face hundreds of dollars in extra mortgage repayments each month.

So if you’re keen to act before the RBA increases the official cash rate, get in touch with us today. We’d love to sit down with you and help you work through your options in advance.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Construction costs just rose at the fastest annual pace since 2005. So why is it getting so expensive to build your own home? Today we’ll look at the materials that are becoming more expensive and why all homeowners should take note – not just renovators and builders.

“Your grandpa built this place with his own two hands”, or so your dad used to boast.

So if Pop could do it with his trusty hammer, some nails, and a bit of hard yakka, why is it so expensive to build a home of your own these days? (Your own handiwork inadequacies aside…)

Well, for starters, national construction costs increased 7.3% in the 2021 calendar year alone, which was the highest annual growth rate since March 2005.

And the not-so-great news is that property market data company CoreLogic is expecting growth in residential construction costs to remain above average over the coming quarter as supply chain disruptions persist.

“There is a significant amount of residential construction work in the pipeline that has been approved but not yet completed,” explains CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless.

So what materials are getting more expensive and harder to source?

Data shows that cost increases are being driven primarily by timber (mostly structural timber).

In fact, in the final quarter of 2021, the value of select wood imports reached their highest level on record, says Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Thomas Devitt.

“Timber is predominantly produced domestically but excess demand, such as in a boom year like 2022, is largely sourced from overseas markets,” says Mr Devitt.

Other segments of the market also remain volatile, with increasing pressure currently on metal costs.

“With some materials such as timber and metal products reportedly remaining in short supply, there is the possibility some residential projects will be delayed or run over budget,” adds Mr Lawless.

And with building approvals for detached housing recording their strongest year on record in 2021 (with 150,000 approvals), demand isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

“This boom is set to keep builders busy this year and into 2023,” adds Mr Devitt.

Mr Lawless says: “With such a large rise in construction costs over the year, we could see this translating into more expensive new homes and bigger renovation costs, ultimately placing additional upwards pressure on inflation.”

Why current homeowners should also take note

Higher construction costs are likely to add to affordability challenges in the established housing market, making it harder for homeowners to upgrade.

And CoreLogic Head of Insurance Solutions Matthew Walker warns that higher building costs mean homeowners and property investors should also review their insurance cover.

“In these times of rapidly rising home and construction costs, under insurance can quickly become a real threat to what is a most valuable asset,” says Mr Walker.

“It’s important that homeowners keep track of their sum insured and annually check that it is sufficient should the worst occur by using their insurer’s rebuild calculator or giving them a call.”

How to get the right kind of finance for a construction project

Finding the right kind of finance for a construction project can be tricky at the best of times – let alone when building supplies are becoming more expensive and wait times are blowing out due to supply constraints.

That’s why it’s important to team up with a professional like us when looking for a construction loan.

Not only can we help you secure a great rate, but we can also help you select a loan that allows flexibility for any unforeseen contingencies.

So if you’d like to explore your options for your next building or reno project, then get in touch today – we’d love to help you map out a plan for your 2022 building and property goals.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Open banking is here and it’s charging full steam ahead. So just how are lenders and fintechs using your shared data in this brave, new, data-fuelled world? A new report has shed some interesting insights.

With all that’s gone on over the past two years, one of the nation’s biggest banking overhauls in recent memory has slipped under the radar.

It’s called ‘open banking’, and it aims to allow you to easily and securely share your banking data with your bank’s competitors to make it more convenient for you to switch banks when you think you’ve found a better deal on a financial product.

For example, instead of spending hours and hours gathering documentation (such as bank statements, expenses, earnings and identification documents) to refinance your home loan, you could simply request that your current bank sends the info across for you.

But, like most things, it comes with a trade-off: you’ve got to share your banking data with the prospective lender, fintech or allied professional to make it happen.

So just how do they use your data?

Australian open banking provider Frollo has just published the second edition of its yearly industry report, The State of Open Banking 2021, which surveyed 131 professionals representing banks and lenders, fintechs, technology providers, and brokers across the country.

The report shows open banking data availability has accelerated dramatically.

In the first 10 months of 2021, 70 banks started sharing consumer data and 14 businesses became accredited data recipients – including three of the four big banks.

This is an increase from just five data holders and five data recipients in 2020.

And more financial institutions are getting ready to jump on board.

The industry survey shows 62% of respondents plan to use open banking data within the next 12 months, and 38% within the next 6 months.

So what are they using the open banking data for?

Well, the most popular uses can be grouped into three categories:

– Lending: income and expense verification is highly valued by 59% of survey respondents.

– Money management: multi-bank aggregation and personal finance management were highly valued by 50% of respondents.

– Verification: customer onboarding (49%), identity verification (38%), account verification (34%) and balance checks (30%) were all highly valued.

For open broking, get in touch

Now, it’s important to note that open banking isn’t the only way you can make life easier on yourself when it comes to switching up financial products.

That’s what we’re here for!

We’re an open book – always happy to check whether you can apply for a better deal on your home loan somewhere else.

And as you know, we pride ourselves on taking on the vast majority of the legwork, whether we’re harnessing the power of open banking or not.

So if you’d like to explore your options, get in touch today – we’d love to help you out!

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.