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About Me

Chris Lau (Financial Adviser, JP)

Current Rating: 4.29 / 5
Mortgage Broker
WealthPartners Financial Solutions
Kirribilli, New South Wales
Financial Adviser and Debt Specialist - open to meeting for a coffee & providing a 2nd opinion. I assist clients with their debt management and other financial areas such as Budgeting, Super, Investing, Personal protection & much more. I travel to meet clients between 8am-8pm.

My Activity

Q: Is it wise to be looking at inner city apartments in Sydney as an investment if they are less than 50 square metres?
A: As mentioned by Scott you should talk to a property expert about all your options but I'll add a few points for you to consider:

- There is a lot of supply of new buildings in the coming years so not sure how this will work out in the end
- There are few lenders that will consider apartments smaller than 50 sqm so ensure you know how you are going to get finance
- Understand clearly what is your short to medium to long term property/investment strategy which should help you confirm if this inner city unit is right for you

Hope that helps.
Q: I am concerned I have a bad credit rating, but I don't know how to find out if this is the case. Also, if I do have a bad credit rating, is there a way I can fix it?
A: Hi Sarah,

Great question. There certainly are ways you can find out. It just takes filling out a few forms and waiting. You can try www.getcreditscore.com.au and it is free.

If there is something negative on your file then it does depend on whether the black mark is correct or not. If not there are credit repair specialists out there that can help.

There still are options if you do have a bad credit file to get a loan but the options will just be more limited and rates not as good.

Hope that helps.
Q: I have just had my fourth child and my wife would like me to update our life insurance, How do i work out the amount?
A: Totally agree with the previous answer. One thing to add is ensure you speak to someone you trust and know will provide you an array of options. Many advisers are limited to just 1 or 2 products.

Also this process needs to include a discussion with your wife.

Hope this helps but any questions that you have please let me know.
Q: I have a great idea for a new startup. There's definitely a market for it because no other company (that I know of) is servicing this niche, but I have no idea where to start. Where do I go from here?
A: Jen, its a tough one. Generally you need to have some info around your idea and a prototype and results to show potential investors or people that will believe in your idea.

I know a number of people who do this but they will only meet people who have done something with their idea. Have you at least started with a business plan?

Hope that helps.
Q: Can I swap out of a fixed rate mortgage at Bank X and move to Bank Y at the same old fixed rate and therefore have the new bank effectively pay the old bank for the mark-to-market on the fix-rate break costs?
A: In a way yes if you find a lender that offers some form of a cash back but that will cover part of your refinance costs but not all of your break costs.

Best to speak with a mortgage broker to fully assess your situation.

Hope that helps.
Q: I am keen to use the equity in my home to invest - maybe real estate. Maybe another option. Does anyone have any firm advice on the available options at the moment?
A: Hey Jimmy, this is a great step you are taking but one that does require caution. you need to understand what investment type will match not only your risk tolerance but also your personal goals and your family situation. Therr is a lot of choice.

I would highly encourage you to speak to an adviser that can help map out your options. Let me know if I can help.
Q: How much lower could rates go this year? Will fixed rates fall in line with the cash rate if it drops further?
A: Compare Australia to the rest of the world where they have zero or negative interest rates and determine for yourself if you think we will get there. But yes very hard for anyone to say if it will keep dropping.

Yes, a few 2 Yr Fixed rates have already dropped but overall even a 5 Yr Fixed rate is really good all things being equal. so if you're looking for consistency in your situation do consider doing it as I am sure in thr short-medium term rates will go up.

Hope that helps.
Q: I have been searching the comparison websites for the cheapest home loan rate and found an online lender at 3.63%. Does that mean I can't use a mortgage broker to help me through the loan process ?
A: It would depend on who this home loan product belongs to and whether the online company allows brokers to write their home loans.

Advise who this rate is with so brokers here can see if they can help or not.

With that said is this home loan exactly what you want and need? Does it have the features you want? Have you considerrd structuring the loan and what would best suit you?

Rates are always one of the main search criteria but it is not always the most important.

