If your savings have been ticking along nicely and you're getting close to buying, it's time to chat to us about how much you can borrow (pre-approval) and what would be realistic repayments for you. This helps you narrow down your search and means you can also start putting offers on homes or participating in auctions.
It's when the bank assesses your finances and gives you an agreed amount you can borrow from them, provided you meet the terms and conditions. This gives you a clear idea of the homes you can and can't afford. Pre-approval letters of offer are valid for up to 90 days and are based on the information supplied at the time - unless specified.
How much deposit do I need?
Remember we typically require 20% of the property’s price as a deposit but this can be as low as 10% in some cases. However, if you do have less than 20% equity, there may be additional requirements such as a full registered valuation, and a low equity margin may apply. It’s always best to chat to us about what works best for you now and in the future. To find out more or start this process, chat to our friendly team.
How much will my repayments be?
Now's a good time to figure out what level of mortgage payment you're comfortable with to ensure it fits within your budget. Double-check using our online mortgage repayment calculator.
Finding the right home is a lot easier when you're clear on what you’re looking for. What do you love in a house? What don't you like? What features do you need, and what could you do without?
Things to consider
Type of home that suits you now and in the future - a unit, apartment, townhouse or standalone house
Location - quiet street, close to CBD, good schools etc
Minimum number of bedrooms
Minimum number of bathrooms
Fully fenced section
Outdoor living area
Type of flooring
Heating and insulation
Single level or multi story
Types of ownership
There are probably more types of land ownership in New Zealand than you're aware of, and while it's likely you won’t come across all of them in your house hunting, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the different terms. You'll want to understand what they mean and what the pros and cons of each are. If you're buying the property with someone else, then you’ll also need to decide how you want to structure the ownership.
Fee simple: The most common type of ownership in New Zealand (also known as freehold).
Leasehold: Someone else owns the land. You purchase the right to possession of the land and buildings on it for a specific period of time.
Cross lease: Two or more people own the same piece of freehold land, with more than one dwelling on the property and then lease the use of these from each other.
Unit titles can involve either fee simple or leasehold developments (also known as strata title).
We recommend getting advice on ownership types from your solicitor prior to purchasing a new home.
Checking the listings and planning your weekend of open home viewings can cut into your precious evening and weekend downtime, here are a few tips and tricks to help you streamline the process.
If you do find a house that ticks all the boxes, don't delay. If you like it, others might too and you don't want to come back a week later to find it's gone. Let the agent know you’re interested and start your due diligence of building inspections and legal checks. If the house is going to auction, confirm with your bank how much you can offer.
House hunting tools
Here are a few sites to help you start the search:
homes.co.nz, Trade Me Property Insight, and oneroof.co.nz also give you estimates of value, which can be useful when you're planning your weekend viewings. The home of private sales and real estate listed properties. Check out their Property Insights feature in their property app to see the latest rateable value and in some cases, property history.
With any big purchase, you're bound to be full of questions. But, do you know the right ones to ask?
Here’s our list to make sure you’re on the ball
Take your must-have list and check if the property meets your needs.
Make notes and take pictures, it's easy to forget which house has what.
Turn on the taps, shower and flush the toilet to check the water pressure.
Check that windows open, lights turn on and that everything generally works as expected.
Bring a measuring tape to make sure there's enough space for your beds and furniture. Living spaces may appear large if the owner has professionally staged the house and has cleared all the clutter of day-to-day living.
Check your mobile signal strength.
A freshly painted room can look lovely but look closer to see if it’s hiding mould or any other issues. Open wardrobes and check the walls and ceiling for any mould spots too.
Note where the sun rises and sets and which parts of the house see the most sunlight. Generally, you want your outdoors and living spaces to face the sun. Check if the house is in shadow for some of the day due to nearby hills or high buildings.
Listen for noise from the road, nearby schools or workplaces.
Chat to the neighbours about the area to see if you’re the right fit.
What to ask agents
What type of title is it?
How long has it been on the market?
Was it owner occupied or rented out?
What schools is it zoned for?
Have there been any alterations?
Are all alterations permitted and certified?
Which chattels will remain?
Where are the property boundaries?
What is the current council valuation and rates?
Are they aware of any zoning restrictions?
Are there any covenants or restrictions registered on the title?
Are there any issues with property maintenance or damage that the agent knows about? (Such as collapsed drains or leaks).
Are there any leaky building issues? Has there been a toxicology report done?
If it's an apartment, are there body corporate fees?
Your home team
Mums, Dads, Uncles and Aunties may be full of great ideas and opinions - but you’ll need to chat to a few professionals too. That way, you can be sure that your home buying journey will go as smoothly as possible - both now and later down the track.
A home loan expert: We can help you navigate the ins and outs of home loans to find the one best-suited to you. Talk to our friendly team.
Real estate agents: Often people selling a home use a real estate agent to manage the process for them.
Builder: We recommend getting a builder to do an inspection before you buy. No matter the age of the house or how great you think the condition is, it’s important to know all the facts.
Valuer: Property valuers assess the value of land, buildings and improvements.
Lawyer: They offer you advice for everything from negotiations to sale and purchase agreements, together with checking relevant paperwork like the LIM and certificate of title.
Contact us about your home loan
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