Don’t dive into credit card debt this Christmas

Every Christmas almost half of the population decides to go swimming in credit card debt to get through the festive season. But there’s two big reasons why you shouldn’t do that this year.

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Tips to Purchase a House with a Huge Student Loan In-Tow

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Have you finally finished your higher education? Do you plan to settle down and make an investment in real estate?

Homes can be a costly affair for those who are already encumbered with student loans. But with careful planning, you can find ways to save for and purchase the home of your dreams.

Six ways to plan for a new home purchase when burdened with a student loan

  • Narrow down on what you want in a house
    Homes are available both fully-furnished with state-of-the-art fittings and also with bare minimum furnishings. It’s important that you decide what is essential for you and what isn’t.Choose a house that offers simplistic comforts for the moment. They are less expensive to purchase. You can always have it furnished later.
  • Consider the rent-earning potential of the neighborhood
    At the outset, the property of your choice may be out of your budget. But, if the rent-earning capacity of the home is good, it makes economic sense to invest in it now, given the high ROI potential it offers.
  • Don’t rush into the renovations and makeovers
    It’s possible that the house you purchase requires repair work or an overhaul of some sort. But instead of inconveniencing yourself with the expenses of a home renovation, choose to delay the property makeover.This can help you save yourself from the challenges of paying-off two large loans.
  • Set aside a cash reserve aside for unexpected expenses
    Your property may become the unfortunate victim of a thunderstorm. You may need urgent roof repairs. Instead of tapping into the funds you’ve set aside to pay-off your student loans, keep a separate reserve for emergency expenses.If you can, start saving for contingencies a few months before making your home purchase. It’s better if you start saving right when in college.
  • Consider freelancing when working full-time
    While setting money aside does help, it’s important to add to this reserve constantly. A great way to do this is by taking up more freelance assignments with your full-time job. This will help you make the necessary money to pay up your loans faster.
  • Save a portion of your student allowances
    All citizens of New Zealand, and residents staying in the country for a consecutive period of 3 years, who fall within the age bracket of 18-65, and are engaged in full-time studying, are eligible to receive student allowances which are weekly payments which help you meet the living expenditure during your studies.If you’ve already planned to purchase a house post-graduation, saving a portion of your student allowance can help you create a fund for your property.At Total Mortgages, we can help you plan your new home purchase. Speak to our professional mortgage brokers for more information.

Signs that Show the Time to Sell Your Investment Property is Near

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Real estate property is an excellent investment and a great source of income. But at times, it can become a dangerous asset to hold, one which may not give you the ROI you desire.

Luckily, property always shows certain signs which tell owners that the time to sell is near.

5 signs that indicate your real estate property is ripe for sale

  • When you spend more on your property than you earn from it
    Property maintenance can be a costly affair. While your real estate is earning you rent, it may be that you’re spending a little too much on its upkeep. The point of an investment property is to make profits. But, if you spend all that you earn out of the property and more on maintenance, it defeats the purpose of the real estate.Selling it would be the best option.
  • When you’ve put all your eggs in a single basket
    Having a diverse portfolio of investments is extremely important to ensure you don’t lose all that you’ve saved due to any fluctuations in the market. Assets like shares, bonds, and debentures can change value very quickly, whereas, property (especially land) always appreciates.If you have a property to your name, you can consider selling it to diversify your portfolio.
  • When the seeds of a large property market are sownLet’s say a new string of apartment complexes will be built in the country in the next 5 years. This means, in the next 5 years, the market will be flooded with homes for sale. Sellers will drive down prices to sell their property and buyers still may not purchase purely because they have no dearth of options.If this is the case, it’s best to sell the property when you know there is a shortage of supply. This will help you make wonderful earnings.
  • When you find yourself in need of finances
    Do you have only a single source of income? Are you worried that your source of income isn’t going to help you towards a better life? If yes, then selling the property you own can be a great way to cushion yourself from harm and debt.
  • When tax laws are revised
    In New Zealand, mortgage interests are tax deductible for investment properties. So are costs incurred for any maintenance work that landlords carry-out when the property is occupied by tenants. This is why some buyers may decide to purchase a property for investment, rent it, out and get tax deductibles when tax laws change in favor of property.

If arbitrage is an option or if you are experiencing any of the above situations, then selling your property is a great way to make the best out of the situation.

