Buying, selling and refinancing are transactions that we specialise in.  We ensure the process is positive, stress free and obtain the right outcome for you.

Below is our basic guide to buying a new house, section or entering into a new build contract, selling and refinancing.

We recommend you chat to us before buying or selling.  This website is also helpful http://www.propertylawyers.org.nz/ 

We also suggest for new home buyers you read:

https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/69214/Buying-or-Selling-a-Property-21-Mar-2013-WS.pdf

Buying

We will go over the Agreement with you before you sign it and explain any conditions. 

Once the Agreement is signed by all parties the agent will organise the deposit.  We will order a LIM, do the title searches and keep you informed every step of the way.  Once all conditions are met, the Agreement is unconditional and you will be able to move in on the settlement date.

There are many steps in place to ensure what you are buying is really what you want. For example, you will want to know:

  • Are there any problems with the title? We will do a title search. 

  • Are there any problems with the buildings? We recommend you obtain a builder’s (and /or engineer’s) report. 

  • Have all council requirements been met? We recommend you obtain a LIM and can order one for you.

  • In the case of a unit title property, is there any other information about the body corporate and its administration you should be aware of? We can request an additional disclosure statement from the seller within the time limits allowed under the Unit Titles Act.

  • Methamphetamine testing.  Often, we will recommend you get a methamphetamine test done to ensure the health of your home.

  • General Due Diligence.  Does the property provide what you want?

    KiwiSaver

    You can access your KiwiSaver funds to use for house purchase.  You may be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings (provided you leave a minimum balance of $1,000 in your account) to put towards purchasing your first home.

    You must satisfy some criteria; including being a KiwiSaver member for three or more years.  If you have owned a home before, in some circumstances you may still be eligible to withdraw your savings.  We specialise in these transactions and have helped many people into their first home by using their KiwSaver.

    Click on this linke for more information: http://www.kiwisaver.govt.nz/new/benefits/home-sub/

    If you have owned a home before, in some circumstances you may still be eligible to withdraw your savings. Your scheme provider may require you to contact Housing New Zealand to determine if you're in the same financial position as a first home buyer.

    What can be withdrawn?

    Effective 1 April 2015 and onwards your KiwiSaver withdrawal may include:

    • your members contributions

    • any employer contributions (voluntary and compulsory)

    • any returns on investment(s) received

    • any member tax credits.

      How to apply for a first-home withdrawal

      You'll need to apply to your KiwiSaver provider if you want to make a first home withdrawal. This may be your Bank in the first instance or another Provider. Your employer has this information. 

      To get things started please call or email your KiwiSaver provider to confirm you are eligible to withdraw funds in the first instance.

      Complying funds

      If you’re a member of a complying fund and want to use your savings for your first home withdrawal you'll need to check with your provider to see if they offer this.

      Home Start Grants - Information Sheet for First Home Buyers

      Home Start Grants

      A Home Start Grant is a sum of money, up to the amount of $5,000.00, that you may be entitled to from Housing New Zealand to help you build or buy your first home.   As with KiwiSaver, there are certain criteria you must meet; including meeting minimum payments to KiwiSaver and having 10% of your house purchase priced saved.  The grants are administered by Housing New Zealand and will be paid directly to your solicitor. 

      After 3 years of contributing to KiwiSaver, you may be entitled to a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. The grants are administered by Housing New Zealand and will be paid to your solicitor.

      The two HomeStart grants are:

    • For purchasing an existing home, the grant is between $3,000 and $5,000 based on $1,000 each year of KiwiSaver membership.

    • For building or purchasing a new home, or for purchasing land to build a new home on, the grant is, in effect doubled to, $2,000 per year of membership in the scheme, up to a maximum of $10,000 for five years for each member.

      There are maximum values of grants payable for the purchase of a single dwelling, regardless of the number of eligible purchasers:

    • $10,000 for the purchase of an older/existing property

    • $20,000 for the purchase of a new property.

