Friday, September 12, 2008

Help for the needy.

You might think that people who own there own home aren't really needy, but the Credit Crunch, inflation, fuel costs and the SubPrime crisis in the USA have had a worldwide effect on household budgets.

Thankfully, there's a little-known secret for Australians who are finding it difficult to keep up their repayments on their homes in these times of rising interest rates (yes, I know they came down last month, but that's the first in a long time, and many of you are still hurting from the last rises!).

So, here's making sure that as many people know about it as possible: The Mortgage Assistance Scheme is a loan of up to $20,000 from the government, designed to be zero-interest and to be paid back at a later date when the situation improves. You have to be able to prove that you've tried every other avenue to keep your house, but already there are over 680 people using it, and it is making a difference.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The other benefit of moving the bins...

It might just put another 17 metres between most of the cockroaches an us!

Joint Venture - creative investing

I read a brilliant article in this month's Australian Property Investor magazine this week...

The investor in the case study had built a $23M portfolio, not by buying and selling, or renovating... he'd done some of that, of course, but the majority of his money came from joint ventures with people who had big properties.

In this market (which is a buyer's market, and house values are declining), you will probably come across a few people who have to sell, but who are sitting on big properties. Subdividable properties, if you look in the right places...

So this guy goes up to the owners, and offers to put in the money to subdivide the property (which generally doesn't cost as much as buying them and holding them, let alone holding them while you organise the subdivision!). The deal is they "donate" the property for subdivision, and once the property is divided, expenses taken out and sold off, the profit is split 50/50.

Not a bad way to make a buck if you can pull it off!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What not to buy - solving the Part 1 problem

A few weeks ago, I complained bitterly that the tenants of the property next door were leaving their bins out the front of our house for a week at a time, knocking them down, spilling stuff everywhere and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

Now, we think we're found a solution to the problem: the first stage has so far begun (slowly) to have an effect.

We keep putting their bins in the middle of the driveway, so they're having to move them and they're starting to get the message.

Going to the next level takes a bit more effort and a bit of money too, but if your council is okay with the idea, they may thank you for beautifying the street while you're at it...

What am I talking about? We have an automated garbage truck that picks up bins on a huge arm, so they need to be left on the edge of the kerb every week. If you're not averse to a bit of extra garden space, and the council isn't either, plant a garden on your nature strip by the kerb where the bins go!

This is now on our "to-do" list for the future (because we're really darned busy doing other things to our property at the moment!), but basically, a good sized tree to grow up and shade the street will add to the ambience and property values in the area (up to 30%, in fact, over the long-term!). Add some beds and plants around it (leave enough space for, say your one or two weekly bins to sit), and you're not only beautifying the street - you're stopping the tenants next door making the front of your property look like a garbage dump week-in, week-out.

Remember that, just like the grass you already have there, it's actually your responsibility to maintain the garden beds out the front of your property, so be prepared for the extra work that that entails (or ensure it's a really easy-care bed!).

But there you go: Problem solved, value added!