The property purchasing process can be daunting, particularly for first time home buyers, so we’ve created this handy list full of practical advice to guide you through the process.

1. Get pre-approval for a home loan

Before you begin house hunting, you should speak to your bank or a mortgage broker to find out how much money you’re able to borrow.

If you are granted pre-approval, you will then be able to start looking at properties with confidence knowing that the bank has, in principle, agreed to lend you a specific amount of money.

2. Seek legal advice

Your next step is to find a lawyer, if you don’t already have one, so that you’re ready to seek legal advice at any time during the purchase.

It’s important to have a solicitor on your side while buying a home to ensure that all processes are correctly followed and to review key documentation.

3. Investigate the property

Once you’ve found a home that you love, you’ll need to inspect it thoroughly. The process for investigation will be dependent on the purchase method.

The two most common methods of purchase are by auction and by negotiation. If you are purchasing at auction then it’s necessary for you to do your investigations in respect of the property (commonly referred to as ‘due diligence’) before bidding at the auction. When carrying out due diligence, you should:

  • Ensure that your bank has approved your finance for that particular property and is prepared to lend you sufficient funds for the purchase
  • Get an independent building report for the property to ensure that it is in good condition
  • Purchase a current LIM for the property from the local council and have this reviewed by your lawyer. 
  • Obtain the title documentation and send this to your lawyer for review
  • Ensure that the settlement date suits you. Settlement is the date when the money is transferred to the vendor and you take possession of the property
  • Ensure that you have sufficient funds available to pay the deposit immediately after the auction – generally, the deposit is 10% of the purchase price
  • Make enquiries with your KiwiSaver provider to check your eligibility for making a first-home withdrawal. You may also be eligible for a HomeStart Grant

If you are purchasing the property by negotiation, you will still need to carry out the same due diligence as outlined above, but you can make your agreement conditional on you being satisfied with each of these matters. You can also record that the deposit will not be paid until the agreement is declared unconditional, i.e. once you have carried out your investigations and are satisfied with everything.

Sometimes it may seem that you are spending a lot of money to carry out your due diligence. However, you should bear in mind that you are purchasing one of the largest assets of your life, and any issues that are missed during this stage are likely to be very costly in the long run. For example, the cost of a building report is minimal in comparison to the costs of repairing a leaky home.

4. Sign the agreement for sale & purchase

You should have your lawyer review the agreement for sale and purchase before you sign it. Do not feel pressured or obliged to sign the agreement if you are in any doubt.  

At Armstrong Murray, we do our best to make the property purchasing process as easy and stress free as possible. 

If you’d like to speak with us about buying a home, please get in touch with Jackie or contact reception.


This article is brief and general in nature. You should not treat this article as legal advice and should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this article.  Armstrong Murray accepts no liability for losses suffered by any person or organisation who may rely directly or indirectly on this article.