Questions Mortgage Brokers Get Asked

Over the years we’ve fielded thousands of questions by clients on all things home loan, so we thought we’d put together a list of our six most commonly asked questions. 


8 Tips to Purchase a Property!

If you are new to Australia and looking to establish a comfortable, settled life here, then sooner or later, you will naturally consider buying property, either as an investment or a home for your family. So there are a few things you need to do in preparation for your first property purchase.


6 End of Financial Year Tax Tips

The end of financial year is just around the corner, so we’ve got six tips to help you get your finances in order, before 30 June 2021.

Take advantage of the instant asset tax write-off

For assets first used or installed ready for use between 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021, and purchased by 31 December 2020, the instant asset write-off:

Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster and Increase Your Net Worth

Your home is probably your most valuable asset. Trouble is? It’s also likely your largest debt.

In order to increase your net worth, and ensure your home is freehold before retirement, paying off your mortgage should be your top priority. With the average mortgage term being 30 years and the ABC reporting that Australians are increasing “….paying down their mortgages later in life”, reducing this timeframe can seem an insurmountable task.


8 Tips to Make 2021 Your Best Financial Year!

2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but that doesn’t mean 2021 has to follow the same pattern.
With some planning, you can make 2021 your best financial year yet. Here are 8 tips to help you create financial freedom:


Debt Consolidation

A debt consolidation loan combines all your outstanding debts into one, so now you only have one debt at a reduced rate of interest and lower monthly payments than the combined cost of all the consolidated bills. If you have become overwhelmed with multiple debts and you are struggling to make minimum payments on any or all of them, rolling all these into one repayment can be easier and less stressful to manage.

Why a broker is the best option for your car loan?

For most Australians, buying a car can be among the biggest investments they will ever make. There are several options out there for car finance: you can get a car loan through your bank, you can arrange for financing options at the car dealership, or you can work with a broker who will help you with your application and put together the best deal for you.

Refinancing traps to avoid!

The average buyer could expect to have an extra $70,000 to spend on a home after changes to responsible lending rules, one consumer expert says, in a move that could push up property prices.

Responsible lending laws are set to be wound back in March 2021 in a bid to allow banks to lend money to customers more easily, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced last week.

Should I buy or sell first?

If you own your own home and intend to move on, you’ll usually be faced with a dilemma: buy your new home first or sell your existing one before you buy. We explore the benefits of both approaches to help you make the right decision, whether you’re upgrading, downsizing, or simply relocating.

Why do you need a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker is an independent person or business who specializes in finding the most suitable home loan for a customer, based on the customer’s individual needs and circumstances. Basically, like any broker the mortgage broker liaises between you as the property buyer and the banks or lenders who will lend you the money for your mortgage.


Some great news for lending and the mortgage market!

The average buyer could expect to have an extra $70,000 to spend on a home after changes to responsible lending rules, one consumer expert says, in a move that could push up property prices.

Responsible lending laws are set to be wound back in March 2021 in a bid to allow banks to lend money to customers more easily, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced last week.

Should I fix my home loan?

With rates now at an all-time low, many of you may be wondering whether it’s better to refinance your home loan to a fixed rate.

Before going further, it’s important to understand that the perfect choice depends on unknown future events. While we don’t have crystal balls to lead the way, this doesn’t stop us from making educated decisions with the information at our disposal.

What type of loan is right for you?

The array of mortgages available helps a good finance broker to tailor a package to suit your needs. Here are just some of the options.

Fixed-rate mortgages

With a fixed-rate loan, you know exactly how much you’ll pay per fortnight or month for the fixed period of the loan (usually one to five years).

Five Things First Home Buyers Need To Know

Before you decide to purchase your first property there are a number of things to consider, including your current personal circumstances and financial status.

1. Think about why you want to buy a home

Do you want to live in it or will it be an investment property? This can help determine the kind of loan you apply for and home you buy, depending on your short and long-term plans.

Calls mount for HomeBuilder reform

There are growing concerns that the utility of the HomeBuilder scheme is being undermined as the current structure is not giving lenders the confidence to accept the grant as funds to complete.

The $25,000 HomeBuilder grants were launched earlier this year to drive economic activity across the residential construction sector.

Concerned about servicing your loans?

If you are concerned about servicing your loan, reach out to your local Pivotal Financial mortgage broker for help.

As Australians everywhere take a close look at their financial circumstances, we have lent a helping hand to thousands and look forward to helping further.

Banks start assessments on Deferrals

As the initial wave of 6-month loan payment deferrals come to an end, banks have begun to contact customers for their 6-month assessment and to discuss the next stage of support and assistance. 

Of the more than 900,000 loans which have been deferred across the pandemic, at least 450,000 loan deferral customers will be assessed in coming weeks as they approach the end of their deferral in September and October.  

Struggling borrowers urged to explore options

Borrowers who are still not able to resume their mortgage repayments should be able to explore their options with their banks.

Mortgage holders should not “cave in to pressure or bullying from banks” if they are still not in a good position to pay off their home loans.

What is a Pre-Approval? And should I get one?

Buying a home is an exciting time and you’ll quickly learn the steps and processes you’ll need to go through before you pick up the keys and move in. Pre-approval is one of the most important steps you’ll take, so knowing the basics will not only boost your confidence come auction day, but will also make sure you know exactly where you stand with your lender.

What is loan pre-approval?

COVID-19 Scams - Identity theft soars!

A staggering 24,000 people have reported their personal details stolen so far this year, as experts warn scammers have been targeting Australians’ COVID-19 financial relief payments and superannuation.



Super Withdrawal - getting a mortgage approved is still a big hurdle

Never ones to let a pandemic go to waste, some Australians have been trying to exploit the government’s flawed superannuation withdrawal scheme to get onto the property ladder.

Although the early access to super scheme was intended to allow those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to survive financial hardship and make ends meet, some see it as an opportunity to get ahead.



Finances on your mind? Be wary of untrustworthy debt advisors

If you are finding it tough to meet your current financial obligations or you are just interested in reviewing your current home loan, then you are not alone. Mortgage brokers stand ready and able to assist with your options during this difficult time.

Turbulent does not even begin to describe 2020 so far. As a result of COVID-19 and not forgetting the bushfires, thousands of Australians are out of work, with Treasury predicting that the jobless rate will double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent. Many others have had their hours reduced or have been temporarily stood down.



A Welcome Extension - SME Loan Guarantee Phase Two

The ABA welcomes today’s announcement by the Morrison Government to extend the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

“This will be welcome news for SMEs and opens up the scheme to those business who are looking to invest or need some extra support to get back on their feet, the banking industry will continue to work with the government ensuring the flow of credit into the economy and supporting those businesses who are still feeling the effects of the pandemic.”said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.


Cash Rate 0.25 percent for some years to come!!!

The central bank has issued a monetary policy strategy update following its monthly board meeting.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has held the official cash rate at a record low of 0.25 per cent, in line with market expectations.

RBA governor Philip Lowe previously stressed that the cash rate would remain unchanged for “some years to come”, with the COVID-19 crisis stifling progress towards the RBA’s employment and inflation targets.  


NSW Abolishes Stamp Duty

The New South Wales (NSW) government has decided to make temporary changes to stamp duty exemption for first home buyers.

A stamp duty is a government tax that is paid for certain transactions like buying a property. 

From 1 August 2020, the NSW government increased the threshold for stamp duty exemption for first home buyers from $650,000 to $800,000 for newly built homes and from $350,000 to $400,000 for vacant land.

The change is predicted to provide relief to 6,000 first home buyers who want to enter the property market in NSW.



$25,000 HomeBuilder - FINAL REMODELLING Announced

When the federal government announced its $25,000 HomeBuilder scheme in early June the immediate reaction from many was ‘you little beauty’, quickly followed by, ‘wait… will my project even be eligible?’

It’s a question that’s lingered for a few weeks, however, we now have more clarity.


Cash Rate 0.25 percent for some years to come!!!

The central bank has issued a monetary policy strategy update following its monthly board meeting.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has held the official cash rate at a record low of 0.25 per cent, in line with market expectations.

RBA governor Philip Lowe previously stressed that the cash rate would remain unchanged for “some years to come”, with the COVID-19 crisis stifling progress towards the RBA’s employment and inflation targets.  


Banks enter phase 2 on COVID-19 deferred loans

In this next phase, customers who can restart paying their loans will be required to do so at the end of their six-month deferral period. In the long run it is best for the financial well-being of individuals, families and businesses to return to full loan repayments and pay off their debt.


5 ways to fund a renovation

Considering transforming your home from ‘banal’ to ‘brilliant’, but lack the funds to support your makeover? Never fear, we’ve rounded up five home renovation finance options that could help turn your dream into reality.



HomeBuilder - Federal Government HomeBuilder Scheme

The Federal Government will give eligible Australians $25,000 to build or substantially renovate their homes from 4th June to 31 December 2020, in an effort to boost demand in the construction sector and keep builders employed.


In an attempt to boost new projects between now and the end of the year, the Government will give $25,000 grants to owner-occupiers for certain works on their homes.

But eligibility for the Government’s program, which it has dubbed “HomeBuilder”, will be restricted to substantial renovations and the construction of new homes, with recipients required to spend at least $150,000 before being eligible.


5 Home Buying Myths

There are several misconceptions surrounding the purchasing process. We have compiled a list of some of the most common home buying myths to help home buyers understand the market better.


6 End of Financial Year Tax Tips for your Business

The end of financial year is just around the corner, so we’ve got six tips to help you get your finances in order, before 30 June 2020.

Take advantage of the instant asset tax write-off

The federal Treasurer has extended the $150,000 instant asset tax write-off scheme by six months to help businesses invest in equipment and improve cash flow. Claims can be made on any number of new and used assets, so long as the individual asset value is less than $150,000. Read more


Are Electronic Mortgages here to stay?

The introduction of temporary COVID – 19 related measures such as electronic mortgages, witnessing a document over video call and signing documents electronically, should they be made permanent to save time, money and hassle for Australian consumers?


Finances on your mind?

If you are finding it tough to meet your current financial obligations or you are just interested in reviewing your current home loan, then you are not alone.

We stand ready and able to assist with your options during this difficult time.

Turbulent does not even begin to describe 2020 so far. As a result of COVID-19 and not forgetting the bushfires, thousands of Australians are out of work, with Treasury predicting that the jobless rate will double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent. Many others have had their hours reduced or have been temporarily stood down.

Home office claims for tax time - What you need to know.

Now more than ever, our homes are our sanctuaries. But for many they have become a place of work, too. Australians have been forced into isolation amid the COVID-19 crisis with many now assuming their workplace roles from the comfort and safety of their living rooms.


The explosion of working-from-home arrangements means employees now have extra expenses to consider. But what can you claim at Tax time?

Hardship relief on offer from Banks and Lenders

In the current uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, the financial and personal wellbeing of our customers and people remains our priority.

Financial difficulty is more common than you think, but there is help available.

Banks and Lenders are continuing to serve their customers and support the economy.

COVID19 Managing Your Financial Wellbeing

Struggling financially?

What steps should you take if you are?

Firstly, give your Pivotal broker a call, they know your financial position very well, along with all of your loan details. They can help run the numbers, present options available and advise you accordingly.

Working from Home - Staying sane

This is a strange time for all of us. Many of us will be working from home for the first time. Others, such as retired or elderly, are also having to practice the new art of social distancing for the first time. Whether you are part of a family or live alone the strains are going to be enormous on us all.

