First Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be a daunting experience!

There are so many factors to consider:- what location to buy in, is the property in sound condition, what should my opening offer be, when should I contact my solicitor, will I need to get a registered valuation, what about a building report?

First thing’s first.  Before you start looking for a house, contact me to find out how much you can afford to borrow.  Together we can work through different loan amounts, repayments and various scenarios to enable you to choose a package you are comfortable with. After all – the mortgage will be with you for a long time!

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“Thanks Sonya for all your help and patience! And as a first home buyer I think you can imagine all the questions, concerns and worries I had. Sonya provided excellent advice every step of the way. I would recommend Sonya to anyone and will definitely be using Sonya for my future mortgage requirements. Thanks again Sonya.”

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“I am so happy we found Sonya. Not only did she get us a great mortgage rate she was also incredibly patient with all my questions and emails. Sonya is extremely good at what she does and I would recommend her to all my friends and family. Thank you so much for making our first home buying process so great.”

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Pre-approval is highly recommended before you go house-hunting. This gives you written confirmation of the maximum amount you can borrow, which puts you in a strong negotiating position when you are ready to make an offer on a property.  In fact, until you have a pre-approval, you really can’t be sure what price range you should be looking in.

When we meet to arrange your pre-approval, I can take you through the whole home-buying process. This includes making your offer, what special conditions to include in an offer, when to get your lawyer involved, when to pay over your deposit, and an explanation of the legal process from start to finish. Naturally, we will also discuss the different types of home loan options available to you.

Once we obtain your pre-approval, I will stay in touch with you until you find your suitable home. You can contact me at any time to ask questions.  Take advantage of the experience I have built up over years of arranging mortgage finance and buying/selling houses.

Once your offer is accepted, I will guide you through the purchasing process and keep you informed every step of the way.  I will also liaise with your real estate agent and solicitor to ensure everything settles smoothly.

Our relationship doesn’t end when you’ve bought the property. I hope you will be sufficiently happy with my service that you will contact me whenever you (or your friends and family) need another mortgage in the future.

Contact me to arrange a pre-approval.

For many first home buyers, the problem with obtaining a standard home loan is finding the deposit. Most banks currently require you to contribute a 10-20% deposit. With a Welcome Home Loan, you only need 5% of the purchase price of the house you are wishing to buy.   

The maximum loan amount you can borrow with a Welcome Home Loan depends on where you live. In the Wellington region, the house price cap is $500,000, or $550,000 for a brand new home.  

You must be a New Zealand citizen to be eligible for a Welcome Home Loan, and you must have been in your current employment for a minimum of twelve months, with little or no other debt. For one borrower, you can have a maximum yearly income of $85,000 (before tax).  For two or more borrowers, you can have a combined maximum household yearly income of $130,000 (before tax).

The Welcome Home Loan is to buy an owner occupied home only.  It is not for rental or investment properties, and you must not own any other property.  Some fees may be applicable, such as an application fee and a Low Equity Premium but, in many cases, these can be built into your home loan.

Contact me for a no-obligation discussion to see if you qualify for a Welcome Home Loan.

Kiwisaver has a wonderful benefit available for first home buyers.  It works like this – you must be in Kiwisaver for a minimum of 3 years paying at least the minimum contribution from your wages before you are eligible to withdraw your funds as a deposit on a home.

You may withdraw all of your Kiwisaver savings towards your house deposit, less the $1,000 government kickstart.  You will need a statement from your Kiwisaver provider – this is readily available on enquiry with your Kiwisaver provider.

Check out more information about withdrawing Kiwisaver here:

In addition to being able to withdraw your and your employer’s contributions from Kiwisaver, there is also a one-off Homestart grant available from the government.  For purchasing an existing home, the grant is between $3,000 and $5,000 based on $1,000 each year of Kiwisaver membership.  For building or purchasing a brand new home, or for purchasing land to build a new home on, the grant is doubled to $2,000 per year of membership, up to a maximum of $10,000 for five years for each member.

This means that a couple who have each contributed to Kiwisaver for five years could receive $20,000 towards the purchase of a brand new home – and this is on top of their Kiwisaver withdrawal!

Check out further information about Homestart grant here: 

Note that the following qualifying criteria applies to Homestart grant:-

  • You can not have a combined income of greater than  $85,000 (1 borrower) or $130,000 (2 or more borrowers).
  • The maximum house purchase price value is $500,000 in Wellington city, Hutt City, Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast and Porirua City (or $550,000 for a brand new home).
  • Buyers must have a deposit that is 5% or more of the purchase price, including the addition of the grant.
  • You must plan to live in the house for at least 6 months from the settlement of the property.
  • Some second home buyers can qualify if they can prove they are in a similar financial position as a first home buyer (generally have been financially impacted by a matrimonial split).

If you do not qualify for the Homestart grant, you can still withdraw from your Kiwisaver account.

Your lawyer has to action the Homestart grant and the Kiwisaver withdrawal process, as funds have to be controlled to ensure they are used exclusively for the house purchase.  Note there is a minimum 10 working day turn-around for withdrawal of both (best to allow longer) and funds are not available to be used as the deposit on the house purchase contract.

If you are not in Kiwisaver, you will generally need a minimum 10% saved deposit to qualify for your mortgage. If you do not have sufficient savings as yet (see my tips on saving for a deposit as well as getting rid of debt), there are some other options for your deposit: 

  • Many lenders will accept a deposit gifted to you from a family member or friend to buy your first home.
  • Another option in some cases is for your parents or other close family member to provide a limited guarantee against their family home (subject to the family member taking independent legal advice).

Contact me to discuss your circumstances, and together we can come up with a solution that suits you.

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