At Total Mortgages, we can advise you on the best time to sell your property. Our professional mortgage brokers can also help your buyers find suitable home financing options through our friendly-loans.

Top 5 Tips to Rain-proof Your Property


With spring in full swing and monsoon in the wings, homeowners need to get started on rain-proofing their properties to avoid any nasty surprises later on. If you’re interested in getting started on rain-proofing your home, this article will be a great read for you.

5 easy ways to make your home rain-ready
At Total Mortgages, we have seen many homes that have become victims to rain. Use our 5 brilliant tips to rain-proof your home and keep your property safe:

  • Get your rain gutters, drains and downspouts de-clogged and fixed
    Run-off from the rain needs to go somewhere and this is where your gutters, drains and downspouts come in. Clogged gutters, drains and downspouts can lead to rainwater and debris clogging up in your roofs and pipes. This can lead to major leaks and may result in electrocutions. Additionally, stagnant water can lead to malaria and other infections.Have the gutters, drains and downspouts cleaned thoroughly and have all debris removed. If there is stagnant water, have it removed too. Fix any cracks and replace elements that are beyond repair.

  • Re-seal your doors and windows
    Over time, the seal on your windows and doors can break and disintegrate, letting in cold air, sleet and rain from outside. Contact a professional to re-seal your doors and windows before the rain comes calling.
    You should also check out your property’s aluminum and wood sliding and wood shingles. Have the property inspected for wood rot and get it cleaned immediately. When the rot doesn’t build-up your wood remains in good condition.
  • Have your home re-painted with water-proof paint
    One of the leakiest spots of a house, after the roof, is the walls. An indicator that you may need a fresh coat of paint this monsoon is the large, splotchy wet marks on your walls.When re-painting your property, choose paints with thick finishes. The tough and enduring finish in the paint will keep water out of your walls and also add a bright aura around your property.
  • Get the switchboards and wirings in your home checked
    Monsoon brings with it the threat of electrocutions. If you’re overdue for a wiring check at home, we recommend you get a once-over done of your electrical devices immediately. Have loose contacts tightened and replace worn-out wiring.We recommend that you purchase silica gel pockets from your local electrician and place them down around your electrical devices. The gel pockets absorb moisture from the air and prevent any condensation from forming on your devices.
  • Stock on your tarpaulin supplies
    Tarpaulin sheets are a godsend during monsoon season and it’s essential that you have an extra stock of tarpaulin sheets to cover your roofs during heavy rains. Tarpaulin sheets are also great as insect-repellant nets and as covering for sheds, barns and animal shelters.Waterproof and non-flammable, they are the best materials to have at hand during the wet season.

5 Things You Need to Do to Your Property Before Heading Out on a Holiday this Summer

With summer upon in flight, you may be planning your next family holiday. But before you head out the door, there are some important maintenance checks that you need to conduct to ensure that the heat doesn’t take over your home when you’re out.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Keep your home cool this summer in 5 easy ways

Make for a welcoming home post-vacationing, by conducting these 5 maintenance checks:

  • Repair and plug-in broken window seals
    Window seals keep out wind, heat, and dirt from your house. But wear and tear can affect their performance. When this happens, your heating and cooling systems need to work overtime to keep your home at the ideal temperature.Before you go on a holiday, have a professional come in and take a look at your window seals.
  • Check and clean the HVAC system
    From debris accumulation to simple overworking, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems may become faulty due to numerous reasons. Often, a faulty HVAC system doesn’t stop working; instead, it works inefficiently, drawing in more energy and electricity than necessary, leading to high bills and a very large carbon footprint.A scheduled maintenance check of the HVAC systems during summer can do wonders for your home.
  • Ramp up your home insulation features
    The insulating materials in your walls may wear out with time. This can result in your home being drafty during winter and extremely hot during summer. Be sure to have your walls re-insulated with foam insulation before you leave for your vacation.Foam insulation is very light and creates an air barrier within your walls. This layer of air is what keeps your home constantly cool while keeping out dirt and wind from outside.
  • Check and repair the air ducts
    The air ducts are an integral part of the air conditioning and ventilation system in your home. An air duct that is clogged with dirt and debris will hinder the flow of air through the house, resulting in your home becoming an ‘oven’ during summer.Have a specialist come in to take a look. This will ensure that your home is summer-ready.
  • Switch over to CFLs and LEDs
    Light and heat go hand-in-hand. This is why it’s important to have your light bulbs changed before you go on holiday. Replace your traditional incandescent and halogen tubes with cooling CFLs and LEDs.Not only will your electricity bills go down but so will the temperature in your house.Speak to a mortgage broker at Total Mortgages if you are looking for assistance with home financing!