Here are some basic rules and tips we have gather to ease the stress and lighten the load.

Costume-themed bin outings sparked from isolation boredom

People around the world are dressing up to take their bins out.

The mundane task of putting the bins out has gotten interesting, as people around the world don fancy dress for their weekly walk to the kerb – all in the name of finding fun during social isolation.

7 things you should bring to a mortgage appointment

When you are applying for a home loan, there are certain things you’ll need to bring to your first mortgage appointment.

Why using a Broker instead of a Bank is on the rise

Even though we are in a digital age, many borrowers still long for a relationship with someone they can trust to help them wade through the maze of information and decisions when they need a loan. It is for this reason that mortgage and finance brokers have come into their own.

Why debt consolidation could help you get over your Christmas spending hangover

Have you just found yourself in Santa’s ‘naughty’ list because of your silly holiday spending? The good news is that I can help you get your finances back on track! Mortgage brokers don’t just organise mortgages, we also provide the right finance solutions for your individual needs and circumstances.


Happy new year! How are your new year's resolutions looking so far? Have you taken the first step to achieving your goals during the first few days of 2020?

Happy new year! How are your new year’s resolutions looking so far? Have you taken the first step to achieving your goals during the first few days of 2020? Maybe we can help! Of course, we probably can’t motivate you to lose weight or exercise more, but as your mortgage broker, we can help you achieve your property goals this year.


9 Questions to help you with building your Personal Brand in 2020

We are already near the end of the first month of 2020. How is your New Year going with building your personal brand in 2020.

Did you set resolutions for this year? Are you keeping them?

To help you focus in your reflection and organise your actions related to building your personal brand in 2020, below are a series of questions around nine key themes for you to ask yourself. Your responses will help you establish your strategy for career success as you settle into the new year.

When to leave your Lender

Valentine’s Day makes us think about loyalty – which is an admirable quality in any relationship. But is your devotion to your home loan provider justified?  It’s important to ask your mortgage broker to help you review your home loan from time to time. We’re here to check the interest rate, review it’s features and make sure it’s still giving you everything you need and desire.

Here are some tell-tale signs that it may be time to part ways with your current lender and start afresh with someone new.

12 money tips for Christmas

How to Avoid A Christmas Financial Hangover

Too loyal or time-poor for a better rate! Problem solved.

New Year's Resolution Ideas for 2020 (That you can actually keep)

Christmas and Zip Pay, After Pay, Interest Free and Credit cards

5 Reasons WHY: You need to Budget "Play Money" with your Partner

What do you stick on your fridge?

8 Wealth-Building Strategies of Millionaires

Preparing for Bushfires

Secrets to fast credit repair

Your credit score is a reflection of your financial history and is used by lenders to determine whether or not to approve you. If you want to improve your credit score before you apply for your next card or loan, there are a few strategies that you can use to get your finances back in shape.

You can use this guide to order a free copy of your credit report and score, plus pick up seven tips for repairing your credit history.

Equipment Finance - What is it & how does it work?

How to address the mental stress of buying a home

Why bank loyalty can end up costing borrowers

In the current low interest-rate environment, Australians borrowers are urged to look for home-loan offers with mortgage rates around the lower 3% range.

Some customers, who might not be aware of the recent market developments, might ultimately be paying too much, especially if they become stuck with their old rates.

Your ultimate spring cleaning checklist

Spring has sprung, and as the weather warms it’s that time of the year where we often clean parts of the house that haven’t had much attention during the year. It may seem like a big task, which is why putting together a checklist can make the job a little easier.

You’ll probably need a few pairs of hands to get it done, so get the kids on board one weekend, assign jobs, give incentives and you’ll be done in no time. It’s a great chance to get the whole family involved and helping out.

Winning Big and Losing Everything: Is Your Obsession Worth It?

Many people are obsessed about winning money!

Maybe you’re one of them?

Did you know that 10.6 million Australians aged 18+ (55.4%) gambled in the 12 months to June 2018, including 8.6 million (44.8%) who bought a lottery or scratchie ticket?

Harmless fun you may think, and for many it is.

However, for some, the obsession to win has become an addictive, detrimental behaviour that has destroyed lives, families and friendships.

Why use a mortgage broker to refinance?

Refinancing could potentially save you on interest, so it’s worth regularly reviewing your mortgage. Here’s why it’s a good idea to use a mortgage broker to refinance, rather than going direct to a lender.

Expertise you can trust

The mortgage industry has gone through a great deal of change over the years. With so many lenders and varying policies, it is complex and can be overwhelming, which is why you need a professional on your side.
A mortgage broker is a trained finance specialist. We understand the system and know which products work best for our clients. What’s more, mortgage brokers are up-to-date with all the latest industry developments.

The true cost of a spring spruce up

Spring is here!

The sun is shining, the weather keeps improving, and with it often comes that urge for a thorough spring clean. With Christmas holidays looming in the not too distant future, September/October is a very popular time of year for home improvements and renovations.

And let’s be honest, we’ve all watched a few episodes of Love it Or List It and to produce changes in just one week looks easy, right?


How to protect your home against storm damage - and how home insurance can help.

When it rains, it pours. When an umbrella just won’t cut it, insurance can. Don’t get blown away by surprise storms.

Storms can be relentless in their damage; lightning that sends a nearby tress into your roof, rainwater that gathers in your basement and drenches your furniture, hail the size of golf balls that shatter your windows.

Why should I get a pre-approval?

Purchasing a property can be stressful and daunting time, considering the amount of dollars you are dealing with. Getting a pre-approval from your lender before you make an offer on a property should bring you some peace of mind that you won’t end up in serious hot water.

Lifestyle Creep: The 'money trap' only 4 percent of people outsmart

It starts with a small pay rise and seems innocent enough — but it catches 96 per cent of Australians by surprise, with “dangerous” consequences.

The biggest mistake of my financial life happened when I was in my early 20s with no serious responsibilities.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just been advised that I was getting a pay rise, a significant one at the time in terms of what I was earning.

I couldn’t believe my luck. Here I was, just 20-something, and I was about to get more money than I thought possible for someone my age.

So you can imagine what I did, right? Well you might be wrong, my financial competence had not kicked in at this stage, so my first thoughts were how I was going to spend this money.

Renovations to future-proof your home

There are many benefits to renovating your home. Renovations add value to your property, whilst also giving you the opportunity to improve your lifestyle. For those looking for more space, it may also be a more cost-effective option than buying a new place, considering the cost of agent’s fees and stamp duty.

If your current home no longer serves your needs, it may be a better idea to give your property a facelift than sell up and move. Here are some renovation ideas to future-proof your home. But first, why renovate?

Reasons to renovate

What comes first? The Property or The Loan?

What comes first? The Property or The Loan?

It’s easy to get carried away with the fun part of buying a property – looking at houses – but delaying the less compelling task of arranging finance will weaken your negotiating position on both the property and the loan.

Looking for a property to purchase is an exciting time. Choices regarding location, size, number of rooms and local amenities often see house hunters carried away in a deluge of daydreams and anticipation.

What you need to know about offset accounts

Mortgages are different for everybody. It depends on your circumstances and whether you are looking to purchase your first home, an investment or refinance. Another factor to consider when choosing a mortgage is to evaluate what options your lender provides to help you save on your loan like an offset account or redraw facility. Good news, most lender offer both of these options.

What exactly is an offset account exactly?

An offset account is a transactional account linked to your mortgage, and it can help you save on the interest of your loan. 

Majority believe brokers make getting a mortgage easier

The vast majority of Australians believe the home loan application process to be a negative one, but two-thirds believe that using a mortgage broker makes getting a home loan easier, new research from Aussie has found.


The findings come in a new Cutting through the Home Loan Crap report, which saw more than 2,000 Australians surveyed by Lonergan Research between 28 June and 7 July 2019.

Notably, the vast majority (84 per cent) of borrowers said they believed there were benefits to using a “home loan expert (e.g. mortgage brokers)” throughout the home loan process,

5 tips to reduce your pool's energy usage and trim your power bill

Spring has sprung! And for pool owners across the country, that means saying hello to afternoon tanning and late night dips. But rather than wait another spring & summer, there are a few things you can do now to reduce your pool’s energy usage not only for summer, but all year round.

Tips to build your own home

Here’s an overview of what’s involved if you’re considering building a new home for the first time.

What’s your budget?

The first step to building a home is deciding what you can afford to spend. When buying a home that’s already built, determining how much money you need is quite straightforward. However, it’s not so simple when building. Once you’ve finalised your budget you’ll know if you need finance. We can help determine your borrowing capacity to get your build underway.

Riding the rollercoaster: 6 feelings you're likely to experience as a first-time buyer

There’s no doubt about it – buying your first home is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life! However, it is an emotional journey. Here are 6 feelings you may experience as part of the purchasing roller coaster (buckle your seatbelts – it’s quite a ride!).

1) Excitement at the prospect of buying

Four signs it may be time to refinance

Do you know what happened after the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate in June? Tens of thousands of Aussies took the Treasurer’s advice to “shop around and get the best possible deal”. Mortgage brokers around the country have recorded spikes in their home loan, investment loan and refinance borrower enquiries following the announcement.

The moral of the story? Now is the time to review your home loan. Here are four signs you may be overdue for a check-up.

Helping borrowers find the right deal

Anyone planning to apply for a home loan should think twice before getting cash out at the supermarket, shut down any accounts with buy now, pay later credit providers and, of course, beware of using a credit card to fund gambling.

All such habits lose marks with mortgage lenders, who need to be sure an applicant is a good credit risk and can service a loan.

Mortgage brokers can help navigate this minefield as well as help lower the cost of a mortgage by giving applicants advice about how to make themselves more attractive to a bank.

Unusual property investment opportunities

Mention property investment and most people think of a conventional house or apartment. However, there are other types of property investment opportunities which may appeal to those with a little more imagination!

In this article, we share some out-of-the-box ideas you may not have considered. Remember, your mortgage broker can assist with finance for all different types of property investments, including those with a twist.

How to prepare for the Spring property season

The busy Spring property season is just around the corner and you know what that means? Whether you’re planning to buy or sell, NOW is the time to start getting organised.

Here’s how.

Keeping up with appearance is holding Australians back

Most of us are guilty of spending too much money on things we really shouldn’t. Maybe there’s one too many dinners out every week, or you enjoy a weekend away every month or so. It can be fun, there’s no doubt about it. But what impact does it have on our lives, especially financially?

Who’s feeling the pressure?

Participants were surveyed on their attitudes and behaviours towards their finances. 

10 things that can derail your mortgage application

Securing finance to purchase a property can be difficult, which is why it is essential to make sure your application is error free. Below is a list of guidelines to follow.

1. Be honest about your financial position

How can first-time borrowers avoid a stressful home-loan application?

While home-loan approval gets Australian borrowers fired-up, the application process and the waiting game keep them anxious and stressed.

Borrowers, particularly the first-home buyers, find the home-loan application process emotionally draining. In fact, one in two first-home borrowers describes the home-loan application process as stressful while two in five said it is overwhelming.


Loanxious - How much is your old home loan really costing you?

In the current low interest-rate environment, Australians borrowers are urged to look for home-loan offers with mortgage rates around the lower 3% range, an expert said.

Following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s back-to-back rate cuts in June and July, lenders started passing on the cuts to their borrowers, with some even cutting their mortgage rates below the 3% mark.

Money Stress to Success - passes the holiday test

This story is personal….


Everything I teach you via my ‘Money Stress to Success’ blog series was tested on our recent family trip to Thailand and Singapore. 


