Purchase of House

A brief summary of what you can expect from us if we undertake the legal work for you on a purchase:

1. Draft the terms of a purchase agreement or if one has already been signed then review all terms and conditions.

2. Explain to you any conditions and make sure you fully understand the Agreement and the timing of conditions and settlement.

3. Spot any problems and discuss.

4. Obtain a title search and check same is satisfactory. Search any additional instruments of title as necessary and explain title issues to you.

5. Check over for you any LIM report or pre-purchase builder’s report on the property. If there are significant issues then you may wish to cancel the Agreement or maybe we negotiate on your behalf for a discount in the purchase price.

6. Liase with your bank if you are borrowing funds. Receive and review your loan documents.

7. Ensure you have house insurance cover.

8. Attend to settlement following a guaranteed search of title, and your pre-settlement inspection.

9. Ensure all rates and outgoings have been properly paid by the outgoing owner.

10. Provide our financial statements to you and a copy of the title showing you registered as new owner.

Further reading

We recommend that you consult us before you sign any agreement to purchase a property. We now discuss conditions that we can help you add to the Sale and Purchase Agreement.

  1. Conditions to be placed in to the Agreement for Sale and Purchase:
    1. Finance condition: If you need to borrow money then you should always insert this condition and ideally give yourself 10 working days or more, so that there is plenty of time to obtain a valuation if required by your bank. ‘Pre-approval’ from a bank or other lender does not necessarily mean that you will get finance. Banks almost always want to see the Sale and Purchase Agreement and if you are buying a property that they consider a risk then they could still withdraw their offer.
    2. Building report: Auckland has a very wet climate and houses rot. There is leaky building syndrome for houses built between 1990 and 2005 and which have possibly been constructed without treated timber or an appropriate cavity system. These pre-purchase building inspection reports are now widely considered as essential to obtain as part of your due diligence investigation in purchasing a house or unit. Even in regard to minor problems such a report can not only give you peace of mind but can allow you to negotiate with a vendor to reduce the price or rectify the defects. For pre-purchase inspections we recommend A.B Property Inspections. Telephone Peter Seton on 489 2656 or 021 443 313. Peter qualified as a builder in 1974 (NZ Cert in Building 1974) and has over 35 years practical experience.
    3. LIM report: All purchases should be made conditional on a satisfactory Council LIM report, and this also applies to newly built houses. Not only does a LIM cover whether there are appropriate building permits or consents or code compliance certificates for any dwellings, carports, garages and other buildings or structures (and retaining walls), it also covers other important issues such as resource consents (to undertake for example the felling of trees, possibly building closer to the boundary on the infringing of other site coverage rules). In short you need to see the Council LIM because it is the Council’s written report concerning the property. In some circumstances it may be wise to also visit Council to view plans held on their file to see that the present house is consistent with the plans.

A LIM may not be as relevant when buying bare land. In such a situation you need to visit Council to fully discuss what their rules are in allowing any development of the property, building of a house etc and any special requirements concerning the site. Such investigation would be far beyond what a LIM will tell you. Talk to us further about this.

You may be persuaded to get a Property Bag Report which usually entails you visiting the Council to inspect the physical records on a property file. More experienced purchasers may have the knowledge to know what they are looking for. However we strongly recommend LIM reports. In particular a LIM request forces the Council to review their file and place their information on a property into a written report. You can then rely on this report (hopefully!) at a later date should records be lost or misplaced or if a subsequent LIM (by say a purchaser to whom you are later selling) is inconsistent or incorrect.

    1. Valuation condition: A less common condition but useful say if you are new to the market and can not work out what a property is worth or for whatever reason are wanting to be careful that the price does stack up.
    2. Due diligence condition: Quite useful as it allows you time to reconsider your purchase. There is no cooling-down period in NZ so once you sign up then you are committed to the contract and to properly attempt to satisfy your conditions. A due diligence condition allows you the freedom to do all your research over a period and then to cancel without the need for explanation. Real Estate negotiations are high pressure, hard sell and emotional so be careful. Such condition can be a godsend if you find yourself suffering buyer’s remorse.
    3. Body Corporate Units: The Unit Titles Act now requires the vendor and the Body Corporate to make a series of written disclosure statements before and after the signing of a sale contract. However, in the contract we recommend adding a condition requiring the vendor to arrange disclosure of the Body Corporate’s minutes, resolutions and correspondence to the unit owners over the past 24 or 36 months.This may assist discovery of leaky building issues or other expensive repairs contemplated or arranged, or other problems.
    4. If you are purchasing a house off plans or still being built then there are significant issues that you need to discuss with us before you sign up. Amongst other things you will need a “sunset clause” so that you can cancel and get your money back if the developer fails to complete the house by an agreed date, of if title fails to issue.
  1. Before you sign a Sale and Purchase Agreement check that all appliances in the house work and write them into the Agreement: dishwasher, rangehood, garage remotes, alarm etc. You will be buying the house as it is at the time of inspection so if you want something fixed (or if you want that old car or pile of bricks removed from the section) then write that into the contract. Never rely on verbal agreement or advice. “GET IT IN WRITING” will be the cheapest and simplest advice you ever get.

  2. Never pay more than a 10% deposit and ensure that it is paid to the vendor’s lawyer or licenced real estate agent so that it is held in trust until the Agreement for sale is unconditional.

Please call us to discuss your particular purchase requirements so we can recommend the appropriate clauses to suit your Agreement. An Agreement properly formed at the beginning with our assistance will aid in a smooth purchase transaction.