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How to improve the odds of buying your first home


We know how demoralising it can be trying to get on the property ladder right now.

At times, it seems like you’ve just about got a toe on the bottom rung, only for it to be whipped right out from under you. By the time you’ve dusted yourself off and are just about ready to reach up and try again, the ladder is already almost completely out of reach.

Sound familiar? Well, these tips might just make it slightly easier to buy your first home.

Settle for less

It would make a lousy title for a self-help book, but the sad fact of New Zealand’s overheated property market is you may have to settle for less than your ideal home. You’re looking to buy your first home, after all – not your dream or forever home.

For now, concentrate on the essential attributes that your first home must have – such as a certain number of bedrooms, a backyard, a garage, or being within a short- or medium-sized commute from the city. You probably can’t have it all (another great self-help book title), so broaden your property search to meet your minimum criteria and be prepared to compromise on all the rest.

Do your homework

But if you really want to improve your chances of buying your first home, then you’ve got to do your research. You’re reading this article right now, which is a good start, but you’ve also got to keep up to date with the latest property trends. With house prices moving so quickly, quality property insights will keep you one step ahead of the competition.

The QV House Price Index will help you keep track of value movements in your neck of the woods. And when you find a likely house, get a QV – a quick, real-time current market estimate of the value of a home, no inspection required. It’ll show you recent sales of similar properties in your area.

Knowing is half the battle. Your research could even give you some much-needed bargaining power when you do find a house that you like.

Get your finances in order

Few things are more excruciating than finally nabbing a great home, only to have the deal fall through when you can’t obtain finance.

The market is moving swiftly, and banks’ lending criteria along with it. So make sure your finances are in order. Know your budget, stick to it, and make sure you get pre-approval from your lender before you get serious about a property.

Trust us when we tell you it could save a massive amount of grief later on.

Don’t give up

It’s really tough out there. There’s no two ways about it. The market is running hot and droves of potential buyers are missing out on the houses they want to buy because someone else has gotten in first, or they’ve offered more.

We know it hurts (really, we do), but if you dream of one day owning your own home, you mustn’t give up. Not now; not ever. Keep on saving for your deposit, doing your research, and looking for opportunities to get on that property ladder. Try to learn from your losses and come back even stronger and more knowledgeable next time.

The Government looks set to ramp up its efforts to tackle housing affordability later this year. In the meantime, don’t give up on the classic Kiwi dream of home ownership just yet.