First, a little background about me. I’m married to a wonderful man and even though we’re happy, it doesn’t preclude us from the occasional differences of opinion.

We have three teenage kids, which involves many lively discussions. And even though we planned and budgeted for an amazing trip. We never imagined the following experience that changed and challenged many things.

Let me start at the beginning….

New assessment rate for Home Loans

The guidelines used to assess home loans have changed. Because of record low interest rates, APRA will now allow lenders to set their own assessment rate. The good news is, some Australian borrowers will be able to significantly increase their borrowing power.

What has happened to the assessment rate?

Borrowers urged to hunt for 3% mortgage rate

In the current low interest-rate environment, Australians borrowers are urged to look for home-loan offers with mortgage rates around the lower 3% range, an expert said.

Following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s back-to-back rate cuts in June and July, lenders started passing on the cuts to their borrowers, with some even cutting their mortgage rates below the 3% mark.

To guarantor or to gift?

Many Australians now believe that first home buying is still out of reach for many. Even with the recent smaller property price tags, higher prices over the last decade meant FHBs have sometimes required larger deposits (depending on the Loan to Value Ratio) and taken longer to enter the property market. Research reveals the biggest hurdle FHBs face is saving a sufficient deposit².

Gift or loan? The devil is in the detail

Granny Flat Could Boost Property Values by 30 Percent

More than half a million home owners across Australia’s eastern seaboard have enough space on their property to build a granny flat, which could boost home values by 30 per cent and add around 27% to rental income.

17 Tiny Habits That Drain Your Energy

Our habits are what ultimately build who we are. If we build positive daily habits, we create ourselves in a positive and thoughtful direction. If we build negative daily habits, we find wake up in deep holes while at the same time wondering how we got there in the first place. The key, then, is to understand how these habits come to be–and having the awareness to spot those that prohibit larger, more positive growth.

Here are some of the most common “bad habits” that tend to sneak under the radar and cause more harm than good.

What An Open Banking Regime Means For You

On 1 July 2019, the open banking regime officially began, with the four major banks now offering data on a variety of products as part of the regime’s roll-out. Over the next two years, a phased implementation of open banking will be carried out, not only taking the friction out of banking, according to experts, but also leading to the rise of a whole new class of products and services in the financial sector. So, what changes can you expect?

10 mindless ways you're wasting money

Money burning a hole in your pocket?

As mortgage brokers, a key part of a Pivotal Financial brokers job is to save their clients every dollar they can through ensuring they have the most competitive loan products available. However, there are some things that they can’t help them with, and that’s everything else that they spend their money on.

Most of us despise budgeting, but you’d be surprised just how much you unconsciously spend when you don’t keep track of your outgoing dollars each month.

Here are 10 ways you’re blowing it without knowing it – 

Why are there Mortgage Brokers?

In particular, mortgage brokers work closely with borrowers by preparing the documents for the lender, submitting the application, liaising with both parties through the process and answering questions through the loan approval stage. 

It’s all about the relationship

For most people a mortgage is the biggest loan they will ever undertake and it will most likely be part of their financial situation for many years.

And THIS is the REAL point of difference you won’t experience with a bank…

Is one phone call really all it takes to secure a lower interest rate?

In 2019, ‘your interest rate should have a three in front of it’, is common advice for home owners considering the competitiveness of their loan settings.

But while a number of lenders offer lower rates to new customers, it’s not always so simple for existing customers to secure the same outcome.

A leading mortgage and finance broker says that if people want a better deal on their mortgage, there are basically two options:

Turn your financial STRESS AROUND NOW

You are not alone if you worry about your financial situation………………

A recent Household Financial Comfort Report stated 30% of households felt their financial situation worsened in the past year. And that’s a worry considering we are, and have been for two years now, in the lowest interest rate period in history. 

How do you know it you are in, or heading towards, financial stress?

You are in financial stress when you:

RBA historic cut will spur renewed optimism

For the first time since August 2016, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the official cash rate to 1.25 per cent, following its monetary policy board meeting.

The cut was somewhat expected post the RBA governor Philip Lowe’s concession earlier this month that the board would “consider the case” for a rate cut in June, in light of flat inflation growth, subdued wage growth and weaker than expected labour market conditions.

Most analysts are expecting the RBA’s June decision to be the first of several cash rate reductions in 2019.

Attention now turns to mortgage rates.

Is one phone call really all it takes to secure a lower interest rate?

With official interest rates trending downward, shrewd mortgage holders may take the opportunity to call their lender to ask for a better deal.

But when even a small interest rate reduction means potential savings of thousands of dollars, is a simple phone call really enough to get you there?


Refinance your Investment Loan?

Am I eligible to refinance my investment loan?

  • You must owe less than 80% of the property value on your investment loan.
  • You can refinance at any time (if you owe less than 80%) if you’re on a variable interest rate.
  • You can refinance on a fixed rate if you find that you’re likely to recoup the cost of early exit fees within the first two years of refinancing (applies to borrowers releasing equity to purchase another investment property).

Find out if you’re in a position to refinance an investment loan

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Sick of Renting?

Buying your first home is a big deal. It is both exciting and scary at the same time – rather like bungee jumping!

There are two main components to buying your first home, but they don’t have to feel like a leap of faith. They can be informed, educated processes.

The first component is sorting out your finances, and the second is finding the right home and making the purchase.

7 Things you need to know before building a granny flat/tiny house

Building a granny flat/tiny house in your backyard can be a lengthy and stressful process. But it can also be a great investment and serves a number of purposes including extra space for relatives or guests, a playroom for the kids, or it can even be rented out to tenants.

Blog - What are you willing to Forego to have Money Success?

Money Success is a bigger picture, it’s about YOU. Who you are and the WHY behind what you do!

It makes foregoing the nonsense time wasting activities easier. Yes, it takes effort but it’s necessary for Money Success.

Successful people sacrifice Time Wasters to achieve their dreams all the time, for them it’s a no brainer.

Coping with Mortgage Stress

New data shows a sharp increase in the number of homeowners going into retirement with a mortgage, while the average debt-to-income ratio amongst those with mortgages has pretty much doubled across every home-owning age group. Not surprising, mortgage stress is also on the rise. We share our tips for coping with and avoiding mortgage stress.

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Could a loan restructure be right for you?

The lending market shifts constantly in terms of policies, trends and lender requirements. Your personal circumstances and financial situation will also very likely change over the course of your initial loan term. These changes create a great opportunity to do a mortgage health check and reassess your finances, to make sure your existing loan still satisfies your borrowing needs and remains competitive in the marketplace.

What are the benefits of a Home Loan health check?

Whether you are preparing for a Home Loan or already have a Home Loan.

Time goes quickly and circumstances change, so we wanted to reach out and offer you a FREE Home Loan Health Check to ensure you still have the right home loan for your current needs.

A home loan health check can unlock a world of benefits including:-

Buying a home with a small deposit

If you’re struggling to save a deposit to buy a property, you may be wondering what your options are. Should you keep saving and potentially miss out on a bargain or optimal buying conditions in the market, or do you push ahead and apply for a mortgage with a small deposit?

While it’s not easy securing a mortgage with a small deposit, it is certainly possible.

Here are three ways to do this.

Why your mortgage broker is calling you

Wondering why your mortgage broker is contacting you six months after you’ve settled on your property? The simple answer is that a finance broker is with you for life.

You’ve scored the home of your dreams with the help of your mortgage broker and you’ve just popped the bubbly to celebrate.


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I switched from Moet to Yellow Tail Bubbles....Why?

Everyone loves Champagne the more expensive the better, right?

Keeping up appearances

Like 35% of Australians, we spend thoughtlessly to maintain a lifestyle and accrue credit card debt and/or a personal loan.

Want to get the tax-man to help you buy business equipment?

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is a great time to purchase a work vehicle or equipment for your business. The Federal Government passed legislation last year to extend and increase the instant asset tax write-off for small businesses. That means if your business is eligible, you could potentially make several purchases up to $30,000 each this financial year, then claim the expenses back on your next tax return – and get the tax-man to help you pay for it!

Tiny Houses

It’s easy to understand why we look for the largest, most prestigious properties we can afford – we are constantly urged to define our success by our possessions: bigger, better, newer, faster, shinier. A relatively recent counter-movement, however, urges lower impact, fewer goods and less consumption, and at its core nestles the tiny house.

Undateable Debt?

Why it pays to know your partner’s credit score

Nothing unravels a blossoming relationship quite like a bad credit history. Seriously!

Ok, I know what you’re thinking “yeah right sure finance lady, it’s not about how you look or how you come across personality-wise or even if you are a dog or cat person it’s all about your credit report…give me a break.” And well that might be true, bear with me….

3 money saving tips for buying a new car

That new car smell, the smooth ride, the envious look on your neighbour’s face, the empty savings account … hang on, that’s not right.

There are certain things that make buying a new car worth it, and an empty bank account certainly isn’t one of them. But you know what? You really don’t need to spend as much as everyone else does for a brand new car and here’s how you go about it.

What does your suburb choice say about your age?

What are some of the factors that influence your choice of living in one area over another?

1,000 Australians were surveyed and uncovered the most important suburb factors people consider when choosing to buy property. Different age groups were surveyed to find out if Generation Y (ages 18-34) think differently to their parents and grandparents.

1 in 2 borrowers facing mortgage hardship

Almost half of borrowers are struggling to meet their home loan repayments, new research from Finder has revealed.

A survey of 828 mortgage holders, conducted by rate comparison website, has revealed that approximately 48 per cent of borrowers are struggling to meet home loans repayments.

Of those struggling to meet repayments, 40 per cent said they are living month-to-month, 7 per cent said they are “barely able to make payments”, and 2 per cent said they are “behind on repayments.”

How to get a home loan when you're single

Getting approved for a home loan when you’re single may be more difficult but it’s not impossible. Here are our tips for securing a mortgage and getting on the property ladder even when there’s just one income coming in.

Times have changed

Did you know that just over 30 years ago single women needed a male guarantor in order to get a home loan? Thankfully times have changed.

A Man Is Not A Financial Plan

Women around the world face huge problems when it comes to money. For many, there’s a gender pay gap, time out of work to look after children and working lives that are usually shorter. We are great savers but are reluctant to take the plunge to invest to build wealth, consequently dragging behind the net worth’s of men.

What is LVR and how to calculate it.

Know how much equity you have in your home.

A Loan-to-Value Ratio is the size of a loan compared to the value of a property expressed as a percentage.

You can find this out by dividing the amount you’ll need to borrow to purchase a property by the property’s value.

How you eat your Easter eggs says a lot about you

From the gorger, to the hoarder and even the foil folder – how you tackle your chocolate Easter stash says a lot about your money management, according finance expert.

FINANCE and eggs have a long relationship, just look at the term “nest egg” — a substantial sum of cash that’s been saved or invested for a specific purpose like retiring, buying a home or travelling the world — for a start.

But did you know everything from how you collect, to unwrap and indulge in eggs at Easter, could give an insight into your money management and finance habits?

Check out the five types of egg lovers to see what sounds like you.

Protect your nest egg this Easter

Why not make some time while you over indulge on those chocolate eggs to give some thought about your very important nest egg. The long weekend also opens up the perfect opportunity for you to spend some time thinking about whether your home loan is working as best as it can for you and your needs.

