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  The Australian Mortgage Industry
Copyright © 2009 Tracey Anderson
 
There are far more players in the Australian mortgage industry than ever before. Consumers no longer have to visit multiple banks and direct lenders personally, spending valuable time trying to sort through all the financial details and make a comparison on their own. Today, the mortgage is filled with competitive players that include non-bank lenders, mortgage managers and mortgage brokers, and most notably, online mortgage sites such as Mortgagemall.com.au that have brought unparalleled convenience and choice to the Australian mortgage consumer. In today's highly competitive environment, it's more important than ever for consumers to understand their options. The Internet has become an important tool in achieving that level of understanding, and in gathering and comparing relevant information from multiple providers.
With stable interest rates and affordability throughout the country, the mortgage market will continue to experience strong growth. In addition to a stable economy and job market, population growth, most notably in Queensland, will fuel the mortgage market as more Australians find themselves in a position to enter the housing market as first-time buyers.
According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) (http://www.apra.gov.au), banks are starting to lose some of their market share to non-bank mortgage providers and brokers. The presence of non-bank lenders and Internet-based intermediaries is good news for the Australian consumer, for two reasons: more choice, and easier research. Besides independent online sites like Mortgage Mall, major mortgage brokers such as AFG (http://www.afgonline.com.au) and Aussie Home Loans (http://www.eaussie.com.au) dominate the mortgage broker field.
While online sites present the easiest starting point, Australian banks are refining their operations to become more accommodating to their customers. Banks like ANZ Bank (http://www.anz.com.au) and the Bank of Queensland (http://www.boq.com.au) have been expanding to add more branches; and banks throughout Australia have been refining their services to better accommodate their customers. A number of banks have introduced online services that make all sorts of actions and transactions more convenient for the end user.
Australian homebuyers currently have more opportunities than ever before to take advantage of recent trends. Whether this may mean being able to select a loan package with lower fees and charges or finding a more suitable mortgage product by using independent resources, the rate of home ownership is expected to rise in the next few years. This, when coupled with the fact that many of the processes are improving and becoming more consumer-friendly, means that now may be the right time to obtain a home loan.
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Tracey Anderson is a mortgage broker with 16 years experience in the Australian mortgage industry. She currently works with a number of broker networks including Mortgage Mall both as a broker and an expert industry analyst. For more information and resources on the mortgage industry, visit Mortgage Mall (http://www.mortgagemall.com.au).
 
 
 
 
Legal Pitfalls of Arranging a Mortgage
Copyright © 2009 Tracey Anderson
 
A mortgage is often the biggest commitment a person undertakes, and one should take time to consider all of the legal and financial details before diving head-first into such an agreement. Your mortgage broker, banker, or real estate agent can often be a good source of information about these details; if there is still confusion, you may even wish to engage a solicitor to review your contract, watch out for unusual or potentially harmful clauses, and explain the details to you. Always take time to read the contract, and seek out third-party advice if you do not understand it. An unscrupulous lender, broker, real estate agent or seller may attempt to pressure you into signing an agreement without reading it, or worse, yet, signing a blank form for them to fill in later. Avoid succumbing to this pressure, and always understand what you are signing before you have signed it. If you are being pressured to sign a contract immediately without a thorough reading, then the best thing to do is walk away.
Once you've found a house and arranged for the mortgage, the legal process of transferring ownership between parties, known as conveyance, is very specific and complicated. Your mortgage broker, lender, or real estate agent may be familiar with the process, and may be able to give you advice on the matter. However, the process itself must be done by a solicitor or registered conveyancer. Alternately, a homeowner can choose to do the process individually using a do-it-yourself kit. Conveyance naturally comes with a conveyance duty which must be paid to the state, although in some states, you may be able to qualify for an exemption if you are a first-time home buyer.
The property title itself, which in most cases is called a Torrens title, establishes proof of ownership. Old System titles are more complicated, and require the buyer to show clear title for every previous owner.
The issue of survivorship must also be addressed. Typically in the case of a husband and wife, the home is held in joint tenancy, so that if one spouse passes on, the other will retain the right to the property. If a home is held in tenants-in-common, however, each tenant's share of the home is separate, and in the case of death would become part of the deceased's estate. Under common law, if no other arrangement is specified, joint tenancy is assumed.
Before buying a home, legal hassles can be avoided by executing a thorough inspection. You can choose to inspect the home yourself, or hire a licensed inspector. Either way, you will be able to gain knowledge about any existing conditions of the home that you can use in your negotiations. Having knowledge of the home's condition and any flaws or defects ahead of time will put you in a better legal position, since it may be difficult to recoup any costs for undetected flaws after the transaction has already been finalized.
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Tracey Anderson is a mortgage broker with 16 years experience in the Australian mortgage industry. For personalised information from leading independent brokers, visit http://www.mortgagemall.com.au
 
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Why you should consider
using a mortgage broker
Copyright © 2009 Tracey Anderson
 
