Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been through it before, buying a house can be an emotional roller coaster. Exciting, stressful and intimidating all at the same time – buying a house is one of the most important (and expensive) purchases you can make in your life, so it’s important that you get it right.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to make sure you’re as prepared and stress-free as possible during this time.
1. Understand your financial position
Understand how much you can afford to pay for a house, taking in to consideration how much you earn and how much you have saved. If you’re a first time buyer you could be entitled to government help, such as KiwiSaver or a Welcome Home Loan.
2. Get a pre-approved loan from your bank
Once you have a good understanding of your finances, getting pre-approval from a bank for a home loan is an essential step to take. A pre-approved home loan serves many purposes, including:
- Setting your financial boundaries
- Putting you in a stronger position to negotiate
- Letting you confidently bid at auctions
- Speeding up documentation processes
3. Get legal advice
Houses are expensive and mistakes made when buying houses can be expensive too — that’s why getting legal advice before you start looking for properties can be helpful.
You never know how quickly a house can be sold, and you don’t want to get caught off guard with legislation like sale and purchase agreements, which are legally binding documents. The best way to be organised for this is with the help of an experienced property lawyer.
4. House hunt on your own terms
When it’s time to start looking for your house, there are a few different methods you can use – online searches, real estate agencies and publications, or physically scouting out different neighbourhoods.
In most cases, you’ll eventually be dealing with real estate agents. Which means you’ll need to remember one point at all times – real estate agents work for the seller of the property and they receive commission off any sale that they make. The salesperson shouldn’t be your sole point of advice or assistance, no matter how helpful or friendly they are.
5. Do your due diligence
– Title search – available from the real estate agent, or from Land Information New Zealand
– Property and/or engineer’s report
This is where your lawyer can come in handy again, consult with them about these documents. This part of the process can take time and extra money; however it’s a worthwhile investment to save potential stress in the long run.
6. Time to make an offer
If your place checks out on all fronts and you’re satisfied that your due diligence has been done, it’s time to make an offer.
At this stage, your lawyer is extremely important. Decide whether you’re making a conditional or an unconditional offer and make sure you fill out the correct documentation.
7. Take advantage of your pre-settlement inspection
Congratulations you’ve officially bought your new home! Before you move in to your newly-found, perfect residence, you’ll need to carry out a pre-settlement inspection.
This inspection is your chance to check that everything is in order with the property and that everything is in line with the conditions of the sale and purchase agreement. Check that any necessary maintenance or repairs have been done, if there have been tenants in the property, they need to leave it for you in the agreed-upon state.