Mortgage Rate Scandal

There is no question that the high mortgage interest rates of the late 1980s limited housing affordability. Because of this, I and many others, lost our first homes and financially struggled for a long period before saving enough money to buy another one. It is what I learnt from this experience that I shall pass on to you now …

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Nowadays, just about everyone who buys a house has a mortgage. When a client goes directly to a bank, the way the loan is sold to them is usually based on interest rates rather than knowing how the loan actually works. Quite often a discussion about ways in which the debt can be paid down faster has not even taken place.

Mortgage rates are frequently advertised in the media, social media and the banks themselves. In the 80’s this did not happen and people never refinanced because of interest rates. They stayed with their loan and paid it off.

There is a lot of speculation about which direction the rates will move and this obsession with interest rates has become the focal point of the financial decision-making process. Don’t be fooled! Although it’s tempting to focus on interest rates as a starting point for comparing your mortgage options, understanding your loan structure is far more important.

What the banks don’t tell us and do not want us to know, is that the interest rate itself, plays only a small part in how much interest you pay, and how fast you will pay back your loan. The real secret to paying the loan off quicker, has almost everything to do with how the loan has been set up. (Structured). Generally, traditional home loans are structured over a 30-year term. This allows the lenders (primarily banks) to maximise interest whilst making the repayments look minimal. This entices you into the loan agreement.

Have you noticed that loans are getting bigger and rates are getting cheaper? The longer the term, the lower the repayments. As house prices increase, loan terms will become longer (50 years plus) to enable affordability. There are already loans of 75 years and more in Japan and Europe. Australian bank profits have increased 4 times more today at emergency low rates of 1.5% than what they were in the 80’s at their peak when rates went as high as 20%. The average loan in the 80’s was $100k – today it’s $800k … the figures below are staggering! What will bank profits be if the loan goes to 60-70 years. Banks want this to happen so they can push out more debt and make more profit.

The key principle of mortgage reduction is that “interest is calculated on the daily balance”. So how do we beat it?

The day-to-day balance of the mortgage account has a significant impact on the interest charged to your home loan, and therefore the term of your loan. So, by utilising all of your money to your advantage we can prove that a loan with a higher interest rate but better structure, can easily outperform a loan with a lower interest rate and poor structure.

The truth is, no one has ever paid their house off any faster just because they got a cheaper rate! The only way you can pay your house off faster is to reduce time and the only way you can do that is to put more money into your mortgage.

You will get a lot of benefit out of talking to a Pivotal Financial Broker, we can help you to structure your loan properly rather than just walking into a bank.

First Meeting With A Finance Broker

If you’re looking for a home loan but are inexperienced with finance brokers, attending your first appointment with a broker can be a nervous experience. Getting a home loan, after all, can be quite complex for a first-timer. There are lots of brokers around and there is a lot to learn. But there are many steps you can take to be confident that your appointment will be a success.

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What comes first? The Property or The Loan?

It’s easy to get carried away with the fun part of buying a property – looking at houses – but delaying the less compelling task of arranging finance will weaken your negotiating position on both the property and the loan.

Why your Broker asks so many questions

Ever wondered why mortgage brokers have to ask you so many questions about your financial circumstances? It’s to ensure that fraudulent applications don’t slip through the cracks and that your loan suits your needs now and your plans for the future.

How to buy a House when you have a HECS or HELP debt

Paying off your education is no reason to put off buying property.

You can remember it now: sitting in a chair at the back of the lecture theatre, chatting to your friends and ignoring the debt that each day at university was plunging you into.

But now you’re older and wiser, and reality has set in. You want to buy a property, but you’re unsure how your student HECS or HELP debt could impact your ability to take out a loan.


So what is Bank-xiety and why are Australians feeling Bank-xious?

96% of homebuyers who used a mortgage broker would choose to use one again according to a new report from Momentum Intelligence. Download report here.

An essential report for anyone who has an interest in preserving positive outcomes for consumers in Australia’s mortgage lending market.

Throughout the recent Royal Commission into financial services we have heard much about the remuneration structures of Mortgage Brokers but there has been little asked of the Australian borrower.

Based on an in-depth study of over 5,800 Australian broker and bank customers, The Consumer Access to Mortgages Report highlights consumer sentiment around how brokers are paid for their services and what their satisfaction levels were with the distribution channel they used.

If you are interested in gaining a better understanding of the consumer sentiments on the mortgage lending market and the implications of introducing a fee-for-service model on consumer outcomes, download the report today.


 96% of consumers who used a mortgage broker were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied”

79% have no concerns with the commission structure of brokers
96% of broker customers would choose a broker again when securing finance
58% of Australian consumers are not prepared to pay a ‘fee-for-service’

"Bidding at Auction" -
Dene Tucker - Auctioneer RE/MAX Auction Services

Bidding at Auction

Purchasing a property is a big decision and can often be quite daunting. Auctions play a major role in how properties are sold in Australia so it is important to feel comfortable about bidding at auction. If you don’t feel confident in bidding, your agent or perhaps a friend or relative can convey these bids for you as long as the relevant paperwork has been completed prior to the auction starting.

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Home Buyer traps to Avoid

Buying a home is one of the largest and most complex purchases you’re ever likely to make. And getting it wrong can have a significant impact on both your financial and emotional health. That’s why it’s important to take time to fully research and understand the process and the complexities that go along with home buying. Here are our home buyer traps to avoid.

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Not getting pre-approved

In this highly competitive property market, getting a pre-approval for a mortgage is absolutely the first step in the home buying process. And while the amount of paperwork involved may put you off, not getting pre-approved before looking for a property will ultimately cost you.

Securing a pre-approval helps define your property search so you know what price range you can realistically afford. It also shows the seller that you’re serious about buying, and it’s an absolute must-have if you’re buying at auction.

Not saving a deposit

At the very least, you need to have saved a 10 per cent deposit of the property value. If you have less than this, you still have a few options: you could ask a family member to gift you part of the deposit, or act as a guarantor on your home loan. Either way, lenders want to see you are capable of saving a deposit.

Not doing your homework

Defining what it is you’re looking for in a home is an essential part of the home buying process. Before you attend an open house, consider what it is that’s important to you in buying a property: for example, living closer to work or schools, a family lifestyle with a large garden, access to public transport.

Research reliable property data to get a realistic idea of property prices and what you can expect to buy for your budget. Remember to factor in the costs associated with buying, like mortgage registration and transfer fees, loan application and establishment fees, and Lenders Mortgage Insurance if you’re borrowing more than 80 per cent of the property value.

Not working with a mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers have access to a far bigger pool of financial resources and can often secure finance for buyers who have been turned down in the past. In many instances, mortgage brokers are able to negotiate sharper interest rates or terms. Most importantly, they’re experienced in dealing with and understanding lending policies of different lenders, so are able to guide you through the home buying process and ensure you make the best decisions.

Get in touch with our team today if you need assistance or advice around the home buying process.

9 Way You Can Pay Off Your Mortgage, Faster, And Increase Your Net Worth

9 Ways You Can Pay Off Your Mortgage, Faster, And Increase Your Net Worth

Your home is probably your most valuable asset.

Trouble is? It’s also likely your largest debt.

In order to increase your net worth, and ensure your home is freehold before retirement, paying off your mortgage should be your top priority. With the average mortgage term being 30 years and the ABC reporting that Australians are increasing “….paying down their mortgages later in life”, reducing this timeframe can seem an insurmountable task.

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It's time to put YOU first!

Despite over two years of a stagnant cash rate, some borrowers have seen their mortgage interest rate rise whilst lenders have adopted stricter policies and criteria creating one of the most complex lending environments in recent memory.

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This tightened lending environment, means a larger number of Australians are experiencing difficulty securing a home loan due to new, stricter assessment criteria in which their savings and living expenses are being forensically examined.

That being said, those who present less risk are able to negotiate a more competitive home loan deal with lenders, who are competing vigorously for financially fit borrowers.

Looking ahead, it is important if you are looking to secure a home loan in 2019 to get your finances in order and seek expert advice from a qualified mortgage professional, who can guide you through the process and offer a choice of lenders.

Why the RBA decided to hold the cash rate again

Firstly, the latest National Australia Bank Business Survey revealed that business conditions remained well above average in October.

Further, the Westpac Melbourne Institute of Consumer Sentiment revealed that consumer confidence had undergone a clear improvement over 2018. Respondents were much more positive about their own finances, due in part to a sustained period of low interest rates.

The most recent Hedonic Home Value Index from CoreLogic revealed that national dwelling values fell by 0.7% over November, and were down 4.2% since peaking in October last year. This follows several years of strong growth in dwelling values and can be attributed to measures implemented by Australia’s financial regulators in recent years. The decline in dwelling values, particularly in the nation’s capitals could open the door to those looking to get their foot in the property market.

Encouragingly, the most recent Labour Force survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed an unemployment rate of 5.0% in October and the nation’s participation rate is close to record highs, which could be a positive indicator for wage growth coming into the New Year.

The RBA board does not meet to make a cash rate decision in January however lenders’ interest rates could move in the interim

Coming into the New Year, if you are looking to buy your first home or investment property to take stock of your financial situation and set clear, strategic goals. Falling property prices and attractive interest rates on new loans present a good opportunity for those looking to buy their first home.

First time buyers should make an appointment to speak to their local mortgage broker to find out if they’re in a good financial position to secure a home loan. An experienced broker will review a prospective borrower’s financial position and help coach them through the steps to get home buying ready.

If you are already in a home loan, the end of the year is a good time to take stock and ensure their existing home loan is still suited to their needs. Borrowers should get a home loan health check to determine whether they could secure a more competitive interest rate or access flexible loan features.

At Pivotal Financial, our brokers know what lenders are looking for when they assess your home loan application. They also know which lenders are suited to your individual needs and financial goals and can help you get a competitive home loan deal.

Get in touch with your local broker today.

Why You Need To Do A Financial Detox

There are all sorts of detoxes out there, ranging from the commonly found health detox (which has actually been debunked as a myth), to digital detox, home detox, and relationships detox. Apart from removing all the toxins from your body, the term ‘detox’ is also used as a catchall phrase for removing something harmful from your life nowadays. But for all the fuss over detoxes, there’s one sort of detox that hasn’t been talked about enough – the financial detox.

Brokers to further “champion” the best interest of borrowers.

A backdrop of out-of-cycle interest rate rises presents brokers with a unique opportunity to highlight their value to clients and generate new business, according to industry stakeholders.

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Industry leaders have highlighted opportunities for brokers to further “champion” the best interest of borrowers in the current interest rate environment, with the Bank of Queensland (BOQ) the latest lender to adjust its pricing out-of-cycle – increasing home loan rates by up to 18 basis points.

Throughout 2018, several lenders, including three of the big four banks, increased their home loan rates in response to rising wholesale funding costs, despite cash rate inertia from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

Such developments “further highlight the great need for the mortgage broker industry in the financial landscape”.

Brokers are champions for customers.

The rate hikes have happened at a time when people could be distracted with holidays and the end of the festive season.

This is why mortgage brokers are such a valuable service. Without brokers, customers would have very little ability to recognise these changes and then act on them.

This is what the broker market is designed to do – to support customers through changes like this.

Brokers with recent rate changes are providing clients with credit alternatives from lenders with more suitable pricing arrangements.

If banks are moving out of the rate cycle turning customer loans uncompetitive, then it is the job of the broker to find what else is out there for their customers and put them with a bank who may not be experiencing the same funding issues.

Considering lenders’ consistent out-of-cycle rate increases of last year, borrowers should expect more of the same in 2019.

