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Buyer beware – the best sources for information on your next property

By Craig Catley

So you've found what you think could be the perfect North Shore home, but do you really know everything you need to? When buying Auckland real estate, you want to know as much as possible about your home so that you don't end up with any nasty surprises down the line.

Fortunately, everything you need can usually be found from one of the three following sources.

The agent

The first person to direct any questions about the property to is of course going to be the agent managing the property's sale. Under the rules of the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA), any licensed agent is obliged to disclose any known defects of the property to the buyer.

It's a good idea to ask all questions and voice any concerns to the salesperson bluntly – for example, is there any chance of methamphetamine contamination? The salesperson cannot withhold any information they know about the property, and must be able to support all claims with evidence. Of course, if an agent just doesn't know, you may have to turn to other avenues.

A property inspection report and a Land Information Memorandum are both important documents to seek out before you make your purchase.

A qualified property inspector

Unless you have a background in building, it's likely your own inspections at the open home weren't quite as thorough as a professional's would be. A pre-purchase report will detail the condition of the property and identify any potential issues. Usually they will address the structure, systems, and finishes of the property, including the grounds and services such as plumbing.

It's recommended that, when starting your house hunt, you find a reliable building inspector. That way, once you've found a place you'd like to buy, you're ready to have it assessed.

The property inspection industry is unregulated, so the quality of report can vary considerably. When selecting your inspector, look for someone who has professional indemnity insurance and conforms to the NZ Property Inspection Standards.

The local council

Your local council will have any information regarding building consents, sub-division approvals, or re-zoning around the property. These matters could affect the future value or comfort of your potential home.

The council is also able to give you a Land Information Memorandum (LIM), which is a comprehensive summary of all information they hold on a property. This includes information on drainage, erosion, and permits. A LIM can take up to 10 days to be sorted out, so don't hesitate to request one.

If you have any questions about buying your next home on the North Shore, we want to hear them. For obligation-free advice, drop us a line today.

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