How to be the best buyer

I know it’s so boring, but it really is important to get this part sorted first. Whether you’re just getting off the starting blocks and need to get a good credit rating and pay off any loans and HP’s. See where you’re up to here.

Once you’ve got some funds behind you, talk to your bank about what you might be able to loan. And then also talk to a broker. Whilst it might seem harder, rather than just going to the bank, you may find you can borrow more or get a better rate than the banks offer, as they have a great relationship with all of the banks and financial institutions. They are especially helpful if your income is intermittent, commission based or your previous work history is from overseas.
And if you’re already in a home – still have a chat with a broker in case that new magical home you want is a bit of a stretch. They can be a huge help with bridging finance if you still need to sell your current property, but the dream home just came on the market.

There are some great plans for first home owners with Kiwi saver and you are able to use some of those funds – check it out here.

It’s not just the rich kids that are asking mum and dad for a hand out these days. First home buyers are frequently having to ask parents and family for a bit of help – whether it’s a cash injection, using the equity in their home or perhaps being a guarantor. Ask your broker or bank manager what some options might be to get you on the ladder.

You’ll need this so you can bid at auction or at least have all your ducks in a row in case things move quickly on a negotiated deal.
At all times you want to be able to bid or negotiate confidently, so knowing what your maximum is really important.

Unfortunately, you will need someone to look after your legal affairs, ask your friends who they have used or can recommend someone. I frequently see people asking on social media looking for a reputable and cost effective solicitor to do the conveyancing (transfer) of properties. Or ask me for some recommendations.

Once you have your budget, you can start looking at the different areas and what you actually get for your money. Our Marketbeat report is fantastic for giving sales medians by area, all from an independent source (REINZ). If you’d like the Marketbeat in your inbox to keep you up to date, click here.
Our Preview magazine is a fantastic tool to see average sales prices, number of sales, and a quick snap shot of the local market, alongside properties that have just come on the market.
Check online websites such as and
But even easier – talk to your local agent! If you can let me know what you’re looking for and where, I can have you on my hot list of buyers – then as soon as something comes on the market, I can get you through before anyone else even sees it online!
My job is connecting the right buyer to the right home,  Let me know your details here.

Things to think about when searching –
  • What will you and your family need in several years? Maybe you're just a couple right now, but are there are plans for kids in the future? A home that snugly fit two people could be torturous for three or four.
  • What’s a ‘must have’ and what’s a ‘would like to have’? What compromises are you willing to make? What are your priorities? Do you care more about a safe neighbourhood and good schools, over a big backyard? Do you need a big, workable kitchen more than a big luxurious bedroom? What are you willing to sacrifice when it's crunch time?
  • Do you expect your income to increase over the next couple years? Many homebuyers buy relatively expensive homes which are a bit of a stretch and then grow into their mortgage after a year or two.
Look at a variety of areas – you might love to live in Browns Bay to be close to work, but find that actually prices are better in Torbay, Redvale or Northcross. Areas will improve over time – are you prepared to buy the worst house in the best street, or actually you’re happier in a nice house in a slightly more ordinary area? We are lucky on the North Shore that pretty much anywhere is lovely. Being in East Coast Bays and by the beach is an added bonus.
Think about work, schools, shopping, sports – try ranking these by importance and you might be surprised where you find you need to be based.

Talk to your agent what’s new on the market and go and have a look at some Open Homes. You’ll soon see what’s a non-negotiable for you when you get down to the nitty gritty.

You’ve found the one! Or least you think it’s the one so you’re going to make a go of it… what are your options?

If it’s a For Sale by Auction (unless sold prior) you can put in an offer at any time. Make sure if you do, it’s a really good strong offer -  an auction stopper. Because if you’re hoping it’s the first in a series of negotiations, it’s not going to happen. So talk to your agent what constitutes a good, solid offer and go for it. Otherwise do all your diligence and bid for it at…

Auction – this is the best way to buy because the entire process is transparent – the buyers can all eyeball each other and size each other up. At least this way you‘ll know you’re not paying over market value, as you can see that other people think it’s good buying too. You need to be a cashed up buyer or have your finance ready to rock. You will need to put down a 10% deposit on the day, with the balance due on settlement. For full details on the rules for buying at Auction – see our guide.

If it gets Passed In on auction day, this then opens up the floor to all the conditional buyers (those that have a more complicated finance structure, are awaiting finance from overseas, are yet to sell their home, etc). So if you are certain you want to secure the property, you should do your best to buy it at auction. If not, you will want to talk to the agent to see if you can meet in the middle.

You missed out. It happens. In fact, they say that you will probably miss out on up to 9 properties before you find the one that suits you, your priorities and your budget.
If it’s priced For Sale, then you know what the vendor is looking for – you can tailor your offer to suit the circumstances
  • What is the seller's financial prospects? Are they in desperate need of money or are they sitting on a pile of cash? Cash-strapped sellers will be more likely to take an offer that undercuts their asking price.
  • How long has the home been on the market? Homes that have been on the market for longer periods of time can sometimes be bid down.
  • Have they already bought another house? If the sellers aren't currently living in the house they're trying to sell, it may be easier to bid less than you otherwise might.
If you absolutely fall in love with a home, be prepared to make an offer that's above the asking price. Economics of supply and demand will sometimes force your hand. If many people are competing for few homes, be prepared to lead with your highest possible offer. Some homebuyers don't believe that you should lead with your highest offer, but you could easily find yourself being outbid and never get the chance to bid on your house. If you want to give yourself the best shot on a home that you really, really like, lead with a high bid.
But after all that it’s quite simple – talk to me, your local agent – then together we can find the right home for you.