Author Archive

is it time to refix or refinance your mortgage?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Has time lapsed since you last decided to fix the interest rate on your home loan, or is your mortgage up for renewal? Are you wondering about switching banks to get a better deal?

There’s no need to stress… With the right advice, we can make refixing or refinancing your mortgage a safe and easy process.

There’s a lot of change going on in the market, home buyers and owners looking to refinance have some tough questions to consider: Do I fix? Do I float? Do I wait a bit more? Do I risk it and just take a punt?

Knowing whether to fix or float is not a perfect science. Currently, there’s no better time to shop the banks and get an awesome home. But buyer beware—there’s heaps at stake and a lot to consider before making your decision.

If your fixed-rate period is ending soon you may be faced with the dilemma of what to do next with your mortgage.

As with all big-ticket decisions, it’s nice to have a choice. You can opt for the DIY approach and wear all the risk, or engage a professional and sit back with peace of mind knowing you’ve got someone doing all the running around and negotiating the best possible deal.

Doing it yourself can be fun, especially if you enjoy haggling with the banks. But it can also be extremely time-consuming and challenging to get the best results.

If you could engage an experienced professional to the job, with no hooks, no snags, no catches—for free, then why wouldn’t you? It’s an absolute no-brainer.

You could use a tick box approach, log into your current lender’s banking portal and just choose a rate. Or you could work with professionals like us to help tailor your mortgage to your preference for cost certainty while making sure you’re not paying any more than you have to. It’s what Awesome Mortgages are all about, it’s our passion, and purpose, and why we love to help.

Deciding what next to do with your mortgage isn’t just about the rate. It’s a great time to assess whether you have the right set-up and optimal mortgage structure.

You may also want to consider paying off a lump sum before locking in the interest rate. Once your interest rate is fixed there’s less wriggle room or scope to make changes without incurring a penalty.

Plus banks are continually enhancing products. There may be benefits you may not be aware of that could significantly improve your financial situation.

As mortgage experts, it’s our job to be informed. Rest assured we are always up to play with the latest developments.

If you fix your interest rate with us, switch banks, or ask us to negotiate with your current home-loan lender, once you’re an awesome client you’ll benefit from our ongoing expertise. We have a special knack and proven nouse for predicting interest rate movements with our trusty crystal ball.

fix now, never, or continue to wait… decisions, decisions!

Some people fix too soon. It’s common for banks to send out letters or emails reminding clients that their interest rates are up for renewal 60 days prior to the interest rate expiry. Over the course of two months, a lot can happen.

Rates might drop within this time. Or an interest rate hike may be looming on the horizon. Both scenarios make it even more prudent to get the right advice. We’ll help you weigh up the ‘hassle-to-worth ratio.’ When you analyse the benefit of things like time investment against actual savings, in some cases the savings can be considerable, in others, it simply may not be worth it. An impartial Awesome Mortgages advisor will help you figure it out.

Plus, we’ll proactively scan the market and be in touch next time you have to make an important decision.

Switching banks or negotiating directly isn’t for everyone. Sometimes your best deal is to stay with your existing bank. We’ll help you decide.

are home renovations on the horizon?

If it’s time to refix your interest rate or refinance your mortgage it may be a good time to free up some equity.

Kiwi’s don’t just love their homes, we also love the opportunity to improve, extend, redecorate or redesign our castles. In fact, the freedom to do up your home or investment property in the way you choose is one of the awesome benefits of property ownership.

Do you fear missing out on the best rate possible, or making the wrong decision?

Let us help you get the home loan you need, so you can kick back and live the life you want.

Did you enjoy this article? You might like:

to fix or float? 5 questions to ask before you decide

stress less during the home renovation process

refixing your mortgage – switching banks might get you the best deal

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Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Interest rates, Mortgages, NZ Economy

how to create an inspiring home and life

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

It’s been a year of lockups, lockdowns, and lockouts. With travel off the cards, many of us are turning to our homes for sustenance and inspiration. Inspiring home life is what NZ House & Garden magazine is about. Kiwis are their voice: our houses, gardens and lives are their inspiration. So, you can imagine how super excited we were to have our home in The Bay of Islands featured in the February edition of NZ House & Garden.

Just as we were coming out of lockdown last year our home was photographed by the fabulous Jane Ussher. Jane is one of New Zealand’s foremost portrait photographers. In 2009 Jane was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to photography and was inducted into the Massey University Hall of Fame. 2021 saw the publication of four more books one of which, Nature-Stilled, is a finalist in the Ockham NZ Book Awards.

So having Jane photograph our home, garden and life was quite a big deal. You can view the article online—we know you’ll love her photos (including many of Cassandra’s paintings) and, if you are considering a move or planning to remodel your home, we hope you find our story an inspiring read.

It takes audacity, passion and courage to transform a vision into pulsing reality. Leaving behind the known and jumping out of the comfort zone to live somewhere new and make it on your own can be a difficult, daunting and stressful process. With our move to the Bay of Islands in 2015, Cassandra and I made a great stride for freedom and followed our soul’s yearning.

