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Moving Home is our practical guide to buying or selling your home, complete with conveyancing timelines, steps to applying for loans or mortgages, a comprehensive moving checklist, and expert advice and other helpful information to make sure the whole process goes smoothly.

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Buying a house in NZ – Tips for House Hunting

Following my last two updates about finding a location and type of property that works for you best, the next step would be making a shortlist of properties that fit the criteria you need.

Buying and Selling a home online

Previously, purchasers in the market for buying a house would need to trawl through pages of real estate listings in newspapers and agency advertisements.  With the advent of the internet, searching is now easier than ever.  Real Estate agents now use sites such as TradeMe and Realestate.co.nz to advertise their listings as well as their own websites.

Purchasers would benefit from first looking at a variety of websites to compare listings – while the example websites listed above are a helpful portal to bring together listings from various agencies, any given listing is likely to have more information (including higher resolution pictures) about the property on the agency website itself.

Shortlisting properties and viewing

Once you have shortlisted a series of properties you are interested in, the next step is to arrange a viewing.  Viewings are essential for a purchaser to get a feel for whether the neighbourhood, type of property, layout and overall condition of the particular property is right for them (and worth the asking price, if there is one).  Viewing can be conducted either via open homes, which commonly occur on Sundays, or by private appointment.

Ask a lot questions when looking to buy a home

Whether you are viewing a property via an open home or a private appointment, it is a great opportunity to pose questions to the real estate agent that is present for the viewing.

Good questions to ask include:

  1. Have there been any offers on this property?
  2. When were these offers made?
  3. Have any contracts been cancelled by purchasers?  If so, why?
  4. Has there been a building report and/or LIM on this property?
  5. Has there ever been a weathertightness issue with the property?
  6. What repairs have been done by the current owner(s)?
  7. How long has the property been on the market?

Creating a checklist of questions you need answered is a great way to make sure that you have not missed anything, and can help compare properties where you might be undecided about which you actually prefer.

Don’t rush – the second viewing of a potential property purchase is key

Once you have viewed a few properties and have an idea of what you like, the next step is to arrange further viewings at the properties that you are still considering.  Second viewings might reveal benefits and issues that you missed before is an essential step to making sure that the property fills your needs.  Sometimes, agents might pressure you into getting an offer in at this early stage (“the vendors are considering another offer, get in quick!”), however taking such a rushed approach could net you into a purchase you do not really want to make.  Given that this is likely to be the most substantial purchase of your life, taking a considered approach instead of a fast approach is essential.  Even if you miss out on purchasing a property you really like, another will always come along.

Once you have found a property you want to make on offer on, the next step is making an offer.  The specific process to follow will depend on whether the property is being sold at auction, by negotiation, tender or another method of sale which will be covered in my next update.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Neil Mistry
Solicitor
HomeLegal