5 Things to Do to Improve Your Credit

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The decision to buy a house is monumental. Not only is it an expensive process but one which is fraught with multiple challenges. For one, if your credit standing isn’t great, your mortgage application may be rejected.

However, with care and good planning, you can make yourself loan-worthy in no time. Here are our top 5 tips for converting your credit standing from good to great:

  • Get the inaccuracies on your credit report fixed
    Your credit report is a summary of your entire credit history, which indicates your spending habits and earning potential and informs the lender whether you are a safe investment or not.Sometimes, due to some technical errors in data input or calculation, you may have some inaccuracies in your credit report. Your earnings may not have been updated or your expenses may have been exaggerated by mistake. When lenders see such poor numbers, they are less likely to lend you money.It’s best to have your credit report reviewed by experts and have these errors corrected.
  • Cut down on the number of cards
    The more number of Debit/Credit cards you have, the more likely you are to use them and rake up debts. Paying off your card debts immediately is one great way of maintaining a good credit. Another is to cut out the cards entirely.When there is less temptation, you have a greater chance to save. Choose to have one card, instead of say, 3.
  • Pay your bills and EMIs on schedule
    Lenders want to be reassured that you’ll pay back the loan in due time. This is where a steady repayment cycle will help. Make sure you pay your monthly bills before the last date of payment and never miss the payment of an EMI.
  • Keep a low O/D balance
    Just like cards, a large overdraft balance is a dangerous temptation. Our first recommendation is that you avoid getting a large O/D balance approved by reducing your spending. However, if you already have a large O/D account, then try not to tap into it.Remember, O/D is an indication that you’re spending more than you can afford; which looks terrible on your credit report.
  • Avoid making big purchases
    Ideally, it’s best to avoid making big purchases like vehicles, television sets, and foreign trips at least a year before you purchase the property. This will not only help you save money but it’ll also help you avoid unwanted loans and expenses from accumulating.Large savings and limited expenses are the best to make your credit absolutely perfect.Total Mortgages offer home loans at highly-attractive interest rates. Get in touch with one of Total Mortgage’s mortgage brokers, who would take a look at your credit report and advice you on the best way to proceed.

How to Select the Ideal Investment Property?


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Have you always wanted to buy an investment property? If yes, you may have had a lot of questions about selecting the right kind of building. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve set down some cardinal tasks that you need to perform when choosing an investment property.

  • Narrow down on the ideal renter
    Before you think about the property, envision the type of people you want renting it. Do you prefer students or working professionals? Are you okay with families with children or do you prefer retirees?Each type of person has specific requirements; for example, a parent will want the house to be close to a school. Select the property based on the profile of your potential renter.
  • Calculate the mortgage you’ll need to borrow
    Properties can get expensive, especially those in prime neighborhoods. Before you narrow down on your choices, visit a housing loan provider and check how much mortgage you will need to borrow.Total Mortgages offer housing loans at extremely borrower-friendly terms. Talk to a Mortgage Broker at Total Mortgages for more information.
  • Check for property maintenance concerns
    It’s always best to choose a property that doesn’t require too much fixing-up. Maintenance and repair work can be extremely expensive, the costs of which may force you to raise rental prices and risk losing out on customers.A well-maintained property will also fetch you better mortgage terms.
  • Tally your potential rental earnings and expenses
    When selecting an investment property, calculate the potential expenses you may rake up from utilities, maintenance & upkeep costs, taxes, housing insurance, homeowner association fees, vacancy rates and more.Next, estimate the potential earnings that you’ll make from the monthly rental you’ll receive from your tenants. You can always check the market value of the neighborhood your property is in and the value of the amenities you offer, to analyze how much earnings you can expect from them.
  • Determine the appreciation rate of the property
    There are very few assets which appreciate like property. Before making a choice, check whether the property has a potential for increasing in value of its own accord or if you need to revamp the property to increase its value. This will tell you if it’s worth the investment or not.Remember, it’s also okay to invest in property that can generate huge cash-flow, without actively appreciating in value.
  • Identify the rate of capitalization
    Finally, one of the most important considerations you need to take into account is the amount of time it will take for you to recover the investment you’ve made on your property. It’s good to choose a property which can help you break-even at the earliest, at the lowest possible costs.


