Sunday, July 14, 2013

Real Estate and First Home Ownership

The term 'home ownership' can sound scary in this day of the big 'R' word - Recession - particularly for those who are first home buyers. For many just thinking about buying real estate is as far as the dream goes.

Whenever you mention to anyone that you are looking to buy your first house, investment property or section they are bound to give you their advice and there is nothing wrong with that, however at the end of the day you need to feel as though you have made the right decision for you and not for those around you. To enable you to do so you need to know as much as you can about the real estate process in New Zealand, so that you can feel confident in your decision.

First home ownership in New Zealand has become somewhat easier with the likes of Government subsidies and programmes and it is because of this that many more younger people have been able to buy their first home without as many restrictions around lending. For anyone looking at buying real estate for the first time it's always important to make sure you know what you are getting yourself in for, otherwise you can swiftly be put off the idea.

To fully understand the real estate process you need to firstly understand the costs involved. Not only do you need to be able to afford the mortgage itself, but when you are purchasing your house you will need to employ the services of a solicitor to ensure that all of the legalities of the Sale & Purchase Agreement, Land Transfer and mortgage terms are tended to. This comes at a price, but one which is far more worth doing than not. Further to this you need to understand the ongoing costs involved in the property you are looking at; the likes of Council rates are often overlooked by first home buyers along with insurances - both house and contents. So it's fair to say that budgeting is one of the first steps you need to consider.

Secondly you need to consider what you want in your home i.e. 2 bedroom or 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom or bathroom and ensuite, single garage or double, all of these things count. When you buy a home it's usually not as easy to move as it is when you are renting, so you need to make sure that you find a real estate property in the area of New Zealand you want, that meets your needs. Make a list of the things which you need and want before you begin your search, it will make it so much easier, but bear in mind when you are searching, how much you have available to spend and stick to it.

Thirdly, get a LIM report done or at the very least get someone who you know and trust and that knows what to look for, to go over the house with a unbiased eye. You could do this yourself, but chances are if you have 'fallen in love' with the house then you will ignore or push aside those things which are 'wrong' with the property, not to mention that you probably don't know what you are looking at.

Lastly, and again something which many first home buyers overlook is home maintenance. Whilst flatting or renting it's easy to forget that houses do need work done on them from time to time. At some point things will go 'wrong' a tap might need fixing or your roof might leak for example. Along with this is maintenance such as repainting the exterior of your house (if it's painted now) and replacing things like carpets, floorboards etc etc. This is all part of owning your own home and everyone has to do these things at some point in time.

During the process of purchasing real estate in New Zealand, your key contacts will most likely be the real estate agent you are dealing through, your solicitor and your lending consultant. Further contacts will be insurance agents and council contacts. All of these people can help you with any questions you have, all you have to do is ask.

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