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Money Sense

Getting started: Cracking the market

"We looked at 150 houses before we found the perfect one - 150!  We chose a house in a great area, close to the shops and public transport and since we've lived there, the house value has increased by 25%."   - Marina, Account Executive

Before you hit the road to your first open home, it's important to consider the following questions: 
Where do I want to live?

Do you want a view of the beach? Or easy access to local schools? Where you choose to live affects your lifestyle and finances.

Treat your property as an asset - after all, you want your house to hold its value, or even increase in value like Marina's. 

This is where location is incredibly important: when prices rise, better areas go up first and faster. If you undertake renovations down the line, you'll be more likely to recoup any money you spent on the property.

Talking Money Sense tips for when looking for property:

  • Do your research. Talk to family and friends. Real estate agents have the inside word on recent sales and price trends.  Click here for Westpac's list of suggested questions to ask the real estate agent/owner
  • 150 houses may sound like a lot, but it will give you a good understanding of what's available in your price range. To keep track of the open homes, use Westpac's diary of homes visited  
  • Look for areas with good access to shops, public transport and schools 
  • Think about what you value in a home, e.g. sun, a flat section, landscaping

Think about how you could improve the value of the property.

Buying the worst house in the best street may be a good option if you can afford the time and money to renovate. 

What kind of home and features do I want?

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what you might want in a house for the next five - 10 years. Fortunately Westpac has developed a handy checklist to help you decide what you want in a home. This will also help you compare different houses.

Click here for Westpac's What I want in a home checklist.

What do I need to look out for?

Try not to get carried away by the romanticism of finding your dream home and stick to the hard facts: Is the structure sound? What chattels are included in the sale? Where are the property boundaries?

Click here for Westpac's handy guide on what you need to look out for in a home. 

Rate that house!

Westpac have also developed a handy scorecard so you can rate and compare the different homes you visit. Click here to access the scorecard.

Talking Money Sense links:

Understanding home loans

What can Westpac provide?

How can I pay off my loan?

How can I save on interest?

Westpac New Zealand Ltd