We love Wellington but we were ready for a warmer climate. We drew up a manifestation list, wrote down all the things we wanted in a new move, and pasted it on the fridge. Along with excellent weather and peace and quiet, we wanted to be surrounded by beauty and nature…and no more than 10 minutes away from a good coffee!

Read the full article in the February 2021 edition of New Zealand House and Garden here >>.

would you like to leverage your lifestyle?

Increasingly clients are looking for advice as to how to achieve their next step regarding where they want to be over the next five years. For a lot of people that means moving town, or city. It may be a change from an urban setting to a lifestyle block, or from a large family home to a smaller apartment.

People’s needs are constantly changing and therefore their property ownership preferences need to change with that. With leverage, there’s often risk because you may need to take out bridging finance, for example, between selling and buying.

In our case, what this meant was going unconditional on a new purchase before selling our Wellington-based properties. Doing our homework and background research was vital because to ensure success any risk has to be measured. The only way you can measure and quantify the risk within reason is to quantify the probabilities of both success and failure and doing the research so you don’t fall prey to assumptions.

We embarked on a market assessment of the area, and also investigated whether the property could be leveraged further before we purchased. So, we looked at future potential. For example, we looked at the possibilities of putting other dwellings on our 10-acre lifestyle block and spoke to the Far North District Council about possible re-zoning considerations. Six years on the rezoning is now becoming a reality. Thinking about the future growth potential was an important consideration in alleviating any initial concerns we had about the considerable investment.

Fortunately for us, the market had plummeted three-years earlier in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. At the time we purchased property prices in the Bay of Islands had yet to rebound. in 2021, the market is flourishing. We purchased the property at a rock-bottom price—further evidenced by the owner’s insistence we never disclose the purchase price. Fair to say, they took a bath of over $2million. Great news for us.

One definition of leverage means making a small initial investment—either from savings, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return. At the time the purchase was beyond anything we had conceived or felt comfortable with.

At the time of having our offer accepted we both went, “Oh, f**k!”  However, doing our research and taking a calculated risk has since yielded considerable returns. So, don’t be too afraid to stretch…a little, or a lot. Act with audacity—but do so safely. We felt the fear and moved anyway. Looking back, it was a super smart move that will reap major dividends.

here are a few step-by-step things we did that may help you build your courage muscles

have a vision

Get clear about what you want and where you want to be — sure that everyone agrees. Use that vision to develop your success strategies. Often with a property change comes a career change or how you generate your income. You have to look at the components that impact success factors.

A great vision strategy we adopted was creating a manifestation fridge. We kept our dreams alive by tacking pictures of the property and other affirming inspirations. One of the many phrases we pasted was, ‘Thriving Up North.’ And that vision has come true. The financial years since swapping my pinstriped suit for shorts have been the biggest, most financially successful in my career as a mortgage expert.

The manifestation fridge kept us focused and hopeful—even when the negotiations to purchase looked like crashing.

align yourself with successful people

Smart people leverage off their relationships with those who are more successful than they are, or who have achieved the lifestyle and career goals they aspire to. It’s an awesome strategy. Aligning with savvy people means you benefit from their experience and wisdom —and their learning lessons.

Many of our clients who have made similar lifestyle moves have told us that our great escape inspired them to make a move. Like one couple who moved to Nelson with their young family. She balances commuting to Wellington with working from home, while he has made a career change—leaving a toxic role he hated for one that he loves and allows him to care for his children.

leave nothing to chance

Leverage off the expertise of a team of trusted advisers. It’s not a time for the Kiwi do-it-yourself mentality. Making a move is often too big a task, or too overwhelming. Your leverage team may include your mortgage adviser, your insurance adviser, your lawyer, and depending on whether you are self-employed or not, you may need a great taxation adviser. Having an excellent team of people that you can tap into is instrumental in minimising risk and getting where you want quickly and safely.

You’ll find a handy list of our star performers on our website here>> https://www.awesomemortgages.co.nz/mortgage-experts/

It comes back to, as I’ve always advocated if you’re disciplined, focused, and clever you can achieve great results. But if you are working with a professional who has been there and done that, and can cheer you on, you can achieve absolutely outstanding results.

As a mortgage adviser, my role does tend to broaden at times where I am very much acting as a sounding board, a source of inspiration, as well as a source of advice and practical solutions—including risk minimisation and dream actualisation.

If you are going to be vulnerable for a temporary period between shifting properties or buying and selling, and you’ve got a greater debt level, then having risk protection is really important.  It comes back again to probabilities and to taking measured moves rather than punts and gambles and leaping without first planning.

new story. bold legend

Our first step was to really make sure we had a sustainable way of earning a living before changing locations. So, we built a bridge by looking at how we could use our skillsets and still generate income outside of a major centre. This was all pre-Covid! Who knew, soon working from your home-base would be the new norm.

Pre-Covid, we had set about educating clients and gaining acceptance. Nobody did business via Zoom! We quickly learned that our savvy clients didn’t want to waste valuable time in traffic going to an office or have their privacy invaded by our going to their homes. Technological advancements meant working remotely was win-win.

Even though we were generating significant income living and working in a major commercial hub like Wellington we felt, “well why can’t we raise the bar even more—but pay less in terms of the cost of housing and other living expenses?” And we’ve more than managed to achieve that vision. The change in earnings has been phenomenal—a real voyage to the stars!

