First Home Buyers Guide

The Process of Buying a Home for the First Home Buyer

  • 1. Start at the Bank

    The first thing you need to know is your budget. There is no point starting to look at properties until you have spoken to your personal banker and know how much you can spend.

  • 2. Make Your Lists

    There are two lists you need to consider before you start looking for your new home or section.

    Must Have List – these are features you NEED to have in your home, e.g. fenced because you have children or animals; an office because you work from home; wheelchair access / ramps etc. Bear in mind that often you will not find a home that has everything, but if it can be fenced or a room made into an office you may need to compromise.

    Wish list – features you would LIKE in your new home, e.g. a dishwasher, a spa pool, sea views etc.

    This will help your agent narrow down the options to recommend.

  • 3. Get Online

    Head to www.thames.harcourts.co.nz and have a look at all the available properties in your price range. Make sure to check properties that are a little above your price range also, as you may be able to negotiate the price.

  • 4. Find an Agent

    The best way to select an agent is to make a time to meet and discuss your needs and wishlist with them. The essential criteria are communication and interaction, since you’re going to be dealing with them regularly. How well do you relate to them? Do you feel comfortable discussing your needs with them? Do you feel that your communications are responded to in a timely manner?

    Why is important to deal with an agent and not directly with the property owner?

    1. The obvious benefit is the agent’s knowledge of the local market and properties, and the fact that they are skilled negotiators which can help you reach agreement with the sellers.

    2. Private home owners do not have to disclose anything about their property. This means that if the house is falling apart, they’ve got borer in the woodwork, a high-rise is about to be built next door, or the quiet street you have fallen in love with is actually being changed into the next motorway – they don’t have to tell you anything. If you buy privately, you have no comeback if there are any future problems. Agents are obligated to tell buyers all of the issues that they are aware of and should know about.

  • 5. Start to View Properties

    Be open and honest with your agent – tell them what you love or hate about a property. This gives them a more complete picture of what you are looking for. If you find a property that you like, but it’s “not quite right”, feel free to discuss options with your agent. You might be pleasantly surprised by renovation options that may turn that “almost right” into “perfect”.

  • 6. Methods of Sale and Purchase

    During the process of searching for your new property, you may be presented with a few purchase options. Auction, Tender, Fixed Price, and Price by Negotiation. You can find an overview of Methods of Sale and Purchase by clicking here.

  • 7. So You’ve Found a Property You Like…

    Time to put in an offer. The agent will advise you through the process of putting together an offer and discuss the conditions on which you will purchase the property. This is the point that you would consider conditions such as LIM reports from the council, building reports, confirming finance with your bank, considering dates to take over the property – among other considerations and due diligence. The agent will draw up your offer and advise you to have your solicitor have a look over it before you sign it. Take your time to consider the information you need to make an informed decision.

  • 8. Negotiations Begin

    The agent will then take your offer and present it to the seller. The seller will review your offer, and decide if your terms are acceptable. The negotiation continues until both parties have agreed to the price, terms, conditions and dates of the offer; or the terms are not agreeable to either party, at which time the offer will become void or “at an end”. At any point during the offer / negotiation process, either party can pull out.

  • 9. Going Unconditional

    You’re almost there! Once both parties have agreed on the offer, it becomes a legally binding contract, and it’s up to the buyer to complete all of the conditions of sale. It’s your responsibility during this time to fulfil all the conditions you had on the contract, such as getting a builders report, finalising the sale of your current property, checking with your lawyer and solicitor, etc. You have until the unconditional date to get all of this completed.

    During this time the sale may still be cancelled if you are presented with additional information regarding your conditions of purchase (from reports, lawyers, financial issues) and it cannot be remedied.

    And when the property goes unconditional… you are now a proud new home owner!