Hope that helps.
Q: What types of facilities are available to borrow money to use for share trading/investing? Do I need to give property equity, or will the shares be sufficient as collateral? What is the cheapest option to ensure the greatest overall result back to me?
A: John,

There are facilities to use either property or shares but unfortunately this is not a forum to give advice that is tailored for anyone in particular.

I would encourage you to speak to a Financial adviser not only to determine the best lending strategy but also to discuss your investments methodology during this volatile world markets period.
Q: Does the term of my home loan always have to be 30 years? What if I want to put some pressure on myself to pay it back earlier?
A: This is a train of thought that not many have so kudos to you Jimmy.

I am not sure why you are thinking this but all lenders for mature age borrowers will require a shorter term, not sure if this is applicable to you.

Most lenders allow you to have a shorter loan term and ultimately this will mean you pay less interest. The trick is knowing the right amount of pressure to put on yourself. If this cannot be easily determined then there are other ways to pay a loan down faster or as alrrady mentioned just dump what extra cash flow you have into the Variable loan/Offset account.

There is no right way just what suits your life plans.

Hope this helps. Any questions let me know.
Q: I have two ABNs - a sole trader and a company. Same business, one followed the other. Do invoices issued under the first ABN have to be accounted for in the BAS for that entity, or can they be shifted to the company BAS if paid after it was set up?
A: Todd, I feel this would be a question for an Accountant.

Sorry I cannot be of any help but I do know a few good Accountants that can. just let me know.
Q: I have two credit cards (both nearly maxed out), a personal loan and a home loan. Should I consolidate everything into my home loan to save on paying interest?
A: We cannot give advice under this forum so i would encourage you to speak to a Financial adviser and a mortgage broker to determine the best option for you and your family.

Generally what you are saying is possible a mentioned it does come down to structuring it right when you refinance.

Also i would like to question why are you maxing out on your credit cards and why do you have a personal loan?

Hope that helps.
Q: Can anyone offer some advice on the best way to start a savings plan for my children? I have two kids aged 13 and 10. What do I need to be doing now to ensure by the time they're 18, they'll have a solid baseline of savings to get them started?
A: Justin,

Firstly i should say well done to you for thinking about this for your kids. With increasing demands and costs these days it is so important to have a head start.

I would highly encourage you to speak to an adviser because by you helping your kids to invest and save, ultimately this is surplus cash flow from you. There might be other ways as well to consider too.

The big risk with a goal is not achieving it so it will also be important to define what you want from this exercise and an adviser should be able to do this.

Hope that helps.
Q: How much of a deposit do I need for a home loan in Sydney for a property around 650k to 700k?
A: Hi Effie,

Great question.

My first question to assist with building the most suitable structure is whether the purchase is for investment or to live in? I will assume that it is a principal place of residence.

There is another aspect to discuss and this is whether you can avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) or not? I will assume you can i.e. you are looking at a loan with 80% loan to value ratio.

Based on these assumptions for a $650,000 place you will need approx. $106,000 to cover your 20% deposit, coveyancing costs, government charges and bank fees.

Again this is not advice as it is not taking your personal circumstance into account but use this as a rough guide.

Happy to discuss further. Hope this helps.
Q: Where is the best place to keep my cash if I don't want to invest it? Is it worth moving it around to higher interest accounts regularly?
A: This is a tough topic to discuss because according to legislation this would fall under the financial advice realm.

As an adviser the 1 question (amongst many others) I would ask is what is your timeframe?

There is no simple answer or solution to your question but there are a number of things one has to factor in before deciding on the right route for yourself.

I would encourage you to chat to an adviser about this as I would assume this would tie in with something that you want to achieve?
Q: I would like to buy my first property in the next few years. Should I aim for a 10 or 20% deposit?
A: Well said everyone and great question.

My question would be is this property an investment or a place to live in?

Everyone has different thoughts but generally if people are buying a primary residence then they would prefer to definitely avoid the lenders mortgsge insurance (LMI) and therefore save 20% + costs. In terms of investment purchases if possible avoid but it is not a must as this can be included in your loan if needs be.

The situations are always unique so you have to do what suits you.

