Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

It’s not just a financial consideration but also a lifestyle one; you want to make the right decision for your finances, your loved ones and yourself.

Buying your first home will be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. At the end of your property buying adventure, you’ll have the keys to a home to call your own and an investment for your future.

But where do you start?

This guide will start you off on the right foot and provide practical tips and advice to help you along the way.

If you are not from New Zealand:

The rules for overseas people buying or building residential property in New Zealand changed in October 2018. In general, only residents and citizens can buy homes to live in, but other investment opportunities are available. The New Zealand Immigration website has a helpful tool which explains who is able to buy and who needs to apply for consent.

Take the first steps towards Your First Home

Research

Once the decision has been made to buy a home, the majority of people turn to the internet for their research. There can be an overwhelming amount of information to wade through online, but there are ways you can narrow down the research. What are your non-negotiables?

Before you even turn to Google, sit down and write out your property deal-breakers.

In which suburbs would you most like to live? Do you like the neighbouring suburbs?

Are local schools a consideration? What’s the proximity to shops, sports facilities, cafes, restaurants etc?

What are the dream features of your home? Is a garden or balcony important?

How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need a garage?

Do your desirables fall within your budget?

Once you’ve decided on the non-negotiables, it will be much easier to narrow down your search parameters, giving you a good list to start your hunt.

TIP – Use Technology

Most online real estate agents and portals give you the option to setup alerts for houses that match your parameters. Look out for the ones where it’s possible to add inspection times and auctions to your digital calendar

Open Home Inspections

You’ve set up the alerts on your phone, planned out the calendar and resigned yourself to giving up your Saturday or Sunday sleep-in. Bring on the open homes. What’s the best way to approach them? Firstly, go to as many as you can. Open homes are about more than just the house. It’s a chance to see the rest of the street, explore the neighbourhood and check out the ‘competition’ – other potential buyers.

What should you be looking out for at an inspection?

As you’re walking through and around the property, take note of the following.

Does everything open and shut?

Do doors close smoothly or do they stick?

Do lights turn off and off without flickering?

Do taps work and is the water flow adequate?

Are there signs of water damage (i.e. peeling or bubbled paint work, mould, stained ceilings)?

Do the floors slope or bounce? This may mean piles need replacing.

Are there cracks in the walls, which could be an indication of subsidence or earthquake damage?

Is there any fretting (cracked) brickwork that could indicate major structural problems?

Don’t forget to walk around the outside of the property to check fences and the condition of the building’s exterior including gutters and downpipes.

TIP – Get digital help

Keep all your inspection notes and checklists on your phone using an app like Evernote or Quip. Evernote also lets you add photographs into your notes.

Finance

Buying a house is a major investment and it’s important to make sure your finances are in order before starting the process. Once you have started to gain an understanding of the market, the next step is to start thinking about how you’re going to pay for it.

So how much money do you need?

How much does it cost to buy property?

Deposit

How much are you willing to pay upfront to secure your home?

The simple truth is that the more deposit you pay, the more likely you are to get a loan.

Of course, it depends on your lender and their rules, as well as your financial situation.

You may be eligible for government help if you’re buying your first home.

Other Costs

Property inspection reports are not compulsory, but it is a good idea to get a house inspection to uncover any likelihood of hidden costs you have to pay once you’ve bought the property.

We recommend you choose a property inspector who has professional indemnity insurance and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standards.

Do you have a question on the local Real Estate market, or should you spend money on a renovation of your home before you sell, or any information about a local area, just call Matt Wineera on 0274 951 536 who is always on hand to answer your query.

Work with Matt Wineera who lists and sells in the TaurangaMount Maunganui and Papamoa areas.

Check out what clients have to say about Matt

Matt continually achieves great results for Home Owners through his negotiation skills and vast real estate experience, knowledge and expertise.

Matt is very passionate about real estate and loves being at the coal face.