Now that we’ve got the finance fundamentals out of the way, it’s time to get stuck into the fun part – house hunting!
Justin and I were so excited to start looking for the dream house. With much gusto, we perused the Property Press, hit TradeMe and visited open homes looking for a house within our budget. The trouble was, there were mountains of houses within our budget. The first Sunday of open homes we had 12 homes on our list – leaving barely any time in-between open homes to buy a pie or an ice-cream, which does not a happy Amanda make.
So what to do? Well, Duane from ANZ had given us some very wise advice – write a list of all the things you’re looking for in a home, then prioritise them. So we decided to give it a go. We found it a great exercise to figure out what each of us wants, and where we might have to compromise as a couple. There was a bit of bargaining, but thankfully we were mostly on the same page!
Justin says "Have fun with this process. Reality is sometimes a buzz kill, so go for gold on this list! You can alwyas trim it down later, and you will probably need to".
To start with, our list looked something like this:
Then, armed with our clear list of priorities we went back to the search, only looking at places that fitted into our criteria. Which meant a much more manageable number of open homes! Phew!
But as we saw more homes we realised that actually, we had different priorities to what we thought we did. So our list got a little edit…
Looking at places also started to give us a good sense of what we can get for what price. Remember however that the listing price isn’t always what the property ends up selling for. Where we can find out how much houses have sold for, we do that too. You can check out www.homes.co.nz to see what similar properties have sold for. The more research we do, the more prepared we feel to put in a good offer when we find ‘the one’.
Find a Lawyer
As you’re starting to look at houses, like Duane advised in the last post, it’s a good idea to find a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to help you with figuring out your KiwiSaver and HomeStart applications, and can explain the process of making an offer. You will need to provide your lawyer with a fair bit of information - similar to the bank - before they can help with your offers, so it’s good to be organised for when you find the dream house and want to make it yours.
Make sure you find a lawyer you like and trust - you’ll be speaking to them a lot over the coming months!
Of course, Justin didn’t have much choice…
Next Episode: How to find 'the one'.