If you want to buy a property there are several steps to consider:
Borrowing money: If you wish to buy a home in the immediate future it is a good idea to arrange provisional finance. You will need to select a lender and obtain a loan approval. The loan approval means that you will be able to access a loan of an agreed value when you come to purchase a home. Once you have found the best lender, you need to apply for a loan. If your application is approved, the bank will give you a commitment in writing, stating that you have approval in principle subject to satisfactory valuation of your final choice. This is the best way to avoid the disappointment of discovering at the last minute that you can't get a loan.
Setting out your criteria: Before you start pounding the streets or surfing the internet, write down all the 'must haves', e.g. no. of bedrooms, garaging, price range, area etc. This will help you ensure the homes you decide to visit meet all, or at least most, of your criteria.
Finding a Good Agent: There are literally hundreds of real estate consultants in NZ. You need to select one that will work for you. A good consultant will listen to your requirements (so the more information you can give them the better), search for suitable properties and will organise all the steps involved in buying real estate - from dealing with the selling agents, to negotiating or bidding at auction, and arranging building inspections, conveyancing and even finance and removals.
Looking at Prospective Properties: Because you are likely to see many properties, it is a good idea to record your impressions of each house you visit. This will help you to compare houses easily and assist your recollection of property features. Make sure you record the property address, date of visit, agent's details and price range as well as property and location details.
Finding a Good Solicitor: If you don't already have a solicitor ask friends and family for recommendations or consult the Yellow Pages. It is important to have your solicitor involved as s/he will ensure the contract is legally binding and includes the correct clauses. As well as obtaining and interpreting a LIM, your solicitor will deal with the vendor's (seller's) solicitor to ensure that the transaction is followed through to completion.
Obtaining a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) and a building inspection: A LIM is a package of information on a property provided by all city and district councils. A LIM includes information on planned use, whether rates are owing, where sewerage and stormwater services are, and what building permits/consents have been issued. It may also include the potential for erosion, falling debris and inundation especially where these factors are not apparent from the district plan. A building inspection is often completed by a builder and will consider such things as the condition of the roof, exterior cladding, gates and fencing, plumbing, doors and windows and flooring.
Making an Offer: Once you have decided to make an offer it is important that you contact your sales consultant as soon as possible to ensure your offer is presented to the vendor before any others. The sales consultant will explain the contract to you (most companies now use a standard contract) and will add any additional clauses as required. If any additional clauses are added, then your offer is referred to as a 'conditional' offer. The sales consultant will then present the offer to the vendor and if the vendor agrees with the price and the terms of the contract s/he will sign the contract. If the vendor wants a different price or settlement date, the sales consultant changes the contract to reflect this and will re-present it to you. This negotiation process can have several iterations until both parties are happy and have signed the contract and its changes.