      To be eligible for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant you must:

    • have been contributing the required minimum amount to KiwiSaver for at least three years

    • be 18 years or over

    • be purchasing or building your first home (see "Note" below)

    • have a household income (before tax) of less than $85,000 per year (for one person), or less than $130,000 per year (for two or more people)

    • have a deposit that is 10% or more of the purchase price, including the addition of the grant

    • be planning to live in the house for at least 6 months from the settlement/completion of the property.

      Income and house price caps will apply.

      To find out more, visit the Housing New Zealand website or call them on 0508 935 266.

      Selling

      We will go over the Agreement with you before you sign it, discuss the settlement date and any conditions. 

      Once the Agreement has been signed by all parties, we will receive the deposit from the Vendor’s solicitor, deal with any issues on the title or LIM and keep in touch with you so you know what is happening and when.  Once all conditions are met, the Agreement is unconditional.

      Call us to chat more or for further information, have a read over our Information Sheet for Vendors.

      Refinance

      If you’re looking to refinance your home, we can help.  We will arrange the discharge of the mortgage from your current bank and talk you through the loan and mortgage terms with your new bank with you.  We will get all the necessary paperwork ready and send it off to both banks on your behalf.

      Once all is said and done, we will provide you with a new Certificate of Title showing the interest with your new bank – easy.

      Steps you can expect are:

    • Do a title search and arranging a discharge of the existing mortgage.

    • Advising on your loan and new mortgage terms.

    • Completing the necessary forms ready for you to sign.

    • Completing the refinance documents including the electronic registration of the discharge with your current bank and mortgage at your new bank.

    • Providing you and your new bank with a Certificate of Title.

      Frequently asked Questions

    • Do I need a LIM?  We highly recommend getting a LIM as it provides all the information the Council holds about the property.  It shows whether existing works have been given consent and information about any site characteristics, such as contamination, flooding issues and zoning.  If there is something in the LIM you are not happy with, we can discuss it with the Vendor’s solicitors to negotiate correction of the issues.

    • What can I expect from a title search?  The Certificate of Title shows us everything registered against the title of land that may affect your use and enjoyment of the property.  Examples include easements, rights of way, drainage and sewerage, electricity, telephone and gas.

    • Do I need a survey plan for my cross lease or unit title purchase?  Sometimes a survey plan is recommended to ensure the plans accurately show the outlines of the buildings on the land.  From this, you can see if an extra room has been added to the land, but not the title – rendering it defective.  They can also be useful for other reasons, such as the location of boundaries and easements.

    • Do I need a builder’s or engineer’s report?  Having a builders or engineers report done, ensures you know everything about the building and/or land before you purchase.  This can save you any surprises along the way that could lead to extra cost or disappointment.

    • What if I buy at auction?  Buying at auction is significantly different from a standard sale or purchase.  When an auction is involved, you cannot make an offer subject to finance or conditions so any inquiries must be made before bidding.  You need to discuss the auction terms carefully before the auction so they can be checked to ensure you are happy with what you are buying. 

    • What if I buy a property with my de facto partner?  Speak to us first before you enter into an agreement to buy.  We can ensure the money you are putting into the property is fairly and accurately lodged on the title and help you with any relationship property concerns you may have.

    • Should I get a meth test?  Your answer to this may depend on the type of property you are buying.  Such as a rental, or a remote property.  There are also different testing methods used by different companies.  We can refer you to some local companies who can help.

    • Who pays the real estate commission?  The Vendor pays this from the sale proceeds they receive.

    • What happens if there is no agent?  This kind of sale is known as a Private Treaty.  The deposit is held where the agreement says, usually in the Vendor’s Solicitors’ Trust Account.  The Buyer and Seller can negotiate the terms together, or you can use your Solicitor to help.

    • When do I get the keys?  The agent holds the keys and releases them on settlement day, at the time the transfer of the title occurs “settlement”.  If it is a Private Treaty, you can make those arrangements between yourselves or involve your Solicitor.

