7 January 2019

Research tips for savvy house hunting

Remember the last time you took a holiday? Perhaps you went somewhere exotic, or explored your own backyard? Wherever you went, you probably spent more time researching, planning, saving and packing than you actually spent on holiday! House hunting is no different. Most of your time should be spent getting prepared before you start: fine-tune your savings plan, decide what you can afford and what type of property is right for you. Then research the heck out of the market. This is when the real fun begins!

The internet will be your best friend for research when it comes to house-hunting. The First Home Buyers Club says that research is key to making an informed house purchase. The Club’s top three websites for house-hunting are:

  1. Homes.co.nz – provides free data on properties for sale such as sales history, value history, nearby schools and zoning information, and estimated rental return. Rich data on house sales helps give you an idea of current market values in your search area.
  2. Realestate.co.nz – is the official website for the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. Sign up for an account and receive notifications for properties based on your search criteria. You can also download the realestate.co.nz app for easy use anywhere.
  3. Trademe.co.nz – a familiar site for many Kiwis, Trade Me has a comprehensive property section with an advanced search and email alert function. It now also includes recent sales history. Private house sales are commonly listed on Trade Me.

More private sales can also be found on HomeSell.

To ace your research, we recommend using a combination of websites, as well as social media and good ol’ fashioned newspapers. It’s also a great idea to contact a real estate agent. They work in property every day so have their finger on the pulse. They could help you find the house you’re after before other people even know it’s for sale.

Visiting auctions is another way to research the market.  This is a great way to see what properties are selling for, and to get familiar with the auction process.

And keep that heart of yours in check. Very few people actually end up buying the first home they set their sights on. Holding back emotionally can be hard – you’re about to spend a small fortune on something so you want to be able to picture yourself living in it and loving it – but try as hard as you can to avoid falling in love with a house until the keys are safely in your hand.

It’s also good to trust your instincts when viewing a home and it doesn’t feel right. You don’t have to put your finger on exactly what it is; just walk away and know that the right one for you is out there somewhere.

For more advice and tips on what to consider during the exciting journey to home ownership, download our guide for first home buyers.

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