Done forget there are things like First Home Owners Grants and New home schemes by the Government that can help your savings but there are requirements to be eligible.

Hope that all helps. Happy to have a complimentary discussion.
Q: How can I find a suitable financial planner?
A: I am an adviser with a private firm so I would be happy to have a complimentary chat with you.

To choose any professional it should be about who you feel you have a good relationship with and can trust. You shouls feel confident that they have your best interests always.

An important piece is knowing the professional has the expertise and resources to deliver. A lot of the time people will provide a transactional service but you should look for one that focuses on excellent customer service with a long term focus. Someone that focuses on strategy tailored to a client rather than a product, someone who is a clear communicator and also someone that enjoys what they do.

Often referral is the best way but there are a few websites of associations you can look at. For more info let me know.

Hope that helps.
Q: How can I find out what mortgage insurance will cost for different lending ratios above 80%?
A: The thing to note is there are different insurers for LMI and they cater for different lenders. The apps or calculators will give you a good guide but it would be best to deal with a debt specialist that can run through all lenders to determine which would best suit your situation.

My question to you is, 'Are you sure you cannot avoid paying LMI?'

If there is no way around have 20% + costs then yes in most instances you would need to incur LMI but there are some options where LMI can be avoided.

Happy to grab a coffee to discuss further. We are not far from each other.
Q: I am selling a business, is there an effective way to minimise capital gains tax?
A: Great question and answers.

Peter, there definitely are ways to minimise CGT for both the business sale and equipment but there are a number of rules and conditions that needs to match your particular situation.

Both your Accountant and Financial Adviser should have been working with you in advance to plan for this.

Happy to chat and give you a 2nd opinion.
Q: Would you recommend sticking with the majors or is it safe to go with a second tier lender? I was stung in the GFC
A: Hey Ron,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I would be interested in understanding what happened to ensure it does not happen again. It is highly important to get good advice and research thoroughly when you get a home loan and this can be done by using a good mortgage specialist.

Most tier 2 lenders are matching the majors with loan features and a lot of the time beating them with rate and customer service but possibly a sacrifice in one or two other areas.

Also FYI these days most tier 2 lenders are covered by the banking act so if ever something bad happened like another GFC then you and your family are covered.

Look at all options because the lending environment has changed a lot over the few years and the tier 2 lenders have improved drastically.

Hope that helps but always happy to give a complimentary 2nd opinion.
Q: I'm currently going through divorce, and need $60,000 for settlement. I'm 57 years old and would like to access my super to pay her out. Can I access my super (she wants cash and not a super transfer) to pay her, if I have a court order?
A: I am sorry to hear about your situation.

There are certain rules for Super and when you can access it. It is complex and i would advise you to properly review your situation with a Financial Adviser as there are a number of things to consider Maybe there could be other options?

Happy to help just let me know.
Q: There are some great questions here.
Problem is I can't seem to be able to read some of the responses. I also have some queries about smsf as I have just established mine.
Any feedback?
A: You have set up an SMSF with an accountant and adviser or by yourself?

What questions do you have?
Q: I am 67.. Can I still change from my current lender to another lender and still have 20 years to payback the loan Thanks ?
A: Definitely possible.

Note an owner occupier loan is more difficult than an investment loan.

Also I assume right now you have the income to service a new loan for 20 years but most lenders would want to know in the scenario something does happen in the future and you can no longer make repayments then how would you manage and clear the loan and how would this affect your retirement.

These days no lender wants to be on the news for pushing a mature individual/family out of their home so they are very strict with this.

I hope i explained that clearly.
Q: I took out an investment loan in 2011 and soon after moved in 2012, I recently realized that my loan type did not change to home owner loan, so therefore I have been paying a higher interest rate, am I entitled to a rebate or refund for the past 4 years ?
A: My experience is unfortunately clients in that situation previously have not been eligible for a rebate. The onus falls on to the client and the broker to make the change.

This is the same when people turn an owner occupier place into an investment and they do not change the loan and therefore ae paying a lower rate than they should. The banks do not say anything.

