We like to say in New Zealand that something is ‘as safe as houses’, but are you sure the house you’re looking at buying is actually safe? Whether you’re buying your first family home or investing in a rental for the future, this is a transaction that you should not enter into lightly and it is advised you get a Wellington property lawyer who will work on your behalf. Buying property in New Zealand is likely the biggest financial transaction you will make, especially if you’re a first home buyer and you don’t want the gremlins to come out of the woodwork (in some cases literally) after you’ve bought the property. We recommend getting a pre-purchase Building Report from an appropriately qualified inspector before you sign an agreement, or as a condition of your agreement to buy the property.
A good quality non-invasive Building Report will investigate whether the property has any significant structural defects or whether it is in need of maintenance or might be in the future. A building Report should also disclose if the house has been rewired, needs repiling or has materials which are prone to failure. It is important to know whether you might have to spend more money in the near future to maintain the property, as this might affect whether you can afford to buy the property.
Know before you buy
A pre-purchase Building Report can be aimed at these more hidden issues, which a walk around the property or comments from your Real Estate Agent won’t necessarily alert you to.
Even more importantly, the need for pre-purchase Building Reports has increased with the prevalence of leaky-homes over the last decade or so.
If you find that there are problems following the Building Report, it does not have to be the end of you buying the property. You might wish to avoid the property altogether if the issues that arise worry you about the current or future condition of the property. Alternatively you might be able to negotiate with the seller to reduce the purchase price, as you will have to complete the work once you have bought the property. You should get advice from your property lawyer when it comes to negotiating. The seller might actually be willing to do the work or maintenance themselves, as long as you are committed to buy the property.
It is better to have all the information to make an informed decision, before actually signing an agreement. Before you buy that dream property, make sure your head isn’t in the clouds
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