Be prepared – Tips for house hunting in today’s market

31 January 2022

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Like you, we always try and make buying a house a pleasant experience for our clients, but pandemics, lending restrictions and a volatile housing market have been doing their best to make house-hunting an ordeal.

Vendors and agents all want properties to sell quickly and smoothly. Unfortunately, at the moment it seems that almost every part of the process is slowing down. We’d like to share with you some of our recent observations to help you, vendors and buyers get all your ducks in a row.

Banks are taking weeks to grant approvals, and as you have likely already heard, they are being rather fussy. Some mortgage brokers are telling buyers to see them four months before they plan to buy. (This may have something to do with banks asking for three months of bank statements.) More banks are wanting a valuation as well, which is another thing that buyers will need to plan and budget for. Vendors may need to be prepared for more, or longer, finance and valuation conditions.

We’ve also had councils tell us that LIM reports are going to take four weeks to deliver. Asking a vendor to accept a 20-working day condition just isn’t going to be realistic. Either vendors are going to need to order one well ahead of offers being due, or purchasers are going to need to rely on other sources of the same information, such as council websites, or building record searches.

For our lovely wide-eyed first home buyers, the time to get approved for other financial assistance, be it KiwiBuild, First Home Grants, or KiwiSaver withdrawals really needs to be taken into account when setting timeframes for payment of the deposit and settlement.

If the oncoming surge of Omicron causes staff shortages, we worry that all these timeframes could stretch out even further.

That brings us to the lawyers. We’re all set up to work from home if we need to isolate, but be aware not all firms are. You, your vendors, or buyers are quite welcome to contact us, ask for prices, timeframes, the process, and tips long before any deadlines. This is especially useful for new builds. A lot of buyers, especially first timers, find buying a new build “off-the-plans” overwhelming. The contracts are so much longer, there’s so many scare stories in the news at the moment about sunset dates and dodgy developers.

One scary trend we’ve seen in Auckland, which we hope doesn’t happen here, is buyers making offers on houses sight unseen. While we understand that things are competitive, this just seems like a recipe for disaster to us. Disclosures, and pre-settlement inspections for buyers who haven’t seen the house before offering sounds like hell to us.

In summary, now more than ever, it is so important for buyers and sellers to have a good team of professionals around them to help navigate the property market. Let’s hope that things don’t get too bad with Omicron, but in the meantime, me whakarite, me noho haumaru – be prepared and be safe!

Sam L C P CONVEX JULY22 7023

for more help feel free to reach out. Get in touch with Sam French