      What to consider when buying an Apartment or Unit in a Unit Title

      If you are looking at buying an Apartment or Unit by way of a Unit Title then you are also signing up to be part of the Body Corporate. Therefore, your pre-purchase investigation (due diligence) needs to be more extensive than buying a stand alone house. You are automatically a member of the Body Corporate and that organisation can have a large effect on your Unit and the development as a whole;

    1.  You pay annual levies to the Body Corporate so you need to protect your money. You do not want to be subsidising other owners and you want your dollars to be managed well.
    2. The Body Corporate is in charge of common property and that is the essence of what asset you have bought. Therefore you need the standard of the complex to be kept high and managed well to in turn maintain the value of your asset.
    3. The Body Corporate sets rules for the use of the Unit, such as commonality of appearance, use of common area. It arranges insurance for the development and makes sure everyone pays their share. Therefore it is helpful if your Body Corporate is managed professionally and you are happy with that management.

    These points focus merely on the Body Corporate elements of buying an Apartment or Unit.  Should you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    1.  Body Corporate Rules:  A Unit in a common living environment means that there is a Body Corporate of which all owners of Units in that development are members. The Body Corporate repairs and maintains all common property but they also set rules that are registered on your title for the use of your Unit. The law states that the Body Corporate rules cannot limit an owner’s  independence in relation to a Unit however, Body Corporate rules do try to create common colour themes, repair and maintenance obligations and tidiness for example. They also will address the use of common property. You should see the Body Corporate rules as a way of maintaining your investment in the Unit and in that development. However, you should also review those rules to consider whether your use of the Unit will fit within the Body Corporate rules. Each development has its own set of rules so you should provide these to your lawyer for review but also read them yourself.
    2. Body Corporate Finances, Budgets and Bank Accounts:  You pay a levy to the Body Corporate either quarterly or annually. That levy is used to maintain common property, often to pay a Body Corporate Manager and effect repairs in the common property also. Therefore, to ensure that the Body Corporate you are buying into is adequately managed and does not have any financial issues you should review their finances, their budgets going forward, proposed spending and their bank accounts. If there is major expenditure coming up in the next few years then you will be levied to pay the contribution towards that. Therefore, as a  purchaser you would like to see healthy bank balances and repair and maintenance funds established for that ongoing maintenance. However, vendors have the opposite approach, they do not want to be leaving behind money in the Body Corporate. On the sale of the Unit you cannot get your money out of the Body Corporate funds.
    3. Body Corporate Maintenance Plan: All Body Corporates must have a maintenance plan. This is crucial for you to review,  especially given our advice above. The maintenance plan should set out what annual repair and maintenance is carried out and any large expenditure for the future or any five yearly maintenance expected. As you would when you buy a standalone house you get a building review of that house for its ongoing maintenance requirements and immediate work needed. With a Unit Title you need to ensure that the Body Corporate considers these matters but also take into account what you consider should be done on the property by looking at the development as a whole and what additional costs  you can see may come up.
    4. Is there any litigation?: The Body Corporate is required to disclose to you in a Pre-Contract Disclosure Statement if there is any litigation against that Body Corporate. If it is noted on that that there is then you should discuss direct with the Body Corporate Secretary.
    5. Get to know your Body Corporate: It is our recommendation that you obtain the minutes to the Body Corporate meetings and  discuss the Body Corporate management and the development as a whole with the Body Corporate Manager. Discussions and reviewing of minutes can unearth issues as to how the Body Corporate work together or if you have any problematic owners, owners that are not paying their levies and other issues such as that.
    6. Management and Service Contracts: You need to review the management and service contracts that your Body Corporate has entered into. The Body Corporate budget will show you where their funds go each year and therefore you should be able to tell from that what service contracts and management contracts are being paid for on a regular basis. You need to ensure that the terms of those contracts are not unduly harsh and that the cost to the Body Corporate is at a market rate.