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The Stages of Buying

Thinking of Buying

Buying a home is an exciting and nerve wracking experience and one that our team can help guide you through.


The scope

Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Think about family, jobs, pets, school zones. It is important to have a good idea or what you want and what you need to look for. This will also help you identify your priorities and non-negotiables and what you can compromise on.

It also pays to think about your time and how much you can invest in a property – do you want something that you can move straight into or are you looking for a do-up project? Maybe an apartment in the city or a family home in the suburbs. You could also consider buying a section, a new build or a house and land package. We have a great range of properties available here.



It’s best to talk to the professionals. The team at Mortgage Express can sort you out. Whether it’s deposits, limits, Kiwi Saver, first home grants – they have you covered.

Pre-approval gives you an indication of how much you can spend on your property search. It also gives you a competitive advantage with your sale and purchase finance condition – giving you an edge over competition and shows that you are a serious buyer. If you are looking at purchasing at auction you will require pre-approval before you bid.


Getting Help

Getting the right support team is crucial. One of our buyer’s agents can work with you on your behalf to guide and support you through the process – and best of all their service is free.

Our buyers’ specialists are trained and licenced professionals who must follow the standards set out in the code of professional conduct and Client Code. They also met all their requirements under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

Our buyers’ specialist will work on your behalf to find you the right property.

They can search for properties, book you and take you for private viewings, find out detailed information, and bid at auction or negotiate on an offer on your behalf.

Our buyers’ specialist will work on behalf our you (as the buyer) and not the seller (vendor) ensuring that you get the fairest deal possible.

You can ask our buyers’ specialists anything. They must tell you if they think there are any problems with the house or if there is something they think you need to check out. They can’t make statements about the property that can’t be backed up without evidence. Our agents will declare in writing any conflicts of interest that thy may have in the property.

Did we mention their service is FREE! Harcourts has conjunctional agreement for almost all other real estate companies in Hamilton so our buyer’s specialists can take you through any other company’s listings as well.

 Our Buyers agent will

  • Book you through an open home* or take you through a private viewing of the property
  • Gather all the relevant information for you from the vendors agent
  • Help prepare a sales and purchase agreement

*It is important that you let your buyers’ specialist book you into any open homes – and you declare this went entering the open home. If they don’t book you in they may not be able to assist you further with that property.


Finding a House


Types of ownership

Freehold – Or also known as free simple, this is the most common kind of ownership. This is where you own the land and the buildings.

Unit Title – This is the most common type of ownership for building developments where there are multiple owners. As a unit title owner, you own the apartment or unit and an accessory unit like a garage or parking space and an undivided share of ownership of the common property such as lifts, laundries, lobbies and gardens. You automatically become a member of the Body Corporate which all unit owners act as a group. You pay a small fee (levy) each year towards the body corp which helps cover the cost of insurance, maintenance and management expenses.   

Cross Lease – A share of the freehold title with the other cross lease holders. You have a leasehold interest in the particular area and building that you occupy. A cross lease title will include a plan showing the footprint of the building that you occupy, called the flats plan.


Open homes and private viewings

When you visit a property it’s important to take a good look around. Identify any major potential issues or problems (early in the buying process). Look around the neighbourhood, the facilities and school zones in the area.

Some things to take note of:

  • Does it tick your boxes? bedrooms, bathrooms, sun exposure, outdoor living, parking, section size and space.
  • Is their enough storage or can some be added?
  • How is the water pressure?
  • What’s the exterior made from and is it in good condition?
  • Does everything work? Chattels and lights.
  • Note, are there any smells that could indicate dampness?
  • Will your furniture fit?

(For a more detailed report we recommend getting a building report from an accredited building inspector – this can be one of your conditions if placing an offer)


Making an offer


To make an offer our buyers’ specialist will prepare a sale and purchase agreement for you, which once signed, is a binding legal document between you and the seller. You will also be given a copy of the REA guide to Sale and Purchase agreements which we recommend you read thoroughly.

Things included in a Sale and Purchase agreement are:

  • Your legal name (s) and the sellers legal name (s)
  • The address of the property
  • The type of title and the title details
  • The price
  • The deposit amount and payment details
  • The settlement date and the interest rate of late payments
  •  The chattels and their condition
  • Any specific conditions you or the seller want fulfilled and how many working days you want to fulfil them.


Specific conditions you may include:

Finance – This refers to arranging payment such as a loan or mortgage

Valuation – This is sometimes required if you are getting a mortgage

Land Information Memorandum (LIM) – This can be purchased from the local council and includes information such as rates, permits and consents, drainage and district planning.

Builders Report – To do a detailed report on the condition of the property.

Meth Test or Toxicology Report – To check for levels of drugs at the property (check with your builder if they can do this for you at the same time of the building inspection)

Sale of house – if you have a house to sell before you have the finances to purchase

Solicitor approval – this is inserted for the complete benefit of the purchaser.

Talk to our team for any recommendations on companies and people who can help.


What happens once you sign?

The agent will prepare the sales and purchase agreement for you and once you have read it and are happy then you will initial and sign. Your agent will then present it to the vendors agent who will present it to the vendor. The vendor will do one of three things: Accept, Reject or Negotiate.

Accept – If you offer is accepted the vendor will sign, the agent will date it and you can start working on fulfilling your conditions. Your buyers’ specialist will send you and your solicitor a copy (you can let them know if you need them to send it to anyone else – such as the bank or your broker).

Reject – The vendor doesn’t want your offer, or your conditions so reject your deal.

Negotiate – Our buyers agent will help with this, they have strong negotiation skills and will help you get the best deal you can. The vendor may want to negotiate the price, settlement date, or any other conditions. This is done until you are both happy and your offer is accepted.

Multi Offers

When multiple buyers make an offer at the same time it goes to a multi. You will be required to sign a form saying you understand that you are in competition and that you are presenting your best offer. These offers are kept secret and are usually presented to the vendor by a manager to insure no bias.

Once you have fulfilled your conditions your solicitor will declare the contract unconditional – and the Sold sticker goes up!

If the conditions aren’t fulfilled because you ran out of time you can ask for an extension or if you can’t make or aren’t satisfied with one of the conditions your solicitor will declare unsatisfied and the agreement will be at an end.

Once you have gone unconditional you will need to arrange payment of the deposit into the vendors agency trust account.


Settling and moving in


Pre-settlement inspection

The pre-settlement inspection id carried out 2 days – 1 week prior to settlement. This is just to check the property and chattels are in the same condition as they were when the contract was signed, not an opportunity to find more faults.

Things to check include;

  • Check property is in the same condition as when you signed the sale and purchase agreement
  • Check the chattels and their condition
  •  Check fixtures such light fittings are all working
  • If the seller has agreed to do any maintenance check that it has been done
  • Check all rubbish has been removed (Note that the sale and purchase agreement requires all rubbish be removed but doesn’t specify the level of cleaning that needs to be done)
  • Make sure all keys, alarms ect are available to you on settlement.



Generally, your bank will require full insurance for a mortgage and you must arrange this to be ready for the date of possession.



Your solicitor will help facilitate with this and your bank/lender and arrange to change the name on the title to yours.


Settlement day

Once the vendors solicitor receives the full payment in their trust account they will declare settlement and then you can collect the keys from your buyers’ specialist.

Other things to consider:

  • Book a moving company
  • Think about kids and pets on the day
  • Arrange a transfer of services; internet, electricity, gas and phone
  • Change the address of your contents insurance to cover you during the move.


Enjoy your new home!