Home Buyer: your guide to house hunting

27 November 2015 / Published in Your Money

With your pre-approval sorted and a price range in mind, it’s now time for the fun part – house hunting!

A good first step to help narrow down your search is to make a list of all the important features you’d like your new home to have. It’s a good idea to rank these in order of importance. These features may include:

  • The areas you’d like to live in.
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d like.
  • Whether you need a garage or off-street parking.
  • Type of land title.
  • Type of building material used.

Depending on your budget, you might need to be flexible with some of these, while others will be non-negotiable. Once you’ve got the important features sorted, it’s time to think about what your “nice-to-haves” would be. These could include:

  • A deck.
  • French doors.
  • Preferred paint colours.
  • Nice garden.
  • Lots of natural light.

Where to search

Trademe.co.nz and realestate.co.nz are also great places to look. Most real estate agents list their properties with these two sites and you’ll also find private sales on Trade Me.

If you’d prefer to have someone help you with your search, rather than do it online yourself, then get in touch with a local real estate agent.

House hunting tips

  • Consider locations and properties that weren’t originally on your radar.
  • Go to as many open homes as you can, as soon as you can.
  • Take the brochures from the open homes; it’ll be hard to remember all the details without them.
  • Ask the real estate agent for a private viewing.
  • Ask the neighbours about the property and the surrounding area.
  • Don’t feel pressured to rush into anything.
  • Think about your future plans for your home. E.g. How long can you see yourself living there? Will it be big enough if your family expands?
  • Pay attention to the bigger, more permanent details. Small cosmetic things like paint colours can be changed to suit your taste.

Due diligence

It’s really important that you complete your due diligence to make sure you’re aware of any and all issues. You’ll want to look into both the land and the building. These are some of the things you might like to look into:

  • LIM report. This summarises the information the council holds on the property, e.g. building consents.
  • Builder’s report. This helps you understand more about the structural and building condition of the property.
  • Covenants on the title. Understanding covenants will identify any restrictions or requirements attached to the property. An example is a requirement to maintain a certain style of fence in keeping with the neighbourhood.
  • Type of land title. There are a few different types of land ownership titles in New Zealand, including fee simple, leasehold and cross-lease. It’s important you understand these before purchasing a property. We will explain these further in another post in the series.

You can find more tips for house hunting here.

When this series comes back next year, we’ll talk about the purchasing process and what information you’ll need to provide the bank before you make an offer. For now, happy house hunting!

The above information is a guide only and should not be relied on as it does not take into account your personal financial situation.


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