Looking after the client’s best interest is what brokers do. The start of the year is a perfect time for brokers to touch base with their clients.

Therefore, we would encourage brokers whose customers may have been affected by recent rate hikes to have conversations with their clients and assess whether they are still in a suitable product for their needs.

The Adviser has been informed that brokers have observed a rise in refinancing volumes off the back of rate hikes in 2018, which were also driven by “numerous ad-hoc policy changes.

The landscape has become increasingly more complex, and I think that more and more borrowers need help from brokers who can keep on top of rate and policy movements.

Brokers keep abreast of interest rate and credit policy changes, in what is described as a “fluid” mortgage landscape.

Financial stress affecting 2 in 5 employees

Approximately 40 per cent of Australian employees are experiencing financial stress, costing businesses an estimated $31.1 billion, according to new research from AMP.

AMP’s Financial Wellness report has revealed that two in five Australians are experiencing financial stress during their careers, with nearly half feeling financially stressed for an average of six and a half years or more.

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According to the report, there are currently 2.44 million Australians suffering from financial stress, costing Australian businesses an estimated $31.1 billion per year in lost revenue, with employees troubled by their financial circumstances taking an extra 2.4 sick days per year and spending almost an hour per week dealing with money problems at work.

When assessing which segments of the labour market are most affected by financial stress, the AMP research found:

  • Women are more affected than men, with 24 per cent of women found to be in financial stress compared with 14 per cent of men.
  • Brisbane and Adelaide are the two cities worst impacted, with 25 and 22 per cent of workers, respectively, reporting financial stress.
  • Those who earn between $50,000 to $74,999 are the most likely to feel financially stressed.

AMP’s director of workplace super, Ilaine Anderson, also observed that employees are most affected by financial stress in the months of January and February.

“As the holiday season comes to an end, and credit card bills start to roll in, many Australians will be starting the new year under significant financial pressure,” she said.

“While many people think money worries are a personal issue, our research shows being financially stressed spills into your working life, increasing absenteeism and impacting productivity.”

Ms Anderson noted the importance of goal-setting in easing the burden of financial stress.

“The research shows if people have well-defined goals and a plan in place to achieve them, they have greater peace of mind. Goals help lift people above the day-to-day expense cycle, allowing a more ‘in-control’, longer-term view,” she continued.

“People don’t wake up and think ‘I’m going to get a home loan’ – it starts with the desire, or a goal, to buy a house. Connecting finances with goals helps us engage with our finances, and then having a plan to achieve these goals can significantly ease stress.”

The AMP director added that employers can play an important role in promoting financial wellness in the workplace.

“The research found flexible working hours and the ability to work from home improved employee performance, engagement and financial wellness. Reducing the stigma around financial stress is also important, as many of those surveyed cited embarrassment and guilt as a major reason for not tackling their financial woes,” Ms Anderson said.

“We need to make sure talking money isn’t seen as taboo and implement financial literacy campaigns within our businesses to help employees achieve their financial goals.”


What is co-housing and could it work for you?

Co-housing is a way of living that offers many benefits, especially for seniors. If the concept is unfamiliar, you may be conjuring up images of a 1970s hippy commune, but rest assured you won’t have to wear tie dye t-shirts or become a vegan to be accepted!

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Which option is right for you - to rent or buy?

To rent or buy? For some, renting makes good financial sense. For others, it’s just money down the drain. For you it may be a question of short-term convenience versus long-term financial growth, which can make it a difficult decision to make.

When is the right time to refinance an investment property?

Loan refinancing is a strategy used by property investors to access funds – usually to grow or improve the value of their property portfolio. The right time to do it largely depends on your strategy, plans and equity.

Why Choose A Mortgage Broker

Ultimately, a broker will always act in the best interests of their client.

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8 questions to ask your Mortgage Broker

Using a good mortgage broker can be an effective way to quickly compare multiple home loans and get the deal that’s right for you. But how do you tell whether your mortgage broker is a good one?

After Pay, lay By Apps and your Home Loan

Afterpay it. Buy now, Pay later. Shop Now, Pay Later. Interest Free.

We’re seeing more and more of them come into the market and they allow you to buy now,

Welcome to our July Newsletter

Last month, we continued to see considerable property market activity, despite the arrival of the cold weather.

Auction clearance rates continue to fall, indicating that conditions are currently favouring buyers.

Help for the Home Buyer

Buying a home is probably the biggest and most exciting financial decision you’ll ever make, especially if it’s your first.

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When it comes to the traditional lenders, getting an approval for a loan can mean having to tick a lot of boxes and fitting into a long list of fixed and pre-programmed criteria. At Pivotal Financial we have a much more personal approach, it’s all about helping to find a solution that suits your individual needs.

In fact, 54% of Aussies turned down for a loan didn’t know there was an alternative.

There is – and it’s us.

Thinking outside the tick box

thinking outside the boxWe understand that in real life everyone’s situation is different. That’s why we look at a wide range of things when we assess any application for a loan. Instead of simply ticking boxes we like to get a good detailed understanding of your situation before we start making decisions. Because we understand the need to move quickly, once we’ve got all your documentation, provided it checks out, we can give you a conditional approval quickly.

It’s all about being flexible

We’re not about how you can fit into a traditional box, we’re about doing our best to provide home loan products that have a little more flexibility.

Buying a home involves a lot of thinking and planning, which, can be a little bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve made sure the process here is as simple and streamlined as possible. To make it easy for you.

Your situation might not be typical but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be able to get a home loan.

By being flexible, we’ve been able to help thousands of people in Australia to own their own home.

Give us a call today and let’s see how we can help you, make your next move your best move.

Get ready for Summer in Winter and SAVE

Pivotal Financial can help you get ready for Summer!

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It’s difficult to imagine winter being the ideal time for anything, apart from naps, roaring fireplaces and mugs of hot tea. However, for those of us who can resist the urge to hibernate the cold away, the chilly months may actually be the best time of year for home renovations.

If you are thinking about renovations below are some points as to why it could be a good idea to accomplish these renovations in winter months……

  • Builders are more available

Summer weather, particularly in high-rainfall areas can cause delays in large building projects which require a lot of external and structural work.

Because of this, a lot of developers and architects prefer to break ground on new and large constructions during months with more predictable conditions. That means a lot of contractors who are booked up during the summer months become available for smaller projects when the cold weather sets in.

  • It’s Cheaper

With the decrease in available work and increase in builder availability during winter, this puts pressure on builders to stay busy, which makes it easier to convince them to reduce their profit margins in order to win your contract.

  • Better quality workmanship

Another benefit of renovating during the off-season is that you don’t have to settle for a builder. In peak seasons, most well-established, top-quality builders won’t accept a small domestic project – at least not at a price point your average homeowner is willing to pay. In winter, however, the larger builders often have spare capacity to accept small jobs at more reasonable rates, which gives homeowners the option of using a professional team that holds a QBCC License.

  • Outdoor areas are not in use

Winter is the ideal time for refurbishing swimming pools, patios and other outdoor entertainment areas since they’ll largely be unused during the cold weather, and you wont have to sacrifice their enjoyment while you build.

Pivotal Financial help our customers access competitive loan rates for their mortgage, commercial premises, business or assets.

We’ll research competitive rates, home loan products and deals across more than 30 lenders, and then give you recommendations based on your needs.

Some New Financial Year Resolutions you can keep

The new financial year is here, and now’s a good time to check up on your loan and see how you’re tracking.

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Here are some great tips to ensure you handle your home loan/s as well as you can.

1. Budget

Make sure your home loan is factored in as part of a well-thought out budget. Your loan repayments should be the first thing you set aside when you’re planning ahead, such as saving for a holiday or looking to reduce unnecessary spending. 

2. Payment Frequency

You can choose whether you want to make repayments weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Opting to pay weekly or fortnightly can help you get ahead on your loan, as this will equate to more repayments within the same year. There are 26 fortnights in a year but only 12 months in a year.

3. Round Up

If your repayment amount is an uneven number (e.g. $1,473 per month), if possible, round it up (e.g. $1,500) so that you are paying a little bit extra, each month. 

4. Make the most of low rates

With interest rates continuing to remain low, now is a good time to get ahead of your loan term. Keep your repayment amounts the same as when interest rates were higher, and your loan term will reduce while you build equity in your home, sooner.

5. Voluntary lump payments

A voluntary repayment is when you choose to make a repayment that exceeds your minimum required repayment amount. It’s a great way to reduce your loan balance and the interest charges you pay over the life of your home loan. 

6. Home Equity Loans

If you’re tracking well with your loan, you may want to think about using some of the equity in your home loan for home renovations, which could add more value to your home.

7. Stay in touch

It’s important to review your loan, particularly if your circumstances change. Stay in touch with your lender or let Pivotal Financial do all the work and review for you. 

Did you know that we can help with all of your finance needs and not just a home or property investment loan. Ask us about personal loans, super-competitive car loans, or finance options for other lifestyle purchases.

To find out more about your finance options, just call us today.

Brand or no Brand?

Nobody likes to pay extra for a brand name – especially when it comes to a home loan product where you can’t see the label. But that’s not the only reason more people are choosing home-brand loan products. They also give you:

5 reasons to chat to a mortgage broker about a new car

Buying a new car should be a fun experience, and that’s exactly what a Pivotal mortgage specialist can bring to the process – as we take the stress, hassle and time out of sorting out a car loan.

When should you refinance your home loan?

Refinancing a home loan – or moving your mortgage to a new provider – can sometimes save you real money. But you should always look beyond the headline interest rate to work out the real cost of switching.

Do I need to tweak my insurance policy in winter?

For most parts of Australia, winter isn’t coming…it’s well and truly arrived.

And with the onset of bitterly cold days comes a call from the insurance industry for householders to check they have enough insurance cover – and ensure they’re not putting themselves at fire and flood risk.

Does your Home Loan start with a 4 or a 5?

Should you be looking at maybe refinancing, whilst rates remain at a record low?

The potential benefits of refinancing are:

  • You will save money as you pay less interest over the life of the loan, which means…



Pivotal Financial is giving 1 lucky winner the chance to win a $200 Red Balloon Gift Voucher, to go on an EXPERIENCE of your choice you’ll remember.

Where are the Buyers?

If you’re selling in Sydney and Melbourne today, odds are you’ve noticed fewer people turning up at opens and few bidders competing at auction. There’s a few reasons why buyer numbers are down, so here’s what’s happening and what you can do about it.

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1.     Investors have lost interest

After five years of exceptional price growth, rental yields in Sydney and Melbourne are pretty low (3.2% and 3% respectively) in comparison to other capital cities (4.4% in Brisbane, 4.6% in Canberra) and the prospects for further capital growth in the short to medium term have diminished.

At this point in the cycle, investors leave to pursue other markets, which is something we are seeing in Brisbane now as more southern city investors look north for opportunity. First home buyers are somewhat filling the void left by investors but only in the lower price brackets.

If your property offers particularly strong investment credentials, such as separate accommodation that improves the overall yield; or a large land size with potential for re-development or sub-division, include these specifics in your marketing to capture investors’ attention.

2.     Owner occupiers have made other choices

There comes a point during booms when a sizeable proportion of owner-occupiers give up and depart the market. They decide prices are just too high, it’s simply too hard to compete and they’re better off staying put and renovating or doing a seachange out of the city altogether.

Having said that, there are still plenty of buyers out there today – your agent just has to work harder to find them and negotiate with them.

In this market climate, owner-occupiers are not willing to buy anything just to get into the market anymore, which means the better quality properties are attracting the greatest attention.