But this is my experience to date...definitely worth a challenge. All the best.
Q: I want to open my own cafe but would need to borrow the money for the fit out. Is it possible?
A: That is exciting news.

Yes, of course you can borrow money for a shop fit-out. There are many ways this can be done but it does depend on multiple variables unique to you.

If you have ever gone through the process of getting a typical home loan then it will be similar but it can be more tricky.

Are you using your home or other residential property as security? Have you got a business plan? How much are you needing for the fit-out?

Do make sure you speak to a qualified broker to guide you.
Q: How does a guarantor home loan work? We have a 10% deposit which needs to include costs for stamp duty, expenses, etc. This is not quite enough and we are interested in the guarantor option.
A: I am assuming you are looking to use a Guarantor as you do not want to incur the LMI charge so as already mentioned your Guarantor will be considered as the bank a further security Guarantors i.e. they will need to sign paperwork along with you. Some lenders will require the Guarantors to seek legal and/or Financial advice.

As already mentioned the loan would have 2 splits one is covered by the Guarantor and the other that isn't. And yes the aim would be for you to clear the portion that is guaranteed so the Guarantor security can be lifted.

This generally does not change the interest rate but there will be added costs for the legal and/or financial advice if required.

There are a few other things to note with a Guarantor loan but best to speak to a Debt Specialist.

Happy Easter.
Q: Is cross-collateralization good or bad? e.g If I go with cross-collateralization, one of the bank is offering me consolidation of 4 of my loans which are currently with 3 banks and at a better rate. Should I take that offer?
A: Well said Rebecca.

I know of at least 1 bank where their policy if there are multiple securities is they need all securities to be cross collateralised but there are many lenders out there that dont and still have great rates and service for you to choose from.

It is easier if you can keep each property separate but obviously if you need the equity in 1 or more properties to lower the total loan to value rario (LVR) to get the good rate and you understand the consequences in the fututre should you want to sell then you should do what is right for you and your family but I would encourage you to get a 2nd opinion from a debt specialist.
Q: If I borrowed 93% on a property purchase of 830k what would mortgage insurance cost and can it be capitalised?
A: Assuming you have $94,000 savings/deposit and making many other assumptions the LMI premium will range from $28,000 and $35,000. This will also affect your end interest rate depending on which lender you choose.

Any further questions don't hesitate to ask.
Q: I want to borrow $500,000. What additional fees should I expect to be charged?
A: Everything has pretty much been covered but I'll add a conveyancing fee which can range from $1,000-$1,500. This is when you get a person to review the contract to purchase the property

Also if there is the chance that you are borrowing more than 80% of the purchase price then you will incur another charge known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Hope i explained this clearly, if not please let me know.
Q: What percentage do I need upfront for my first homeloan?
A: Not sure if you are looking at an existing or new property but if you are considering new there may be an alternative form of financing.

If a new property is the goal then PM me and I can talk to you more about it.
Q: How do I get a low rate home loan?
A: The home loan market is very broad with a lot of different sources of information. Sources can vary from online, lenders directly and mortgage professionals.

Each has its own positives and negatives but as most people tell me the positives far outweigh the negatives when dealing with a mortgage professional. They not only provide all information to consider in one spot but they should assist in finding the most suitable solution to a clients need with an unbiased fashion in a client centric manner - this would include getting the best rate for the situation at hand.

Also something to note is there are many lenders, many products and many types of loans with different features so a low rate loan might not be in the end what a client actually needs because usually the lowest rate loan does not have the features most clients want.

In summary find yourself a good mortgage professional and have a complimentary discussion about your situation.

Any questions let me know. Let me know if i can help with anything else.
Q: Should I go for a fixed or variable interest rate on my homeloan?
A: Definitely one of the toughest question to answer and as many of the other professionals have said there ia no right or wrong but it should depend highly on your personal circumstances as which strategy and method might work.

What should also be considered is how long to Fix and again this should be thoroughly thoight out and tailored to your future plans

One last thing I can add as a dual Financial Adviser and Debt specialist is there is a way to figure out a good level to Fix if you are doing a combination loan (mix of Fixed and Variable).