Mortgage rates and fees vary from lender to lender, and it's not always easy to compare all the details to find the best deal. Mortgage brokers help consumers sort through all those details and find the best mortgage solution possible, often through resources and connections that an ordinary consumer does not have access to. Using a broker can save both time and money. The broker is very familiar with the industry, and can be a valuable asset to a home buyer looking for a good deal on a mortgage. In addition to having substantial connections, the broker will have good insight into the process and how best to qualify. The broker will often have close connections with lenders, who view a good broker as a valuable customer and will sometimes make special rates or discounts available to brokers that are not available to the general public because of this leverage.
Because mortgage brokers make the process simpler for their customers, many loans in Australia are initiated by brokers. There are many reputable brokers in every state. Choose one with a good reputation and that is in good standing with the Mortgage Industry Association of Australia (http://www.miaa.com.au), a self-regulating body that imposes a set of ethical best practices on all of its members.
Look for an independent and unbiased broker. Of course, one expects a broker to receive a commission for their services, but some brokers attempt to sell mortgages with high fees that are not in the consumer's best interest, in order to receive higher commissions. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (http://www.asic.gov.au) has cracked down on brokers that advertise that they are impartial when they are not. The ASIC recommends that if a consumer plans to use the services of a broker, to first look around to get an idea of existing rates, to be informed enough to know if they are receiving a good deal.
In the past, there has been some reluctance to use mortgage broking services because of the lack of regulation. Financial services of all types tend to be heavily regulated, and for good reason. Consumers must be protected against unscrupulous and predatory operators. And make no mistake, there are predatory mortgage brokers, just as there are predatory members of every segment of the financial community. Nonetheless, most are honest and provide a useful service. And more recently, there has been significant attention on the mortgage broking industry, and Australia is in the midst of a regulatory overhaul designed to keep mortgage brokers on an even keel.
Presently, the mortgage broking industry is regulated by individual states. Check with your local government regulatory agency to determine qualifications, and check on your broker's status. In a report to ASIC, The Consumer Credit Legal Centre (http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/pdflib.nsf/LookupByFileName/finance_mortgagebrokers_report.pdf/$file/finance_mortgagebrokers_report.pdf) highlighted some of the differences between states. NSW, Victoria, ACT and Western Australia have more specific broker legislation, but not all states have a licensing scheme for brokers. National regulation would impose stricter regulations throughout the country, to ensure that consumers are protected. In the current regulatory environment, brokers are even more aware of their need to operate above-board and honestly.
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Tracey Anderson is a mortgage broker specialising in helping Australian homebuyers find the right mortgage. For more information visit MortgageMall (http://www.mortgagemall.com.au).
 

The Best Reasons To Use A Finance Broker

Since there are so many variables and things to consider when buying or selling a home, it is easy to see why most people opt to use the services of a finance broker. They definitely bring many great benefits to the table. Below, we highlight a few of those benefits.

Shopping Around -

By using a finance broker, you can shop around for the best financing deal easily and efficiently. A Good finance Broker will layout all the options from different banks and lenders, offering a combination of variety and advice to present the best deal.

Making Educated Decisions -

A finance broker can help explain the various options for Brisbane home loans to you in easy to understand terms. He or she can outline the pluses and minuses of different finance products, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible.

Determining How Much You Can Afford -

You are less likely to take on a loan that you cannot manage when you employ the skills of a professional finance broker. Taking on more than you can handle is one of the worst mistakes you can make; you can avoid this major problem by having a finance broker at your side who can put all of their tools and resources to work for you.

Finding A Great Deal -

An expert finance broker will be familiar with all of the lenders and what they have to offer, as well as any great deals they may be extending. Additionally, Brisbane mortgage brokers can often negotiate on your behalf for better deals, further increasing your chances of getting the best mortgage possible. A Quality finance broker is almost invaluable when it you want to find the best offer and the right deal.

Preparing Your Application -

A finance broker will know the precise methods that various lenders require regarding loan applications. They will be familiar with what individual lenders look for on the loan applications that they process. Therefore, you will be able to submit a professional, effective application each and every time. This is a critical step in the lending process, and finance brokers really earn their pay in this regard.

Keeping In The Loop -

One of the most stressful parts of applying for a loan is the waiting and wondering. One of the downsides of going it alone is in the uncertainty of your application with times spent waiting by the phone for the call that can take days. Also, any mistakes or errors on your application can hold it up, and you may not hear about it for some time. One of the many tasks of a finance broker is to monitor the progress of your application, keeping you informed on what's happening and identifying and preventing any delays.

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Brisbane Financial Services (http://www.brisbanefinancialservices.com.au ) are a business that offer Brisbane Home Loans to help people who are looking to buy a new home. There is not a doubt that Brisbane mortgage brokers provide incredibly valuable services for the people who hire them, making the entire process much easier on everyone.

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