Now that NZ is in Level 3 of the COVID 19 reponse program, and hopefully will move to level 2 soon, everyone can start their search for the forver home or investment. With the amazing homeloan rates, and newly relaxed first home buyer regulations, I’m sure there will be more opportunities for everyone who is looking to climb the property ladder. This is the part 3 of my seiris on tips to help you through the process. Don’t miss the first and second parts of this seiris :).
Property search is tedious task. It is time consuming, resource consuming and energy consuming. But all that consumption is necessary. The more your research, the better the chance of finding what you need. However, this process can be made a little easier with a buyer’s realestate agent or simply a buyer’s agent. We also recommend finding your potential lawyer at the outset. More details given below 🙂
A buyer’s agent
A buyer’s agent acts as exactly what the name suggests – an agent for the buyer. Real estate agents not only act for the sellers, but for the buyers too. Once you have your finances sorted, and before starting the property hunting process, talk to agents who are willing to help you out with the process. A buyer’s agent can help with arranging private viewings, finding relevant documents for a property, and even putting forward an attractive offer once you are convinced to go ahead. Agents are also very useful in getting information that you may not otherwise get or is difficult to source. For example, extra documentation that you may want, private viewings at your convenience, information about potential offers, or interests, price expectation for a property. We also learnt quite a few tips and tricks of the trade from our agents. But the biggest advantage of having an agent is you receive information about potential properties even before they appear on public listings. This can reduce the competition for good houses.
You do not need to stick to one agent; you can use the services of multiple agents. If you are using multiple agents, find ones from different agencies. However, too many agents will defeat the purpose, because no agent will be motivated to help you because they may end up not getting any return for their efforts. So one or two is ideally the best.
Once again buyer’s agents get paid when a sale is made through the vendor’s agent unless you entered into an agreement with other arrangements. The downside of being paid by vendor’s agents is that they always may not be keen to work with buyer’s agents because their commission will have to be divided. In such cases, you’ll have to make a judgment call and decide how to proceed. In our case, we decided to go ahead without our agent, but the decision was made transparently, after discussing it with our agent.
We recommend (#notsponsored): We worked with Tania Ikin. She comes highly recommended by us. Tania helped us look at quite a number of houses and was nothing but encouraging and supportive throughout. We were quite adamant about our requirements and she never tried to convince us otherwise. Unfortunately, when we found the house we wanted, the seller’s agent did not wish to go through her; but she was kind enough to suggest that we go ahead without her. This is an excellent example of her professionalism and ethical integrity.
The service of a lawyer comes in once you get an offer accepted. However, many do not realise that you need to have your lawyers sorted even to make an offer. Once you found the house, you will need to have the details of your lawyer ready to go on the sales and purchase agreement (S&P – more details here). Sometimes, once you found the house that you are interested in, there may be only 24hrs or less to make an offer if it is highly in demand. Therefore, while we do not recommend making offers without having your lawyer go through the S&P, you may not have time to find and consult a lawyer before doing so. We highly recommended having a quick discussion with a potential lawyer about your rights before starting the house-hunting process. Costs and when to pay for lawyers might be different from firm to firm. however, most lawyers would charge only if the S&P was accepted and you are proceeding to the next steps.
We recommend (#notsponsored): Sathiya Muralitharan from KTLaw comes highly recommended from us. She is multilingual and therefore, can explain legal terms in your native language (if she speaks it J). She was responsive and professional. Most importantly, she is capable of dumbing down legal jargon for us laymen.
Once you have these sorted, you are all set to start looking for your future home. Even though the above are not necessarily prerequisites to the property search, we recommend having them sorted early on to help you in the process.
There are many websites to keep an eye for potential properties. We found TradeMe (#notsponsored) to be the easiest because you can add filters to sort through 1000s of property and set up alerts when new properties come to market that satisfies the filters. However, keep an eye on agency listings, and other real estate webpages like realestate.co.nz and homes.co.nz just in case.
The next article of this series will bring the most important tool we used for our property search. It was used to assess the houses we viewed to objectively (to some extent) decided if they suit our requirements. The aim was to remove the personal bias and emotional influence that we may have when making a purchase decision. We will also explain why such a tool was necessary to identify our future home. Stay tuned!