By moving to the Far North the quality of property we have up here is far superior to what we left behind in Wellington. It would be incredibly challenging to aspire to own the property we have— we certainly wouldn’t have the views, the privacy, and the lifestyle.

We wanted to up our income, have a better lifestyle, have fewer expenses going out and a better standard of living accommodation. For us, that was the first step.

The second step was, in the early stages, clarifying what sort of property we wanted to have. We drew up a list which included: we wanted more passive income in the future. We wanted something that was subdividable, we wanted to be in an area where there is potential for higher growth in terms of property values. And we wanted to be no more than 15-minutes from a good coffee! We are Wellingtonians, after all!

We really struck gold! Not only does the far north have great coffee, but some really awesome eating spots—places like our happy place, Charlotte’s Kitchen in Pahia. Plus, five minutes down the road from us is an award-winning boutique winery and brewery, Kainui Road. It’s another of our happy places, especially when they have jazz and other edgy performers—like Opal Ocean, UB40 and Fat Freddy’s Drop, who played recently. In 2020, the owner of Kainui Road opened The Plough & Feather—an English Gastro Pub with a Northland twist. Their mission, they share on their website is to “celebrate the culture, history, and stories of the people and land around us through food and drink.” Cheers to that!

The next step, once we got settled, was that we wanted to modify and substantially upgrade the property. The house was built in the solid-nineties and the bones were excellent, but we wanted to modernise and future-proof it. To get to that next level we embarked on a major renovation project.

We built bridges with contacts and expertise, engaged several architects, sourced the best builders and other experts in their field to make our vision and desire for excellence a reality. Once again, we used funding and leverage cleverly because we still need to have access to money. We are no different from our clients—just because you work in a car yard doesn’t mean you drive a Rolls-Royce.  Just because you work with finance all the time, doesn’t mean you have endless chests full of dosh.

Doing the landscaping meant bringing in some big boy machines! Here’s a shot of one of the 30-year old Nikaus from Pitt Island arriving several years ago. We’ve now got a total of nine of these giants gracing our home—the native wildlife love them.

Renowned landscaper Jonathan Fulton looked pretty chuffed with the results—as he should be. Having pro’s with the right energy and vibe is so important to success.

We were careful to preserve the bones of the original building—with this rimu ceiling who wouldn’t. Lifting the depressing blue carpet and polishing the original concrete floor was all this beautiful lounge needed.

…Oh, and a point and click instant fire!

But the dreadful kitchen had to go! Go! Go!

The architect’s addition of a butler’s kitchen is stunning!

Pushing back the wall a tad in the ensuite bathroom was smart too—and getting rid of the black and gold Hugh Hefner dated tiles.

But one of our true joys is the pleasure we and our guests derive from this stunning bathroom

At night we can throw back the door and hear the Kiwi’s call. While soaking in the bath, looking up at the Milky Way and stars in the overhead opening sky roof, then out to the sea, sometimes they see these elusive birds. And sometimes they find a magical feather—as Cassandra did when she took this photo.

so, where to from here?

We are at the stage where we’re generating a significant income from our work and have a location independent way of earning money. Initially, the first priority was earning dollars within New Zealand, but away from a main centre. 98 percent of our business still comes from Wellington, but we do it all remotely from The Bay of Islands.

We don’t do any mortgage business locally. Why? We made a conscious choice that we didn’t want to live and work in the same city as our home. We wanted to keep our Awesome income and our lifestyle separate—especially as we live in a small town.

One of our favourite sayings comes from the lyrics of an Eagles song. “I dream I’m on vacation, it’s the perfect career for me.”

By not succumbing to having an office locally, or going off to client visits, we get to work and play at home—enjoying the views and most days dressing like we’re on holiday.

Our goal was always to maximise our asset, by generating income from the house. We still want to maintain our location-independent businesses, but this time while living offshore for part of the year.  This still requires money management. Leverage of assets. Leveraging off debt. And leveraging off opportunities—all the while scanning the horizon for risk and further opportunities.

Travel inspires us and fills up our tanks, given the at times stressful nature of finance and handling people’s finances, working in other inspiring locations, gives us the energy and wellbeing boost that enables us to get the awesome results for our clients they recognize us for.

Covid has stalled our travel plans for now—yours too, no doubt. However, we are reminded of a past article in MindFood Magazine, which encouraged its readers to make the most of their hobbies. For Laurie, that’s butterfly research. In 2020 Laurie received the great honour of having a butterfly named after him and appearing in a prestigious Japanese research paper written to share the scientific importance of his new discovery.

For Cassandra, happy hobbies include writing romances under her pseudonym, Mollie Mathews. Plus, this year, in the midst of Covid she opened her own art gallery, Art@Rangitane. And look who called in—the mega-talented, fabulously fun celebrity chef Jo Seagar. Jo is now also the “I’m tickled pink” owner of Cassandra’s abstract painting, Love Story.

As we share in the February edition of NZ House & Garden the vision was to showcase Cassandra’s joy-inspiring works of art and that of other mega-talented local artists. This year, her first group Easter/Anzac Day exhibition, Return to Love, featured abstract paintings by Cassandra Gaisford, botanical photography by Jane Ussher and sculpture by Grant Gallager. At Art@Rangitane, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands.

