Guide to buying a property

Things you should consider when buying a new home:

  • Before you start looking for a new home you should talk with your bank or a mortgage broker and confirm your finances with a pre-approved mortgage.
  • If you are area-specific this will limit your options, so try to include neighbouring areas to give you more choice.
  • Get on the internet and research houses that fit into your price range.
  • If you have children check out the schools, public transport and shops.
  • Buying a home will be your largest purchase, so make sure you do your homework.
  • When you find the ideal home, view the property on more than one occasion and visit at different times of the day.  When viewing a property don’t be afraid to ask the owner or real estate agent lots of questions. Drive around the neighbourhood to get a feel for the area. If the property doesn’t feel right, then go with your gut feeling.


Some important questions you need to ask:

  • Why is the property on the market?
  • Are there any known faults or defects with the house or land?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Has the property been under offer?
  • Do they know if any major civil works are pending for the area?


Auction Make sure you have your finances pre-approved well in advance before an auction. If you are the successful bidder the contract will be unconditional and you can’t back out. You need to make sure you have the funds available on the day of the auction for a deposit, which is normally 10% or 20% of the sale price. If the property does not reach the reserve price set by the seller and you’re the highest bidder on the day, then you may have the first opportunity to negotiate with the seller. If you’re unsure about the process you can ask your lawyer or real estate agent to be present to help you. Be prepared to pay for their time.

Private sale You’ve found the perfect home and you agree on the price with the seller.  At this point you should pass everything over to your lawyer and they will deal directly with the seller’s lawyer. Do not pay the seller the deposit; let your lawyer pay this directly to the seller’s lawyer.

Tender You have to make an offer in writing to the seller.  The seller may accept the highest bid or negotiate with the buyer to reach an agreement. Before you submit your offer make sure you are aware of all the terms and conditions relating to the tender process. If your bid is accepted you are committed to the purchase and will have a set amount of time to meet the conditions.

Before you sign Before you sign a sale and purchase agreement it’s advisable to have the property sale subject to a building inspection and LIM report.

Building inspection A registered building inspector or a qualified builder will thoroughly inspect the building for potential problems and defects. They will also advise you on the cost of any maintenance or repairs you may have to budget for. For more information you can contact the Building Research Association (BRANZ) or visit their website.

LIM report A LIM report provides information about the property such as any future civil works, drainage, flooding, etc. Your lawyer normally takes care of obtaining the LIM report, however you can also obtain a LIM report from the local council. You will need to provide a copy of the title of the property.

Final inspection All buyers have the right to carry out a final inspection of the property before settlement to ensure the property is in the same condition as when the offer was made.

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