7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Property Maintenance Company

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Every property deserves routine repair and maintenance, and it’s best to contact a professional property maintenance company for this assistance. But, with so many players in the market, it becomes extremely difficult to choose a particular company.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve listed out the criteria which you need to consider when choosing a property maintenance company:

  • Existing client portfolio
    The type of clients a property maintenance company works with will say a lot about the method of working and level of professionalism displayed by the company. Additionally, a large number of customers indicate that the company is a favorite with many and is a reliable option for your property.
  • Work experience
    A property manager who has worked in the industry for a considerable period of time will be extremely well-versed in property maintenance and will be the perfect person to entrust your property to. They will also have experience dealing with a host of building-related problems and will ensure that your home is cared for.
  • Customer reviews
    These days, you can find customer reviews online for almost all businesses. It’s best to read up the customer reviews about your chosen property maintenance company prior to hiring them, as it will tell you whether the company will be a good fit for your requirements or not.
  • Proximity
    Sometimes, you may require immediate and urgent housing repair. If this happens, you’ll expect the property manager and his/her team to be on your property at a very short notice. This will be possible only if the company is located geographically close to your home.
  • Service packages
    Some companies provide only scheduled property maintenance checks, while others are willing to accept short notice requests. Some specialize in specific areas of property maintenance, while others offer a full-fledged and comprehensive service. It’s best to consider the type of service packages the company offers before making a final decision.
  • Terms of the agreement
    Factors like the quotation, duration of the service, the frequency of maintenance, the type of services offered in the package, and obligations of homeowners to the company – all fall within the terms of the agreement. As a rule, visit multiple property maintenance companies to see whether there is any parity between the terms offered.
  • Qualification of the property manager
    A property manager who has the right and relevant education, experience, and skillsets can do wonders for your home. It’s best to choose a veteran manager to ensure superior-quality and timely service for yourself.

For all your home financing needs, get in touch with the friendly and efficient mortgage brokers at Total Mortgages.

Your Guide to Residential Real Estate: 5 Types of Property You Can Buy

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Are you planning on purchasing a new property? Today, New Zealand has a very vibrant real estate market, which happens to be very buyer-friendly. But before you go to an open house, it’s important to brush up your knowledge on the types of residential properties available for purchase.

Knowledge of the various types of properties can help you work well with your real estate manager and find the dream home you’ve been looking for.

5 residential properties you’ll commonly see in New Zealand

  • Single-family houses
    This is the most common and standard type of property you’ll find. These are stand-alone houses with large back and front yards. The walls aren’t shared with neighboring houses, giving you complete privacy and independence.They are some of the most reasonable properties available for purchase.
  • Multi-unit properties
    Multi-unit houses contain 2-3 homes under the same roof. These properties are the best choice for owners who wish to eke a living by renting out their remaining properties. Here, you and your tenants will live side-by-side, under the same roof, albeit in different houses.This property makes for a great long-term investment.
  • Condominiums
    Condos, aka, condominiums are akin to apartment complexes where you will gain possession and ownership of a house within a housing complex but will share the facilities and amenities with other complex members.Often, condos resemble single-family units but have a jointly-owned lawn and backyard.
  • Townhouses
    Have you seen a large 2-3 floored home that shares its walls with neighboring houses, but does not have a property either above or below it (like in an apartment complex)? If yes, then you should know that it’s a townhouse.Townhouses are large, spacious, and multi-floor self-contained units which resemble attached homes. They are perfect for growing families which need more space inside the house.
  • Vacation homes
    A luxury of the rich, vacation homes are the second houses that you can choose to own in addition to your primary place of residence. These properties are usually located in the countryside or on the beach and are large, airy, and spacious. They can be single-family units, townhouses or condos. They make for a great investment.

Total Mortgages offer housing loans and mortgages to buyers looking to purchase a residential property at highly competitive rates and mortgage terms. Talk to a mortgage broker at Total Mortgages for more information.