BUYING PROPERTY PRIVATELY IN NEW ZEALAND
If you want to buy a home or property, what difference does it make if you go through a real estate agent or deal directly with the home owner? At the end of the day, you will have seen the property, liked it and will want to make an offer regardless of who's selling it. The home owner will also be able to answer any of your questions - after all, they are the ones who have lived there.
Essentially if the asking price matches what you believe the market price is (and I'm sure that you would have looked around at other homes in the area), then by dealing directly with the owner you know exactly where you stand. Often both parties are happier after reaching an agreement rather than perhaps feeling they were being managed or pressured by a real estate agent in some way.
Steps to buying a house or property
The basic steps to buying real estate in New Zealand privately are very similar to the steps required if you are using a real estate agent. the main difference is that you will be dealing directly with the property owner in terms of price and any buying conditions you may have.
Criteria - What Do I Need in a Property?
Grab some paper and a pen. When buying a new home or property it's really important you narrow down your criteria. Perhaps consider breaking it into 'definitely need', 'may need' and 'not important but good to have'. That way you can figure out what you'll compromise on and what you can't. Things to consider include:
- Location - Suburbs or Areas, Schools, Medical Centres, Open Spaces, Work, Friends, Family, Public Transport
- Aspect - Views, North Facing, Sun, Shelter, Beach, Closeness to Neighbours, Secluded, Quiet, Main Road
- Type and Size - Apartment, Over 60's, House, Section, Lifestyle, Land Size, Old or New, Building Material
- Features - Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Living, Dining, Kitchen, Study, Storage, Garage, Garden, BBQ Area, Pool
Perhaps go through your current home and use it as a guide i.e. need an extra bedroom and study.
Finance - Mortgage Loans
If you are serious about finding a new home or property, then you are best to contact a financial institution that offers home loans such as a bank, building society or mortgage broker. It pays to look around and explore the options even if you only bank with one main bank. It's a competitive market and well worth putting in the effort.
A bank, broker or financial institution will be able to give you a guide on the price you can afford to go up to to buy a property based. This will be based on your deposit and your ability to pay for a mortgage based on your (and your partners) income and situation. Generally you will need to supply salary details, other income and general expenses, the value of any assets such as vehicles, works of art plus any other debts such as hire purchase and credit cards. Some places even offer a financial contribution towards any legal or conveyancing fees during the purchase process.
Generally a registered valuation of the property will be required prior to the bank or institution lending you the money however your solicitor will more often than note, put a clause in the sale and purchase agreement which say 'subject to finance' which effectively gives you and the bank time to sort out your loan.
Search - Where Do I Look?
There are three main places that you will find properties for sale privately
- Online - TradeMe is the main web site for property sellers however there will be other private sale web sites so use Google to narrow down the options
- Print - Newspaper property sections, local newspapers and the HomeSell property guide
- For Sale Signs - Usually easy to spot as the signs aren't branded with real estate agents information
Once you find a property that meets your criteria, contact the owner directly and organise a time to look through or alternatively view the property at an Open Home (if available).
Offer - How Do I Make an Offer?
So you've decided you like the property and want to make an offer. You would have met the owner so you now have a few choices depending on how comfortable you feel. You can use the direct approach and simply say 'I'll offer you $XX" or alternatively you can make an offer via email or via your solicitor.
It maybe that the owner prefers one method or another so definitely inform them you want to make an offer and see what they say. It could be that they don't mind but you prefer email. That's fine and you just use the method you feel most comfortable with.
The Complete Guide to Selling a Home in New Zealand
Buy the book: "The Complete Guide to Selling a Home in New Zealand" is full of information and will guide you through the selling process. Being aware of how to sell your own home privately will enable you to understand what's involved and will give you an insight into the buying aspects with confidence. As a buyer you won't be interested in the lead up the sale of a home, but the section in the book on negotiation, offers and paperwork will provide a valuable insight into the process.