Buying a home is a big deal.
It is likely to be the most expensive thing you buy, and it can be a complicated legal process.
It is even tougher in a hot market, where there is a lot of competition for a limited number of properties.
It might be tempting to take a few shortcuts, but failing to do things properly could cause more problems later.
Here are our top four tasks for home buyers.
Research the property
The real estate agent selling the property acts on behalf of the seller, however they are also required to tell you everything they know about the property.
They must respond professionally to all your enquiries and not withhold any details. Remember that you still need to do your own due diligence.
That means getting a title search so you can find out all the facts about the property’s ownership, boundary and access, as held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).
It is a good idea to get a Land Information Memorandum (LIM), which shows information held by the local council about the property and land.
For valuable feedback on the property’s condition, get a report done by an inspector who has professional indemnity insurance and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard.
Although this costs money, it will save you more in the long term.
Sellers may occasionally provide some of this information for you.
If this happens, check that it is up-to-date.
Get legal advice
Buying property is expensive, and it can cost even more if something goes wrong. That is why, it is important to get legal advice before you sign anything. A lawyer will handle all the paperwork involved in the process, including the title search, and offer impartial advice.
If you do not have a lawyer, the New Zealand Law Society can help you find one at propertylawyers.org.nz.
Understand the sale process
There are several methods of buying and selling property, for example, tender or auction. It’s important to understand the process for the property you are buying.
Practices can vary between agencies so make sure you confirm details with them. The Home Buyer’s Guide at buyingahome.reaa.govt.nz has more helpful advice.
Study the Agreement
Read the sale and purchase agreement and understand what it means. The sale and purchase agreement is your contract with the seller.
It is crucial to read it very carefully and get legal advice before you sign.
You can negotiate the terms and conditions of an agreement, but once you sign it, there is no going back.
Lucy Corry is Media Communications Manager at the Real Estate Agents Authority based in Wellington.
For more free and independent advice on buying a property, please access the Home Buyers’ Guide at buyingahome.reaa.govt.nz.
If you still have questions, call the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) on 0800-3677322 (please call 04-4718930 from a mobile phone).
- Apartments are also in demand
- Learn the purchase process thoroughly
(Pictures by Real Estate Agents Authority)