You and your agent need to do all you can to help buyers fall in love with your home. You can’t change the location but you can change the presentation of your property. You can also reach more buyers with a comprehensive marketing campaign.

3.     The credit crunch

Buyers’ borrowing capacity has changed and it’s taking longer to get approval following further credit tightening this year. This is a big issue in the market today. We’re hearing many stories of buyers pulling out the night before auction because their loan hasn’t come through in time.

Agents need to educate their buyers and ensure their pre-approvals are recent. If not, it’s wise to suggest they double check with their bank. The rules are changing day by day as each individual lender determines their new assessment criteria.

Agents should proactively refer buyers to high quality mortgage brokers that they personally know and trust. It’s part of an agent’s role right now to ensure every buyer interested in your home has their finance. With few buyers around, you don’t want to lose further competition because one or two of your best prospects have loan troubles.

If you’re selling via auction, you can always postpone if one or more of your serious buyers aren’t ready due to financing delays. This is a strategic decision though – talk to your agent.

4.     Fewer foreign buyers in our market

Australian property is less appealing to foreign buyers following the introduction of arbitrary application fees in 2015 and rising stamp duty surcharges and other taxes in several states.

The latest annual report from the Foreign Investment Review Board show approvals for residential property were down from 40,149 in FY2016 to 13,198 in FY2017. This is partly explained by the effect of the application fees, with investors now only applying when a purchase is highly likely.

Other factors include China limiting capital outflows and Chinese investors looking to cheaper and closer South East Asian markets like Thailand and Vietnam, which are also associated with the Belt and Road policy that aims to link China more directly with Eurasia via massive new infrastructure.

A drop in overseas investment, particularly from China, is being felt mainly by developers and investors selling newly-built homes, as non-resident foreigners can typically only buy new.

In conclusion…

It is normal for homes to take longer to sell in a post-boom market. The most important things you can do to ensure as many buyers as possible engage with your home is choose a good agent, price your home correctly and invest wisely in its presentation and a comprehensive marketing program.

How should I use my Equity?

How should I use my Equity?

With Australian property prices on the up, up and up, homeowners have likely earned equity on their existing mortgages since purchasing. In short, equity = assets – liability. If your house is worth $500k, and you have $200k remaining on your home loan, you have $300k worth of equity. Money in the bank, as they say!

Have no time?

Don’t have time to run around all the financial institutions to locate the best deal for you…..

Establishing Your Independence after separating from a partner?

Take the first step towards financial independence by learning how to manage your money.

Taking control of your finances after a divorce or separation is an empowering moment, and a big step toward independence.

There's no one size fits all approach to selling a home

“Should I sell my property to my current tenants? They have taken great care of the property and treasure it”.

Though this may seem the rational thing to do, but will the tenants pay a premium price for your property?

Some pros, cons and the potential costs involved in this process.WILL TENANTS PAY THE HIGHEST PRICE FOR YOUR PROPERTY?

Being a landlord myself I would like to think so.

As a real estate agent we often see home buyers get emotional when buying property.

It could be that your tenant may genuinely be emotionally attached to the house and may be willing to pay a good price for your property.

However from working within our property management department we find that most tenants don’t think of your property the way you do.

For example some tenants can feel a sense of ownership or entitlement and take on fixing/improving things themselves sometimes with or without your permission or knowledge.

If they have lived in the property the many years and made personal changes they start to think that you should reduce your price for what they have done to the property.

Some of these “improvements” may have actually devalued your property but they will still expect a discount.Big Painting Job !

You will also need to think about the wear and tear on the property when selling.

When the tenant moves they may need to restore the property back to the condition that it was in when they originally signed lease.

The property may be due for new carpeting or a fresh coat of paint.

This may help you get more for the property than if you sold it to the tenant in its current condition.

On the other hand, because your tenants have lived in the property and know it well, they may see past the imperfections of wear and tear that have occurred over the years and accept it in its current state.


If the tenants are currently in a lease, it may be a good idea to get your property manager to approach them, but keep in mind you are not obligated to sell with your current property manager.If you have a relationship with the tenants it may be a good option to approach them directly, but make sure you are a smart negotiator and don’t agree to below market price.

Ordinarily, managing agent agreements don’t have fees and charges if you decide to sell with a different real estate agent.

Tip: keep in mind there could be a lease break fee that you may have to pay to the agents and the tenants so double check your agreement. A good idea is to wait until the lease is up so you can keep your options open.

Another thing to keep in mind when selling is that legally, the ‘contract of sale’ should mention whether the property is tenanted or vacant.


Here is a table that can assist your decision process, but bear in mind if you do decide to sell directly to tenants, you can miss out on the highest possible price for your property.

Sell directly to tenants Sell the market and tenants
It can be acquired process with no signboard out the front of your property A large signboard in front of your property
Tenants could feel a sense of entitlement of the work they have done and ask for a lower price Tenant will be competing with all the buyers in the market and this may push the tenant to pay a higher price than what they expected
No pressure on the tenants to buy Tenants will have a sense of urgency to buy- they may stick to their legal limit of two inspections per week of buyers coming through
Save on agent fees You may have to pay for an agent to get the marketing right
The process can be very transparent if you have a good relationship with the tenants The tenants will have to contact the selling agent for information
Process may be fast Listing your property for auction will involve four weeks auction campaign
Dealing with the property manager may be difficult The selling real estate agent will deal with the property manager on any issues that arise and for tenant communication


Brokers still winning trust

Borrowers’ confidence in brokers seems undiminished by scrutiny.



Pivotal Financial, the RE/MAX Australia-owned finance group, has had a monumental first year, highlighted this month by multiple wins in the 2018 Connective Excellence Awards.

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Finance specialist, Danielle Wilson, was awarded Best Newcomer, which was open to brokers with under two years’ experience.

Miss Wilson said she had established very clear goals on what she wanted to achieve long before she changed her career path and entered the mortgage broking industry.

“I knew the client types that I wanted to help, the caliber of colleagues I wanted around me and the referral partners I wanted to align with.

“Partnering up with the right brokering group meant that I was confident in the support I would be getting to equip me with the tools and skills to achieve the goals I’d set.”

In June 2017, Matthew Andrews was tasked with restructuring the mortgage broking business for RE/MAX Australia.

He saw an opportunity to create a fresh, appealing brand that was relevant, engaging and modern for the target audiences – the RE/MAX network, mortgage broker partners and customers – and a brand that reflected the core values of the company:  Integrity, Competency, Accessibility and Amiability.

“We rebranded and re launched the new business, Pivotal Financial in August 2017, and launched a new marketing program that has helped establish our brand, attract new customers and increase market share in a competitive environment”

“The result of higher engagement with our broker group, RE/MAX network and customers has resulted in greater productivity.”

Pivotal Financial took out the Best Marketing category.

Pivotal Financial was represented in five categories in total, with finance specialist Victoria Senethep featuring as finalist for Mercury Hero, Compliance Hero and Best Newcomer.

“We are thrilled with these wins, and recognition as finalists, in the face of some very tough competition,” said General Manager Mr Andrews.

“Connective Excellence Awards winners are chosen for their expertise, integrity and outstanding customer service standards. We are very proud to accept this awards and be recognized amongst the best of the best in Australia’s mortgage and finance broking industry.”

Mr Andrews said Pivotal Financial has enjoyed building a strong relationship with Connective as its aggregator since last year.

“Connective is a dynamic and progressive thinking aggregator that leads industry competitors in innovation, technology and diversification, and a valuable strategic for Pivotal Financial, who are embracing technology to drive growth and performance,” he said.

For more information about Pivotal Financial, visit and contact Matthew Andrews on mobile 0411 439 611

Should you fix and if so for how long?

The thing about interest rates is that there is no right or wrong answer. What we know is that interest rates have remained historically low for some considerable time, often against prediction.

What we don’t know is how long that might continue.

4 Tips to avoid overspending this Christmas

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians splurged a whopping $47.5 billion during last year’s Christmas shopping period. That probably made for a lot of blistered credit cards and debt hangovers come February!

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As your credit advisor, I’d like to recommend a more sensible approach to spending this silly season. Here’s a few tips to help you keep things under control. Remember, Santa should be the only one heading south this Christmas, not your finances!

#1 Set a Christmas budget

It’s easy for things to get out of hand when you don’t have a budget. Before you hit the shopping plaza or blaze through the online shopping sites, put together a Christmas budget. Be sure to include the costs of meals, entertainment, gifts and festive wear for your Christmas party circuit. ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app allows you to set spending limits for different categories of Christmas expenses and track your spending as you go.

If you’re planning to travel or book holiday accommodation, you’ll need to factor those costs into your budget too. If you’re planning a big trip with air fares, consider seeing me about a personal loan rather than plonking it on your credit card. It could make it easier to pay off and potentially save you some money on interest.

#2 Know your triggers

To cut back on needless spending, understand the triggers that lead to impulse buying. Maybe you like to do a little late-night online shopping? If so, turn your phone off at dinnertime and leave it in a drawer until morning (don’t forget the alarm though!)

Perhaps you tend to get embroiled in the Christmas shopping frenzy as the big day approaches? Solution: do your shopping early and avoid the last-minute spending rush.

Another tip is to take cash with you to the shops and to leave your credit card at home. That way you won’t be tempted to tap-and-go willy-nilly and get a nasty shock later.

#3 Embrace sentimental gift-giving

A great way to avoid overspending this Christmas is to opt for sentimental gifts rather than extravagant presents that cost the earth. Need inspiration? You could:

  • Have a family photo taken and give everyone a copy as a gift
  • Get crafty with handmade gifts, cards and wrapping paper
  • Bake yummy treats like gingerbread men or mince pies
  • Shop at markets, op shops and charity sites
  • Re-gift things to a better home if you have something you don’t need
  • Make your own redeemable vouchers for tasks like babysitting and massages.

There are heaps of other things you could do to save, so put your thinking cap on and get creative! For any gifts you need to buy, save where you can by purchasing items on sale and by shopping around for the best price.

#4 Suggest a Secret Santa exchange

When you have a big family, gift-giving costs can really add up. Why not suggest a Secret Santa exchange instead? Here’s how it works.

Each family member draws a name out of a hat and buys a gift for that person anonymously. The benefit is you can set a spending limit and everyone receives a gift. You won’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars on presents for multiple people, nor will you have the stress of finding the right gift for difficult aunt Muriel (unless of course you’re unlucky enough to draw her name in the Secret Santa draw).

We hope you have a wonderful festive season and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. After all, that’s what Christmas is really about – not how much you spend.

Remember, I’m here if you need help with a home loan during the holidays, or a personal loan if you want a better way to finance your spending than a credit card. I can also assist with finance for big-ticket items like a new car, family boat, or an overseas trip for example – and help you get it organised quickly. Merry Christmas!

How old is too old to get a Mortgage?

Technically, there is no answer to this question: depending on your situation, you may be able apply for a home loan whether you’re 18 or 78.

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With current discrimination laws, lenders cannot discriminate on a borrower’s upper age.
Normal conditions apply with regard to repayment capacity and equity, however, so if a lender was aware that a borrower was unable to understand responsibilities under the loan contract, they may not approve a loan.

In practice, too, lenders have to be sure that you can reasonably repay the loan. If you’re 45-50years of age or over and you can’t demonstrate how you will be able to repay a 30-year loan, there is a good chance your application will be knocked back.

After all, your bank wants to know that you can repay the loan in full ­– and while a 45-year-old full-time employee constitutes a good risk, a 75-year-old is a different kettle of fish.

