The house buying process

31 Oct 2023 The Lodge Real Estate Team


Owning your own home is a dream that all Kiwis grow up with. Whether it’s a first home, an upgrade, a downsize or an investment, for most of us it’s the biggest purchase we will make.

It’s an important decision and not one most of us go through regularly so it’s helpful to have a process to guide our decision making.

Work out your budget

Firstly you need to decide what you can afford. Your bank or mortgage advisor will guide you as to how much you can borrow and you decide how much you are comfortable paying back. The mortgage market is a competitive business with many different products so shop around to find the option that best works for you.

Factor things like legal fees, moving costs and any furniture and appliance purchases into your house buying budget. These are easy to budget for but can be a nasty shock if you don’t consider them before you purchase a home.

Your mortgage broker or bank will discuss pre-approval with you. Pre-approval can put you in a better negotiating position and helps speed up the documentation process. It may also allow you to bid at auction. You will need to check this with your broker or bank as some pre-approvals come with conditions attached.

Tips to prepare you prior to a loan application

Here are a few ideas to prepare yourself for a loan application:

  • Have your bank statements in order and keep an eye on your account conduct. The lenders will require 3-6 months bank statements and rely on these when building a client profile. Avoid unarranged overdraft fees and overspending.
  • Match the mortgage payments. A lender will also look at affordability - if your mortgage payment is going to be around $450 per week and you are paying $350 per week in rent, try to save at least $100 per week to give the lender comfort that you can afford the $450 per week mortgage payments. This is not the only affordability check that the lender does, but it is a good start. You can also check out Total Mortgage's home loan calculator to give you an indication of loan repayments for the mortgage amount you are looking at.
  • Check your savings. A number of people achieve their dream of purchasing a first home through the Kiwisaver Withdrawl and First Home Buyer Subsidy. If you have been contributing to your Kiwisaver for at least three years you could be eligible.

Tips to prepare you at application time

  • List of information required: Call or email Total Mortgages to get an indication of the information you may require for the application. This can be the most time consuming part of the process.
  • Start the subsidy approval: You can apply for the First Home Buyers Subsidy prior to finding a house - this is valid for 180 days (check out ;Deposit Subsidy Pre-Approval for more information). This is different to the Kiwisaver First Home Saving Withdrawl, and requires an unconditional deal to get the approval. You can still request an indication of what you could potentially withdraw emailed/sent to you from your provider. This is also required to confirm your deposit amount.

Book an appointment with Total Mortgages to discuss your home loan options.

Find a solicitor

Before you purchase a property we recommend you obtain your own independent legal advice. Your lawyer will ensure the correct legal processes are followed and will also check over any property reports you obtain as part of your buying process.

Let the search begin

Hamilton has a wide range of properties available so we advise that you create a list of the features you would like your home to have. This can help save you from trawling through endless property listings to find what you’re looking for. Try to figure out what your essentials are and what your wants are and where you are willing to compromise. There will be lots of things you would like in a property but only a few of these will be absolutely essential. For example, you may like to live in Beerescourt but would live in Forest Lake to ensure you could afford 3 bedrooms which, for you, may be essential. We understand that people often buy a home which is slightly different to that which they thought they were looking for, but it is still important to create a list to begin the search.

Everyone has their own way of finding the perfect place to call home. Here are a few places you may like to begin the search for your next Hamilton home:

Contact a buyer's agent/salesperson

Each of our sales team has a great deal of expertise and knowledge of the Hamilton real estate market. The team also have a wide range of resources available to assist them in helping you find your next Hamilton home. Your salesperson will listen to your requirements and try to fulfil as many of them as possible. They will keep you well informed, provide you with quality information and find appropriate properties for you to view, simplifying your search.

They will treat you professionally and deal with the purchase of your home with the utmost integrity. Find a salesperson here.

Our website -

Get online and search for properties matching your criteria in the area you wish to live. Properties listed on the website will have a range of features available, photos and descriptions and often video tours and floor plans – it’s like attending an open home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each of our properties have a mortgage calculator to make judging monthly repayments easier. Feel free to call to ask any questions you may have, or to make a time to visit the property with your salesperson.

some other good websites to explore are...

RealEstate.Co and TradeMe

Discover real estate, houses for sale, rentals, commercial properties and more. Up-To-Date Information. There are also helpful tools like TradeMe's Open Home Planner and's Instant Notifications, plus market insights and more.

The website of the New Zealand Realtors Network, is a group of independent real estate companies with over 1800 salespeople throughout New Zealand. Lodge Real Estate are proud members of this network.

It’s a good idea to register for Property Alerts with relevant property websites. That way as soon as a property comes on the market matching your criteria you will know about it.

window displays

Lodge’s five high profile residential offices have a window display of properties for sale in the front window. You are welcome to look at these at any time.

Inspecting a home

Getting a feel for a house is a good first step. The next step is to make sure the house and the neighbourhood is right for you. Check out our property inspection checklist.

Making an offer

Once you have found a property you are interested in buying, you need to contact your Lodge Real Estate salesperson and advise them that you wish to make an offer.

Before you make an offer, we recommend that you involve your lawyer, get sufficient property checks done and, if you're making a conditional offer, decide on the conditions.

You can put in an offer less than the asking price, however, this may or may not be accepted by the person selling. You will need to sign the offer which will be on a Sale & Purchase Agreement.

When you make an offer, your sales consultant is obliged to present your offer to the seller.

When you are negotiating, you will need to ensure you allow enough time to confirm your mortgage finance, and any other conditions that may be required. Make sure that these provisions are included in the Sale & Purchase Agreement as Further Terms of Sale.

Your solicitor will search and confirm the title to the property and ensure that all the special conditions in the agreement, are satisfied. Once these tasks have been completed, your solicitor will advise the seller’s solicitor that the agreement is unconditional.

Once the agreement is unconditional (all conditions have been satisfied) you are required to pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price). This deposit is usually paid to the real estate company to be held in trust until the agreement is settled.

My purchase is unconditional - what happens next?

Once your property is declared unconditional most buyers start thinking about the exciting prospect of moving and living in their new home. However, there are still a few important matters to attend to. Our handy guide to settlement may help.

Settlement day

Settlement is the last step in the legal process and is usually tied in to your possession of the property. This is the day when your solicitor will hand over the funds to the seller’s solicitor in exchange for the Transfer of Title, meaning you now have legal ownership of your new home.

Your keys will be held at the Lodge Real Estate office of your salesperson and we will only release them to you upon written confirmation from the seller's solicitor that your property has settled.

Congratulations! You’re now a homeowner.

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