At the same time, we’re devoted to our clients. We love our clients! We love inspiring them and helping them realise their dreams. It’s a win-win. So many people have told us they read the February edition of NZ House & Garden and are creating a manifestation fridge!

manage cashflow

Careful money management is the queen of leveraging successfully. You absolutely have to maintain access to cash—either through savings or borrowing.  This may be through ensuring you have the right type of mortgage, for example, flexi-facilities in place; leveraging off the equity of your asset; or ensuring you have the maximum leverage in place before you toss in your high-stress-salaried job or change careers.

Once you change income streams it’s much harder to then work backwards and go into the bank and say, ‘’we want more debt.” Bank’s don’t loan off visions, potentials, and dreams. They like to see regular income going into your funding account. If you’re self-employed, this often means a three-year proven track record of profit.

Recently we’ve heard of several people who came unstuck. One woman in her 60s, leveraged off her house in Wellington and purchased a new freehold home in Whanganui. She had no mortgage, but with her move came a new career as a self-employed business owner.

A vital mistake she made was not leveraging off her, then, regular salaried income to secure rainy-day funds via credit card approvals or having a flexi-facility in place. She’s now struggling to make ends meet—tarnishing the otherwise savvy move she made by paying off her mortgage.

We’ve seen that numerous times when people have gone about it in the wrong sequence. Similarly, we know of a very savvy older couple who recently embarked on a major sub-division project. They were earning a very good income and had fantastic equity in their Auckland property. They left that income, made a lifestyle move to a new city, went contracting for a short period of time, then decided they wanted to embark on a new project. They wrongly assumed their lender would transfer their credit flexi-facilities.

Nope. It was a big mistake.

A costly mistake.

No bank, including their existing bank with whom they had enjoyed an over forty-year hassle-free relationship, would lend them any money. The old income history was wiped because their new endeavour was seen as a new venture.

They could have averted that and forward planned to be in a position of control.

Again, that’s why having a trusted mortgage adviser, yields gold.

the leverage lifestyle mindset

Creating your ideal leveraged lifestyle – whatever that might look like for you—takes grit, patience, optimism, resilience and, perhaps surprisingly, pessimism. You need to look at what can go wrong, as much, if not more than what can go right.

However, by leveraging expert advice, time, money, and knowledge you can unlock your ultimate lifestyle, not just in business and work, but in your personal life too.

For us, this means the joy of working and living anywhere in the world. But with a view from the office like ours and due to the marvels of modern technology we seldom want to leave. Thriving up north, definitely! So if you too dream of a move, we hope our story of courage, perseverance, luck, determined effort, and gratitude inspires you too to dream the impossible and make it happen.

Live life with audacity. Heaven favours the bold.

We’ll leave you now with a few sage words that sum up our new life philosophy.

“All I want is a minimum of commotion and an unimpeded view of the ocean.”
~ A.R.D. Fairburn


Posted in Blog, Mortgages, Stories of reinvention

regulatory changes and bye-bye cowboys

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

On 15 March 2021 amendments to the government’s Financial Market Conduct Act 2013 (FMC) came into effect. Many mortgage experts, banks, insurers, building societies, credit unions and other providers of financial and risk insurance advice have all experienced big changes.


what is the change?

Throughout the advice process, all assessments and recommendations need to comply with the duties specified in the FMC Act and the Code. When giving financial advice to retail clients, we all must:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure our clients understand the nature and scope of the advice being provided, including any limitations. For example, we must explain if we’re only able to give advice about certain products.
  • Where there’s a conflict of interest we must give priority to our client’s interests.
  • At all times exercise care, diligence and skill.
  • Comply with the new Code of Professional Conduct for financial advice services including competence, knowledge and skill requirements as well as requirements for ethical behaviour, conduct and client care which includes: giving advice that is suitable; taking reasonable steps to ensure our client understands the advice; treating clients fairly; acting with integrity; protecting client’s information.

To us, this has always been the gold standard. FMC changes now legislate what we have always done and requires other providers to lift their client care and level of professionalism.

We are pleased to see many other providers will be called to hold the same standards.

 

what does it mean for us?

More study and more paperwork! With over 40 years in the banking industry and the kudos of being New Zealand’s youngest bank manager Laurie Wills is arguably one of the industry’s most experienced mortgage experts. He also holds an MBA with distinction—and a black belt in Shushikai Karate!

The new changes, while recognising people come with differing experience, require all professionals to meets new competence, knowledge and skill requirements. This means study. Lots of it. And completing assignments of things we already know well. Again to bring fairness and standardisation to the industry, all financial advisers, regardless of skill, qualifications or experience have to go through the same study and assessment process.

 

System changes

Enhanced tools, including a Hello Book, new Disclosure guide, new Declaration Form, new Privacy Statement, online Fact Find, and at this stage what is being called a Game Plan or, as we have always provided to our clients, a Statement of Advice.

Clients who have been working with us for over a decade will know we were early adopters of these process and particular of new technology designed to keep our clients informed and their details safe.