The GFC has changed the playing field. Thanks to 100% and 105% loans, once freely available and now banished into nonexistence, there are thousands of property owners throughout Australia who have homes that are worth less than what they borrowed.

In the past, the fact that you were buying a property was enough assurance for the bank. If the worst-case scenario was to arise and you could no longer repay your loan, the lender could always sell your property to recoup their losses.

These days, however, banks are no longer willing to rely on the fact that you can sell your property to repay your debt.

And the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, which came into effect in 2010, complicated matters even further.

The Act was created in an effort to make lenders responsible for verifying the customer’s financial situation, particularly their capacity to pay without “substantial hardship”.

Essentially, banks were being held more accountable for their lending practices, but it did come with a price to consumers. Those most at risk of being declined for a mortgage are:

Older borrowers (aged 45-50 and over)
Pregnant women
Applicants with high levels of personal debt
If you fall into any of the above categories, it would pay to ensure you home loan application is in tip-top shape before submitting it to a lender – or you risk receiving a big fat “no” on your credit application, and on your credit file.

Contact us here at Pivotal Financial so we make your next move your best move!

Have you stress tested your Mortgage?

Borrowers not ‘stress testing’ their mortgage

Almost 70 per cent of mortgage holders have not stress tested their home loan in preparation for an interest rate hike, new research has revealed.

For the love of Coffee

It seems Gen Y’s whimsical love of smashed avocado on toast at the local coffee hub is having more of an impact on the real estate market than anyone expected.

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A recent article published in Your Investment Property magazine looked at the growing trend of what property buyers are looking for when preparing to enter the market – and surprisingly having quality coffee close by rates amongst the top desires of property owners.No longer are proximity to schools, the CBD and transport determining factors when looking at property, but rather, ensuring a good quality brunch is close by is essential.It’s not surprising when you come to think about it. Really, who wants to travel far to get that sweet caffeine hit when you need it most? And for time poor young professionals entering the property market for the first time, it seems living in close proximity to this ‘café culture’ plays an important part in making their first move into property.This seemingly sudden move to want to live next door to the café strip is not new, by any means. Major cities like Melbourne and Auckland have been seeing an increase in its popularity for years. Growing cities and new developments have adopted this trend and both the real estate and hospitality industries are seeing the benefits.In Brisbane, RE/MAX Riverside Principal Martin Hood says that home owners are now looking for not just a home, but a lifestyle to buy into.In the 25 years he has been selling property, Mr Hood says there has been a big shift into this café culture, which he says has taken over from the influence of the pub culture.“Buyers are interested in the area they’re buying into,” says Mr Hood. “We’re seeing more and more cafes throughout the suburbs, which helps to develop a sense of community and certain lifestyle that buyers’ are really looking for”.It is not just young first time buyers who are considering buying into this lifestyle. Seasoned property investors are well versed in seeing the benefits of investing in suburbs which promote this certain convenience.“Cafés are no longer simply a place that sells coffee anymore, they bring people together,” says Mr Hood. “It’s a lifestyle that is not reserved for younger buyers either. Mature buyers, too, want to have a place to meet and enjoy the conveniences close to their homes and this is a big part of what attracts them to certain suburbs”.These days, trendy café precincts are popping up everywhere. What was once reserved for CBD living and coastal esplanades only, these ‘hubs’ are moving further into the outskirts of cities and indeed much further from major city centres. And the effect it is having on not only the demand for property, but the value in surrounding areas, is proof of our love of coffee.Whether it’s a big chain coffee store or hole-in-the-wall stop, when there’s good coffee around it’s hard to keep people away; and this is a promising predicament for property owners and investors.Whether you’re looking to invest your dollars in real estate for yourself, or as part of your property portfolio, taking note of where the closest café is could be the best move you’ll make.

Pivotal Financial – Making Your Next Move Your Best Move.

Pre Approval - Don't wait until it's too late.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

You don’t need to find your new home before you can apply for a loan. In fact, there are good reasons to speak with a Pivotal Financial Specialist to get your loan sorted beforehand.

Benefits of having a Pivotal Financial Specialist organise a pre-approval:

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  • We’ll do the leg work for you and seek out lenders that provide a loan pre-approval, and get this approved for you (this is where your loan limit is approved for a certain time (usually around six months)
  • Providing your circumstances have not changed you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to pay for a property
  • You’ll have the freedom to make an offer on a property knowing that your finance is already organised.
  • You’ll have a better idea of what properties to look for, because you won’t waste time looking for something outside your price range, and once you find the right property, you’ll be able to focus on the purchase rather than having to sort out the finance at the same time.
  • With a pre-approved loan, there are fewer chances of hiccups with the sale process, and in some cases, vendors (sellers) will accept an offer below list price and take the property off the market with confidence knowing the buyer is serious.
  • If you decide to make an offer you’ll be in a position to move quickly if your finance is sorted – this will help you avoid being gazumped, and you can bid with certainty at auction.
  • If there are delays with Lenders, having a preapproval means you won’t miss your contract settlement date.
  • Sellers may prioritise you – if you have formal pre approval, you have already started the process towards getting a home loan. You will be in a good position to snap up a bargain quickly, proceed to full approval for you loan and exchange contracts before others in the market are able to. Real Estate agents may also ask for a copy of your formal pre approval prior to accepting you offer, to ensure that you are a serious contender.
  • Real Estate Agents will know you are serious.


There are hundreds of different loans out there in the mortgage marketplace, so let a Pivotal Financial Specialist do all the work for you to ensure you have not just a Pre-Approval but the right loan, right rate and peace of mind knowing your next move is your best move.

12 Money tips for Christmas

If the festive season usually leaves you out of pocket and feeling like you spent more time and money battling the crowds than relaxing with friends and loved ones, why not simplify things this year?

Here are some quick and easy tips to help you enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank.

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#1 Have a pre-Christmas clean up

There’s still time to bag some extra cash to boost your festive finances. Spend a few hours clearing out anything you no longer need around the house, like clothes, books, jewellery, furniture, music, or sporting equipment. You could sell these items online, hold a garage sale, or find a local buy-swap-sell.

They say that one person’s trash is another’s treasure so, as well as pocketing a few extra dollars, you might just end up making someone else’s Christmas extra special.


#2 Make a list and check it twice

Make lists of the things you need to buy and the food you need to prepare for the festive season. Having lists will help you plan your spending and keep you on track.

Presents – Make a list of who you’re buying for, what you want to get them, and how much money you’re prepared to spend on each person.
Entertainment supplies – List the food and drinks you’ll need, and how much you can spend. Buy in advance where possible to take advantage of specials, especially if items can be frozen or have a long shelf life.
Travel plans – Whether you’re flying or driving, there are ways to save on holiday travel costs. List all your costs like flights, accommodation, travel insurance, airport transfers and petrol. Shop around for deals as early as you can, to avoid paying a premium for last-minute bookings or peak season increases. If you’re going on a driving holiday, work out which day is cheapest to fill up on petrol, and do it the week before Christmas.

#3 Track your spending

Keeping track of your festive spending is the best way to avoid going over your budget this Christmas.

#4 Be cluey about Christmas credit

If you don’t have the cash to pay for your Christmas goodies up-front, you might be tempted to use your credit card, or use a buy now pay later service. Although these are convenient ways to get the things you need now, that convenience can cost you dearly if you find yourself still saddled with Christmas debt well into 2019.

Before you sign up to a buy now pay later service, make sure you understand what the terms and conditions are, how much your repayments will be, and when they are due.

#5 Personalise your cards and wrapping

Most people throw away their Christmas cards once the festivities are over, which is just like throwing money in the bin.

This year, instead of spending your hard-earned cash on shop-bought cards that will only end up in the recycling bin, why not send your family and friends Christmas greetings they will want to keep? You could:

use a favourite photo to create a personalised photo card

if you have kids, give them some paper and get them to draw or paint pictures that you can use to create special cards

record a video message on your smartphone or iPad and email it to your family and friends
write a letter to your loved ones instead of sending a card. This is a great way to tell them how much they mean to you, or thank them for something special they might have done for you this year.

Rethink your wrapping by buying brown paper and string, or just use plain coloured paper to wrap your presents. Then you’ll avoid pricey Christmas wrapping and can use the excess during the year to wrap other gifts.

#6 Be a scrooge online

If you’re Christmas shopping online, look for ways to save every cent you can. Before you start, do a web search for discount or coupon codes that you can use at the checkout. Look in the sales sections of retailers’ websites to see what’s on offer.

If you know what items you are looking for, search for them online instead of just going to one retailer’s website. You might find it much cheaper somewhere else.

Search online auction websites where you can ‘bid’ for items, including supplies you need for Christmas Day. Make sure you include any shipping costs when you are comparing prices. The cost of some items can blow out once you add shipping, meaning it might be better to simply go to a store to get the item. Or look for items or shopping days that have free shipping.

Things are often much cheaper online than in a store, but you do need to take extra precautions when shopping online.

#7 Get social with Christmas shopping

If you follow your favourite brands and retailers on social media, you may be able to get exclusive discounts through these social channels. Their newsletters may also alert you to sales and deals.

There are also discount or deal apps that you can use to find bargains that you can use as Christmas gifts.

Before you buy any deal or discount, always check the terms and conditions to make sure you know what you are getting and make sure the website is legitimate. See the ACCC’s SCAMwatch website for tips on how to pick an online shopping scam.

#8 Master the art of Christmas gift hacking

There’s a lot of pressure to spend up big on gifts at this time of year, but pricey presents aren’t necessarily the way to go. Here are some ways you can show you care, while keeping a lid on your spending:

Agree on a spending limit – Suggest to your loved ones that you set a limit on how much you will spend on gifts for each other to keep your budgets under control

Kids only – Talk to the other adults in your extended family about only buying presents for the kids this year, rather than for the adults
DIY vouchers – We often remember the things people do for us rather than the presents they give us. Consider giving redeemable vouchers for tasks like babysitting, massages, picnics, homemade dinners or even housework.
Savvy sales – Take advantage of sales throughout the year to nab some bargains and store them away for Christmas. But, even in December there are bargains to be had. You can also check out any clearance outlets near you, or sign up to their newsletters so that you’ll be in the know when they have a sale.
Compare offers – Some stores match or beat competitors’ deals, so compare their offers and take all the details with you when you go into the store. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount – you might just get a Christmas miracle!
Second-hand bargains – Op shops, antique stores and second-hand bookshops can be a treasure trove for the thrifty Christmas shopper. If you’re prepared to spend the time looking through their stock, you can often find good quality items at a fraction of the price you’d pay at big name stores.

#9 Shop like you’re Santa

Santa is always well-prepared and does his shopping on time, so why don’t you? If you are going to shop in-store, consider these rules-of-thumb to reduce Christmas shopping stress and limit the temptation to over spend:

Set a time limit on your shopping – Get in, get it done and get out so you aren’t tempted to spend more than you want to.

Shop at odd hours – Take advantage of extended trading hours and go when it’s less crowded so you can choose carefully without having to jostle for space.
Buy less expensive stuff first – If you buy larger and more costly items first you can lose perspective on what is a good price, so set your budget, buy small first, and then tackle the big stuff so you stick to your gift budget.
Pre-pay – If you buy online, check if there’s an option to pick up in-store. You’ll save on freight, skip any lines, and there will be less temptation to buy more.
Limit your shopping locations – Only go to shops that you need to visit so you don’t get distracted and impulse buy.

