What to expect when buying your first home
It's the Kiwi dream to have your own slice of paradise and a place to call home. You spot a little Villa down the road that you can see yourself growing a garden that you see in magazines or a townhouse that would make the commute to work walkable and past the cafe with the best date scones in town ; ).When you have finally decided that renting is getting old and you would rather be paying off your own mortgage you start looking at houses..... You may go to a few open homes - you may like a few... This is where you stop and think WHAT THE HELL DO I DO!!!!It's a great question, but first up we want to share a few tips around our process with you because we learnt a few loopholes, a few road bumps and a few times where you need to make a call and you're not sure if it's the best one.
A kiwi's guide to buying your first home.
While it's nice to entertain the thought of having your own home you should work as hard as you can to get enough money behind you to have as close to a 20% deposit as possible. Places you can pull this from are savings, Kiwi Saver, Home Start Grant and gifted money. When you think you are close-ish call the bank and arrange a meeting for a pre-approval. Once you are at the bank it's not that daunting at all. A pre-approval is just a sign off to go looking really. One thing to be cautious of is the LVR... In a nutshell the reserve bank only allows banks to lend a certain amount of its mortgages to the people that have a deposit below 20%, hence the reason you should have a 20% deposit to save yourself stress of potentially the bank going wellll actually we can't lend you the money because we have reached our cap for now. They also only lend to the lower of either the valuation or the offer you presented.
You can choose to use a mortgage broker if you don't have anyone that can give you advice. We ended up going it alone but did have conversations with a fantastic broker here in chch for advice. They don't charge you - the bank pays them a commission.A mortgage broker will go to multiple banks for you to get the best offer and really do look after you (just watch they aren't pushing you to get a quick buck!) Go to Brent - he'll look after you! The Mortgage Broker also helps you with all the niggly stuff because they've been through this process so many times - they know what they're doing!!
When to start going to open homes
We started going to open homes as soon as we were pre-approved so we could gauge how much we are going to look at spending, we soon realised that it will be between 400K and 450K as we are in chch and wanted to buy in a thriving area close to the CBD. It's also really good to get your head in the game because you've got some tough road ahead! Georgia and I loved open homes, it's like adulting 2.0.
Open home advice
My biggest advice is to listen to other people at open homes and see what they pick holes at. Even though some people might be twice your age and they are moaning about things like how yellow the standard roses are out the front, you need to consider their opinion for resale. Be as annoying as you want - you are spending ALOT of money and you need to know EVERYTHING about the house before you put an offer on it. Have a look alone, with your partner and with family and friends go back as many times as you want - we looked 3 times. Have a look at things like the street it's on, public transport close by, what neighbouring houses have recently gone for, who your neighbours will be, school zones and the history of the house.Have a look alone, with your partner and with family and friends go back as many times as you want - we looked 3 times. Have a look at things like the street it's on, public transport close by, what neighbouring houses have recently gone for, who your neighbours will be, school zones and the history of the house.The number of times I hear people say that they "got caught up in the whole process and didn't think about it" is just insane. If you are wanting to make money down the line you need to consider all of the above to look out for. A really great way of seeing local house sales is using HOMES.co.nz, they have an app, we often use it when we are out for walks and see a house similar to ours haha.
Once you've found it
You will know when it's meant to be yours, you would have done your homework, known the house history, pros and cons and it just makes sense. Be realistic and ask yourself what you are willing to pay. We bought by a deadline and we acted FAST to bring the deadline forward and had all the conditions pre-approved to only have finance as a condition. You will need to have a solicitor sign everything off and confirm that you are 100% good to put the offer in - they are amazing at finding faults in the house, title etc and if you get a good lawyer they really do make the process SO much easier (we recommend Wynn Williams. Ensure you have the insurance pre-approved as this makes you look more attractive to all parties involved. Once you have the sales and purchase agreement ready (solicitor will do this) you can then make your offer. Don't muck about with your offer - You need to show them that you are serious but still allow yourself some room to move.Remember also that the real estate agent is working on behalf of the vendor, not you. While they seem really lovely they will work for the vendors to get the best sale across the line.
So you've got it!
The most amazing feeling of your life!!!! But a lot of prep does happen from here. Make sure the property stays in the same condition as it was when you first viewed it, including the lawns, gardens, chattels, walls etc (can get damaged moving). You will need to plan everything to align with move in date including power, the internet, gas if needed and don't forget to shut it all down at your last place. The biggest thing that we have learnt is that you don't need everything at once, you can gather things once you get used to the house as so many things change once you are in there. When we moved into ours, we found out that our back deck and kitchen light up in the morning and our front porch is beaut in the afternoon. So we use the house in a different way than we originally thought. We are also so glad we didn't buy the gigantic lounge suite that would have taken up our whole space with vouchers from our engagement party.
Once you have the keys and are in have a moment to enjoy the house and then get people over so they can enjoy with you - this is the part that makes it all worth it!
The best bit of advice we can give is to enjoy the process and don't let it overwhelm you. Use your friends as sounding boards and don't be afraid to speak up when you feel something is wrong - because you are the only person that loses. It's also very easy to get carried away with shopping for your new house, consider up-cycling!! Follow www.moochstyle.com to see how we saved money up-cycling.If you want to see more on our process and home - check out our STUFF article!!