Buying a residential property - FAQs

How much will I need to purchase a property?

Before you start looking for a property, calculate how much you can borrow to service the loan, then factor in additional procedural expenses such as legal costs and carrying out due diligence or building inspection. Also consider ongoing costs such as rates, insurance and maintenance.

This process will allow you to set a budget to work with. Most of the banks have online calculators which provide excellent guidelines for creating a budget.

How many properties should I view before purchasing?

The right time to buy is when you find the right property for you.

Think about your ‘non-negotiables’ when it comes to an ideal property and base your search around this list. Do you need three or more bedrooms, a garage, access to public transport or shops, or a certain school zone? Establish which ‘wants’ are flexible and which aren’t.

Look at a selection of house styles across several suburbs within your price range, and do all your homework by reading the relevant property publications and online listing websites.

Does the agent work for me, or the vendor?

Real estate salespeople are industry professionals, whose role is to work with vendors to broker a successful sale. Part of that process also involves working with buyers to ensure they are in a position to successfully conclude a purchase.

Remember, salespeople are there to help you find what you're looking for.

Should I commission a pre-purchase inspection before buying?


Before taking the purchase further, it’s essential to carry out due diligence so you are fully aware of any potential issues with the property, future maintenance or repair costs, and details about any outstanding building permits and resource consents.

These checks at the very minimum should include:

  • A title search

  • Building inspection

  • LIM report

  • Valuation

  • Meth test

Buying at auction

How can I avoid going to auctions?

Don't let the method of sale impact your decision to progress the purchase of a property. Auctions are an increasingly popular sale method because they are a straightforward way to buy and sell property in an open environment.

While it may seem intimidating to those who have not experienced auctions before, rest assured they are a transparent process that benefits buyers and sellers.

If you’ve not been to a residential real estate auction before, it is highly advisable to head along to a few to become familiar with the process and discuss any questions or concerns you might have with your real estate salesperson, who can guide you through the process.

Interested in learning more? Read our Auctions Guide.

What if I don’t get the house that I want?

After finding your ideal home, completing all of the due diligence checks and making an offer, it’s possible that you will miss out on purchasing the property.

Your offer may not be accepted, or you might be outbid at the auction. Unfortunately this is simply a reality of house hunting.

Learn from the experience and take heart… there will always be another house on the market that will suit your needs and will become your home. Ultimately though, and to avoid going through the process repeatedly, ensure your location and dwelling expectations are within the appropriate price bracket of your budget, and tailor your sights accordingly.