Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life, but it can also feel overwhelming. Luckily, there are many tools, tips, and resources available to help you navigate the process with ease. Here’s a quick rundown.
Determine how much you can borrow
Before you start house hunting, it’s important to know how much you can borrow. Banks’ mortgage repayment calculators can give you an idea of how much repayments will be, based on the size of your deposit, the sale price, and the mortgage interest rate you select.
This can help you narrow down your search to homes that fit within your price range. The first step is to find out how much lenders are willing to lend you, and that’s where a mortgage pre-approval comes in.
A mortgage pre-approval is a document from a lender conditionally offering you a mortgage loan and outlining its terms, including the maximum loan amount. Unless your financial circumstances change by the time you purchase, once you meet all conditions documented in the pre-approval offer, your loan should be approved unconditionally.
Like to know more? A mortgage pre-approval is something we can help you with, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Where to find property listings
With a ballpark figure of how much you plan to spend, the next step is to find the right property.
Gone are the days of flipping through classified ads in the papers: property listing websites like Oneroof.co.nz, Trademe.co.nz, and Homes.co.nz are great resources for finding your first home. You can search for properties based on location, size, price range and more, with photos and virtual tools providing a sneak peek before you visit in person.
Time to research the area
Once you have found some properties that interest you, it’s time to research the suburb or town to ensure it meets your needs. Make sure you follow local news or localised Facebook groups to stay up-to-date on any development. Plus, take the time to explore the neighbourhood in person: drive around, check out nearby amenities, and speak to locals to get a sense of the community.
Open home? Know what to look for
When attending open homes, it’s important to be prepared and not miss any key details. Settled.govt.nz provides a handy Open Home Checklist that you can use to make notes about the properties you visit. It’s all about keeping track of potential issues of each property, so that you can compare them later on.
Then, you may want to give Settled.govt.nz’s Property Checker tool a go as well. In about ten minutes, the interactive tool is designed to highlight any potential problems with a property, based on the year it was built, its cladding, past extensions and renovations, and more.
Found a property or two that you like?
While online listings may provide some basic information, before making an offer, it’s important to delve deeper and ensure that the property is worth your hard-earned money.
QV.co.nz is a great resource to find out the estimated value of the house and check out recent sales history in the area. This can help you determine whether the property is priced appropriately.
And don’t forget to obtain a property pre-purchase inspection report. While this comes at a price, the peace of mind you can get is priceless. The person completing the inspection will thoroughly check the house to assess its conditions and identify any hidden defects or potential safety hazards. This way, you can avoid potentially costly repairs down the line and ensure the property right now is good value, inside and out.
Now, check out how much it would cost to rebuild
No one likes to think about a fire or a natural disaster, but unfortunately, these things do happen. By using the Cordell Sum Sure tool, you can estimate the cost of rebuilding your house. Then, with this number, you can have an informed conversation with your property insurer or property insurance adviser.
Find your support team
Buying a home can be a complex process: do you have the right support team around you? This may include:
- A mortgage adviser: our SHARE mortgage advisers can help you understand how much you can borrow and guide you through the mortgage application process, while also liaising with lenders on your behalf. Plus, we provide ongoing support and advice about refinancing, updating your mortgage structure, funding a renovation, and more.
- A personal insurance adviser: protecting your financial ability to repay the mortgage is crucial, and that’s another area where we can assist you. Whether it’s life insurance, income protection or mortgage protection, or other relevant covers, getting an appropriate level of cover is all about protecting your homeownership milestone.
- A property insurance adviser: while we don’t provide advice in this area, we know great professionals who do. Let us know if you’d like us to recommend one of them.
- A property lawyer or conveyancer: make sure you involve a lawyer or conveyancer early in the process, as they will check that all contracts and paperwork are in order.
Like to learn more?
With the right tools and resources, buying your first home can be a rewarding experience. And remember: we’re also here to help. Get in touch if you have any questions, no matter how big or small.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.