What confuses first home buyers?

The process of buying property brings a tidal wave of technicalities, terminologies and ‘very important details’, much of which is easily lost in the small print.

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Add to that the feeling of needing to get everything absolutely right the first time, and it’s not surprising that new home buyers can end up being quite overwhelmed.

But don’t give up and think you have to rent forever if owning a home is your dream. Buying your first home can be easier than you think – and most first home buyers do so successfully.

With a bit of research you’ll easily get your head around the first home buying process and be as prepared as possible. 

Firstly there are the money questions.

Lenders generally require you to have a 20% deposit, but you could pay as little as a 10% deposit through KiwiSaver.

Mortgages can come in a myriad of different lending options – from floating or fixed interest rates, flexible rates and revolving credit.

Talk to a broker or lenders like Westpac to find out the options that are available to you. Expert advice like this is normally free, non-binding and invaluable – even if you’re just tyre-kicking.

Seek advice on what you may be entitled to through the Government’s first home buyers’ grant or subsidies too.

Then the "what does this all mean" questions.

Auction, offers, negotiation, deadline sale, tender – what does it all mean? Making an offer on a house isn’t the same as buying a car, and the way a property is sold can often guide what your buying strategy will be. See our section on how to make an offer and tips.

Unsure about something to do with the property or the selling process? Ask the agent who is selling the property – they want to make the sale. But remember the agent is working on commission for the vendor so will be aiming to get them the best price possible. For this reason it also pays ask someone impartial like a builder or a family member who knows everything.

Finally, questions to ensure you're on the right track

There are a number of issues to consider in order to protect yourself, like insurance and the conditions you place on your offer. Your lawyer will be able to help you with the legal stuff, but don’t forget to ask your friends and family who own property also – they’ll have gone through a similar experience as you, and their guidance could really help. Find someone with a similar outlook to yours, whose opinion you trust and who has your best interests at heart.