We continue to pride ourselves on the quality of our personalised summary of advice for our clients. Providing an awesome client experience is what our brand was founded on. While we didn’t need to wait for legislation to compel us to ensure our client knows who they are dealing with, the extent of what we can offer, anything that may influence the advice we give, and anything our clients may have to pay, it is heartening to see a new professional code adopted by the industry.

For too long, the industry has had few barriers to entry, limited study and skill requirements, and too few teeth to take disciplinary action. Bravo. Finally, clients and advisers together will benefit from increased professionalism. Increasing numbers of mortgage advisors who have enjoyed more lenient times are leaving the industry. We are noticing higher volumes and expect to get busier.

what does it mean for you?

Lots of industry changes regarding huge legislative and regulatory shifts and the adoption of new technology may mean a few teething issues. Luckily we have an enhancement team onboard to ensure ongoing improvements.

A requirement to document every conversation we have with clients as part of our advice process may mean an end to ‘talking turkey’ as some clients like to do when exploring options. We are of course still here to give free, impartial advice—we just don’t want to turn into court stenographers! 

Again, all the changes came into effect on 15 March 2021 so things are still be worked through. Buying a house doesn’t need to be risky. With the right professional advice, you won’t just get an average mortgage—you’ll get an awesome mortgage.

Plus, thanks to regulatory changes, you’ll benefit from ongoing peace of mind knowing the mortgage industry is tightening its requirements to always act with your best interests in mind. We are proud to continue to be your trusted adviser.


Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Managing risk

have your finances been affected by COVID-19?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

The world may be scrambling for toilet paper but for many, the essentials in short-supply are maintaining cash flow and sustaining lifestyle.

Anxiety, fear, and stress levels have left no one untouched. Careers, businesses, and certainty have been destroyed overnight. But together we will get through this. Nobody will lose their homes if we all heed caution and take advantage of financial assistance and smart money-saving strategies.

Managing stress is critical to maintaining a healthy immune system. However, we know this is easily said and hard to practice when you feel submerged in financial dread or are juggling childcare while working from home and trying to get ahead.

have you experienced an income drop?

With the Government’s and banks support many people can access the option to take a mortgage holiday.  

These don’t come without a cost. While you may get a break from repayments, the interest still rolls, but at least it will alleviate financial pressures and provide some certainty in the months that follow. 

There are three key ways to help manage your mortgage. At the end of this blog, you will find a link that will take you to a downloadable information sheet. This is designed to help you make an informed choice.

Jumping ahead a little bit, we are not great fans of mortgage holidays.

here are a few things to bear in mind before you lock in a mortgage holiday

There is no such thing as a holiday. It’s actually a deferment where the money will either be added to your outstanding balance or your mortgage term will be extended. 

A better option could be for you to apply for a period of interest only payments on your mortgage. The benefit of this is the balance of your mortgage will still be the same as it is today at the end of the interest only period. 

However, for some, there may be no other option but to ask for a repayment holiday and we will be able to help you with that.

Regardless of your preferred option, further down the track once things settle down, we can look to put in place strategies to catch up and get your mortgage back on track.

how long will it take to action?

The mortgage repayment holiday scheme enables banks to fast-track the normal application process. 

Lenders will not have to go through their normal requirements under responsible lending rules to understand why someone was experiencing hardship. In short, if you need mortgage relief the process has been simplified to make it easy.

Remember, this is no time to feel ashamed or blamed. No one is untouched by the COVID-19 crisis. Even the most financially astute, careful and prudent have been sideswiped.

Who could have imaged the whole of New Zealand would be in lock-down in as little as 48 hours? How could pilots and those in travel-related industries foreseen their jobs would be under-threat or destroyed in the short, medium, or longer-term? New Zealand is the kingdom of small and medium independent business owners. From plastic surgeons and movie moguls to publicans, nail technicians and beauty therapists—so many livelihoods have been severed by Government decree.

It’s easy to feel out of control. Don’t lose hope. We are not powerless. There are things we can do. And no one knows this better than ingenious Kiwis.

Now may be the time to embark on a financial fiscal do-up. Knock down outgoings and plug leaks where you can. Consider building a lifestyle of “targeted frugality”, where you spend less in chosen areas that you can control and plan to simplify where you can.

Is there an opportunity to develop a side-hustle or generate income from a hobby that helps you earn more? These are just a few, of the many out-of-the-box thinking you may consider.

Reach out and seek emotional support if needed. Don’t suffer in silence. We’re here to help make any changes you need. The banks have made the process simple. If you’re an existing Awesome Mortgages client get in touch and we’ll walk you through.

were you about to buy a property?

Don’t discount your plans just yet. Interest rates are very attractive and there are some attractive properties on the market. 

The New Zealand property market was holding up well in the early stages of COVID-19 and had been experiencing strong price growth over summer. With banks and the Government coming together to support workers, businesses and the risk of property owners losing the shirt off their back or the roof over their head reduces, minimising the risk of a market crash. 

Logistically, the lockdown proposes challenges around open homes and auctions and also access to professionals such as solicitors. We can help you navigate these disruptions to still get an outcome. 

you have a remote-ready expert on your side

Questions? Plans? Email me, call me, Skype me, Zoom me, or Facetime. Having made the move to location-independent, technology-enabled smart mortgage advice, I’m fully digitally enabled. Every part of the process can be done online and over the phone, without a face-to-face appointment.

