Choosing Your First Home

Brent Palmer
Published on December 9, 2016

Choosing Your First Home

Buying your first home can be a daunting process, as for most of us it’s the biggest investment of our lives. But it’s exciting too – getting on the property ladder these days takes a lot of dedication – so congratulations for getting to this stage. Hopefully, the tips below will help simplify the process and help you make the most of your investment.

First things first…

Have you got a pre-approved loan? First time home buyers have a huge advantage in that they don’t have an existing house to sell. By having a pre-approved loan, you can go in with very few conditions – a large advantage over your competition, as it’s not always the price, but conditions that win or lose a negotiation.

Have you got pre-approval for your Kiwisaver Home Start Grant organised? A fantastic scheme, but it takes organisation and can be a lengthy process, so ensure you have this sorted out well ahead of time as you only get one chance.

So now you know what you can spend you’re ready to start looking.  Ensure you have a list of must haves, nice to haves, and must not haves – taking the below into consideration….

Is your list realistic? Remember this doesn’t have to be your forever home. If you are waiting for the perfect home with everything you want, chances are that the market will go up in value while you wait, but once you’re on the property ladder, it’s easier to start moving up it. If your wish list is realistic, it means you’ll have much more choice available to you. Think about what you need now, and what can be added down the track or held off until your second house.

What is your purpose? Are you looking at this purchase as a short-term investment (doing some work to it and flicking it on), something to do up for your own purposes, or do you need to have it liveable already? This question needs to be answered before you go too far down your list. Are you capable and do you have the inclination to take on a renovation project? It’s never as easy as one thinks to live in a construction zone – however, it’s been proved time and time again as a solid way to get ahead financially. But it’s a good idea to get costs associated with the work before you buy, to ensure it’s achievable.

What locations are you interested in? Location plays a large part in what you’ll pay for a house and it’s potential for resale. An area that’s popular holds its value, but there is stiff competition and prices are steep. Ask around and get different opinions on areas, you may pick up on an up and coming area you hadn’t considered that could be a good investment.
But remember though – things can happen in life, there could be an addition to the family, an accident to the breadwinner, or the market could drop. Would you be happy enough living in the house long term even if it wasn’t your original plan? Usually one can handle the state of the house, it’s location that really matters.

Now you can take your list and begin your search – you’ll soon see if your list is realistic or not. And don’t just rely on photo’s online – these don’t always give a true representation of the feel or layout of a property. Try to look past the possessions – many houses don’t sell because of clutter, so be the ones to look past that to see the potential.

Have you told me you’re looking? Several houses get sold without even getting advertised, so if you are actively looking, then I can take a lot of the hard work out for you, and open more opportunities. You’re welcome to let me know about your search and what your priorities are, and I can advise you as soon as something appropriate comes on the market.
If you’re serious about a property you can also call agents about the specific properties you’ve seen advertised and go and see it without waiting for the open home. This can enable you to have more quality time to look around and ask questions without anyone else.

Once you’ve found a home that fits your list, make sure you check the following factors…

  • Does it have good sun, for winter especially? Ensure you visit the property at different times of the day.
  • Get a builders report and a LIM report and check it has all the required council permits.
  • Does the neighbourhood have a good feel, and do the neighbours seem nice?
  • Is it a healthy home, does it have insulation, is it cool in summer and warm in winter?
  • What type of Title does the property have? Is it Cross Lease, Unit Title, Strata Title or something else? Does the price reflect this, and perhaps ask your solicitor to advise on the title especially if you intend to do renovations.
  • Check with the council if there are any upcoming developments or roads nearby that could affect the value, and also previous or potential flooding in the area.
  • Zoning – what school zone is it in, and is it in a commercial zone as even if there aren’t businesses there now there could be in the future.
  • Does it have enough storage or potential for it? Often forgotten but so very frustrating if you don’t have much of it.
  • Will you have problems with road or airport noise?
  • How much maintenance work will you have to do, or can afford for someone else to do?

Please remember though that if any of these are an issue it doesn’t mean the house is a no go for you – they just need to be reflected in the price you pay.

Keep in mind that when you are on a very limited on your budget most of the above may well go out the door as you just want to buy a house!

Further sites to help you do your research before making an offer…


About the Author: The above article on Choosing Your First Home was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media.

You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921. He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City.

Connect with Brent on Facebook and pretty much everywhere else.

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