Hope that helps, any questions let me know.
Q: What's the difference between wholesale & personal superannuation funds?
A: Hmm Super is usualy either Retail/Personal plans or Industry Funds or Corporate plans or the knew DIY type funds.

There are a few retail plans that are titled wholesale funds but this is more in reference to the type of investments you are able to invest in amd the fees and performance accordingly will differ. In this situation there is no better option just one most suited to your situation.

Hope that helps. Any more questions or if I have misunderstood your question do let me know.
Q: Why is it more difficult to attain a personal loan over a credit card?
A: Do consider the new type of lending in the market for amounts less than $50,000 known as peer-to-peer lending. There are a few players that play in this space and it can result in lower interest rates than personal loans and sometimes more flexible terms.

If you have anything else on your mind regarding this loan let me know or if tou want to discuss the best option for you to obtain finance. Happy to try help.
Q: I'm 52 years of age and have just over $200k in super with colonial on which I'm paying over $1000 pa advisor fees - anyone have a better suggestion?
A: Assuming these are adviser ongoing fees and the adviser sees you at least once a year to discuss your Super and other areas of financial needs then this $1,000 p/a is very reasonable BUT if this is not happening then you should decide:

1. Do you want to stay with this adviser and if Yes then call him/her up and understand why you are paying fees for no service and from here you can either request to stop the ongoing service or request a free review including implementation if necessary.
2. Find another adviser that will be by your side into retirement and discuss strategies that will assist you and your family's future plans. The actual provider you are with is not the most important thing but the strategy and what you do with it...that is critical.

Hope that helps. Anything I did not explain clearly please let me know.
Q: When my fixed rate loan period ends - do I just automatically switch back to variable with the same lender without having to bother with paperwork etc?
A: Great comments everyone!

The only thing i dare to add is your debt specialist that helped you set this up should be in constant contact throughout the fixed loan term i.e. at least annually and should be talking to you about your next steps. You shouldnt need to contact the bank to push for rate drops but your broker should. This is what he is being paid for.
Q: Hello, my question is, is it ok to buy land in leppington for $350k for 320 square meter. Is it wise to buy. Or what about Austral area?
A: As previously advised mortgage specialists cannot assist with your purchase decision. Real Estate agents or buyers agents may be able to better help you. If you want some people to speak to I may be able to assist but yes whateverthe decision it has to fit in with your personal lomg term plans.

One thing I also want to point out (assuming it is not land for investment) is I would encourage you to ensure you can also afford the construction part before buying the land to avoid too long a period of paying loan repayments whilst waiting for the house to be built. These days many lenders also have a lot higher rates for Investment loans compared to Owner occupier loans.

Any further questions, dont hesitate to ask.
Q: Is there a lender out there who will lend on lvr up to 70% with low short term income? I have high asset but 2 to 3 income flow will be low so can't get loan value to that ratio.
A: I am not sure if your employment situation is an employee or self employed.

If you have a low income and you are an employee there are other possible sources of income we can consider like Centrelink income, super income, investment income and more...

If you are self employed there are certain things banks and lenders would consider on top of the normal income reported on the tax teturns but this up to your skilled debt specialist to review this.

I also want to stress the importance of not entering into into a lending arrangement if you foresee changes in your income in the future where you may not be able to maintain the repayments.

If you are open to have a chat about your situation please let me know. Happy to help if I can.
Q: We have two young kids under four years of age, looking to set them up in later on in life. We have about $5k per child with annual inputs from family about $100p year. What's the best set for them shares, gov bonds, or other?
A: This is such an pertinent question these days. Whether it be saving for the kids school/university fees, deposit for the kids first property or even just as a gift.

There are many options you can look at but at this stage you have a lot of unknowns that you need to think about before even looking at a product for example uderstanding what is the purpose for these funds or what is your investment timeframe are?

Once you have a clear idea on all the important questions the last step of finding a suitable product will come very easily.

Happy to explore this in more detail with you. Please contact me to discuss further but in a nutshell I would encourage you to seek a professionals assistance for such an important matter as this as there are a lot of risks when investing.