So, it’s business as normal here at Awesome Mortgages. Well, nearly normal. Like all industries, those related to house-buying activities are heading down an uncertain road. Open homes have been cancelled, settlements deferred, plans to buy postponed and offers rescinded.

So, yep, we are all in this together.

Remember, what is truly important at this time. Your health is your wealth. Whatever happens in the external world, this is a time to make self-care a priority. We’re not just talking about washing your hands.

It will right, and we will be alright. It’s about treading water with the right strategies and support. We’ve all just got to keep sane during this global time of craziness.

While we may be taking a financial bath, we can still look ahead and put our minds to savvy ways to accelerate our lives and our lifestyles.

Remember, if you’re one of our awesome valued clients don’t hesitate to get in touch with any further questions.

Stay sane. Stay safe. Somehow, some way, retain a sense of humour.

Download the COVID-19 Repayment Relief Option Guide here>>

The new Toyota Corona?

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Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Buying a house, Housing Market, Managing risk, Mortgages, NZ Economy

the power of leverage: how to organise your work and financial goals around the way you want to live

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

 

Many clients have been inspired by our move up to the Far North. We achieved that through careful leverage but also by careful risk-taking. Leverage is about leveraging off other people’s success, leveraging off other people’s advice; leveraging off equity you have in your property; leveraging off opportunities.

So many of you have asked for more details about the new home we moved to in April 2015 – just north of Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands—and how we made such a successful move.  It’s such an amazing story of manifestation that we also wanted to share some photos, not to boast but to share some beauty and perhaps even to inspire you to chase your dreams and leverage your lifestyles too. Well, actually—why not boast, we worked bloody hard to make our dream come true!

When we first saw the house we were so excited. From just a whisper of a glance through trees, purchasing our dream property seemed impossible. But we refused to accept that it could never be ours.

The moment we walked up the sweeping tree-lined driveway we knew this was our ‘home’. We hadn’t even been around the front – which as you’ll see – has the most incredible uninterrupted views of the magnificent Bay of Islands.

Here’s a shot of sunrise from the office – a brilliant way to start the day!

From the Kiwi Sanctuary across the road, to the serenity of the architectural design of the house by award-winning architect Martyn Evans, and later modernized by Tom Rowe of Rowe Baetens Architecture, both renowned for their unique designs; to the wonderful aspect of the house which sits harmoniously on top of the hill overlooking the sea, nestled amongst 10 acres of lovingly planted trees—many are now almost 40-years-old; to the pond at the entrance where black swans glide and native birds, including Tui’s, fantails, hawks, and colourful parrots flourish; to the shed where Cassandra can, at last, have an art studio and host artists, and writers and those seeking a spiritual retreat; to the beautiful butterfly room where I can indulge my passion for exotic butterflies; to the warmth of the sub-tropical climate where our souls can breathe – the property couldn’t be more perfect.

Click here to see more images of where we live and what we see >> 

would you like to leverage your lifestyle?

Increasingly clients are looking for advice as to how to achieve their next step regarding where they want to be over the next five years. For a lot of people that means moving town, or city. It may be a change from an urban setting to a lifestyle block, or from a large family home to a smaller apartment.

People’s needs are constantly changing and therefore their property ownership preferences need to change with that. With leverage, there’s often risk because you may need to take out bridging finance, for example, between selling and buying.

In our case, what this meant was going unconditional on a new purchase before selling our Wellington-based properties. Doing our homework and background research was vital because to ensure success any risk has to be measured. The only way you can measure and quantify the risk within reason is to quantify the probabilities of both success and failure and doing the research so you don’t fall prey to assumptions.

We embarked on a market assessment of the area, and also investigated whether the property could be leveraged further before we purchased. So, we looked at future potential. For example, we looked at the possibilities of putting other dwellings on our 10-acre lifestyle block and spoke to the Far North District Council about possible re-zoning considerations. Thinking about the future growth potential was an important consideration in alleviating any initial concerns we had about the considerable investment.

Fortunately for us, the market had plummeted three-years earlier in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. Although property prices in the Bay of Islands had yet to rebound, early signs of market improvement were sprouting. We purchased the property at a rock-bottom price—further evidenced by the owner’s insistence we never disclose the purchase price. Fair to say, they took a bath of over $2million. Great news for us.

One definition of leverage means making a small initial investment—either from savings, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return. At the time the purchase was beyond anything we had conceived or felt comfortable with.

At the time of having our offer accepted we both went, “Oh, f**k!”  However, doing our research and taking a calculated risk has since yielded considerable returns. So, don’t be too afraid to stretch…a little, or a lot. Act with audacity—but do so safely.

Here are a few step-by-step things we did that may help you build your courage muscles:

have a vision

Get clear about what you want and where you want to be — sure that everyone agrees. Use that vision to develop your success strategies. Often with a property change comes a career change or how you generate your income. You have to look at the components that impact success factors.

