Upon stepping on Australian soil, you’ll find that here, the stage is colossal, the possibilities are limitless and your dreams are as good as the strength of your back and the fortitude of your spirit. You can’t help but be entranced by the thought that finally, you’ll have the fighting chance to make all those wonderful dreams come true.
But somewhere along that divide separating you and your dreams is the need to logically and systematically get there and this is where you’ll need someone’s help.
The banking industry here in Australia is one of the most popular go-to institutions to make that funky car, long-awaited holiday, or dream house happen. Most of the players are sure big and the options and information they throw at you are just downright overwhelming. You can’t help but feel more lost than when you began in the pursuit of what could be your biggest investment in life.
This is where the Bank of Melbourne (BoM) comes in. It takes advantage of what the big players are not offering. It rides on its slogan as the bank for Victorians since it is based in Victoria with its head office in the heart of Melbourne. What makes its service more appealing is that each BoM branch is staffed by locals, who know the people and the community it serves thus blending in naturally with the neighbourhood. Aside from making significant investments in Victoria and creating jobs for Victorians, it plans on revolutionizing the banking experience by delivering a more personalized and genuine service.
On top of this, BoM is joined by Mobile Lending Manager Vic Del Pilar, who is very well attuned to the needs of his kababayans. He definitely adds that winsome “Pinoy touch” to a brand of service that promises to be warm and reassuring.
The Philippine Times had a chat with this father of four who has been in the banking industry most of his life for 14 years. He enthusiastically plucked bits and pieces of wisdom from his wealth of experience and thoughtfully shared the path to realizing those long-held dreams.
PT: For new migrants, the young generation or newly-married Pinoys, what are your tips in making a home loan?
Vic: For the new migrants, moving to a foreign country is an incredibly difficult undertaking. You’ll need to learn a completely new way of life if you are to fit in and make this country your new home. Naturally you will want to buy a home of your own, which many consider to be the great Australian dream. For many new migrants, this dream is a distant one. Banks have tough lending policies for new migrants, often declining their loans or restricting the amount they can borrow. So how can you get approved? Banks will assess your loan based on your residency status, proof of genuine savings and employment stability.
PT: For those who already have homes or are already established in Australia, what are their options?
Vic: They can have a principal and interest loan on the house they live in and then only pay the interest on their investment property. They could take out a competitively priced loan with an offset account for their owners’ occupied property under a package product together with the investment home loan. They can put their income and any money they are saving into their offset account, which will reduce the interest they pay on the loan. Tax deduction (gearing) is worked out by their accountant. Also, they can claim the interest that the bank charges them with their investment home loan.
PT: Why should Pinoys go to you for their home loan or investment needs? Is it only home loans that you are servicing or are there other types like personal or business loans?
Vic: First of all, I speak the same language and I can easily relate and understand their needs. Second, I offer a wide range of products and services. Lastly, I can help them when their lives are changed by events that might include taking an extended holiday, getting married, having a family, being promoted, changing jobs, being made redundant or starting one’s own business. Each of these has an impact to which I can be able to give them help and advice suited to their new circumstances. I can structure their loans in a way that suits their individual needs.
PT: How important is it for those taking up loans to choose a registered home loan expert? What are your tips in choosing a home loan expert?
Vic: Get trusted advice on which loan is right for your situation and a long-term mortgage advisor to guide you at each step from pre-qualification, comparing loans, improving your credit score, applying for a loan, and ensuring a timely closing. Let the experts provide you with the analysis, education, and information you need.
PT: Is this the best time to buy a home or investment?
Vic: Nobody can accurately predict where Australia’s property market will be in 12 months or 12 years. If you are thinking about buying a property, all you can do is understand the current market and take note of what the experts are saying.
On Falling House Prices, home values dropped 1.4 percent across all capital cities last month and are now down more than 5 percent a year ago according to RP Data figures released recently. This is despite the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) slashing interest rates in an effort to boost confidence in the slumping housing sector.
During the first quarter of 2012, there was a dramatic fall in the level of new housing construction in Australia. The latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics show there was a 12.6 percent decline in the number of new homes and apartments, with new construction in New South Wales dropping by more than 37 percent.
Is it a good time to buy? While many homeowners will be hoping their property prices don’t fall further, those looking to enter the market will be wondering if the market has hit its bottom. This is the best time for property investors to snap up undervalued properties. Unfortunately the current world economic problems will not go away quickly, and we are entering a new era in the financial market. But this is not a time to make rash emotional decisions. It’s a time to learn from history. Difficult economic times offer outstanding opportunities for those who are prepared. If history repeats itself, as it surely will, while the majority of Australians will sit on the sidelines waiting for things to work themselves out, a group of successful investors will be looking for and buying investment opportunities created by the changes.
PT: If one is planning to buy a home or investment, what are the things they need to prepare?
Vic: Preparation is the key to buying a home successfully. Before you start calling your bank and attending house inspections, spend a moment getting up to date on the basics of home buying. You should understand your finances. Buying a home is an emotional process but your finances will ultimately determine the house you buy. Make sure you can answer these questions about your finances before calling your lender:
1. Do I have a steady income?
2. How much deposit do I need?
3. Am I eligible for the First Home Owner’s Grant?
4. What are the additional costs of buying a house?
5. Do I have a good credit history?
1. Start your savings plan by creating a budget.
2. Open a saver account, specifically to save your deposit and make regular contributions.
3. Use a savings calculator to estimate when you’ll reach your required deposit.
4. Consider paying lenders mortgage insurance to reduce the deposit requirement.