#10 Give to those less fortunate

Spread the Christmas cheer by giving to those who are doing it tough. Consider donating to a charity on someone else’s behalf and give this to them as a gift. As well as money, many charities also accept household items, clothes and groceries at Christmas, or you could volunteer your time to help them out.

#11 Lighten your load on Christmas Day

The costs of entertaining can skyrocket at this time of year. But, with some simple planning, both you and your wallet can enjoy the fruits of your labour. Here are some ways to lighten the Christmas load:

Share the catering – Even if you’re hosting Christmas Day lunch or dinner, there’s no need to shoulder all the work yourself. Ask others to bring nibblies, drinks, salads or desserts.
Buy only what you need – It can be easy to overestimate how much food you’ll need at Christmas, only to end up throwing some away or eating leftovers for days.
Switch supermarkets – Make a list of the groceries you need for Christmas, then take advantage of the competition between supermarkets by checking out the advertised specials and stocking up. Don’t buy everything at the same shop if you can get it cheaper elsewhere. You might even get better deals at your local butcher or fruit shop.
Use loyalty credits – If you belong to a supermarket loyalty scheme that builds up credit after you’ve spent a certain amount, check if you can use the credit to get a discount on your Christmas grocery shop.

#12 Plan for next Christmas

Once this Christmas is done and dusted, start planning ahead for next year! Here are some ideas to make sure you are set up for next Christmas:

Start saving now – Open a high interest savings account in January and contribute a small amount to it every payday. Saving $20 per week will add up to over $1,000 in a year’s time. Use ASIC’s MoneySmart’s savings goals calculator to see how much you’ll need to save each pay to reach your Christmas savings goal.
Shop the sales – Shop for presents throughout the year, especially during sales. This will spread your costs and make them more manageable.
Layby – Pre-plan larger gifts and layby them a few months ahead so you can pay them off over time.


We hope you have a wonderful festive season and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. After all, that’s what Christmas is really about – not how much you spend.

Remember, we are here if you need help with a home loan during the holidays, or a personal loan if you want a better way to finance your spending than a credit card. We can also assist with finance for big-ticket items like a new car, family boat, or an overseas trip for example – and help you get it organised quickly. Merry Christmas from Pivotal Financial!

5 Reasons to buy a home during the holiday season

Everyone looks forward to Christmas and the summer holiday season. After all, ‘tis the season to be jolly. To indulge in festive fare. To get out in the great outdoors and enjoy quality time with family and friends. But this year, it could also be the right time to buy a home. Here are 6 reasons why clever property buyers are considering making a purchase this holiday season.

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Motivated sellers

Spring is one of the busiest times of year in Australia’s property markets. That’s when all the buyers are out in force and vendors have the best chance of getting their price. If a vendor is still trying to sell come summer, they’re often highly motivated – or even desperate – to get a sold sticker on that notice board.

This year, spring auction clearance rates were lower than they’ve been for a while. Now summer has arrived, there are many more properties on the market than usual. Motivated sellers are good news for you – they may be more willing to negotiate.

Less competition

Looking for a property during spring can be a nightmare. Open home inspections are packed and by the time you decide you might be interested in a property, there’s usually several offers already on the table. This can be frustrating and detrimental to your capacity to negotiate.

If you start your property hunt when others are away on holidays, you can avoid all the hassle and drama. Again, fewer buyers means vendors may be more willing to negotiate.

Lower prices

Traditionally, property prices fall in December. Last year, the average national home price fell by 0.3%. This year, we can expect this drop to be larger than usual – particularly as there was still a lot of properties left on the market at the end of spring. Prices are already starting to drop in our bigger property markets like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The moral of the story? Summer could be the time to buy property – it’s a buyer’s market right now and it probably won’t last for long. CoreLogic are predicting home values are likely to move back into growth territory in most markets by June 2019.

More time

There’s no getting around it. Buying a property takes time and energy. It takes considerable research and a lot of time travelling around to open home inspections.

If you’re working full-time, it can be hard to make time to do it right. You’ll likely be devoting weekends and evenings to your property hunt. The solution? Do your research and inspections while you’re off work and on holidays. That way you’ll get it done faster.

Smoother settlements

Nothing motivates people to wrap up a deal quickly like the idea of taking a break. That goes for real estate agents, lenders, vendors and buyers! Things tend to go much more smoothly when demand is less, so you’re more likely to see a hassle-free settlement during summer than a busier time of year. There are also more special home loan offers available during the off-season, so talk to us to find out more.

So, why not put beach life on hold for a while, and spend the holiday season looking for a bargain on a fantastic new home? If you’re in the market to buy, talk to Pivotal Financial about getting pre-approval on your home loan now. It could be a great way to start the new year off with a bang!

Introducing Pivotal Financial Specialist - Justus Ansell

Justus Ansell is a finance specialist who just loves the property market. What better person could you have on your side when it comes to buying property! As a keen property investor, Justus is in sync with the experiences of his clients.

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His role as a finance broker fulfils his desire to navigate people into better financial positions, while overall doing what he enjoys, which is helping people achieve their dreams.

A strong sales background has honed his excellent communication and problem-solving skills.

He is very strong on customer service so likes to make sure that his clients are happy with the help they have received.

Justus is no pushover though. He does not give up easily. He will fight through difficult scenarios to find solutions, is super tenacious when it comes to securing the deal, and will fight tooth and nail with banks and valuers to get the desired result.

While Sunshine Coast-based, Justus Ansell’s clients spread from Gold Coast to Hervey Bay.

Clients who stay with him through their financial future, and constantly refer their friends and family to him, are his clear measurement of professional success.

5 Common mistakes of first home buyers

Getting ready to buy your first home? As your mortgage broker, we’re here to help you every step of the way. It’s an exciting time and it’s easy to make mistakes.

Here are 5 common mistakes that you should try to avoid!

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1. Relying on advice from family and friends

Family and friends are people you can trust, so it’s understandable that you listen to their advice. However, while they may have the best of intentions, it’s always best to seek independent professional advice when buying a property. Things may have changed a lot since your mum and dad purchased their first home, and your circumstances are likely to be different. They may also have made mistakes without even realising it.

As a first-time buyer, you’ll want a team of experienced professionals in your corner. That means a reputable mortgage broker (like a Pivotal Financial Specialist), a solicitor or conveyancer, plus a building and pest inspector. A good accountant can also be invaluable, particularly if you are self-employed. If you need recommendations, please let us know and we’ll give you a referral.

2. Blowing the budget

The last thing you want is home loan repayments you can’t really afford – you might end up eating baked beans for years to come! That’s why it’s so important to have a solid grasp of your financial situation and budget.

A Pivotal Financial Specialist, can help you understand your borrowing power and create a home-buying budget. That will help save time when you start looking for your dream home. We can also organise pre-approval on your home loan, so that your finance is ready to go.

3. Underestimating the costs involved

Many first home buyers don’t understand the full costs involved in buying a property. There’s a lot to consider – your deposit, stamp duty, lender fees and charges, solicitors fees, and so on.

Then there are the ongoing costs associated with home ownership. These may include rates, insurance, body corporate fees, maintenance and repairs. Remember, if you need help crunching the numbers, we can assist. We’ll also let you know about any grants or concessions you may be entitled to (like the First Home Owner Grant), which could help get you into your own home sooner.

4. Getting the wrong mortgage

As a first-time buyer, getting your head around all the different home loan products out there can be overwhelming. Offset accounts and redraw facilities. Fixed versus variable rates. Split home loans and lines of credit. It’s enough to give you a head spin! It’s important to choose the mortgage that is most suitable for your needs and saves you as much money as possible.

Pivotal Financial Specialists role is to: 1) understand where you’re at financially and where you want to be; 2) compare the home loan market; 3) find you the right home loan, based on your specific financial circumstances; and 4) walk you through the home loan application process.

5. Being blindsided by emotion

When you’re new to the property hunt, it can be easy to let emotions cloud your judgement. However, try not to let your daydreams get in the way of the facts. Do your research to ensure you’re buying the right property for the right price. If you need help, we can give you some guidance about how to research a property properly to make an informed decision.

With careful planning and support, buying your first home will be a positive experience. Pivotal Financial Specialists, will help you every step of the way and can refer you to other professionals whom you can rely on. Please call us – let’s make your home ownership dream a reality, and make your next move, your best move!

Uber Eats, Afterpay and Netflix accounts could hurt your home loan application

When first-home buyer Georgina Emanuel applied for a loan this year her mortgage broker had bad news for her. Even though she had a 30 per cent deposit, she was spending too much on Uber Eats and Uber Ride and that could sway banks’ decision to lend.

Benefits of Using a Mortgage Broker - Don't leave it to chance

Why should I use a Pivotal mortgage broker rather than going directly to my bank?

With so many different loan options available today, our quality mortgage brokers can take the stress out of finding the right home loan options for your needs.

Read below to see some of the benefits of using a Pivotal mortgage broker rather than your bank.

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We can find you the right loan for your circumstances

With a variety of non-industry experts offering their opinion and so many lenders to choose from, how do you choose the right loan?

Look for the loan with a low overall cost.

Looking for the lowest interest rate doesn’t always guarantee you are getting the best deal. Unfortunately, this is only a fraction of what to consider when choosing the best loan for your circumstances.

Ultimately, you need to be searching for a loan with a low cost over the life of the loan.

For example, a loan that offers fortnightly repayments can reduce your loan faster than paying monthly. Also, an offset facility is a good option for home buyers that utilise this feature correctly.

Home loans can come with a variety of different features, and you often pay for them whether you use them or not! That’s why it’s so important to know which features you will genuinely use and suit your financial lifestyle.

At Pivotal Financial, we can research which loan offers the best deal, explain how the loan features work, and more importantly, how they can be useful to you!


We know what the lenders are looking for

Each lender has their own way of assessing your financial circumstances. You can’t be expected to know which lenders will look favourably on your circumstances.

Lending Specialists work closely with many lenders and have an in-depth understanding of what they look for when assessing your loan application. They also know what factors could lead to your loan application being rejected. This is an integral part of Mortgage Broking and this expertise is incomparable.

Knowing these factors assists Pivotal Mortgage Brokers in selecting a lender that will look favourably on your circumstances and work best for you in the long run.

Faster turn around times

Some lenders can approve a loan within hours, and others can stretch as far as 15 business days!

So, if you need loan approval in a hurry, choosing the right provider can make a tremendous difference. Quite often, our clients require their loan to be approved quickly, if this also applies to you, don’t rely on a lender to act quickly with your loan application.


Lenders policies and restrictions can affect your loan

These policies and restrictions need to be satisfied before your loan is deemed suitable for the lender to proceed.

For example, some banks won’t lend against homes located in certain postcodes, others, have strict rules regarding small apartments or acreage properties.

Pivotal Mortgage Brokers know which properties or postcodes won’t be accepted as security by various lenders.  This can save you a lot of time and money when searching for your new loan.


Practice caution when submitting multiple loan applications

Each time you apply for a loan (and in some cases online enquiries), it will appear on your credit report. When lenders encounter multiple applications it can raise questions, often making it more difficult to have your loan approved.

A better approach is to work closely with one of our Mortgage Brokers to find the loan and lender that is right for your circumstances.


Remember; no question is a silly question!

It is important when entering into a finance contract that you understand what you are signing up for.

Working closely with one of our Brokers can arm you with knowledge and understanding of the lending process. From then on it can boost your confidence, making your future purchases/lending requirements less overwhelming.

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