A great vision strategy we adopted was creating a manifestation fridge. We kept our dreams alive by tacking pictures of the property and other affirming inspirations. One of the many phrases we pasted was, ‘Thriving Up North.’ And that vision has come true. The financial years since swapping my pinstriped suit for shorts have been the biggest, most financially successful in my career as a mortgage expert.

The manifestation fridge kept us focused and hopeful—even when the negotiations to purchase looked like crashing.

align yourself with successful people

Smart people leverage off their relationships with those who are more successful than they are, or who have achieved the lifestyle and career goals they aspire to. It’s an awesome strategy. Aligning with savvy people means you benefit from their experience and wisdom —and their learning lessons.

Many of our clients who have made similar lifestyle moves have told us that our great escape inspired them to make a move. Like one couple who moved to Nelson with their young family. She balances commuting to Wellington with working from home, while he has made a career change—leaving a toxic role he hated for one that he loves and allows him to care for his children.

leave nothing to chance

Leverage off the expertise of a team of trusted advisers. It’s not a time for the Kiwi do-it-yourself mentality. Making a move is often too big a task, or too overwhelming. Your leverage team may include your mortgage adviser, your insurance adviser (in my case I wear both hats), your lawyer, and depending on whether you are self-employed or not, you may need a great taxation adviser. Having an excellent team of people that you can tap into is instrumental in minimising risk and getting where you want quickly and safely.

You’ll find a handy list of our star performers on our website here>> https://www.awesomemortgages.co.nz/mortgage-experts/

It comes back to, as I’ve always advocated if you’re disciplined, focused, and clever you can achieve great results. But if you are working with a professional who has been there and done that, and can cheer you on, you can achieve absolutely outstanding results.

As a mortgage adviser, my role does tend to broaden at times where I am very much acting as a sounding board, a source of inspiration, as well as a source of advice and practical solutions—including risk minimisation and dream actualisation.

If you are going to be vulnerable for a temporary period between shifting properties or buying and selling, and you’ve got a greater debt level, then having risk protection is really important.  It comes back again to probabilities and to taking measured moves rather than punts and gambles and leaping without first planning.

new story. bold legend

Our first step was to really make sure we had a sustainable way of earning a living before changing locations. So, we built a bridge by looking at how we could use our skillsets and still generate income outside of a major centre.

We then set about educating clients and gaining acceptance. We quickly learned that our savvy clients didn’t want to waste valuable time in traffic going to an office or have their privacy invaded by our going to their homes. Technological advancements meant working remotely was win-win.

Even though we were generating significant income living and working in a major commercial hub like Wellington we felt, “well why can’t we raise the bar even more—but pay less in terms of the cost of housing and other living expenses?” And we’ve more than managed to achieve that vision. The change in earnings has been phenomenal—a real voyage to the stars!

By moving to the Far North the quality of property we have up here is far superior to what we left behind in Wellington. It would be incredibly challenging to aspire to own the property we have— we certainly wouldn’t have the views, the privacy, and the lifestyle.

We wanted to up our income, have a better lifestyle, have fewer expenses going out and a better standard of living accommodation. For us, that was the first step.

The second step was, in the early stages, clarifying what sort of property we wanted to have. We drew up a list which included: we wanted more passive income in the future. We wanted something that was subdividable, we wanted to be in an area where there is potential for higher growth in terms of property values. And we wanted to be no more than 15-minutes from a good coffee! We are Wellingtonians, after all!

We really struck gold! Not only does the far north have great coffee, but some really awesome eating spots—places like our happy place, Charlotte’s Kitchen in Pahia. Plus, five minutes down the road from us is an award-winning boutique winery and brewery, Kainui Road. It’s another of our happy places, especially when they have jazz and other edgy performers—like Opal Ocean, UB40 and Fat Freddy’s Drop, who played recently.

The next step, once we got settled, was that we wanted to modify and substantially upgrade the property. The house was built in the solid-nineties and the bones were excellent, but we wanted to modernise and future-proof it. We also wanted to ensure that we could earn an income from the actual house itself.

Believe it or not, as we gear up to complete the landscaping our home will easily command somewhere around $2000 per night—the very rich can even land their private helicopters on our lawn! To get to that next level we embarked on a major renovation project.

We built bridges with contacts and expertise, engaged several architects, sourced the best builders and other experts in their field to make our vision and desire for excellence a reality. Once again, we used funding and leverage cleverly because we still need to have access to money.

We are no different from our clients—just because you work in a car yard doesn’t mean you drive a Rolls-Royce.  Just because you work with finance all the time, doesn’t mean you have endless chests full of dosh.

Here’s a shot from the early stages of our renno – from zero outdoor dining, extending the kitchen and creating an outdoor room has maximised the space.

 

Doing the landscaping means bringing in some big boy machines! Here’s a shot of one of the 30-year old Nikaus from Pitt Island arriving. We’ve now got a total of nine of these giants gracing our home—the native wildlife love them.

Renowned landscaper Jonathan Fulton looked pretty chuffed with the results—as he should be. Having pro’s with the right energy and vibe is so important to success.

 

We were careful to preserve the bones of the original building—with this rimu ceiling who wouldn’t. Lifting the depressing blue carpet and polishing the original concrete floor was all this beautiful lounge needed.

 

…Oh, and a point and click instant fire!

But the dreadful kitchen had to go! Go! Go!

The architect’s addition of a butler’s kitchen is stunning!

Pushing back the wall a tad in the ensuite bathroom was smart too—and getting rid of the black and gold Hugh Hefner dated tiles.

But one of our true joys is the pleasure we and our guests derive from this stunning bathroom

At night they can throw back the door and hear the Kiwi’s call. While soaking in the bath, looking up at the Milky Way and stars in the overhead opening sky roof, then out to the sea, sometimes they see these elusive birds. And sometimes they find a magical feather—as Cassandra did when she took this photo.

so, where to from here?

We are at the stage where we’re generating a massive income from our work and have a location independent way of earning money. Initially, the first priority was earning dollars within New Zealand, but away from a main centre. 98 percent of our business still comes from Wellington, but we do it all remotely from The Bay of Islands.

We don’t do any business locally. Why? We made a conscious choice that we didn’t want to live and work in the same city as our home. We wanted to keep our income and our lifestyle separate—especially as we live in a small town.

One of our favourite sayings comes from the lyrics of an Eagles song. “I dream I’m on vacation, it’s the perfect career for me.”

By not succumbing to having an office locally, or going off to client visits, we get to work and play at home—enjoying the views and most days dressing like we’re on holiday.

Our goal this year is to maximise our asset, by generating income from the house. We still want to maintain our location-independent businesses, but this time while living offshore for part of the year.  This still requires money management. Leverage of assets. Leveraging off debt. And leveraging off opportunities—all the while scanning the horizon for risk and further opportunities.

Travel inspires us and fills up our tanks, given the at times stressful nature of finance and handling people’s finances, working in other inspiring locations, gives us the energy and wellbeing boost that enables us to get the awesome results for our clients they recognize us for.

We’re off to a good start, having just spent a month in American Samoa. This year, as an article in MindFood Magazine, encouraged its readers, is the year of the hobby. For Laurie, that’s butterfly research. For Cassandra, that’s writing romances under her pseudonym, Mollie Mathews. At the same time, we’re devoted to our clients. We love our clients! We love inspiring them and helping them realise their dreams. It’s a win-win!

manage cashflow

Careful money management is the king and queen of leveraging successfully. You absolutely have to maintain access to cash—either through savings or borrowing.  This may be through ensuring you have flexi-facilities in place with your mortgage; leveraging off the equity of your asset; or ensuring you have the maximum leverage in place before you toss in your high-stress-salaried job or change careers.

Once you change income streams it’s much harder to then work backwards and go into the bank and say, ‘’we want more debt.” Bank’s don’t loan off visions, potentials, and dreams. They like to see regular income going into your funding account. If you’re self-employed, this often means a three-year proven track-record of profit.

Recently we’ve heard of several people who came unstuck. One woman in her 60s, leveraged off her house in Wellington and purchased a new freehold home in Whanganui. She had no mortgage, but with her move came a new career as a self-employed business owner.

A vital mistake she made was not leveraging off her, then, regular salaried income to secure rainy-day funds via credit card approvals or having a flexi-facility in place. She’s now struggling to make ends meet—tarnishing the otherwise savvy move she made by paying off her mortgage.

We’ve seen that numerous times when people have gone about it in the wrong sequence. Similarly, we know of a very savvy older couple who recently embarked on a major sub-division project. They were earning a very good income and had fantastic equity in their Auckland property. They left that income, made a lifestyle move to a new city, went contracting for a short period of time, then decided they wanted to embark on a new project. They wrongly assumed their lender would transfer their credit flexi-facilities.

Nope. It was a big mistake.

A costly mistake.

No bank, including their existing bank with whom they had enjoyed an over forty-year hassle-free relationship, would lend them any money. The old income history was wiped because their new endeavour was seen as a new venture.

They could have averted that and forward planned to be in a position of control.

Again, that’s why having a trusted mortgage adviser, yields gold.

the leverage lifestyle mindset

Creating your ideal leveraged lifestyle – whatever that might look like for you—takes grit, patience, optimism, resilience and, perhaps surprisingly, pessimism. You need to look at what can go wrong, as much, if not more than what can go right.

However, by leveraging expert advice, time, money, and knowledge you can unlock your ultimate lifestyle, not just in business and work, but in your personal life too.

For us, this means the joy of working and living anywhere in the world. But with a view from the office like ours and due to the marvels of modern technology we seldom want to leave. Thriving up north, definitely! So if you too dream of a move, we hope our story of courage, perseverance, luck, determined effort, and gratitude inspires you too to dream the impossible and make it happen.

Live life with audacity. Heaven favours the bold.

We’ll leave you now with a few sage words that sum up our new life philosophy.

“All I want is a minimum of commotion and an unimpeded view of the ocean.”
~ A.R.D. Fairburn

 

Did you enjoy this article? You might like:

from chained to the office, to freedom in the country—how to manifest your dream career or business

your pre-approval just got sweeter!

stress less during the home renovation process

independent insurance advisers give consumers the best outcome

don’t get caught without a LIM report

 

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Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Buying a house, First Home Buyer, Home buying, Managing risk, Mortgages, Stories of reinvention, Wealth Creation